It would appear that the lawyers at diamond conglomerate De Beers are unaware of the Streisand Effect
. As you might have heard, a week after the US Presidential election, some prankster put out a spoofed version
of a future New York Times. It got plenty of attention for a few days and then people moved on. Well, apparently not everyone. De Beers is upset that the online version
of the spoof contained a fake De Beers ad
. Rather than recognize that this was a spoof (ha ha) that everyone had pretty much forgotten about, the company had its lawyers send off a threat letter. However, rather than target the creators of the spoof, or even the hosting firm, De Beers threatened the registrar who handled the domain registration
for the site, demanding that it take down the site or face a trademark infringement lawsuit.
Of course, as the EFF notes at the above link, intermediaries (third party service providers) are clearly well protected against liability for the actions of their users in the US. And, of course, there's the whole issue of parodies being protected from infringement suits. However, even more ridiculous is the fact that De Beers is now calling more attention
to the ad. The spoof of the entire newspaper did get some attention, but that attention quickly waned, and it's unlikely that too many people paid attention to the spoof banner ad on a spoof website for the NY Times. I hadn't even heard about the ads. Almost all of the attention was on the spoof stories. Yet, now that De Beers is threatening to sue, a lot more folks are going to know about and see the ad. How is that possibly a smart move on the part of De Beers?