Claria Sues L.L.Bean To Get Them To Stop Suing Claria Customers

from the focusing-on-the-wrong-issue dept

Last month, L.L. Bean decided to go one step further from suing Claria for putting pop-up ads over the browsers of Claria users when they visited the L.L. Bean website and sued the advertisers whose ads showed up. At the time, we pointed out that this was ridiculous. Putting those ads there is no different from someone buying a billboard in front of a competitor's office, which is a practice many companies do. The real problem with Claria (and it is a problem) is that the software gets installed without users knowing it. However, if a user does want Claria's Gator product running (and, amazingly enough, some people do want it), that's their decision. There is no law that someone can't use software that pops up advertisements when they visit someone else's website. After realizing that their advertising customers were upset over these lawsuits, Claria has struck back and sued L.L. Bean for filing frivolous lawsuits. Of course, their reasoning isn't so much that these actions are perfectly legal - but that some of the companies sued are no longer Claria customers (which could mean they'll turn around and sue Claria back for causing them to get sued - some lawyers are likely reviewing indemnification clauses as we speak). Either way, this is a big legal mess over the wrong issue. What Claria is doing with their ads is perfectly legal. What they're doing with the installation of Gator, however, is a much bigger question - but none of the lawsuits focus on that.

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  • identicon
    Matt, 10 Jun 2004 @ 6:02am

    and in other news

    sales of luxury cars to lawyers continues to rise...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2004 @ 9:09am

      Hurray for LL BEAN !

      So in your thinking Mike, I should have the right to stand inside LL Bean and hold up signs saying 20% off at a competitor.

      Claria/Gator/Satan is a despicable product that intentionally defrauds people.

      LLBEAN has every right to sue companies that use Claria/Gator/Satan to hijack LL Bean's website in order to sell their merchandise. Those other companies did not spend millions developing their website like LLBEAN did ( virtual real estate ) so Claria/Gator/Satan could get rich off of selling competitor's advertising on their OWN site.

      Good to hear that Claria/Gator/Satan is losing customers for using deceptive ways to market products for others.

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

      • identicon
        toontoon, 10 Jun 2004 @ 9:29am

        Re: Hurray for LL BEAN !

        I agree with the above. What Gator does is not legal and should be proven to not be legal in the courts.

        Saying some people may want different ads displayed is a bullshit excuse, nobody wants different ads, people may want NO ads, but stop with the propaganda that some people CHOOSE to be bombarded with different ads when they purposely go to a specific site. That is just doing Gators work for them

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

  • identicon
    NOBODY, 10 Jun 2004 @ 9:31am

    No Subject Given

    Mike, you can't go into a customer's place of business and sell something. It's not legal in most states, it's not ethical, it's wrong. Yet, people do attempt to do this in real life. That's why many stores have signs on the outside of them that say things like, "No soliciting." Which clearly indicates to any solicitors that this practice is not acceptable. The office metaphor does not work here, because once you've entered a web site online you're in the store, not outside of it. If however you go to Google directory and look up backpacks and LL bean shows up, and you see a popup, that is the equivalent to posting a sign across the street. But you're no longer across the street when you enter the store. I would liken this to a store kicking out panhandlers. It's the same general theory. This is the second major case of it's kind. I hope they get it right this time and ban the panhandlers.

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 10 Jun 2004 @ 10:11am

      Re: No Subject Given

      No. I disagree. By your logic, it would also be illegal for you to use an ad-remover product, because that's "inside the site." However, it's been shown that this is perfectly legal because a computer user has a right to display things on their machine however they want.

      Be careful about the slippery slope you're heading down. You're telling companies they, not you, have the right to control your browsing experience.

      I am NO fan of Claria (as anyone who reads this site knows well), but in this case, they are 100% in the right. If I want to go into a store and be able to compare prices to other stores, that should be my right, not the store's to decide.

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

      • identicon
        Jeremiah, 10 Jun 2004 @ 11:13am

        Re: No Subject Given

        I'm gonna side with Mike on this one - I too hate Claria (although removal of their product has been a near-sole source of income).

        I think of a store like Fry's, where it's not uncommon to see customers toting copies of the Sunday paper's ads for Best Buy and Circuit City as people comparison shop. Fry's has a (non-stated) policy of matching advertised prices, and i've never seen anyone escorted out for comparison shopping. Imagine if Pricewatch.com came out with a Gator-ish app....ummm, i need to go file an IPO.....

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2004 @ 11:23am

          Re: No Subject Given


          Ok, so how many of you have the lovely and OH SO USEFUL Claria/Gator/Satan installed on YOUR PC's so you can price compare ?



          I thought so.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2004 @ 11:24am

          Re: No Subject Given

          "ISP issues have kept my site offline for a number of days - ugh! Was I missed?"

          No

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

        • identicon
          toontoon, 10 Jun 2004 @ 11:25am

          Re: No Subject Given

          toting copies is more like having a second browser open to a competitive site at the same time you browse LL Beans, not the same thing. Have you seen Fry's posting their cometitors' prices over their own prices, with directions to their competitors' store?

          I didnt think so. Gator is selling theft of advertising to sleazy advertisers. Nothing nobel or free speech about it. It is not comparison shopping it is blocking the current shop's ads for gators ads (as in REPLACEMENT, not comparison).

