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Censorship Your Rights Online

2600 Magazine Defeats Ford 221 221

narftrek cut-and-pastes the text from 2600's announcement that Ford has conceded the case they brought against 2600 over a certain domain. Our earlier story has some background. A Volvo repair shop near me is named "Island Vo Vo"; the L is silent, you see, because Ford really sucks.
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2600 Magazine Defeats Ford

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  • Re:Post Article? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr Guy (547690) on Friday June 28, 2002 @09:11AM (#3786060) Journal
    Posted 28 Jun 2002 05:40:29 UTC

    Ford Motor Company has officially and unconditionally conceded its complete, utter, and perpetual loss on the merits of the FORD v. 2600 "" case. Ford has dismissed its appeal to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, meaning that Ford has completely given up all attempts to reverse the victory that 2600 Enterprises won on December 20, 2001. The mutually agreed dismissal papers were officially entered by the Sixth Circuit on June 27, 2002.

    In the words of another FORD from Michigan -- former President Gerald Ford, "Our long national nightmare is over."

    2600, which has given up nothing other than an extremely improbable claim for getting its attorneys' fees back from FORD, has expressly reserved the right to point "" [] anyplace whatsoever that 2600 pleases -- including at the FORD homepage -- at any time whatsoever, with or without notice.

    Of course, the plan in March, 2001, when the lawsuit arose, was to point the address someplace more suitable than the FORD homepage, probably as soon as mid-April or early May, 2001. In other words, the lawsuit has actually delayed 2600's prior plans (several other domain names that were part of the same project have been re-pointed several times, while has remained pointed at FORD). Now that the lawsuit has been won, 2600 will be soliciting suggestions during the H2K2 [] conference, for the best place to point the Domain Name. Ultimately, this just proves how silly and counterproductive FORD's litigation strategy always has been from the beginning.

    In December, 2001, Judge Robert Cleland of the Eastern District of Michigan, dismissed FORD's lawsuit in its entirety for "failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted" -- which means that even assuming every single allegation in FORD's pleadings to be true (but the allegations weren't all true), FORD still had no legal right whatsoever to prohibit 2600 from pointing at FORD's homepage.

    Needless to say, FORD did not like that outcome. Neither did a lot of other intellectual property interests all over the world. Indeed, a google search will reveal a number of PowerPoint(tm) presentations published on the Web (e.g., hkitlaw/resources/Pun_IP.pdf []) by various intellectual property lawyers, emphasizing that the decision is being appealed. Well, now it isn't.

    The decision stands. It is published at 177 F. Supp. 2d 661. And it is binding precedent. The decision has even been cited by the Sixth Circuit already, in an interim order that was issued in the "TaubmanSucks" case handled by Paul Levy of Public Citizen. -02.pdf . []

    When FORD filed its appeal to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in January, 2002, FORD sought to have the case reinstated so that FORD could take it to trial. 2600 filed a cross-appeal, solely on the issue of whether FORD should be required to reimburse 2600 for its legal bills (such fee awards, in cases under the Lanham Trademark Act, are not especially common and occur only in "exceptional" cases -- so the Sixth Circuit was likely to defer to Judge Cleland's decision to award 2600 its "costs" but not its attorneys' fees). 2600 still gets to take its "costs" back from FORD, and our lawyer is preparing to serve a deposition notice on Bill Ford, to gather the information necessary to garnish FORD's bank accounts, unless FORD cuts us a reimbursement check forthwith.

    But the key point is that 2600's victory is permanent and FORD has voluntarily foregone any appeals. The savings, in terms of attorneys' fees, from our standpoint, are enormous.

  • Here's Why (Score:5, Informative)

    by peterdaly (123554) <> on Friday June 28, 2002 @09:14AM (#3786076)
    Ford sucks. No, really, we mean it. Long and hard. And Ford swallows. Spit. Skeptical? Don't just take our word for it. Just ask the guy who registered Or the guy who registered and wound up facing a legal battle. (Yes, Volvo is owned by Ford, as is Mazda, Lincoln, Mercury, Jaguar and Aston-Martin.) Or you can ask Wally Rawson, a third-generation seller of replacement parts for Ford cars and trucks. Wally registered and as part of his parts business. Ford sued him. At the same time, Ford sued Hans Rekestad (the guy in Sweden running The fordsucks guy was also named in the same lawsuit.


    Ford didn't just sue. Ford asked for $100,000 in damages. Not for all these cases put together - $100,000 per address! And Ford won't just let any of these people give up the names and walk away. Ford won't reimburse them for their registration and renewal costs.

    Wally Rawson (the parts guy) didn't want to be bothered with the lawsuit, so he just gave Ford both names. Ford is still suing him. Ford tells him he can't crawl out of the soup until he pays Ford $6000.00 ($3000 per name). The fordsucks guy, evidently, decided it would be cheaper to pay the blackmail than to fight it out in court.


    I thought that page was worth a read.
  • by Salsaman (141471) on Friday June 28, 2002 @09:31AM (#3786158) Homepage
    Ford never made any attempt to contact us before filing this lawsuit in federal court. A simple request to not point the domain at them would most likely have wound up with our doing just that, since the project really had nothing to do with Ford in the first place. But they never even tried to resolve this. In addition, Ford has the ability to block our pointer from reaching their homepage, which would accomplish everything they wanted. Again, they made no attempt to do this.

