Do you ever wonder about any legal considerations with cloud computing? If you’re using cloud computing we imagine the subject has crossed your mind once or twice.
India’s industry journal Tech Circle recently featured an opinion piece by Anu Vaidyanathan, founder of PatNMarks, an intellectual property consulting firm and an academic.
Or put it another way: Just what do the Winklevi think they’re doing, suing Facebook (News - Alert) until it becomes ridiculous?
Vaidyanathan noted that mobile telephony, with about 4.5 billion handsets, will certainly have its share of intellectual property disputes, referencing the latest patent infringement dispute between Apple and HTC. HTC now pays $5 per mobile phone to Microsoft for their Android (News - Alert) devices, and according to Vaidyanathan, “Microsoft is reported to be making $150 million out of its android licences, and only $30 million from Windows phone revenues.”
Vaidyanathan said that “there are efforts to control the quality of patents being granted in Europe and the USA,” but unfortunately that’s not the case in India yet: “Software patents are a fact of life and they are here to stay.” He observes that even open source providers deal with patent issues, “as evidenced by Red Hat (News - Alert) versus DataTern.”
Probably one of the most compelling areas for legal issues with cloud computing, though, is “the problem of the user not having control over how the data will be handled by the cloud services providers.” America’s addressing the issue with proposed legislation, the Location Privacy Protection Act and the Data Security and Breach Notification Act. As Vaidyanathan says, “concentrating user data and services onto cloud” makes it easier to regulate the use and dissemination of such data.
Bottom line, as Vaidyanathan writes, “cloud computing is a relatively new sector in business and the discussions on policy in and around it are only beginning... a closer look at the legal issues surrounding cloud computing is required to avoid a repeat of the problems within the mobile telephony sector.”David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Juliana Kenny