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Censorship Your Rights Online

Legal Tips For Your 'Sucks' Site 11

Posted by michael
from the sorely-needed dept.
jyuter writes: "Wired has a piece discussing the legal ramifications (parodies, free speech, and trademark infringements) of "Sucks" sites." Considering that ".*sucks" sites are getting nailed left and right for "cybersquatting" in the UDRP arbitration procedure, the most important requirement for a sucks site has to be willingness to go to court over it.
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Legal Tips For Your 'Sucks' Site

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  • Hmmm, where did this come from?

    Seems a but out of left field

    I'm definately not a lawyer, but the point about British libel law is that the defendants in this case are required to prove every single point in their leaflets otherwise MacDonalds "win" the case.

    If you really care about the facts they're easy to find. stick "McLibel verdict" into Google. Seems this guy is mostly accurate, but somewhat biased towards McDonalds.


    Lord Pixel - The cat who walks through walls
  • Say you say something defamatory and get sued for $100B. So what? Do you have any money to give to them?

    The only threat is if they intimidate the ISP, and if neo-nazis and the KKK can find ISPs, I hardly see M$-bashers having difficulties.
  • Back when I was a youngin' we solved this kind of problems by a 'Trial of Arse-kicking'. Many ah wee lil laddie been a-kick in the arse for talking badly of meself.
  • Moral of the story: provided you have nothing to lose, you can turn corporate bully techniques against them. For a year or two, anyway - only lawyers remember it now.

    With the one word standing out in memory, McLibel, this sounds a lot worse on the McDonalds side of things than it actually was, given the rest of the story. If more than the lawyers remembered the details it wouldn't sound as bad for them as it does with just that word.

    I'll probably remember the word McLibel for the rest of my life (now that you've mentioned it here) but forget what it means, just thinking that it sounds bad and probably involves McDonald's.

    Ever get the impression that your life would make a good sitcom?
    Ever follow this to its logical conclusion: that your life is a sitcom?
  • Sue first and ask questions later. My question is, what are the companies planning on doing with these sights? What does Verizon want to do with verizonreallysucks.com. Are they planning on using it to dispatch information on how bad their service is? If not, then isn't that cybersquatting?
  • The main problem with any criticism is obviously censorship, and that censorship lies in the hands of those with deep pockets. We've seen it time and again : corporations will get to you whichever way they can. They know all the dirty tricks, they're not afraid to use them.

    If a company can't take down negative criticism by asking politely (which they often skip altogether), they just send a few lawyer's letters to your mailbox and giggle as you step back, fearing lawsuits each one more outrageous than the last. Fear and loathing prevail in the billion-dollar american race. Why play nice and "deal" with the critics when you can stomp them into the ground and growl until the rest of them run and hide ?
  • "If you don't say something that is verifiable as true or false -- that that guy has his head up his butt -- it's not defamatory because nobody whether it's true or false," Chadwick said. "It's an opinion."

    I assume we're speaking metaphorically, here ;-D
    That's one hell of a flexible spine he'd have. I wonder if they bend the other way?
    If only, then all dating would be history.
  • This was so funny, I'm gonna check it everyday. Forget it taco, you refused to post my manifesto, and that's what you get.
  • One would think that larger companies would get a clue and start paying sucks sites to be in business.

    Consider that as corporate management, one of my biggest problems is determining reality, as opposed to reality filtered through a mass of spineless butt-sniffing lackeys attempting to keep their jobs at any cost.

    What if the sux site encouraged input with a few well-crafted bits, collected the tales of woe and doom about my company, then gave me statistics on categories of problems? I could figure out if I am being hornswaggled by the customer service division.

    What do you think?

  • You don't necessarilly need to be willing to go to court over it, you just have to be careful to avoid copyright infringement, defamation, or anything else that's illegal. That's the point of the article - how not to get sued for a parody or "sucks" site.

    Unfortunately I can see an upset company sending its legal goons to intimidate a legitimate parody. The website owner, despite being correct, would have to back down simply becasue he can't afford to fight it in court. The EFF [eff.org] can only do so much.

    So I suppose it also depends on the nature of the company which is being parodied and how popular/damaging the parody is. A really evil company - or a company which has been severly damaged by a parody might take the chance and try to shut down anything critical. I'm willing to wager that Slashdot took no legal action against the Hot Grits [geocities.com] site.

    On a related note, there were some recent cases of "tribute" sites which were shut down. Notable the Iron Chef [slashdot.org] and assorted Mac sites. I find it interesting that "fair use" of copyrighted materials includes criticism but not praise.



    Being with you, it's just one epiphany after another
  • McLibel

    There's a limit to what I can say about this case: the firm I worked for at the time was acting for McDonalds.

    It's not quite comparable with a "sucks" site, as the McLibel Two were distributing leaflets rather than publishing on the web.

    Basically what happened was that these two soap-dodgers were defaming McDonalds on all fronts and were sued. Some of their comrades signed an admission, under threat, that they were liars (and then cheerfully stood up in the witness box under absolute privilege and retracted those statements, but that's by the by).

    Two of them, though, insisted on their day in court. The trial broke current records for length and weight of evidence and MacDonalds lost on the issues of whether they were cruel to animals and whether they exploited children. They got home on most of the other allegations, and the damages (£100,000, about $155K) were, of course, ordered against defendants who had been bankrupt to start with and represented themselves.

    Moral of the story: provided you have nothing to lose, you can turn corporate bully techniques against them. For a year or two, anyway - only lawyers remember it now.

"Pull the trigger and you're garbage." -- Lady Blue

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