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Thread: Website based on a company

  1. #1
    Junior Registered
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    Website based on a company

    Is it legal to create a website based on a real company?

    For example, creating a website based on Nike and talking about how it is really good or really bad. Could Nike say anything legally?

  2. #2
    Administrator Chris's Avatar
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    Yes and no.

    Can you name your website using the word "Nike"?

    No, you might be able to get away with it, but technically it'd be trademark infringement.

    Can you make a website called "Lihman's Blog" and talk about Nike shoes?

    Absolutely.
    Chris Beasley - My Guide to Building a Successful Website[size=1]
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  3. #3
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    Thanks, that helps
    But just a few more questions.

    1. Could I name it a variation of Nike? Example: "The Nike" or "Splendid Nike" (just examples).

    2. If I do create a blog called Nike, and they find out and want to take action, would they have to give me a warning or could they take action right away?

    (By the way, the company is not Nike. That's just an example )

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  5. #5
    Administrator Chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lihman View Post
    Thanks, that helps
    But just a few more questions.

    1. Could I name it a variation of Nike? Example: "The Nike" or "Splendid Nike" (just examples).

    2. If I do create a blog called Nike, and they find out and want to take action, would they have to give me a warning or could they take action right away?

    (By the way, the company is not Nike. That's just an example )
    1. No

    2. Right away.

    You'd have to name it something like "AthleticShoeReview"

    You cannot use the word "Nike" in your domain, at all.

    think generic.
    Chris Beasley - My Guide to Building a Successful Website[size=1]
    Content Sites: ABCDFGHIJKLMNOP|Forums: ABCD EF|Ecommerce: Swords Knives

  6. #6
    Registered Mr. Pink's Avatar
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    Along the lines of hypothetical possibilities, just for sake of argument, one could take steps to get the domain name registration and hosting all done offshore, in a country where a) people don't give a damn if some foreign corporation is furious, and b) where the lawyers of the corporation in question have absolutely no legal grounds. But even then the company could probably reach out to Google and demand that the site be removed form the index on the grounds of trademark infringement.

    So, like Cris said, you can talk all you want about a company, as long as you don't infringe on their copyrights and trademarks. Your challenge is, how to show up in the first page of Google? The easiest way is to have "CompanyName" in your domain name. But that's exactly what you can't do, unless the company name happens to be a common dictionary word (in which case you wouldn't automatically rank high on Google anyway).

    As it turns out, I actually happen to have some experience with what you are trying to do. So, I'll share the story here, in case you are interested in my own experience.

    A friend of mine is a performing artist. He posted some videos on YouTube 3 years ago and got millions of hits; i.e. his intellectual property was well established. Just recently, 3 years later, another artist who uses a trademark stage name produced his own set of videos and used my friend's materials, without his permission. I am not telling who or what, so let's imagine that my friend is a musician that the other artist used his songs, exat same words, exact same melody and played in the exact same key. In other words, total plagiarism. My friend confronted the other artist and the bastard had to nerve to say that he wrote the songs and that any similarities are coincidental.

    So, my friend asked me how i would be able to trash them on the internet.

    I registered a few domain names using the other artist's trade name. I made up a few web sites using all the SEO techniques and put them up live. The sites were hilarious and they also contained side-by side comparison videos that proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that the other artist plagiarized my friend's materials. Since it is a niche community my friend contacted popular bloggers (that were on his side, anyway) and asked them to post links to those sites. Within just a few days my sites ranked on the first page on Google, above the plagiarist's original web site.

    But it didn't last long, despite the fact that the sites showed that my friend had every moral right to make those sites.

    The plagiarist contacted the hosting company and complained that our sites were infringing on his copyrights and trademarks. Because we used a video of his, to show that he had plagiarized my friend's music, he argued that we infringed on HIS copyright, because we used his video without his permission. He also claimed that we used his trade name for the domain name registration. The fact that the videos proved that he stole the song that was on the video was irrelevant. So, the hosting company took the sites down (but they did not terminate the name registration).

    There was some back and forth and it all makes a long story. But the issue is, you can't win. My friend actually registered the domain names under an alias and bought a prepaid phone to use as contact, along with a new email address. The problem is that he did it all in this country, so it was easy to get the hosting company to shut down the sites.

    There are some hosting companies, in this country, that support freedom of speech and supposedly will not shut down a site as soon as someone cries "copyright infringement." You can just Google "free speech hosting." But I believe that you'd be wasting your time. A big company will go after the free speech host, with a herd of corporate lawyers, and put them out of biz. Even if you host offshore, they'll just go after Google.

    My friend was not able to maintain his own "free speech" sites and he was not even after a big corporation; he was just after another "artist," i.e. plagiarist. The good news, for my friend, is that he went after the plagiarist from another angle and actually did happen to settle on a $12k settlement. So, the plagiarist did end up paying (the first half, for now).

    Compared to some plagiarist that calls himself an artist, a corporation will "cut your throat." If you have a house, they'll go after it, and odds are, you'll lose it. They will do all that, just to make an example out of you. It's good for them if the public is aware of the fact that no one can mess with them. That'll scare others like you away. Even if you try to obfuscate your identity, by using an alias, paying in cash (which hosting companies in this coutry will not accept) you cannot completely hide your tracks. They'll find you.
    Last edited by Mr. Pink; 01-20-2010 at 09:31 AM. Reason: Added something at the end...

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