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Internet Brands Sues People For Forking Under CC BY-SA 168

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-you-know-how-this-works dept.
David Gerard writes "Internet Brands bought Wikitravel.org in 2006, plastered it with ads and neglected it. After years, the Wikitravel community finally decided to fork under CC by-sa and move to Wikimedia. Internet Brands is now suing two of the unpaid volunteers for wanting to leave. The Wikimedia Foundation is seeking a declaratory judgement (PDF) that you can actually fork a free-content project without permission. Internet Brands has a track record of scorched-earth litigation tactics."
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Internet Brands Sues People For Forking Under CC BY-SA

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  • Boycott! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:29PM (#41266315)

    I would boycott these assholes if I'd ever heard of them.

    • Re:Boycott! (Score:5, Funny)

      by plover (150551) * on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:47PM (#41266567) Homepage Journal

      I would boycott these assholes if I'd ever heard of them.

      I'd just say fork 'em.

    • They actually own a lot of things. They bought a website I used to frequent. Things didn't change much if at all from what I could tell after they bought it though.

      • by SomePgmr (2021234)

        Yeah I'm pretty sure they bought up HuntingOutfitters.com and the flagship HuntingNet.com.

        HuntingNet, best I can tell at a glance, hasn't been updated in any significant way since I built it a little over 6 years ago. (I did not work for Internet Brands)

    • I would boycott these assholes if I'd ever heard of them.

      The same for me. Plus, I love the fact that their wikipedia entry for Xenforo says: "Its popularity is growing according to feedback from various community forums and weblogs.[2]". With the citation pointing back to just one blog, its own company blog with absolutely zero comments posted on it (despite having that feature turned on).

  • by sabri (584428) * on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:30PM (#41266327)
    How can they not understand that volunteers are exactly that: someone volunteering. And their volunteering can cease at any time. They should be countersued for abuse of legal procedures.
    • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:44PM (#41266525) Homepage Journal

      How can they not understand that volunteers are exactly that: someone volunteering. And their volunteering can cease at any time. They should be countersued for abuse of legal procedures.

      Well, a little background on who Internet Brands is and what their business model is might help....

      From wikipedia: The company was founded in 1998 as CarsDirect.com, launched from the business incubator Idealab. The company invented a consumer-advocacy approach to selling cars "haggle-free" online, an approach it continues to employ.[9] In 2000, Roger Penske invested in the company and joined the Board of Directors. In 2002, Time Magazine voted the site one of the 50 best in the world.[10]
      The company changed its name to Internet Brands in 2005.[11] The company's IPO was in November 2007 on the NASDAQ exchange.[12] INET was added to the NASDAQ Internet Index on March 22, 2010.[13]
      Internet Brands is headquartered in El Segundo, California; Autodata is headquartered in London, Ontario.
      Internet Brands agreed to be acquired for $640 million by the private equity firm Hellman & Friedman in September 2010,[14][15] and was thus delisted from NASDAQ.

      Might be more interesting now to find out who Hellman & Friedman are...

      Also from wikipedia: Hellman & Friedman LLC (H&F) is a private equity firm, founded in 1984 by Warren Hellman[2][3] and Tully Friedman,[note 1] that makes investments primarily through leveraged buyouts and minority growth capital investments.

      Dunno about you, but LBO people don't set well with me after an LBO killed a company I worked for, which would have been worth at least a billion $ annually, had they invested in us rather than suck us dry like a bunch of leeches. YMMV

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:58PM (#41266735)

        LBO - Private Equity - aka Corporate Raider: buy a company with little money down, load acquired company up with debt, charge acquired company millions of dollars in "fees" for "consulting", and then if company is still successful sucker the....do an IPO and if the acquired company goes belly up, stick the...put the company into bankruptcy and let the creditors eat it after siphoning millions of dollars out of the company. In the meantime, honest hardworking people - people who actually have to work for a living - get canned without so much as a handshake and the Private Equity guys walk away with millions or billions of dollars of equity that was sucked out of the company.

        A great illustration of this technique was the bar that Paulie bought in the movie GoodFellas: run up the restaurant's credit, buy Cutty Sark, sell the booze at a discount, and when the restaurant goes bankrupt, burn it down the for insurance money. The only difference is that the Private Equity guys do the legal version.

