Does this count as copy infringement?

by Bystar
19 replies
does www.productnameherereviews.com count as copy infringement? I see a lot of sites like this, for example there's a site called iphone5reviews.com
#copy #count #infringement
  • Profile picture of the author Dorsch
    You are not making a direct profit from the sale of any of the products such as iPhone that you are reviewing, be it pictures or info. You instead make money from ads with a site like that. Thus it is not infringement.
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    • Profile picture of the author WillR
      Originally Posted by Dorsch View Post

      You are not making a direct profit from the sale of any of the products such as iPhone that you are reviewing, be it pictures or info. You instead make money from ads with a site like that. Thus it is not infringement.
      This is why people should never go to a public forum for advice on legal matters. ^

      It doesn't whether you are profiting by selling a product or by ads on the site. If the trademark is being used to generate an income then that is where the problem lies.

      Disclosure: I'm also no lawyer by any means.

      As to whether or not it would be considered trademark infringement, that I cannot be certain about. A lot of people think just using someones trademark in your domain name is infringement alone, but it's not. A clear case of this is the website called PaypalSucks.com. They have the Paypal name/trademark quite clearly in their domain name. But they have been allowed to continue on with the website even after Paypal have tried many times to have it taken down.

      The problem of trademark infringement occurs when there is confusion between the real brand and the people using that trademark. So quite clearly people who see the website PaypalSucks.com know that it is not a website created by Paypal and thus there is no confusion between it and the main brand. After all, this is what copyright infringement was created for. To stop any confusion between the official brand and others trying to represent or mis-represent that brand.

      Just as I could also setup a fruit store on the side of the road and call it 'Apple'. Since I am selling goods that are in no way related to the Apple products I am well within my rights to do so. If however I was using that same name and selling computers on the side of the road, Apple would have a legitimate case against me because people could easily assume I was representing the official Apple brand. Thus I am using their trademark and goodwill to profit.

      So a site such as productnamereviews.com is a tough one. It depends how hard the company decides to chase you. Is there any confusion as to whether the site is created by the official brand or someone else? Possibly. So it would be safer to just use a generic domain name and then create pages for your reviews such as smarthphones.com/apple-iphone-5-review
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  • Originally Posted by Bystar View Post

    I see a lot of sites like this, for example there's a site called iphone5reviews.com
    There are also thousands of folks stealing products and sharing / reselling them without permission. You even might have a cracked copy of software on your hard drive right now. It doesn't mean however that the product owners approve of it.

    Same goes for those websites that use trademarked names in their urls. It's usually not approved, and in many cases the trademark owner will pursue them with a take down notice. No one in the warrior forum (not even a lawyer) will be able to tell you if, or when, a trademark owner will come after you.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dorsch
      Originally Posted by stoltingmediagroup View Post

      There are also thousands of folks stealing products and sharing / reselling them without permission. You even might have a cracked copy of software on your hard drive right now. It doesn't mean however that the product owners approve of it.

      Same goes for those websites that use a trademarked names in their urls. It's usually not approved, and in many cases the trademark owner will pursue with a take down notice. No one in the warrior forum (not even a lawyer) will be able to tell you if, or when, a trademark owner will come after you.
      You will be safe in the meantime though, is what I meant in my prior reply.
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  • Profile picture of the author SunilTanna
    You need to worry about trademarks not copyright.

    Ianal but the answer is maybe or maybe no depending on the circumstances, whether the company decides to pursue it, and whether you are prepared and have all he resources to truly defend your position in court if it came to it.

    Nothing may happen.

    Or

    The company may pursue the domain under udrp. Worst case, you lose the domain. Best case you don't.

    Or

    The company may sue you under trademark infringement laws in court. Worst case, you have t pay damages, you have to pay lots of legal fees, and you lose the domain. Best case, you still have to pay your lawyers to defend you.

    So...

    You might want to talk to a lawyer to get some idea of the likelihood of each of the above, and perhaps any cases I have forgotten or omitted.

    All i can say, is you are braver than me if you go ahead with a famous brand name.
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  • Profile picture of the author tritrain
    You can do a search for trademarked names from TESS
    Trademarks Home

    You'd be surprised what is trademarked. If you are going to tread in that territory, make sure you are protected by a corp status, or the like. You may want to check out namepros.com and see what they think.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bystar
    I was thinking of starting a amazon affiliate website targeted at a specific samsung product, and since im not directly selling the product from my site i guess it would be okay to have samsung"product"reviews in the domain? I'm sorry, im still new to this stuff and I appreciate the replies but im a but overwhelmed by all the answers. Also im thinking of contacting samsung directly to ask if this is ok.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Bystar View Post

      I was thinking of starting a amazon affiliate website targeted at a specific samsung product, and since im not directly selling the product from my site i guess it would be okay to have samsung"product"reviews in the domain? I'm sorry, im still new to this stuff and I appreciate the replies but im a but overwhelmed by all the answers. Also im thinking of contacting samsung directly to ask if this is ok.
      If you're planning an Amazon site, you'd best contact Amazon as well. I'm pretty sure the current version of their associate agreement forbids using brand names in domain names to promote affiliate products. You're also not allowed to use brand names as keywords in PPC ads.

