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  1. #1
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Copyright Infringement - Am I Wrong Here?
    Out of the blue today I get a call from a merchant that says that I have violated their company's copyright. This is not a merchant that has affiliates.

    The names are the problem. They have a merchant site with similar to (fictitious here) Lawns Mowers with a domain name lawnsmowers(dot)com. My site goes by LawnMowers (all one word and singular on the lawn). My domain is lawnmowers(dot)com.

    They say I need to change my names as they violate their copyright of Lawns Mowers which dates prior to their domain registration by some years. My domain shows registered in whois several months prior to theirs.

    They think that I'm getting their traffic. I told them they are hurting if that's so cause mine gets very little.

    Being called out of the blue and getting accused of being a law violator made me stubborn. I suggested for them to get their lawyer to write up their objections and I would go over them. They hung up.

    These are accidental similarities between these sites and I will have to do what's right. They have a small time site that looks bad and shows up poorly in search, and are grasping at straws looking at me as the source of their problems.

  2. #2
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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  3. #3
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    So yours was registered first and then:

    "I suggested for them to get their lawyer to write up their objections and I would go over them. They hung up."

    I don't see they have much of anything. And also are these general terms like lawn and mower? I would imagine so since you registered first.

  4. #4
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    bumppaw, i am so confused, can you pm me specifics? I have some experience in this area, happy to help but you have to be clear, i am tired, lol!

  5. #5
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    I've been contacted by a few different people about various copyright issues. One lady was claiming copyright to a published poem on my site that I had attributed to a well-known author. She gave me a link to "research" her author claim which was just a mom-pop home page that claimed HER as the author. That site did not respond to my request for verification that this woman was indeed the actual author of this piece of work.

    When I told the woman that I needed further proof to strip the well-known author's name from the piece and give her author credit, she didn't respond so I've left it as is.

    I also got another woman who called me (got my # thru whois which is always annoying) and demanded I remove a site because SHE owned the copyright to the name by having another site with the same information and a similar name. She did but it was nothing she owned outright as this information is available through various sources so I've left it. Never heard back from her either.

    I think there are a lot of wackos out there who think they can intimidate people with unjustified claims of copyright ownership. Some people will cave without researching the facts which makes them bolder. In the first instance (above) I researched the woman claiming authorship of the well-known piece and after finding a few references to her online, I believe she is deranged although I have no idea why she's claiming authorship of this piece of material. Crazy people are difficult to try to understand. LOL
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
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  6. #6
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    Maybe they hope you will surrender your domain to them. To bad they don't know about spending money and advertising their site.

  7. #7
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    As others suggest, it sounds like these folks are just trying to bully or scare you into surrendering your domain name. Your suggestion that they have their attorneys write to explain the objection is a good one.

    (Of course, some people believe that when you say "have your attorney call me," you are just being difficult, but the truth is that once they consult an attorney, they'll stop wasting time [yours and theirs] on ridiculous claims.)

    If they had an attorney, they'd also know that it is trademark law, not copyright law, that might protect a "name." An attorney would also advise them that if they've chosen a "generic" term as their name, they probably don't have a protectable trademark.

    Don't waste sleep or money over this.

  8. #8
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne
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    Just for everyone's information deleted messages can get into the email notice prior to the delete. It did here.

    Anne- I will PM you later. Thanks

  9. #9
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkWelch
    If they had an attorney, they'd also know that it is trademark law, not copyright law
    Thanks for weighing in Mark. I checked the trademark database (deleted suggesiton ) and there is nothing even close.

    I'm emailing back and forth with the merchant trying to calm them down. I hate to see them stress over nothing but as Mark said
    I won't Don't waste sleep or money over this.

  10. #10
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    A trademark can trump a domain registration (copyright can't). Are there little (TM)s and (R)s all over their site?

    Even if they don't have a good case. They can still sue. So, you just might be needing a lawyer in the days ahead.