        That's how Mitt Romney made his millions: by fucking over small investors and banks.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by ackthpt (218170)

          LBO - Private Equity - aka Corporate Raider: buy a company with little money down, load acquired company up with debt, charge acquired company millions of dollars in "fees" for "consulting", and then if company is still successful sucker the....do an IPO and if the acquired company goes belly up, stick the...put the company into bankruptcy and let the creditors eat it after siphoning millions of dollars out of the company. In the meantime, honest hardworking people - people who actually have to work for a living - get canned without so much as a handshake and the Private Equity guys walk away with millions or billions of dollars of equity that was sucked out of the company.

          A great illustration of this technique was the bar that Paulie bought in the movie GoodFellas: run up the restaurant's credit, buy Cutty Sark, sell the booze at a discount, and when the restaurant goes bankrupt, burn it down the for insurance money. The only difference is that the Private Equity guys do the legal version.

          That's how Mitt Romney made his millions: by fucking over small investors and banks.

          And the private equity people usually are using someone else's money, rarely putting their own into the mix, but collecting their wages as "administrative fee" Our LBO people leveraged our own assets to buy us, plus some investor money. They're rule of thum was 1 in 5 companies go bust anyway, no matter what you do, so they work on keeping 4 companies going, hoping to spin them off or sell assets for a profit, while they draw "administrative fees" from the 5th company until it's fully wound down and die

          • The way you make it sound, they were holding a gun to the original owners head to make them sell. Or people were forced to hand over cash to finance these operations. Or that ...

            The point is, this shit was all voluntary by all parties. The only people I actually feel sorry for at the "human resources" that worked there. And anyplace that has a "human resources" department should be suspect.

            • by ultranova (717540)

              The point is, this shit was all voluntary by all parties.

              Thus proving that mere lack of coercion is insufficient to keep such shit from happening, and thus more regulation is needed.

          • by Dishevel (1105119)

            You do realize that Bain Capital made most of its money by finding companies that were in trouble. They then figured if there was a way they could save them.
            They would then purchase the company at a deep discount and then turn the company around for a massive profit.
            If it did not work then they would try to get what they could back from the company before it died.

            They did not always do "best for the employee" stuff but the did invest in troubled assets and try to save them. For profit of course.

            Most of the

            • by fm6 (162816)

              Uh, you mean like Ampad [politico.com]

              The only case I know of where Bain actually grew the company was Staples. And that was more venture capitalism than equity capitalism. The took a small but successful office supply chain, give them a bucket of cash, then cashed out when the investment produced massive growth. Venture capitalism is great and I have no problem with Bain getting rich by taking investment risks. But it's hardly evidence of their management skills.

              The claim that they save dying companies seems to be so muc

            • by gl4ss (559668)

              you just explained the corporate raid, only in much nicer terms. still the same thing.

        • by hrvatska (790627)
          You left out the raiding of the company pension plan step that's occasionally done after an LBO.
        • In fairness to Romney and Bain Capital, their only motive is not to gut a company; their motive is profit. Most often gutting a company is the way they make their money. Sometimes they rescue a company as this is more profitable. I don't know what the percentages are but I would say gutting is done more often.
          • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday September 07, 2012 @05:55PM (#41267565)

            I don't know what the percentages are but I would say gutting is done more often.

            I wish we would get some actual investigative journalism on Bain's record. All I've heard so far are one-off cases cherry-picked to support the advocacy position that the particular cherry-picker wants to make. I'd like to a see a comprehensively researched table listing every company Bain took over and the various results of the time before, during and after Bain's involvement.

            • who go after wall street?

              ask Leah McGrath Goodman.

              or Moe Tkacik

              or Michael Lewis

            • by Teancum (67324)

              I'd be curious either way, in terms of if it was a bunch of pump and dump scams that raided corporate treasuries and deliberately ran the companies into the ground or if they really were the white knights coming to the rescue of a poorly managed company that just needed a shake up at the top management to put things into proper order.

              I'm sure you could find plenty of people with both viewpoints... often when talking about the very same company I might add as well.

