Legal Notes

written by admin

There are some finer points you should be aware of in the US Code (assuming you are hosting your gripe-site from within the US):

  • US Code Title15, Chapter22, Subchapter III, ss1125,(d)(1)(B)(i)(IV). Fair use includes comparative advertising, comment, criticism, or parody, even where done for profit.
  • Title15, Chapter22, Subchapter III, ss1125, (c)(4)(B) provides provisions that a non-commercial site is not actionable under the same rules as a commercial site.  This applies to both the domain name and use of the [comapany] graphic. you better believe that the target of your gripe will quote the (vastly) more strict commercial provisions to you.
  • Title15, Chapter22, Subchapter III, ss1125,(d)(1)(B)(i)(IV). According to the legislative history fair use includes comparative advertising, comment, criticism, or parody; even where done for profit.
  • US Code Title15, Chapter22, Subchapter III, ss1125,(d)(1)(B)(ii) nullifies any arguments under Title15, Chapter22, Subchapter III, ss1125,(d)(1)(A) if there is a reasonable belief that the use of the domain name is legal, as evidenced by the number of other “gripe sites” who engage in similar conduct and have had their rights upheld by the courts.
  • Title17, Chapter1, ss107 is crystal clear: “the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.  (the important part here is for purposes such as criticism & comment).

Remember I am not a lawyer, and there are loopholes to be had on both sides.  I can tell you one thing that will go very badly for you:  Asking for money to make the site go away.  This is a fast ticket to extortion, blackmail, racketeering, and other nasty charges.  You don’t want this, so make no offer of any sort that the site will go away for any reason.  I know one guy who made an offer to an insurance company that had treated him very badly on his website of some amount of money (don’t really remember how much but it wasn’t that high) to make the site go away.  Not a good time was had…  His site is still up, and the details are confidential so I don’t know them, but he told me it wasn’t fun, and wasn’t worth it to put that offer on there.  Obviously he “won” because his site is still up.  But the word won was in quotes for a reason.