Spin Magazine Sends Cease & Desist To Twitter User @Spin

from the how-not-to-win-friends dept

Two and a half years ago, we wrote about the question of Twitter squatters and other likely fights about who gets to own what Twitter names, and pointed to a suggestion from lawyer Erik Heels that there needed to be a clear Twitter user name dispute resolution policy, similar to UDRP (Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy) for domain names. To date, there still isn't anything quite like that, though Twitter often seems to take matters into its own hands if someone complains. However, apparently, Spin Magazine decided to bypass contacting Twitter directly and instead sent a cease & desist letter to the guy who had the @spin user name on Twitter, relegating Spin Magazine to using the dreaded @SpinMagazine (you can see the full cease & desist letter at ChillingEffects).

Spin Magazine tried to claim that there was "confusion" with Eric Rice's @spin account by pointing to tweets that were meant for the magazine, but were directed to Rice instead. Of course, I don't see how Spin Magazine would have any legal claim here, since Eric Rice is an individual and is unlikely to be using the Twitter account for commercial purposes. Honestly, Spin Magazine comes off looking pretty silly here, and could have just tried a friendly approach, rather than running to the lawyers. However, Rice claims that until the C&D showed up, he'd never heard from Spin Magazine, despite his using Twitter for years with the name. We see this kind of thing all the time with lawyers and clients who think breaking out the legal nastygrams is a good way to get people to cooperate. Perhaps the scare tactics work some of the time, but they have a high likelihood of backfiring badly, as well.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 3:12pm

    Fuck Spin Magazine! Let's see how they spin that...

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Chris, May 31st, 2011 @ 3:16pm

    Fuck off Spin Magazine, use something else, like @SpinMagazine

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Ken, May 31st, 2011 @ 3:23pm

    Spin Magazine does not own the term 'Spin'.

    Oh yeah when I hear the word spin I automatically think of Spin Magazine. That is the problem with companies that decide to use common names as their trademark.

    It reminds me when Joe Montana starting suing businesses in Montana for having the name of their State in their name.

    Subway started sending cease and desist letters to restaurants who have been using the name "footlong" for decades claiming they own the term.

    Spin Magazine, you don't own the term 'spin'. What next are you going to sue the makers of Sit and Spin, or sue someone who uses the term spin-doctor, or people who play Spin-the-bottle, or sue the makers of washing machines who have a spin cycle?

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, May 31st, 2011 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Spin Magazine does not own the term 'Spin'.

    Even better, let's set up dummy companies with combinations of names of the overly litigious companies.

    MyStarMonsterSpinBook.com is open for business! Who wants to take me to court first?

     

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  5.  
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    Mike42 (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 3:33pm

    I feel ignorant

    Sorry, I seem to be missing something here. Twitter is a company, not a public institution, right? They can use any name for anyone on their service. It's Twitter's call. If I was Twitter, I'd add a no-litigation clause to the terms of use, and ban anyone who broke the clause. Using the legal system to strong-arm one of my users would certainly not make me happy.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 3:44pm

    Spinners beware

    Next target: Fox's idiotic Mr. Reilly...

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    michael berkens, May 31st, 2011 @ 3:47pm

    UDRP For Twitter Probably would have resulted in Loss Of Handle

    If a UDRP that applies to domain names was applied by the same panelists that hands down UDRP decisions there is a good likelihood that the Twitter user would have lost.

    Domain name UDRP decisions turn (or at least are suppose to) based off of use of the domain not just the domain itself (unless its a clear typo like wallmart.com)

    Not sure how you can apply a use test to Twitter accounts but if you could and the account holder ever tweeted about the magazine, a competitive magazine or music in general they may have lost the handle by UDRP measures

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 4:07pm

    The first thing i think about when i see the word spin is www.leekspin.com/

     

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  9.  
    icon
    wvhillbilly (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 5:35pm

    Trademark protection

    I remember several years ago a US shoemaker (Deckers?) trademarked "Ugg Boots," then proceeded to sue the pants off of Australian shoe makers who had been making that style of boot and calling them "ugg boots" as a generic term for the style for 30 years or more, for infringing their newly minted "trademark".

    Is that legal? Seems like extremely dirty pool to me.

     

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

  10.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 5:41pm

    Who the hell reads Spin magazine?

    Oh, let me guess. The terminally lame? You are correct, sir!

     

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

  11.  
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    wvhillbilly (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 5:44pm

    Spin

    Electric motors spin. Fans spin. Washing machines spin. Dancers spin. tops spin. Airplanes spin. Cars spin. Politicians spin (facts). So do lawyers. So do corporations.

    "Spin" is a generic word. YOU CAN'T TRADEMARK THAT!!!

     

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  12.  
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    Gwiz (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 6:22pm

    Re: Who the hell reads Spin magazine?

    Oh, let me guess. The terminally lame? You are correct, sir!

    I dunno, from what I've heard, some kids go...when they Sit 'n Spin.

     

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

  13.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Spin

    Try explaining that to the douchebags at Spin Magazine.

     

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

  14.  
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    davebarnes (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 6:59pm

    Next, I will be sued

    Twitter@DaveBarnes belongs to me.
    Because I am more technically savvy than some musician named Dave Barnes (http://twitter.com/#!/search/davebarnesmusic).
    Should I create a davebarnesspin account at the Twitter?