              Still, it would be harder to suggest that Ba

            • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Friday September 07, 2012 @09:33PM (#41269769)
              Does it matter? To prove the critical point - that Bain under Romney was involved in predatory investing - a single example suffices. It happens that there are several. Rolling Stone - Why Bain is the Worst [rollingstone.com].
          • by sjames (1099)

            Not much of a defense really. Sounds like "I only slap her around when she needs it'.

        • Wow! Politicians and corporate raiders do have a lot in common.

        • by GNious (953874)

          Best explanation ever!

          Hope you don't mind me copying it (though difficult to accredit it properly)

          https://plus.google.com/u/0/106639317314065291577/posts/ZLNdUUCvMnm [google.com]

      • by fm6 (162816)

        Alas, my mileage most certainly does not vary [slashdot.org].

    • by bws111 (1216812) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:59PM (#41266767)

      This has nothing to do with them being volunteers, and very little to do with the fork.

      If you read the actual suit, you will find tha tthe actual complaints are trademark violations, among some other things.

      From the suit, they are claiming that the 'unpaid volunteers' decided to fork the site (which they admit they can do). However, the admins then went on WikiTravel's site and made posts stating that 'WikiTravel (a trademark) was moving to WikiMedia'. It is not. In addition, they claim, these volunteers sent out emails to WikiTravel's customers, using WiikiTravel's email accounts, and again stated in these emails that WikiTravel was moving to WikiMedia.

      If true, that is not 'forking a project', it is lying and forgery.

      • I wish I'd read this before commenting earlier. This is the other side of the proverbial coin it seems.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The IB complaint mentions "unlawful acts" several times, but usually without any specifics. The only allegation that comes anywhere close to a trademark infringement is that one of the defendants sent an email saying "the wikitravel admins are planning to..." do exactly what they then did, i.e. fork the project. That's a nominative use of the wikitravel trademark, totally protected under the First Amendment.

        The IB complaint really tries to paint a picture of some kind of tortious interference, but doesn't

        • by bws111 (1216812) on Friday September 07, 2012 @05:32PM (#41267267)

          I don't know what you were reading, but they clearly do state the claim.

          29. For example, on August 18, 2012, Holliday improperly and
          wrongfully emailed at least several hundred of Wikitravel members, purporting to
          be from Wikitravel and informing members that the Wikitravel Website was
          “migrating” to the Wikimedia Foundation. Upon information and belief, the
          number emailed is far greater.

          30. Specifically, Holliday’s email contained the Subject Line, “Important
          information about Wikitravel” and its body stated, “This email is being sent to you
          on behalf of the Wikitravel administrators since you have put some real time and
          effort into working on Wikitravel. We wanted to make sure that you are up to
          date and in the loop regarding big changes in the community that will affect the
          future of your work! As you may already have heard, Wikitravel’s community is
          looking to migrate to the Wikimedia Foundation.”

          • by decora (1710862) on Friday September 07, 2012 @07:15PM (#41268493) Journal

            as the 'wikitravel company'. the company doesnt own the 'community'.

            • by bws111 (1216812)

              True, but they do own the name WikiTravel, and unless the people who own the trademark say it is moving, it isn't moving. If they had said 'members of the WikiTravel community are moving to WikiMedia instead' or something similar that would be different. But they worded it to make it appear as if WikiTravel itself was simply moving to a new host, which is likely to lead to confusion, which is exactly what trademarks are supposed to protect against.

              • by sjames (1099)

                They didn't say IT was moving. IF XYZ is a social media company with a site by the same name and I and all of the other users of XYZ decide to jump to ABCbook, it is perfectly fair and accurate to say the XYZ community is moving to ABCbook.

          • by arose (644256)
            So what exactly is untrue about the community looking to migrate? The interpretation that it's the website that's migrating is not supported by the given quote.
            • So what exactly is untrue about the community looking to migrate?

              Uh...it wasn't? The Administrators were looking to migrate.

              Imagine I was a WikiTravel contributor--part of the community, but I don't pay attention to the decisions being made. I just like having a place to post my opinions on the local scene for visitors. I get an e-mail from one of the admins saying, in essence, "The Community is moving to WikiMedia." Well, then, I'm going to go over to WikiMedia and set up my account and post there. After all, if we're all moving...