      If you look at it from Amazon's point of view, it makes sense.

      You put up your Samsung review site, with only Amazon links. Samsung objects. You're a (relatively) penniless nobody, while Amazon has very deep pockets. Who does Samsung name in the infringement lawsuit?

      Answer? Both of you.

      @Dorsch

      A few quick questions, since you seem so certain of the answers.

      Where did you go to law school? What year, and in what state(s) did you pass the bar? How long have you specialized in trademark law?

      Most important, are you willing to put your money where your mouth is and indemnify the OP if he follows your advice and gets sued?

      I didn't think so.
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  • Profile picture of the author tritrain
    If you are making money from your site, then you are at risk. Unless you live somewhere like Yemen, then you're probably just fine.
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    It's all going to come down to the manufacturer and if they want to push it.

    First off the laws are not clean in places and leave room for interpretation by a Court of Law.

    Like the Game clue, they tried to sue a man for having the website clue.com
    The court ruled clue was in the public domain and there fore unless the man was profiting off the game clue they had no rights to it.

    So I guess it also depends on the name and trademarks.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vector Graphics
    I DO NOT reccomend using trademarked names in your domain name. A few years back I bought a Teslar Watch website and the company came at me with a lawyer and I ended up losing the domain and website. I'm sure in most cases it does not happen but I wouldn't put any trademarks in your domain name if you plan on keeping that site longterm.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bystar
    Thanks guys, glad I asked before i started working on my site. I contacted the company where I bought the domains and they gave me a refund instantly. Lesson learned!
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  • Profile picture of the author AffiliateWaves
    I think domain name are property of registrar and no one can sue you as it was your own idea to take that domain name.I remember a case involving microwsoft.com where microsoft sued that guy for that domain name .Later Microsoft has to buy that domain for a good price.

    Sorry for any wrong information but there was some such case in past.
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  • Profile picture of the author autoglass
    Originally Posted by Bystar View Post

    does www.productnameherereviews.com count as copy infringement? I see a lot of sites like this, for example there's a site called iphone5reviews.com
    I would say yes, I have been sued for something like this, and in the discovery , etc I had asked how review sites get away with it. Even what they call "sucks' sites fall into same category. That is IF they have a federally registered trademark.... BUT you could have it in the leading words after the domain name according to my old lawyer..

    Just A thought,

    Larry
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    Without knowing what you would be using the domain for a trademark analysis is difficult. Here is a decision involving a "review" site which denied the trademark holder's claim to the name:

    UDRPsearch - NAF 1454896 - SelectQuote Insurance Services | Tom Dunham

    Important is that "review" suggests independence and that the site is not associated with the trademark owner.

    However, this judge went on to note this was a gripe site with critical reviews of the company, without a commercial intent to profit from the trademark. If you are an affiliate this initially puts you in a middle, murky ground, where 'review' denotes independence but you are seeking to profit. In my view the 'profit' issue is really where the cases turn.

    The problem with so many affiliate sites by WF members is the "review" aspect of the site is shaky at best. The 'review' is a thinly disguised attempt to profit from the name, which is why the name was chosen. The 'review' is fake or a rewrite of reviews on Amazon.

    Contrast that with a "real" review site by a truly independent company not using affiliate links. That type of site is on more solid ground, even if the reviews are positive so it is not a gripe site. This type of site may make money by having banner advertising, such as AdSense, which is very different from being an affiliate where the real goal of the site is not independent reviews but to drive affiliate clicks.

    .
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  • Profile picture of the author tritrain
    Actually, with the lessening of value for keyword-rich domains, you could avoid the issue easier nowadays.

    You might be able to even create a subdomain or just a directory of that brand.
    WidgetReviews

    Maybe like this Brandname.widgetreviews.org/blue widgets/
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    • Profile picture of the author autoglass
      Originally Posted by tritrain View Post

      Actually, with the lessening of value for keyword-rich domains, you could avoid the issue easier nowadays.

      You might be able to even create a subdomain or just a directory of that brand.
      WidgetReviews

      Maybe like this Brandname.widgetreviews.org/blue widgets/
      Yes like that, you can (or I was told) have a trade mark in a sub domain just not in the domain.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by tritrain View Post

      Actually, with the lessening of value for keyword-rich domains, you could avoid the issue easier nowadays.

      You might be able to even create a subdomain or just a directory of that brand.
      WidgetReviews

      Maybe like this Brandname.widgetreviews.org/blue widgets/
      Your example could still get someone in hot water, because most marketers would format it in such a way that people would see "Brand Name Widget Reviews", thus still mistaking it for an official site.

      Putting the trademark to the left of the TLD (.org, in your example) is not a good idea.

      Using something like:

      WidgetReviews.org/Brandname/

      is usually pretty safe.
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  • Profile picture of the author thewalkingdad
    Dont touch it. Been there when i was a domain broker. For the European based members i would do a trademark checkup on https://register.boip.int/bmbonline/intro/show.do
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