Essay 1 (50 points)
Peter recently started a new social networking (“matchmaking”) company named Whistle Stop. Biographical information of users is stored on Whistle Stop servers. In addition, users install a small program (or “APP”) on their mobile phones. The APP works by regularly updating Whistle Stop servers with the location of its users. When one user is in close proximity to another “compatible” user, the mobile phone plays a provocative whistle. The volume and character of the whistle may vary according to the intensity of compatibility. The idea is that the whistle helps promote less formality in meeting and also promotes the likelihood of first-glance butterflies associated with love-at-first-sight. The site’s online address is http://whistlestop.com. The service has been somewhat successful, especially in more urban areas.
(a) Seeing the success of Peter’s business, Edmund begins a competing business that he calls whistleMATCH available through http://whistlematch.com. Edmund also starts a FaceBook page using his competitor’s name – thus the website http://facebook.com/whistlestop directs users to the whistleMATCH website. What legal avenues are available to Peter to stop what he sees as this unfair competition?
(b) In another genius move, Edmund hires-away one of Peter’s network administrators. The new employee shows Edmund a major flaw in Peter’s security system that allows access to user biographical and location information via the Internet without any password protection. As a way of expanding his growing network, Edmund configures his systems to whistle when one of Peter’s customers is near. Identify the potential legal liabilities raised by this situation.
(d) Diggory is a Whistle Stop customer. However, he went online Friday morning and turned-off his account for 24-hours. You see, Diggory had a romantic date scheduled with Polly and he wanted to avoid any problematic situations. During the date, Polly saw her friend Susan. As Susan approached the couple, her mobile device whistled – indicating mutual compatible between her and Diggory. It is fair to say that the whistle created some tension that lasted for hours. Does Diggory have a cause of action?
(e) What are the greatest potential legal problems facing this new venture?