Failures

by Tim Cushing


Filed Under:
good will, lobbying, politics, protect ip

Companies:
monster cable



Monster Cable Blames 'Rogue Sites' Rather Than Its Own Business Practices For 'Stealing Good Will'

from the apparently,-trademark-lawsuits-and-$1800-cables-aren't-profitable-enough-any dept

The Copyright Alliance blog has a new post up patting itself on the back for its tireless efforts in pushing PROTECT IP through the legislative system. CA writer Sandra Aistars has joined the deceptively-named U.S. Chamber of Commerce in a series of "educational meetings and briefings to urge support for legislation targeting these so-called rogue sites."

In addition to the expected "contribution" from the AFL-CIO ("online infringement costs jobs, steals wages, and cuts benefits, blahblahblah"), a name well-known to Techdirt has reared its astronomically-priced head to decry the global impact of pirated goods: Monster Cable.

Illustrating the diversity of jobs impacted by online counterfeiting and piracy, David Tognotti, General Counsel of Monster Cable, shared his company's story. Monster Cable, founded by a first-generation American in his garage, now owns 400 patents and employs 500 people. But during the last several years, the company has lost "hundreds of millions of dollars" to counterfeits.

"Our brand is respected by consumers worldwide," he said. But "rogue web sites are stealing the good will we've built, and siphoning off sales."

The implications of counterfeit versions of those created by a company like Monster Cable goes beyond lost jobs and revenues. Counterfeit electronics are made in substandard factory conditions, and can contain unlawful and harmful amounts of substances like lead and chromium, he explained. Consumers have also complained of stolen credit card information, he said.
I'm really not sure what sort of "good will" these rogue web sites are "stealing" from Monster. Could it be all the "good will" it built up by suing anybody who dared to use the word "monster" in their own ventures, including entirely unrelated businesses such as a mini-golf course, an automotive parts shop and (although it dropped this case before it went too far) the manufacturer of deer salt blocks?

Perhaps Tognotti is referring to the "good will" built up by Monster's overpriced cables that are pushed via deceptive point-of-sale displays and contain incredibly high profit margins. While there isn't anything wrong with separating fools from their money, your product should at least be able to outperform a wire coat hanger.

If anything's hurting Monster Cable these days, it's the self-inflicted beatings handed out by its pricing structures, questionable sales tactics and general disregard for its public image. With the ready availability of inexpensive cables that perform just as well as Monster's, it's highly doubtful that pirated goods are the driving force behind any "loss of sales" that Monster claims.

(Another small note: if you have a whole lot of spare time, check out Monster's extensive list of "blacklisted sites" on its corporate web site. Topping the list are ebay and Craigslist. Apparently, Monster would rather you didn't purchase second-hand cables, either.)


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  1. identicon
    Mike, 19 Jan 2012 @ 3:09pm

    HDMI

    I just got my first HD TV. It.is.disappointing.

    I don't see any difference between regular and HD TV...

    So, do I need to pay $100+ for Monster Cables? I doubt it would make HD TV impress me any more.

    Monster's list is an example of how this whole thing won't work.

    First, you take down these sites and they will be back up in a week with another domain name and IP address.

    Second, most likely every one of those sites sells something other than TV cables. Shutting down those sites will affect the products of all the other vendors. If I make flowered USB drives and sell them on one of the sites Monster doesn't like and has taken down, do I get to sue Monster for infringing on my business relationship and, effectively, putting me out of business because they dislike what someone said about their trash cables?

    Basically, it comes down to this. This country cannot function without the Internet. When the RIAA/MPAA, etc goes out and kills sites, these sites can't sell products. The dead sites don't make any money. They close. People lose their jobs. They don't pay any taxes. They increase the burden on social services. And on and on

    When the government looks at Monster's desire to throw a tantrum in the interest of 'anti-piracy' and they look at the potential for lost tax revenue, Monster's, and everybody else's, interests are going to take a back seat to collecting taxes.

    This is one company wanting to take down hundreds of sites - sites like Craigslist and eBay. (Do they think eBay is going to be shut down because Monster doesn't like what its users are selling? Hell no.)

    When you consider, once this gets going, there will be hundreds of thousands of sites businesses want taken down, you realize how impossible this would be to enforce.

    Remember the RIAA once claimed the amount of money they lost to piracy in one year was greater than the whole GNP...

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