Yahoo Chief to Testify in Privacy Case

A Dallas county court judge ruled yesterday that Yahoo Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Mallett is required to testify in a lawsuit filed by Dallas-based online video distribution company, Chalkboardtalk.com.

In a hearing yesterday Judge David Gibson of the Dallas County Court No. 1 said both Mallett and Broadcast.com Inc. CEO Mark Cuban are required to give depositions within the next two weeks. Broadcast.com was bought by Yahoo in April of last year. Chalkboardtalk.com specializes in distributing educational videos and video content online.

The lawsuit filed by Chalkboardtalk.com claims Yahoo violated privacy agreements between the companies and asks for damages totalling US$4 billion, Chalkboardtalk.com said in a statement released yesterday.

Specifically, the suit, which was filed on Dec. 22, 1999, charges Yahoo and Broadcast.com with "breach of contract, tortious interference with contract, conversion, trespass to personal property, fraud, and civil theft," the statement said.

Chalkboardtalk.com lawyers had asked Judge Gibson for the ruling in an effort to determine what sort of information Yahoo is collecting from subscribers through cookies, the information that a Web site stores on an end-user's computer hard drive.

"It is important to note that these cookies are attached without the knowledge or consent of Yahoo's subscribers and it is Chalkboardtalk.com's contention the privacy statement which has been issued by Yahoo to address this matter is misleading," Larry Friedman, Chalkboardtalk.com's lawyer, said in yesterday's statement.

Neither Yahoo or Broadcast.com could be reached for comment.

Yahoo, in Santa Clara, California, can be reached at http://www.yahoo.com/ or +1-408-731-3300. Chalkboardtalk.com, located in Dallas, can be contacted at http://www.chalkboardtalk.com/.

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