Is It Against The Law To Put The Name Of The Toronto Airport On The Web?

from the ah,-legal-challenges dept

Sometimes you have to wonder about folks who are very quick to dash off legal threats to websites that happen to mention their name. The site Urinal.net is a (surprisingly) popular website posting pictures of urinals from around the world. They were recently profiled in the Wall Street Journal and on BBC radio among others. The site has hundreds of fans who regularly submit pictures of urinals they take from locations all over the world. Basically, it's the sort of bizarre, but amusing, site that makes the internet fun. Not everyone seems to get the fun part, though. Someone from the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (the GTAA) happened to find a page on the site that includes two completely normal photos of urinals from the Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport, and decided that this must be illegal. They've sent an email threatening legal action against the site if they did not remove the name of the airport from the site. The site's owners complied, but were clear to mention that the GTAA had muted them. In response, the GTAA has also told them they cannot even mention the GTAA. Again, the site has complied in very amusing fashion. The description of the airport now reads: "The [facility in question] - covering 1,792 hectares (4,430 acres) - has been [Canada's largest city's] main international [aircraft take-off and landing facility] since 1939 when it was first known as Malton [facility]." They also note that the "Gee-Tee-Aye-Aye" forbids them from naming the actual airport. It makes you wonder, on what legal authority the GTAA is claiming you cannot name their organization or their airports. It's not likely that anyone is going to be confused into believing that urinal.net is the official website of the Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport. These days, people seem very quick to pull out legal threats any time anyone so much as mentions their name on a website.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Lester B., Nov 13th, 2003 @ 3:47pm

    No Subject Given

    I'd have a comment but I'm too afraid of legal repercussions.

     

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    identicon
    marek, Nov 13th, 2003 @ 4:26pm

    Google lifts the veil

    To add to the entertainment there are Google ads at the bottom of the page, which seem to have worked out without much difficulty that airport limousines in T******o is a suitable service to offer.

     

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    identicon
    John Doe, Nov 13th, 2003 @ 6:42pm

    what happens if hundreds of people post the pictur

    What happens if hundreds and hundreds of people post pictures of the Toronto Pearson Airport urinals to our web sites?

     

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    identicon
    Michael M, Nov 14th, 2003 @ 3:21am

    All I can say is...

    I'm still repeating the words "completely normal photos of urinals" and laughing. :)

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Canadian, Nov 14th, 2003 @ 6:25am

    Yes, but that information could be used by terrori

    Couldn't the photographs of the washrooms be used in planning terrorist activities?

    I think the GTAA had every right to demand the name be removed.

     

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      aNonMooseCowherd, Nov 14th, 2003 @ 6:54am

      Re: Yes, but that information could be used by ter

      Couldn't the photographs of the washrooms be used in planning terrorist activities? I think the GTAA had every right to demand the name be removed.

      I think you got this slightly wrong. They're obviously afraid that posting the name of the city will make terrorists aware of its existence, thereby making it a target. They were probably hoping to keep off the beaten path, like Brigadoon.

       

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        Bruce Martin, Nov 14th, 2003 @ 8:32am

        Re: Yes, but that information could be used by ter

        That's the clever bit: Toronto Person International Airport is actually located in the bordering suburb of Mississauga, thereby throwing terrorists off the trail!

        Besides, anyone who has actually tried to travel to this airport knows it's practically imppossible to get there...

         

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      Terror of Stupidity, Nov 14th, 2003 @ 6:59am

      Re: Yes, but that information could be used by ter

      Hrmmmm...yea, terrorist are totally incapable of taking urinal pictures of the GTAA airport on their own and then emailing those pictures to other terrorist cells. That's way too complicated for them to comprehend and plan.

       

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    identicon
    AMetamorphosis, Nov 14th, 2003 @ 8:25am

    Yellow Submarine ...

    Yeah , Terrorist target urinals for mass piss explosion ...

    Thanks for the laugh ...

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Bruce Martin, Nov 14th, 2003 @ 8:27am

    An open letter to the GTAA/TPIA

    Dear Sirs;

    I am appalled by your stunning lack of judgement, as evidenced in your scandalous and patently misleading letter to urinal.net. Your ill-considered actions reflect poorly on all of Toronto.

    Therefore, being a resident of Toronto, and by the same authority as you claim, I declare it illegal for you to include the name "Toronto" in either "Greater Toronto Airport Authority" or in "Toronto Pearson International Airport".

    I appreciate your cooperation. I will check back in a week to ensure that this information has been removed from your website. If at that time it has not, you will have demonstrated your belated understanding that your claims in this matter are baseless and specious.

    Thank you, and have a good day.

     

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    identicon
    Beck, Nov 14th, 2003 @ 9:39am

    Internet Publicity

    Once again someone has made a situation much worse by calling attention to it, thereby causing it to be spread all over the Internet. Better to let sleeping dogs lie.

    Maybe a handful of people saw the photos on urinal.net, but now that the folks in Toronto have made a stink about it the photos have been publicized all over the Net.

    Now thousands of people have come to associate "Toronto" with urinals.

     

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    chris falco, Nov 15th, 2003 @ 4:26am

    um

    "It's not likely that anyone is going to be confused into believing that urinal.net is the official website of the Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport."

    Wait wait, you mean urinal.net isn't the official website of the Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport?.... Son of a ....

     

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    identicon
    jargonCCNA, Nov 15th, 2003 @ 4:40pm

    I had something very similar happen...

    A former webdesign client of mine sent me an email a few weeks ago demanding that I remove all traces of their company name (total instances: one) from my blog because Google indexed that one instance and one of their clients went to it by mistake and was offended by my swearing.

    Blech.

     

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    identicon
    Concerned Canadian, Nov 16th, 2003 @ 9:02am

    re: Toronto reference

    Please have the name Toronto removed from all maps. That way terrorists will not find us. We will pursue legal action if this request is not complied with.

     

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    identicon
    Hans, Nov 16th, 2003 @ 11:21am

    No Subject Given

    I am living now 6 years in Canada. There is more restrictions and less humor than everywhere in european countries. And Toronto-Aiport is the most uggly airport I have ever seen. The architect should be "killed" or work in the fast-food-area by McDonald. The walkways are endless, the customs are unpolite - at least not much difference to Moscow-Airport. And the authorities are completly humorless. Not a good entrance in this coutry. Yes, - perhaps when you are from Ruanda or Somalia it might be better. The urinals in the restrooms have been the only peaceful places on this airport. So the conclusion is that Toronto-Airport is a provicial-airport - to boring for a soft-target for terrorists.
    Sorry my english is not perfect.

     

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    identicon
    [The Very Rev.] Tony Begonja, Nov 19th, 2003 @ 6:01pm

    Is It Against The Law To Put The Name Of The Toron

    Hi there, saw the article that talked about the bogus legal threat made by the GTAA against the U.S.-based bathroom-fixture web site. I was actually sued by someone last year for mentioning the name of his corporation on my web site. The EFF helped me obtain a lawyer. Go to http://www.ind-movement.org/lawsuit/ to read about it.

    In particular, I recommend reading page 20 of the Magistrate Judge's recommendation http://www.ind-movement.org/lawsuit/pdfs/020617_recommend_on_mtd.pdf which basically states one can freely criticize a corporation by name, trademarks and servicemarks nothwithstanding. [I'm not a lawyer, your mileage may vary.]

    Thought my comments might help the cause of free speech on the web.

    [Fr.] Tony

     

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    identicon
    James, Dec 16th, 2013 @ 7:47am

    Airport Limousine Toronto

    I think GTAA has all the authority.

     

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