Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Publishers Suing Gator

from the sue-sue-sue dept

A number of online content sites have teamed up to all sue Gator, saying that the company illegally sells ads for their sites, and then walks off with the profits. Gator offers a downloadable eWallet type app that includes some annoying adware that will pop up random ads based on what page you're viewing. Sometimes these ads block out other ads already on that site. Most users don't realize where the ads come from, and assume that they're from the site itself. Thus, Gator is making money by selling advertisements on the backs of sites who don't see any of the revenue - while also blocking those sites own efforts to make revenue from advertising. Should be an interesting case. While I think what Gator does is despicable, I do wonder if it's really illegal.

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  • identicon
    David, 28 Jun 2002 @ 1:32am


    Will be interesting to see if this illegal or not. What can you compare it to in the real world? Gator would probably argue it's like people standing outside a popular shop handing out flyers - or slipping some flyers inside your morning newspaper. The publishers probably argue it's more like Gator covering over the ads on the shopfront, or pasting over the ads in your paper with their own... I guess it's about permissions - the people who download Gator give their permission (yeah, okay, it's hidden away in their T&C's, hardly anyone knows it's there, etc, but that's another issue) for Gator to do this; but the people whose ads or sites are being used have not. Who has the rights? My moneys on the big publishers...

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

    • identicon
      Patrick, 15 Jul 2002 @ 10:03am

      Re: Gator...

      In the end, I don't want anyone telling me what I can or cannot do with my computer and how it interacts online. I believe the only solution is some settlement whereby rules are established for installation processes that ensure that the end user has knowingly approved of the installation.

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

    • identicon
      Robert Dunn, 30 Oct 2002 @ 8:12pm

      Re: Gator...

      Amusing note on this several-months old post:
      I am filing a claim against The Gator Corporation in the amount of $5000 (maximum allowed in Small Claims in the State of New Hampshire) for the continual "drive-by downloading" of Gator Corps plugin on my system.
      I urge anyone and everyone who has had this plugin "self-install" on their system to download "AdAware" and keep the logs of every time it re-installs itself and to file suit in their home state.
      Gator will have to send a lawyer to your state to fight you or concede the point.
      It's up to you to actually collect on it, but it'll be amusing to see how many small-claims cases appear against Gator.
      When they fail to pay, file a Lien against their physical-plant and property, and when they finally go under, you will get a shot at getting your cash when they are forcefully liquidated.

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

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