              Pretty soon, nobody is posting on

              • by arose (644256)
                The administrators were migrating, the community very likely was looking into it (as happens when administrators decide to fork), even if some parts hadn't heard about the whole thing. If you jump to conclusions that's your own choice, if you want to look into what the community will actually do as promted that's a good idea.
            • by bws111 (1216812)

              I didn't state if it was true or not, and I have no idea. That is for the courts to decide. I was just pointing out that the suit is not about copyrights or people being volunteers like people were saying.

              • by Teancum (67324)

                The fact that these were volunteers and not paid employees is going to have a huge role in the lawsuit. The fact that these volunteers had no contract they were working under other than the fact their contributions needed to be released under the terms of the CC-by-SA license is also going to play a huge part as well. The copyright license was the only contract term they even agreed to at all, which makes almost everything else being asserted sort of moot.

          • by sjames (1099)

            In other words, they stated exactly what they later did. They WERE the Wikitravel administrators and they said the community was migrating. Then the community DID migrate.

            They didn't say they were the company.

          • by stephanruby (542433) on Saturday September 08, 2012 @12:30AM (#41270851)

            ...made posts stating that 'WikiTravel (a trademark) was moving to WikiMedia'.

            I doubt that's what they posted.

            Posting the trademark symbol next to the word WikiTravel on August 18th, 2012, is illegal and it's a finable offense. The filing of the trademark only occurred on August 22nd, 2012 [uspto.gov], coincidentally just four days after the alleged incident. And no, pay no attention to "FIRST USE: 20030724. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 2003072", that part won't help them.

            The fine for falsely claiming a Trademark is pretty significant. I don't think it's a mistake they would have made. You'll notice that the current site [wikitravel.org] doesn't even have the trademark symbol anywhere yet, although technically they now have the right to use the symbol since August 22nd.

            29. For example, on August 18, 2012, Holliday improperly and wrongfully emailed at least several hundred of Wikitravel members, purporting to be from Wikitravel and informing members that the Wikitravel Website was “migrating” to the Wikimedia Foundation. Upon information and belief, the number emailed is far greater.

            I'll assume that this is still their interpretation and their paraphrasing of what happened, since there are no quotes that are used except for one single word.

            So moving right along...

            30. Specifically, Holliday’s email contained the Subject Line, “Important information about Wikitravel” and its body stated, “This email is being sent to you on behalf of the Wikitravel administrators since you have put some real time and effort into working on Wikitravel. We wanted to make sure that you are up to date and in the loop regarding big changes in the community that will affect the future of your work! As you may already have heard, Wikitravel’s community is looking to migrate to the Wikimedia Foundation.”

            Ok, now we're getting somewhere!

            They're finally quoting the people they're suing. Please note the careful wording inside those quotes: "on behalf of the Wikitravel administrators" and "Wikitravel's community is looking to migrate to the Wikimedia Foundation."

            Is anything of this really untrue?

            It seems to me like Internet Brands only started clamping down on its unpaid volunteer administrators only after they sent this message out, so they were still formally volunteer admins at the time? Right? That's the problem of giving volunteers unfettered access to your mailing list and web site. You can't just accept the benefit of all their work, you have to also accept all the downside that could possibly come from giving them such privileges (especially if they're not getting paid by you).

            Plus, it's not like Internet Brands can't have the final word in all of this. I'm sure that they promptly locked down their mailing list and possibly locked down their wiki site as well, thus possibly locking out even more existing volunteers from participating in the discussion, and then sent follow-up emails telling their own side of the story.

            In the end, owning the actual mailing list and the actual site gives them the final word. And the people that were contacted will have to make up their minds whether the community is still mostly with Wikitravel, or migrated elsewhere. That being said, I'm not a lawyer, and this is only my layman opinion regarding the reported Trademark claim made in the parent post. Perhaps the other claims they're making have more teeth to them, those other parts I really know nothing about.

        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          >>>The IB complaint really tries to paint a picture of some kind of tortious interference, but doesn't actually list that claim.

          "C'mon Boss. Can't I just shoot 'em? It will be quicker....."

        • It's a little odd that Wikimedia filed a separate action; I'd think a simple demurral would make the original case go away more cheaply.

