Wal-Mart Now Going After Search Engines For Linking To Sites With Black Friday Ads

from the gotta-keep-the-lawyers-busy dept

It would appear that Wal-Mart’s lawyers need to come up with excuses to keep billing Wal-Mart every year around this time. Despite the fact that Wal-Mart employees admit that sites posting “Black Friday Ads” help drive more business, Wal-Mart’s hired guns keep threatening sites for posting the ads, falsely claiming a copyright on the content (hint: you can’t copyright prices). This year, they’ve stepped it up a notch and are claiming that it’s illegal to even link to a site that has such content.

Specifically, Wal-Mart’s high-priced law firm has sent a takedown notice to the site SearchAllDeals.com, which is a search engine/aggregator of various deals sites. The site doesn’t host any content itself, but that didn’t stop Wal-Mart from sending a false DMCA takedown claim to the site (and, of course, a false DMCA takedown is illegal). So, we have Wal-Mart, whose employees think deal sites are helpful, getting its lawyers to send out bogus takedown notices over content that isn’t copyrighted, and then sending them to search engines that don’t even host the content in question.

It makes you wonder how much the lawyers are charging Wal-Mart… and if the fees are being paid out of the legal budget, or the marketing and promotions budget.

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Companies: searchalldeals, wal-mart

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Comments on “Wal-Mart Now Going After Search Engines For Linking To Sites With Black Friday Ads”

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Lonnie E. Holder says:

Accurate Pricing


There is one little detail in this notice that I would find concerning, if true. The notice requires publication of a notice that the advertisement included unauthorized changes that reflected inaccurate price information. If that allegation is true, I can see Wal-Mart being rather annoyed because of all the people that would go into Wal-Mart pressing to be sold whatever item or items were advertised at the incorrect price, assuming the price or prices were too low. Then you get those people that threaten to sue for false advertising, when Wal-Mart had nothing to do with the erroneous price.

Joel Coehoorn says:


This is another case of your ‘streisand effect’.

Some of these sites are really only relevant one month out the year or less, and the best site changes every year. So November rolls around and even people who are interested in this kind of thing aren’t exactly sure which site will have the best info.

It sure is nice of the retailers to clear that up for us, and make it possible for more people to find these sites via the publicity generated from the lawsuits.

Scott says:

Look at the TechCrunch/CrunchGear one

Click through to the ad. They reproduced a sales circular. Evidently without permission. If so, WalMart has a case. Against CrunchGear.

I think if CrunchGear had linked to blackfriday.info and summarized the contents instead, they should have been in the clear. But that photo is on CrunchGear.com and contains the IP of WalMart.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Look at the TechCrunch/CrunchGear one

How so? All the text does is list the items included and a suggestion that “It might even be good enough to forgo post-turkey sleep and wait in line with soccer moms at 2:00am to ensure you get one of ‘em. Just make sure you’re a Sam’s Club member before Black Friday.”

What’s the “critique” or “comment” that is a fair use there?

DanC says:

Re: Re: Re: Look at the TechCrunch/CrunchGear one

What’s the “critique” or “comment” that is a fair use there?

Not exactly sure why critique or comment are in quotes, but to answer your question, the use of the picture is fair use, because it’s being posted for the purpose of commenting. In addition to the minimal comments in the article itself, there’s also the 17 user comments on the ad/article. And they posted an update correcting the pricing error.

They don’t have the whole ad book, they used a single picture from it, commented on it, and linked to the full book (which is no longer working). Looks like an open and shut fair use case to me.

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