Did Amazon Force Takedown Of Firefox Pirate Extension?

from the why-bother? dept

Earlier this week, we skipped on writing about the rather silly release of a Firefox user script that would add links to popular torrent trackers for unauthorized downloads of products as you surfed Amazon.com. The whole thing just seemed likely to get folks (on all sides of the debate) riled up. In fact, if anything, I thought the rather amusing response was a separate user script that did the reverse. If you were surfing torrent sites, it would link to Amazon for purchase.

However, now there are reports that Amazon.com has sent its lawyers after the original. It's possible that they have a trademark claim, as the folks behind it used the name "Pirates of the Amazon," and the overly aggressive trademark lawyers will (incorrectly) claim that Amazon needs to send a cease and desist to protect its trademark. In reality, that's only true if the name is being used in a way that's likely to cause confusion, where people might actually think that Amazon supports this. That seems quite difficult to believe.

The end result, though, is that this silly little script is now getting extra attention, and is (of course) still widely available for download at a variety of other sites. If Amazon had just let it be, this would have probably been an amusing little bit of nothing. Sure, some hardcore file sharers would use it, but they're not going to pay for content anyway, so what difference does it make? Update: The folks behind it are now claiming it was an art project to see how people would react. Not sure I believe that, but okay...

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  1. identicon
    LostSailor, 5 Dec 2008 @ 10:55am

    How is this not a trademark infrigement ?

    Let's see. They named a add-odd program "Pirates of the Amazon" that is specifically designed to work on the Amazon site and alter the Amazon page to show a link to pirated version of what the user searched for on the Amazon site.

    This has nothing to do with whether someone might be confused that Amazon supported the application, but chose to create essentially a product that would directly target and compete with Amazon and name it with the word "Amazon".

    Seems like a clear cause of action (if, indeed, Amazon took the trademark route, which is entirely unclear from the lined Wired article) to me.

    Pirate Bay would also have a clear cause of action if they trademarked their name and logo (not that they'd do it of course). Come to think of it, even though the coders claim they're not affiliated with Pirate Bay, Amazon might even have cause to include Pirate Bay in any legal action.

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