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 7:13pm

    Re: UDRP For Twitter Probably would have resulted in Loss Of Handle

    But what if my name is Mr. Ulysses T. Spin? Or Martha Walmart? Thomas J. Twitter? I gotta ask someone to use my own damn name?

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2011 @ 8:27pm

    The very first search result on Google for spin is Spin Magazine. It is almost incomprehensible that this guy didn't at some point search for his own posts or references on Google at some point in that time.

    Spin is a generic term in some ways, but denying knowledge of a well known common commercial user makes him look less than honest.

     

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  17.  
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    mike allen (profile), May 31st, 2011 @ 10:55pm

    Never heard of spin magazine two words for them second word off put in front what you want.

     

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

  18.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jun 1st, 2011 @ 12:19am

    Re:

    Nice shilling you have there. @SpinMagazine is a perfecxtly fine name for the mag's Twitter account.

     

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

  19.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jun 1st, 2011 @ 2:38am

    Re: Trademark protection

    The term "Ugg" was declared generic and struck off the list of registered trademarks in Australia and New Zealand approx 2006 if I recall correctly. Its a classic David v Goliath Story .. or Why huge American corporations should not f*ck around with good old Aussie products!

    ie: Leave stuff like Golden Circle, Tim Tams, Vegemite, UGG's etc.. ALONE!

    An interesting point about UGG is that IP Australia (Our Trademark Arbitrator/Tribunal) recently ruled last year that both UGG AUSTRALIA and MADE BY UGG AUSTRALIA were fine as Trademarks by another company (Luga Productiosn Pty Ltd) and that Deckers COULD NOT claim anything since Luga's usage predated Decker's International Tradmark by 22yrs! HA!

    Currently EMU Australia is currently counter suing Decker in California alleging that the trademark was granted by the USTO to Decker based on false and misleading statements and is therefore invalidated.

     

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

  20.  
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    eclecticdave (profile), Jun 1st, 2011 @ 3:14am

    Eric, if I were you I'd just tell the magazine to @spin on it!

     

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  21.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jun 1st, 2011 @ 4:19am

    Spin Magazine? Is that a magazine where they spin the truth.

    On that note, I'll await the defamation lawsuit from someone named Jo.
    (@MadJo)

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2011 @ 4:45am

    Re:

    "Well known" is subjective. I didn't know of this spin magazine before this article. And I still don't even know what this magazine is about since I don't care about them at all. To me spinning is a verb and not a magazine.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    FuzzyDuck, Jun 1st, 2011 @ 5:33am

    Re:

    Spin is a generic term in some ways, but denying knowledge of a well known common commercial user makes him look less than honest.


    I had never heard of Spin Magazine before either.

    Now I know they are good for nothing stealing scum, that's quite an improvement on unknown don't you think?

     

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

  24.  
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    jweb (profile), Jun 1st, 2011 @ 5:42am

    ive honestly never heard of spin magazine before reading this article

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2011 @ 7:02am

    Re: I feel ignorant

    It is twitters call, but twitter wants to be a valuable and desirable service for big companies as well as single users. If too many companies find themselves getting shut out of the process, it creates a hole in the market place that spawns competition. Just ask My [Blank] about that.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Ken, Jun 1st, 2011 @ 7:23am

    genericized trademark

    Companies that take generic terms are risking them becoming a genericized trademark. What is ironic is most companies do not want their trademarks used as verbs like Photoshopping etc because it risks the trademark from becoming genericized. The word spin is already a verb so Spin Magazine is already in jeopardy.

    Ugg Boots have been made in Australia for decades and is a style of boots. It would be like someone trademarking the term loafer. high-heals, or cowboy boots.

    What this is all about is arrogance on the part of these companies that take common words as their trademark and then think they now own the term. Its like calling your product "And" then proceeding to sue anyone who uses that word. I for one will think twice about ever frequenting a company that displays such crass arrogance.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Ken, Jun 1st, 2011 @ 7:37am

    Re:

    If someone had taken the Twitter name @spinmagazine they would have a legitimate gripe. However, to claim you own a common term just because you chose that as your trademark does not make you own that term. Infact any company can trademark the word spin as long as they are not in the same industry and as long as the name will not confuse consumers. ie Delta Airlines, Delta Faucets. Some companies will send cease and desist letters to unrelated companies trying to strong arm them away from using the term but legally they are on thin ice.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Joe, Jun 1st, 2011 @ 9:56am

    Wow

    The @spin user is the guy that launched fuckedcompany.com. God that takes me back to the first wave. I used to love reading the death twitches of all the bad dot coms until my company at the time started showing up there...

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Correction, Jun 1st, 2011 @ 8:01pm

    Re: Wow

    I think you mis-read a tweet. @spin did not launch fuckedcompany.com, he retweeted what @pud said on twitter.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Joe, Jun 1st, 2011 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: Wow

    ahh-my bad - thanks for the correction.

     

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

  31.  
    icon
    Casey Bouch (profile), Jun 1st, 2011 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Re: I feel ignorant

    Yea, but who is to say a big company has more of a right to a username than anyone else?

     

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


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