For The Gander: Bahnhof Sends Copyright Troll Spridningskollen A Trademark Violation Settlement Letter

from the turning-the-tables dept

We were just talking about Bahnhof, the Swedish ISP with a reputation for protecting its customers privacy, and its script-flipping battle with a copyright troll called Spridningskollen. At issue is that Bahnhof has for some time operated a website, Spridningskollen.org, and has applied for a trademark registration for it more recently. The copyright troll is new in town, so to speak, and Bahnhoff is relying on common law trademark rights while its application goes through the process, but that isn't keeping the ISP from continuing to give Spridningskollen a taste of its own medicine.

In a move laced with irony, Bahnhof has sent Spridningskollen a settlement letter on the basis of its trademark infringement.

Previously they accused Spridningskollen of trademark infringement and this week they followed up this threat with a more concrete warning. Giving the “trolls” a taste of their own medicine, Bahnhof sent them an invoice for the exact amount they also ask from accused pirates, to settle the alleged trademark infringement.

“You’re infringing our trademark ‘Spridningskollen.’ Bahnhof filed for the trademark on 2016-08-31, with the launch of the website Spridningskollen.org,” the settlement invoice reads.

Now, Spridningskollen will almost certainly not take Bahnhof up on its offer, but that isn't really the point. The point is that a copyright troll that wraps itself in the flag of anti-piracy, but which actually simply looks to bully settlement money out of the public, couldn't be bothered to come up with a name for itself that wasn't already in use and has now been served with the exact sort of settlement letter it itself wants to send to others. It's response to the letter is going to look bad either way. Bowing to its demands will be a public acknowledgement that the "anti-piracy" group violated another group's intellectual property. Not a good look. Fighting back against the letter, as it surely will, casts doubt on the legitimacy of its own threat-settlement letters and provides the public with a role-model example for what to do if they receive such a settlement notice.

It's a checkmate move, in other words. That Bahnhoff is asking for the exact amount that Spridningskollen plans to ask for in its own letters simply layers on a bit of snark to all of this. Which makes Bahnhoff an early favorite for the ISP doing the most to protect its customers from copyright bullies while entertaining the rest of us.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: copyright, copyright troll, settlement letter, sweden, trademark, trolling
Companies: bahnhof, spridningskollen


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    stine, 23 Sep 2016 @ 5:51pm

    Classic!

    Way to go, Bahnhof!

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

  • icon
    zeiche (profile), 23 Sep 2016 @ 6:46pm

    Or Take Option #3

    Spridningskollen, the troll, could simply pay the settlement, change their name and keep moving. Because in the end, does the recipient of a settlement letter really care about the name of the copyright troll?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2016 @ 9:22pm

    Don't hassle the Bahnhoff *scnr*

    And as a native German speaker the name of the ISP keeps on irritating me in that context.

    (Bahnhof in German simply means trainstation, replace every Bahnhof in the articles with trainstation and you'll probably understand)

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2016 @ 1:24am

      Re:

      Now we have to translate "Spridningskollen", any Swedish speaking people around? Google translate says "spread kollen"...whatever kollen is.

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

      • identicon
        Välfärd, 24 Sep 2016 @ 4:59am

        Re: Re:

        Kollen is "check". The original project is to check for copyrighted works spread on torrent sites and then send a threatening letter demanding money.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2016 @ 5:00am

      Re:

      "And as a native German speaker the name of the ISP keeps on irritating me in that context. "

      As another German speaker I wonder, is it because of the given name to the latest train by the people in charge of all Bahnhofs, you the Angelina Jolie train because it has lights and a red line below those lines like those lips...
      Or is it because a Bahnhof aka trainstation costs more than 6 billion or in US terms, more than Trumps wall to Mexico?

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

    • identicon
      Emanuel, 26 Sep 2016 @ 12:26am

      Re:

      When Bahnhof was founded, they had a slogan which was something like" Bahnhof, your station on the infobahn"

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

    • icon
      wdac (profile), 27 Sep 2016 @ 4:39pm

      Re:

      Hahahha awsome :D

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2016 @ 1:21am

    Good luck Bahnhof but imho they won't win unless they create an agency to collect license fees for the entertainment industry.

    TD mentioned it a few times before and I assume it is the same in the EU as it is in the US: if you work in two different markets you can use the same name.

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

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 24 Sep 2016 @ 11:29am

      Re:

      Except that flies in court, or is enough to threaten someone with in the first place, regardless what the law actually says. Judges do all sorts of weird things. But i hardly think this is Bahnof's point to begin with.

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

    • icon
      wdac (profile), 27 Sep 2016 @ 4:41pm

      Re:

      sorry mate, its not the same in Sweden as in USA...

      they are stuffed regarding the name, you cant have same name as any other company in Sweden period..

      //Crazy Swede

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 26 Sep 2016 @ 4:44am

    Sue them for 1 trillion billion gazillion in damages!

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

    • icon
      wdac (profile), 27 Sep 2016 @ 4:44pm

      Re:

      dont work like that in Sweden...

      you can only sue them by 2 ways, a Gov made list over different types of issues you get sued by.

      and secondly
      you can "only" sue some one or company for acutaly lost income, not the fantasy sums they do in USA for example.

      there for the thing Bahnhof did is much more efficient money wise.. tho the point is not money this time...

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

  • identicon
    fnaf sister location, 19 Oct 2016 @ 7:17pm

    fnaf sister location

    When Bahnhof was founded, they had a slogan which was something like" Bahnhof, your station on the infobahn

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.