Confusion Over Liability Extends To The Real World, Rather Than Just Online

from the sue-sue-sue-sue dept

Reader jjmsan alerts us to a story that shows that various luxury brands suing service providers rather than those actually responsible doesn't just happen online, but can happen offline as well. Apparently, luxury goods maker Coach is suing the city of Chicago, because some vendors were selling counterfeit goods at the Maxwell Street Market. I'm at a loss as to why suing the city makes any sense at all. In response to the original complaints, the city sent police officers to the market, and actually arrested those selling counterfeit goods (why this is a criminal, rather than a civil, matter is left as an exercise to the reader). Either way, rather than recognize that the city appeared to be more than willing to work with Coach, the company sent a legal threat letter demanding that the city proactively crackdown on counterfeits. When that failed, Coach sued the city. Hopefully the courts will recognize the ridiculousness of suing the city, rather than focusing on the vendors actually responsible.


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  1.  
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    MadderMak (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 12:40am

    Correction required?

    "When that failed, the city sued"... tfa seems to have it the other way around :)

     

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  2.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 1:11am

    Re: Correction required?

    Indeed. Oops. Fixed.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, May 26th, 2010 @ 3:38am

    The downplayed "exercise" is the real story.

    "(why this is a criminal, rather than a civil, matter is left as an exercise to the reader)" -- Because The Rich control the police, and in short, under the emerging corporate feudalism, whatever The Rich say is a crime, police and prosecutors *make* a crime. The incidents only look odd if you are under the delusion that the freedoms of the 20th century still exist, when from everywhere, we're being restricted by corporate powers and our former public servants.

     

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    Josef, May 26th, 2010 @ 3:42am

    Ummmm

    The company complained and the city responded by arresting the vendors. That's how it works. I'm wondering if Coach is just trying to get a precedent set so they can sue all the broadband providers in the US so they can get a big settlement.

    Can I sue the city for not preventing murder?

     

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  5.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 4:04am

    Define Despotism

    Read the sujbect its enough said.

    Ye I wish to share more: We live in a society that expects it from there government now. Wonder why stuff like this goes on? The term is reality engineering and the corporate lawyer backing the case sounds like just the kind of ass hole we look up to these days.

     

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  6.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 5:43am

    Right....

    "Coach is suing the city of Chicago, because some vendors were selling counterfeit goods at the Maxwell Street Market."

    Yeah, best of luck shutting down that monster of a tradition. The Maxwell Street Market has been around for DECADES, and they've always sold counterfeit and stolen goods. The city itself has tried to shut it down for years. They even moved it off of Maxwell Street about a decade and a half ago. It doesn't work. Mostly because the Maxwell Street Market is a Chicago tradition (hell, it was featured in the Blues Brothers for Christ's sake).

    Pretty much every manufacturer of every consumer good could sue the city of Chicago over Maxwell Street if this was allowed....

     

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  7.  
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    Pixelation, May 26th, 2010 @ 5:52am

    Ban all sales

    "Dear Coach, all sales of any goods/ services have been permanently banned within the Chicago city limits. You are welcome. The Overlords of Chicago."

     

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  8.  
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    Seth, May 26th, 2010 @ 5:56am

    Not enough..

    Obviously the city should have tortured and publicly executed the counterfeiters!

    oh, wait..

     

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    qwerty, May 27th, 2010 @ 11:54am

    contributory/vicarious infringement

    It sounds as though the Supreme Court's decision in Fonovisa, Inc. v. Cherry Auction, 76 F.3d 259 (9th Cir. 1996), is likely the basis for suing the city. If the city is the operator of the Maxwell Street Market, it may be held responsible for the sale of counterfeit goods depending on the control it exerts over the market and its knowledge of such sales.

    Not that I agree with it or think it is a good idea to sue the city.

    [url]http://www.law.cornell.edu/copyright/cases/76_F3d_259.htm[/url]

     

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  10.  
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    Richard (profile), May 27th, 2010 @ 11:33pm

    Re: Ummmm

    I was going to make a similar comment. There are no, as far as I'm aware, safe harbours for offline. If the can establish that in case law, then it will help them push to get it removed from DMCA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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