Judge rules in favor of pop-up software

— 2:35 AM on September 9, 2003

A judge has ruled that pop-up software may launch ads that compete with whatever web site a user is browsing. A lawsuit was originally filed by U-Haul that sought to prohibit pop-up software from a company called WhenU from launching ads for U-Haul's competitors whenever a user loaded up U-Haul's web site.

[The judge] said the ads don't violate the law because WhenU's software didn't copy or use U-Haul's trademark or copyright material, and because computer users had chosen to download the pop-up software.
On the surface, the ruling seems fair. However, it doesn't take into account the fact that the majority of pop-up software makes its way to users' computers surreptitiously. Often, users live with pop-up software not because they explicitly chose to download it, but because they don't know how to get rid of it or aren't even aware that it's there.
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