          Apparently in the previous case with Xenforo, Internet Brands (who had purchased Jelsoft/VBulletin) sued xenForo and its former employees both in the UK and in California. And this is despite Internet Brands having its' HQ [slashdot.org] in California and this is also despite the fact that most of the parties involved: Jelsoft, VBulletin, [justice.gov.uk] and xenforo, also had all originated from California and were California-based at the time as well (and I assume that most of those former employees in question, the ones who started Xen

      • by hydrofix (1253498) on Friday September 07, 2012 @05:51PM (#41267531)

        Interesting points, but in paragraphs 24 and 34 of the suit [ibsrv.net] they quite much seem to claim a "violation of the [CC BY-SA] License" and that "the creation of 'Wiki Travel Guide' has been done without proper attribution". The alleged trademark infringement happened when the volunteer admin wrote to the Wikitravel users in an e-mail that the "Wikitravel community" was migrating to Wikimedia Foundation, which is obviously different from claiming that "Wikitravel" (the site) was migrating to Wikimedia (a view also admitted by Internet Brands in the suit.)

        Anyway, just because someone somewhere mentioned your trademark in context that did not please you is not grounds for damages. What IB seems to claim is that the supposed Wikimedia hosted travel website would infringe its trademark - before it has even launched! Given that they only own a trademark for a travel website "Wikitravel", anyone should be able to launch a new website with different name.

        Given that they are making such claims of trademark and license violations even before those have happened (obviously you can not infringe with a non-existing product or not give attribution before you actually start distributing the content), it seems like a desperate last resort effort to stop the split by suing a few individuals to me.

        • by KiloByte (825081)

          the "Wikitravel community" was migrating to Wikimedia Foundation, which is obviously different from claiming that "Wikitravel" (the site) was migrating

          Pretty much identical to an attempt to mutilate the Encyclopaedia Dramatica as a two-bit site whose name let's not quote to not give it undeserved attention. The community moved out, and the old domain's owner threw a fit, threatened lawsuits against anyone involved (as if people related to AnonOps would care...), and to this day we have enemies of ED claiming it is dead (like a furry community member SilverSeren, repeatedly abusing his WP admin right to vandalize the "ED [wikipedia.org]" page against the wishes of pretty

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday September 07, 2012 @05:05PM (#41266867) Journal

      Uhhh...way to not read TFA or even TFS friend. They are NOT suing because they left, they are suing because they forked Wikitravel which they want to keep as a spammy park page until you give them "what its worth" which I guarantee you is some insane amount that nobody in their right mind would ever give.

      Sadly I got to see the same kind of douchebag behavior when I tried contacting the companies that put out the old shareware discs for putting out a shareware emulator on a stick. I wasn't gonna make a dime, the companies that made the shareware was gonna split every cent, and the actual game devs liked the idea of their old games being played again, it was the douchebag companies that had bought up the rights when the original companies went out of business that wouldn't settle for less than assraping. We are talking titles that wouldn't have made it up to even Codename:Tenka on name recognition and companies wanting $75,000+ AND the rights to all our stuff just to have their "precious IP".

      Which is of course why we need a "use it or lose it" clause because otherwise you get shit like this, where a company has no desire or intention to ever do a damned thing with a property but won't let anybody else do a damned thing either without giving them 50 times what they paid for it. Total horseshit and I hope the volunteers win.

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      "Unpaid volunteers" can often successfully sue companies for violating labor laws. It's happened before, with AOL and Ultima Online. A lawsuit for back pay could be a good strategy here.
    • by sjames (1099)

      Simple, they're yet another group of 1%ers whose pile of cash is dwarfed only by their sense of entitlement.

  • CC by-sa? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the_humeister (922869) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:31PM (#41266351)

    What the hell is a CC by-sa? I did RTFA, but perhaps my reading comprehension is lacking.

    • Re:CC by-sa? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Orga (1720130) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:33PM (#41266373)

      Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

    • by number6x (626555)

      Here is a definition [creativecommons.org] of CC by SA

    • Re:CC by-sa? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Old Wolf (56093) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:38PM (#41266441)

      "CC by-sa" means:

      Licensees may copy, distribute, display and perform the work and make derivative works based on it only if they give the author or licensor the credits in the manner specified by these.