  11. #11
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    A trademark can trump a domain registration (copyright can't). Are there little (TM)s and (R)s all over their site?
    Not a one. They referred me to the little standard copyright notice at the bottom of the page.

    Even if they don't have a good case. They can still sue. So, you just might be needing a lawyer in the days ahead.
    Realizing that you can be sued for about anything I'm being polite, but I don't see anything to stress over yet.

  12. #12
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    Listen. It is probably some guy sitting back in a ratty armchair in his raggedy undies calling you up during the commercial break on wrestling network.

    Until you get a written cease and desist from an attorney? Ignore him.

    If you feel more comfortable, consult an attorney, but personally I would not waste a minute worrying about it.

  13. #13
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Search to see if they truly own the trademark:

    http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  14. #14
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    Search to see if they truly own the trademark:
    http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm
    Not that I could find.

  15. #15
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    trade mark it yourself and then sue them ;-)


    j/k but i had to say it

  16. #16
    I like traffic lights
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    Basically, whoever it is that contacted you is a certifiable idiot.

    Don't lose any sleep.

    Like people have already said, it's not copyright, it's trademark law, and I would be VERY surprised if someone managed to obtain a trade mark "lawn mowers" for selling lawn mowers. That would be the weakest ever TM ever registered.

    I once had a domain that was a descriptie phrase of a certain car part. THis turkey contacted me claiming a TM on it and wanted me to giv ehim the domain. I told him to get lost. He contacted the merchant I had links for on the site and the merchant panicked and kicked me from their program.

    I checked and they had an APPLICATION for a TM that was subsequently DENIED.

    A shame the merchant failed to do some homework - they're lost out a LOT of revenue over the years for doing that. Wasn't the ONLY car part domain I have!

  17. #17
    Newbie SkinnyMoose's Avatar
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    I remember a few years back I registered the domain remingtonoutdoors(dot)com. My last name is Remington and I was running a hunting, fishing, and outdoor related website.

    I totally wasn't even thinking about Remington Arms Inc. It should have crossed my mind but it didn't since I was brand spanking new, my last name was Remington and I am into the outdoors.

    I get this call from the legal offices of Remington Arms and I just about died. I was all apologetic and changed my domain. Rightfully so, as I was being a turd and not thinking of those things.

    (I had to find a way to put the dukie in the post lol)

  18. #18
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    As long as your domain name is different from their domain name they don't have a case. They know it too.

    Some people buy miss spelled domain names just to get extra traffic from people who mistakenly spell the url wrong. It's legal to do so.

  19. #19
    Newbie SkinnyMoose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwillis19
    As long as your domain name is different from their domain name they don't have a case. They know it too.

    Some people buy miss spelled domain names just to get extra traffic from people who mistakinly spell the url wrong. It's legal to do so.
    Oh I didn't realize that at the time. Plus I was caught off guard because it never crossed my mind.

    They told me I could keep the domain but I couldn't compete directly with them. In other words I could keep the domain but maybe make it a personal site.

    Either way, I felt even if I was legally allowed to I didn't want to step on any toes. I may have thought differently if I was 5 years into it and making decent money. But the site was only up maybe 3 or 4 months.

  20. #20
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwillis19
    As long as your domain name is different from their domain name they don't have a case. They know it too.

    Some people buy miss spelled domain names just to get extra traffic from people who mistakenly spell the url wrong. It's legal to do so.
    Well being 'legal to do so,' not always.....

    If you have a name ( really, not pretend) trademarked and someone buys that name with an 's' and you can prove they are using your branding to generate traffic.... maybe not.

    Just the same, you should own every possible misspelling or plural to your domain names to prevent this from happening.

  21. #21
    I like traffic lights
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwillis19
    As long as your domain name is different from their domain name they don't have a case. They know it too.

    Some people buy miss spelled domain names just to get extra traffic from people who mistakenly spell the url wrong. It's legal to do so.
    Careful with that strategy. The big lawsuits are just firing up now.

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