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

          • icon
            Mike (profile), 10 Jun 2004 @ 11:29am

            Re: No Subject Given

            Accept that Gator doesn't *replace* ads. They just pop up additional ads related to what you're looking at. Even if they did replace ads, if it's on your computer, shouldn't you be allowed to do that?

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

            • identicon
              toontoon, 10 Jun 2004 @ 11:51am

              Re: No Subject Given

              if they dont REPLACE ads, then where do these ads go? Does LL bean just happen to have empty space on their website? The gator ads cover up LL bean content, pure and simple.

              We are not talking about YOUR rights to replace ads or YOUR rights to remove ads, we are talking about GATORS right to replace LL Bean ads with their own. GATOR doesnt own your computer, so what right do they have to put their view on your computer when you go to LL bean sites? None.

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

              • icon
                Mike (profile), 10 Jun 2004 @ 11:57am

                Re: No Subject Given

                Did you even read what I wrote? THE VERY POINT IS WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR COMPUTER. If someone WANTS Gator on their computer, they should be allowed to have it. I AGREE that Gator shouldn't be allowed to do this sneakily (as they apparently do). However, the court case is about YOUR right to do what YOU want on your computer. If I WANT Gator to cover up LL Bean's ads, then that's MY right.

                So, yes, if I PUT Gator on my computer, they have EVERY RIGHT to cover up LL Bean ads, because I told them to.

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

                • identicon
                  toontoon, 10 Jun 2004 @ 1:46pm

                  Re: No Subject Given

                  We dont have that same right on the airwaves or other media like vcr/dvd or magazines to replace content (or authorize someone else to change content) for our own personal view.

                  We have had the ability to avoid ads, which would be a nice right, but I dont know that it is a right. I am pretty sure we do not have the right to modify content or have someone not authorized by the copyright holder to modify content for us.

                  You cant, for example replace tv or radio commercials to something else, paste someone elses ads on top of ads in a magazine for sale without breaking copyright rules, seems logical that the same rules apply to websites.

                  You can probably replace ads in a magazine you bought to ads of your own or someone else's choosing, but you cant buy or sell that modified copy, you probably cant even share that modified copy with someone else for free without breaking copyright.

                  The fact that gator is modifying copyrighted material without authorization from the copyright holder AND doing it for profit makes it pretty clear (to me anyways) that this is infringement and not a right that the end user can authorize.

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

                  • icon
                    Mike (profile), 10 Jun 2004 @ 11:48pm

                    Re: No Subject Given

                    Again, you miss the point. This isn't for resale. This is for your own personal use.

                    I can't believe you actually want to forbid yourself from being able to modify what you view. If you don't like it, don't do it, but don't prevent me from doing it.

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

                    • identicon
                      toontoon, 11 Jun 2004 @ 10:44am

                      Re: No Subject Given

                      I am not missing your point. I understand your "free choice" point. My point, which I tried to state clearly with the magazine and dvd example, is that we do not have that right today for these other media. A musician cant steal cuts from other musicians and put it all together for you "for your own personal use" without the original authors' permission. Same with print, same with radio, should be the same for websites.

                      And it is for resale/profit anyways, by Gator. You are not replacing the ads yourself, Gator is giving you a modified version of the LL Bean content without authorization. And Gator is getting paid by advertisers to do this. That is not legal with magazines, nor video/dvds, why should it be legal to do it with websites?

                      Somehow because it is your computer that is viewing what is on LL Bean's server, you think you own the right to what is on LL Bean's server? It is their server and their content, not yours, not gators.

                      I could see your confusion if it were for skipping content, like avoiding ads all together. That is a different story, because you are not changing content you are skipping some of it. And yes, I think we do have that right today. And I would think that would be something we should also be able to do on websites.

                      But we arent even talking about that grey area. We are talking about changing someone elses work for profit without authorization from the owner. Pretty clearly falls under copyright infringement.

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

                      • icon
                        Mike (profile), 11 Jun 2004 @ 10:56am

                        Re: No Subject Given

                        No. You're wrong. Because that's not what Gator does. All Gator does (and it is annoying for those who don't want it - including myself) is pop up ads when you visit another page. If I want those ads, what's the problem. It is NOT changing the page. They don't remove any ads. They don't touch the LL Bean page at all. They just send up their own pop ups.

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

                        • identicon
                          toontoon, 11 Jun 2004 @ 1:15pm

                          Re: No Subject Given

                          You are going in circles now. Gator DOES change content. The ads you see are not what LL Bean has on their copyrighted site. That is a change. Whether they are pop-up, pop-under, or pop-over/occluding ads, is irrelevant.

                          Adding content is changing content. Can you buy a dvd that has an unauthorized advertiser's content added to the front or back or middle? NO. Can you buy a magazine that someone has added their own ads to? NO. Even if users asked for these kinds of dvds or magazines because they got something else for free, you cant get them because it is copyright infringement.





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

  • identicon
    petet, 7 Jul 2004 @ 9:25pm

    renting space

    they use my computer for ads and they feel it should be free use of that

    since i do not want them and i say not to they program
    it screwed up my ie
    but what really eats me is that they spyware uses my computer for ads and they feel that should be free but i paided for my computer and i should be allowed to collect rent for that

    lets all sue and make the internet a happy place agian
    peter

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


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