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GoDaddy user reviews : Recommend I order GoDaddy?? Trademarks and Parody/Free Speech?

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I know I've read countless decisions on the "companysucks.com" type disputes, where panelists have upheld people's rights to free speech and parody. I know there are specific clauses in the TM law for "Fair Use" in this respect as well. I am however uncertain how far this extends.

For example... Say I had the chance to acquire a domain that was the EXACT TM of a product that a fast food company sells. If my sole intent and use was centered around creating a (non-commercial) site that employs parody and also discusses the harmful effects of fast food, would this be considered free speech or bad faith?..

Comments (5)

On the surface, yes. But of course, that's for the judge or mediating panel to.

Decide should it come to that. (knock on wood...).

As usual, know who you're potentially dealing with...

Comment #1

Stay non-commercial, keep it as parody or for criticism and it can stand up in court. However..the question then becomes how hard are you willing to fight for something that doesn't make you ANY money...

Comment #2

Does the parody defense apply differently to domain names? Saturday Night Live mocks people and products and companies ALL THE TIME, and they are certainly doing it for commercial purposes. Why are they allowed and not a domain name owner?..

Comment #3

An ad term called "puffery" probably comes into play. If the parody is so off the wall that a reasonable person would not think it was the real company, they can use that as a defense that it does not create TM confusion to the harm of the TM holder. In many cases it actually reinforces their TM popularity. However, that doesn't mean they will see it that way and not sue you. If in fact your parody shows harmful effects of their product though instead of just humor, you can probably expect them to try to stop you.

Some examples of Parody. Also see this info on Puffery ...

Comment #4

And just as a note: Don't forget that parody/humor is different than outright lie (See "sort of" the Jack in the Box Angus/Anus discussion.). Either way, my .02 is that it is more trouble than it is worth; leave that sort of thing to PETA or other group with deeper defense pockets..

-Allan..

Comment #5


This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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