from the get-over-it-guys dept
Of course, legally, this is hogwash. As we've been pointing out for years and years, the case law is pretty damn well established around so-called "sucks sites" (sites that criticize or discuss a brand, including using that brand in their own domain) are not, in fact, trademark infringement. In response, Lee and his colleagues at EFF came up with a wonderful disclaimer they've added to the site just to make it extra clear that there will be no confusion:
To keep the balance between the integrity of our trademarks and the ability to to use and promote Ubuntu, we’ve tried to define a reasonable Intellectual Property Policy. You can read the full policy at http://www.canonical.com/intellectual-property-policy. As you can see from our policy, to use the Ubuntu trademarks and and Ubuntu word in a domain name would require approval from Canonical.
Unfortunately, in this instance we cannot give you permission to use Ubuntu trademarks on your website and in your domain name as they may lead to confusion or the misunderstanding that your website is associated with Canonical or Ubuntu.
So, whilst we are very happy for you to write about Ubuntu, we request you to remove Ubuntu word from you domain name and Ubuntu logo from your website. We would highly appreciate if you could confirm you have done so by replying this email to us.
Disclaimer: In case you are either 1) a complete idiot; or 2) a lawyer; or 3) both, please be aware that this site is not affiliated with or approved by Canonical Limited. This site criticizes Canonical for certain privacy-invading features of Ubuntu and teaches users how to fix them. So, obviously, the site is not approved by Canonical. And our use of the trademarked term Ubuntu is plainly descriptive—it helps the public find this site and understand its message.How often do you get to put the terms "complete idiot" in a disclaimer?
Of course, as Lee also points out, if Canonical really wants the site to go away, they can make that particular feature opt-in instead of default. But, even if they don't, their cease-and-desist demand is meaningless, because it's not infringement. It's too bad that a company that is an open source leader would also get into trademark bullying, even if it's done so with a smile.