Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




Is It Against The Law To Put The Name Of The Toronto Airport On The Web?

from the ah,-legal-challenges dept

Sometimes you have to wonder about folks who are very quick to dash off legal threats to websites that happen to mention their name. The site Urinal.net is a (surprisingly) popular website posting pictures of urinals from around the world. They were recently profiled in the Wall Street Journal and on BBC radio among others. The site has hundreds of fans who regularly submit pictures of urinals they take from locations all over the world. Basically, it's the sort of bizarre, but amusing, site that makes the internet fun. Not everyone seems to get the fun part, though. Someone from the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (the GTAA) happened to find a page on the site that includes two completely normal photos of urinals from the Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport, and decided that this must be illegal. They've sent an email threatening legal action against the site if they did not remove the name of the airport from the site. The site's owners complied, but were clear to mention that the GTAA had muted them. In response, the GTAA has also told them they cannot even mention the GTAA. Again, the site has complied in very amusing fashion. The description of the airport now reads: "The [facility in question] - covering 1,792 hectares (4,430 acres) - has been [Canada's largest city's] main international [aircraft take-off and landing facility] since 1939 when it was first known as Malton [facility]." They also note that the "Gee-Tee-Aye-Aye" forbids them from naming the actual airport. It makes you wonder, on what legal authority the GTAA is claiming you cannot name their organization or their airports. It's not likely that anyone is going to be confused into believing that urinal.net is the official website of the Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport. These days, people seem very quick to pull out legal threats any time anyone so much as mentions their name on a website.

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  1. identicon
    aNonMooseCowherd, 14 Nov 2003 @ 6:54am

    Re: Yes, but that information could be used by ter

    Couldn't the photographs of the washrooms be used in planning terrorist activities? I think the GTAA had every right to demand the name be removed.

    I think you got this slightly wrong. They're obviously afraid that posting the name of the city will make terrorists aware of its existence, thereby making it a target. They were probably hoping to keep off the beaten path, like Brigadoon.


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