NY Times Sues Kachingle Over Publicity Stunt… Making Publicity Stunt That Much More Effective

from the that's-not-helping dept

Last week, we wrote about The NY Times threatening Kachingle, over a silly publicity stunt that Kachingle pulled. As we explained, Kachingle, which is a voluntary micropayment-type solution (somewhat similar to Flattr), for blog and journalism content, had put up a site where it encouraged the NY Times not to set up the paywall it’s planning. To “convince” the NY Times not to bother, it wanted people to contribute to the various NY Times’ bloggers via Kachingle, and Kachingle would use the amount raised to try to let the NY Times know there were alternatives. Of course, no one really believed that the NY Times would stop its paywall because of this. It’s just a silly publicity stunt.

As we noted, it seemed clear the NY Times was overreacting, and only drawing more attention to the effort. My only question was where the actual money was going, and someone from Kachingle explained that the money would be sent to the email addresses associated with each blog. I’ll admit, that seemed questionable to me, as I would bet that the NY Times most certainly does not allow any of its bloggers to accept money from outside sources for its blogging.

That said, it still seems positively ridiculous to now find out that the NY Times has taken it to the next step and filed a lawsuit against Kachingle claiming that the whole effort is a trademark violation. You can see the full lawsuit below:

While the Times does mention copyright questions, it did not include copyright in the lawsuit — though Kachingle says the NY Times has told it that it has filed a DMCA takedown to Kachingle’s ISP. The lawsuit looks exceptionally weak. It seems to focus on the fact that Kachingle uses the little icons associated with each blog to highlight each blog in its leaderboard. The thing is, though, no one reading the Kachingle site is likely to be confused about whether or not the Times has a relationship with Kachingle. It’s abundantly clear they do not. The copyright claim (not in the lawsuit, but apparently in the DMCA takedown) also looks weak. Kachingle appears to use a tiny fragment of content.

Either way, I can’t figure out why the Times is doing this. It seems to just be pure whining by the Times’ lawyers, because they don’t like the fact that the paywall is being mocked. There is no likelihood of confusion here. Yes, the Kachingle publicity stunt is childish, but it’s the sort of thing that the Times would have been much better off just ignoring (or mocking back), rather than going to court. These days, it really seems that the NY Times has such an inferiority complex about the internet, and it doesn’t make the company or the publication look good.

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Companies: kachingle, ny times

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Comments on “NY Times Sues Kachingle Over Publicity Stunt… Making Publicity Stunt That Much More Effective”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

ad meet hominem, i.e. the first response of those with no answer…….

i would like to disagree with the “flagged by the community” thingie. it’s not offensive, racist, misogynist, hateful etc etc in any way, just profoundly un-informed.

the only response to bad speech is more speech.

Huh? Are you responding to me? How is my asking for an analysis of the controlling test for likelihood of confusion an ad hominem?

Mike made a conclusory statement. I wonder if he can back it up. Even if he knew what the factors were, I wonder if he has read enough caselaw to know how to apply them.

Actually, I don’t wonder. I’m certain he doesn’t have the goods. He just wants his readers to think he understands the law. He doesn’t. He keeps proving that over and over.

robin (profile) says:

modus operandi

Either way, I can’t figure out why the Times is doing this.

the NYT has clearly signalled its intention NOT to be a part of the modern marketplace of ideas and conversations, this is part and parcel of that effort.

remember when the ipad was first introduced on stage by steve jobs? he featured a bitchin rss reader by these two kids in california? a project that immediately received a c&d (or some kind of lawerly response) from the nyt? and then, presto!, a day later the nyt retreated….kachingle certainly does not have steve jobs going to bat for it sadly.

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