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.
Filed Under: ads, black friday, copyright, facts, lawsuits, prices, trade secrets
Companies: searchalldeals, wal-mart
Comments on “Wal-Mart Now Going After Search Engines For Linking To Sites With Black Friday Ads”
something tells me someone at the walmart corporation is gonna get subpoenaed
at least, i wish ):
It is not walmart who is called to the court. Walmart is dragging search all deals to the court..
“are claiming that it’s illegal to even link to a site that has such content.”
it should be illigal to give out false legal info without clearly stating that you’re joking/lieing
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.
Re: Accurate Pricing
I may be wrong, but I thought there was some sort of law that protected companies from typos in advertisements. Would this fall under the same category? Besides, I believe all sales papers have fine print that says something along the lines of “prices subject to change without notice.”
Re: Re: Accurate Pricing
Yes, there are laws that protect companies from typos. However, if the company put the price in intentionally and later realized before release of the advertisement that pricing was erroneous, then they would be unable to argue typographical error.
Best Buy will probably have a better Black Friday special this year anyway.
Best Buy also appears to have better grasp of this concept called “Marketing” and how “Promoting” creates this funny thing called “Demand”, which generally creates something called a “Profit”.
TechDirt has written about how when corporations take actions like this to shutdown a site (PirateBay for example) they end up driving more traffic to the site. Could Wal-mart actually be smart enough to use legal action as a ploy to gain attention for their black Friday prices?
“Could Wal-mart actually be smart enough to use legal action as a ploy to gain attention for their black Friday prices?”
Huh. I wonder how WalMart would react if I posted a site that attributed insanely high prices to them (best estimates, of course, not based on advanced knowledge.)
Come On Think About It
Sure the takedown notice seems a little.. all right a lot.. ridiculous, but how many sites spread the ad around and bring notice to an ad that a lot of people might not see any other way.
It’s called free advertising…
Not only Search Engines... TechCrunch also...
TechCrunch also got “educated” by Walmart lawyers… Look at this…
Playing with fire...
Let’s see Wal-Mart go after CNN: http://money.cnn.com/2008/11/14/news/companies/walmart_blackfriday/index.htm
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.
Walmart could probably make their prices even lower if they didn’t try to sue everyone they possibly could for frivolous reasons.
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.
Re: Look at the TechCrunch/CrunchGear one
But that photo is on CrunchGear.com and contains the IP of WalMart.
And it should fall easily into the realm of fair use. Fair use provides for the use of copyrighted material for the use of critique or comment, which is exactly what TechCrunch is using it for.
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?
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.
What a Nightmare
If Wallyfart spent less money on silliness like this then maybe they could give their employees better compensation.
Wal-Mart would do well to embrace these sites that are providing them with publicity and advertising. But, since Wal-Mart is run by shortsighted greedheads, they sic their lawyers on people they have no business attacking. Stupid, always stupid.
Why are they complaining? Walmart is one of few companies that are surviving in this economic slump…makes no sense to push business away.
Considering the site search says powered by Google should Walmart not take on Google?
That would be an interesting battle.
WALMART BLACK FRIDAY ATTORNEY FEES
ARE PROBABLY BEING PAID THROUGH THE WALMART ASSOCIATES CRITICAL NEED TRUST FUND.
THEY USE IT FOR RELOCATION FEES SO WHY NOT?