      Licensees may distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs the original work.

      There is not any other restriction on commercial use of the work, or making derivative works based on it.

      (source: Wikipedia)

    • by gman003 (1693318)

      It's a Creative Commons license. It's like GPL, except designed for broader works than code (the GPL has many sections dealing with code- and program-specific things).

      In particular, it's the BY-SA license. There are a number of CC licenses, with significant differences; these are marked by which "features" they include. BY means "with attribution" - you have to list who you took the original version from. SA means "share-alike" - any derivative work is also subject to the same license (making it a viral lic

    • CC stands for "Creative Commons", "by" stands for Attribution (must give some credit to original creator), "sa" stands for "Share Alike".

    • by Zadaz (950521)

      It's not your reading comprehension that's lacking, it's your ability to use a modern internet search engine. It's actually much faster and easier than bitching in a public forum.

      But I suppose airing your lazy ignorance is probably... wait, why would you want to do that again?

  • by fm6 (162816) on Friday September 07, 2012 @04:49PM (#41266581) Homepage Journal

    Note that Internet Brands was bought by a private equity firm a couple years ago. This stupidity is consistent with the private equity way of doing business. They always seem to have a really poor understanding of the businesses they buy. And indeed they don't need to, since their business model seems to be acquire, pillage, and abandon.

    This is what I most hold against a certain private equity capitalist who's now running for President. Bain is most often criticized for costing people their jobs, but layoffs can be justified if cutting back helps save the company.

    But Bain never saved anything. The acquired previously healthy companies and drove them into the ground. Inasmuch as they actually tried to run them, they did so ineptly. But mostly they just found ways to pass assets onto their own investors and pay themselves fat management fees in the process.

    So of course Internet Brands is acting stupidly Stupidity has become a valid business model!

  • I've seen exactly that happen before (minus the lawsuit). I actually found a GM script and used it for a while to automatically go to the equivalent wowpedia page whenever I directed my browser to open a page on wowwiki, after they moved all their content and allowed the original wiki to continue to exist as a stagnant shell. Fun times.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2012 @05:02PM (#41266805)

    As a former employee of theirs (worked for a company that IB bought, left about a month post-acquisition), I can't say I'm surprised. It was clear they had no interest in developing or maintaining a quality product, but that their business model was simply to milk their assets for revenue while leaving them to wither on the vine. Several weeks after the acquisition closed they brought the hatchet down, and in return for severance pay, asked all fired employees had to agree *never to apply for a job at IB or any subsidiaries, ever* - not that it was really a risk, but WTF?

    Will be nice to see them get spanked.

    • I've heard some horrible things about how they've treated Randy Peterson, the Flyertalk fonder. I've more or less stopped using the site since.

  • These volunteers could launch counter claims against the company and possibly get millions!!!!!
  • Geesh. It is not about forking a CC project. You can already do that. It's about people that misrepresented themselves to direct traffic away from a site. I think the author of the quoted story is simply trying to provide some damage control, so that the shit storm that these volunteers have stirred up by their deceptive actions won't completely wreck the already forked part of the CC project.
  • by tverbeek (457094) on Friday September 07, 2012 @07:58PM (#41268953) Homepage

    I was active in Wikitravel at the time Internet Brands bought the site. They knew damn well that the content was CC-BY-SA licensed and what that meant (that the content was not theirs, and could be taken and reproduced anywhere), and they explicitly promised the community that they would abide by the terms of that license. Obviously they have no intention of doing so, as demonstrated by the fact that they have spent the last several years dragging their feet about their promises to make the content easily portable.

    Suing volunteer contributors for casually using the name "wikitravel" in reference to a community of contributors which existed long before IB bought the trademark rights to the web site, is unconscionable. Trademark rights are intended to prevent customers from being ripped off by other companies, not to squelch the free-speech rights of individuals to talk about the company. This is fundamentally no different from if employees of Widget Corp identified themselves as "employees of Widget Corp" and talked about why they were organizing a strike, or calling for a boycott, or threatening to quit.

    IB owns a domain name and the exclusive rights to use the mark "Wikitravel" in trade. That is all. They do not control the right to say "Wikitravel" or to talk about "the Wikitravel community" in reference to the people who use the web site that IB hosts.

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