  • by Clover_Kicker (20761) <> on Friday June 28, 2002 @09:32AM (#3786161)
    > Why is 2600 saying "Shove it!" to GM, though? I
    > can't figure that part out.

    They registered the domain name with the intention of making a site to bitch about GM.

    They didn't have any content yet, so they pointed it to Ford until they got more organized.

    Once Ford started legal proceedings, they almost had to keep that address pointing at Ford, anything else would have been seen as backing down.

  • Re:Here's Why (Score:2, Informative)

    by lucifuge31337 (529072) < minus cat> on Friday June 28, 2002 @09:46AM (#3786218) Homepage
    Ford also has close to 50% ownership of Mazda as a company.
  • by SirSlud (67381) on Friday June 28, 2002 @09:50AM (#3786245) Homepage
    Well, you're not forwarding mail, you're forwarding visitors to your house to Bill Gates' house. And Bill Gates can simply lock his gate.

    Same with a domain pointer. A simple programmatic check on the front page of Ford's site (about 3 lines of code) would turn away 99.99% of all the people coming through that domain. Ford chose not to deny those visitors, which would have accomplished everything they wanted .. they chose to sue the person telling everyone to g there.

    There's no problem, because the target can always diffuse the pointer. Ford was simply trying to use bully tactics to dissuade people from doing similar things even if its totally preventable by the alleged 'victim' of this terrible terrible crime - uncool, and like any company hypocritically attempting to keep their image cleaner than a bus full of Kumbaya-singin nuns, they deserved to lose.
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Friday June 28, 2002 @09:53AM (#3786260) Journal

    :-) JC
  • by 348 (124012) on Friday June 28, 2002 @10:00AM (#3786297) Homepage
    This puzzles me. I see and understand both sides of this argument and in odd ways, support both sides. I am surprized Ford didn't go the trademark route, it seems that they would get more traction using a trademark infringement (working with GM)suit rather than the "wah wah wah, repointing" argument. Trademark laws although flawed in many ways are relatively clear. And all the freedom of speech stuff holds up only so far when it comes to trademark usage and ownership. Remember back a few years ago here on /. there was that guy who had the "sore Hands" sig, which was his link to his "I hate you" page for his former employer? Part of his downfall was his employer made use of his website against him and used the trademarked references as a slander argument. Couldn't the same apply here?

    Does anyone know what GM;s stance on this was? The article doesn't mention it at all.

  • Re:Wrong Domain? (Score:5, Informative)

    by pagsz (450343) <> on Friday June 28, 2002 @10:03AM (#3786317) Journal
    No, the link is right. [] is indeed the site in question.

    However, the site does not disparage General Motors (aside from the domain name, of course). What it does do, however, is redirect you to the Ford website. That's what Ford is upset about. To the average idiot, it may seem that the site was set up by Ford.

    Restating the obvious since 1992,

  • by generic-man (33649) on Friday June 28, 2002 @10:24AM (#3786412) Homepage Journal
    A Volvo repair shop near me is named "Island Vo Vo"; the L is silent, you see, because Ford really sucks.

    No, it's because a bunch of teenage vandals got together and stole the 'L' off the sign. Rather than spend money to buy a new letter, the repair shop simply renamed itself.
  • by Atlantix (209245) on Friday June 28, 2002 @10:29AM (#3786451)
    As the article explains, the reason this is considered precedential is that the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court (the one that would have heard this appeal) has already used the results of original trial when they decided a separate case. FORD quite rightly realized that their chance of winning the appeal was rather tiny since the Appeals Court had already approved the original ruling.

  • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Friday June 28, 2002 @10:43AM (#3786507)

    A simple programmatic check on the front page of Ford's site (about 3 lines of code) would turn away 99.99% of all the people coming through that domain.

    A simple check of the host parameter (required for Http 1.1) would do the same thing for all of Ford's pages. No coding required, as this is handled by the server.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 28, 2002 @10:50AM (#3786545)
    Re - Only in America etc
    And in the UK too ...

    Jeffrey Archer (British "Lord") is in jail for purgery: / 447880.stm []

    Jonathan Aitken - went there for libel: d_593000/593724.stm []

    The US isn't the only country with at least a semi-decent legal system, nor the only one with accountable politicians.

  • by burgburgburg (574866) <> on Friday June 28, 2002 @11:02AM (#3786623)
    One of the major points of this is that 2600 was under no obligation to ask Ford. Freedom of speech allows them to point it to them if they so desire.

    And Ford didn't need to ask 2600 to stop pointing it at them. As others have pointed out, Ford could have stopped people from seeing their site after typing in that domain with extraordinarily little effort.

    So it is obvious that Ford was NOT trying to protect it's business. It was NOT trying to protect it's image. It WAS trying to create a whole new set of corporate rights by asserting that nobody could point/redirect to their site without their express consent. Fortunately (in a rare occurence lately) a court was sensible and recognized how very wrong Ford was and dismissed the suit. My shock is that Ford gave up. They're wrong, but that ususally doesn't stop corporate America.

The early bird who catches the worm works for someone who comes in late and owns the worm farm. -- Travis McGee