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  1. #1
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    January 18th, 2005
    The Swamp
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO

    NEW YORK (AP) - It's bad enough that consumers want bargains. Now, merchants have to contend with sneaky shoppers who are getting a heads-up on private information on major upcoming sales.

    Threatening to prosecute under a 1998 law that protects intellectual property online, major retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Office Max Inc. and Staples Inc., have forced various Web sites to remove information on post-Thanksgiving sales that have not yet been unveiled to the public.

    Merchants said they had no idea how details of upcoming discounts were leaked to sites like but are considering prosecuting the individuals when found for infringing on trade secrets.

    "We were quite stunned that this was out there," said Tom Williams, a spokesman at Wal-Mart, who sent letters to about seven Web sites including and demanding that they remove the information from their Web pages.

    Sites like and offer customers an easy way to search for bargains on a wide range of items, from beauty products to electronics. Other sites are more specific like, which offer reviews on DVDs and movies, and links to stores like and

    Williams claimed Wal-Mart's sale information is protected from re-publication by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, a law that extends to digital media the protections afforded copyright works in the physical world.

    The DMCA has been used by businesses and organizations, including the Church of Scientology International, to claim copyright infringement in pressuring Web sites to remove material to which they've objected.

    Staples spokesman Paul Capelli, said the company views sales information as confidential and considers it "proprietary information" that could have "serious adverse effect on our business."

    If consumers know of sales ahead of time they can determine where and when to shop to get the best savings, potentially hurting some retailers' sales.

    The use by major retailers of the DMCA in their legal challenge surprised at least one legal expert, Diane Cabell, associate director of Berkman Center for Internet and society at Harvard Law School.

    Sale prices are considered facts and are not expressive or creative works as covered by copyright law, she said.

    But the shopping tip Web sites posting the prices appear to lack the financial resources or will to defend themselves in court.

    "Do we take it down, or do we take responsibility?" said Tim Storm, president of "We want to focus on consumers. We are not planning to spend time in court." is working, however, with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other online civil liberties organizations to assess the situation.

    "We feel this is not a true copyright issue," Storm said. "With this third party contact, we are in uncharted territory."


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  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    " is working, however, with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other online civil liberties organizations to assess the situation."

    Aren't they the group trying to justify the stealing of copywrite protected music & video files for the P2P network wanks. Fatwallet's Tim Storm never impressed me on any retoric he posted. Seems like his buddies had to muzzle him over his deams of riches from some BHO shopping bar crutch.

    WebMaster Mike

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