Wal-Mart Threatens Site Over Black Friday Ad Deals

from the didn't-we-do-this-already? dept

Want to know how we know the holidays are coming? It's not the Christmas decorations already showing up in stores; it's the annual ritual of retailers threatening any website that posts the deals from their "Black Friday" (the day after Thanksgiving) sales circular prior to that day. Last year, Wal-Mart went beyond what others stores had done, in pre-threatening sites. In the past, companies like Target and Best Buy had simply threatened to sue sites after the ads went up. But Wal-Mart took it a step further and threatened to sue before the ads even went up, ignoring, of course that they don't own pricing data. The data on sales prices are not copyrightable and cannot be owned. Wal-Mart simply has no legal leg to stand on in demanding the data from the circular be taken down.

But why let that stop them? An anonymous reader alerts us to the fact that Wal-Mart is already sending the notices out to various sites, threatening legal ramifications if the sites were to post the prices prior to the date Wal-Mart makes them "official."

Filed Under: ads, black friday, copyright, facts, lawsuits, prices, trade secrets
Companies: wal-mart


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  1. identicon
    Rosie, 6 Oct 2008 @ 1:41pm

    Threats aren't the only problem

    The real pain - and motive - here is that it doesn't matter whether the suit has any legal foundation. Big corporations have deep pockets to pay legal fees, and can make the lives of smaller companies (or individuals, as seen with the RIAA lawsuits) grind to a standstill, and bankrupt them while they're trying to counter a suit that has no actual merit. They draw out these lawsuits for years, and people or companies with few resources simply can't afford to fight back.

    It's just plain and simple bullying. The mere threat of a suit in today's economic climate is enough to effect the desired action.

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