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
    BTR1701, 7 Oct 2008 @ 11:44am

    Ridiculous

    If I were one of these site operators, next year I’d preemptively send Wal-Mart a letter saying that “In anticipation of your yearly round of baseless legal threats, we’d just like to highlight the current state of copyright law for you and outline for you exactly why you have no case whatsoever against us”, then proceed to list the case law and statutes that apply. “So if you feel the need to send out your bogus warning letters again this year, go right ahead, but be advised they will be completely ignored. And any legal action initiated by you on this matter will be met with a countersuit in response, alleging abuse of process, accompanied by a motion for sanctions and attorneys’ fees.”

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