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jca
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CafePress Legal Issues?
« on: 04/18/03 at 20:53:26 »
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Marty, what's the general feeling within the "ranks" at CafePress with regards to copyright/trademark infringement?The reason I ask is I recently had to take down several designs because someone pointed out they may infringe on someone's trademark. Since I wouldn't knowingly do that, I took the designs down. But I see trademark pouncing designs all over CafePress shops. Does CafePress only intervene when someone complains? Surely the person working at CafePress on the production line knows a copyright violation when they see it on the shirt they're about to print and ship out.Appreciate any info on this.
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jca
jca
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Re: CafePress Legal Issues?
« Reply #1 on: 04/18/03 at 20:54:50 »
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By the way, this version of YaBB software seems to be removing formatting (line breaks, etc.) from messages - see above message.
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jca
Marty
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Re: CafePress Legal Issues?
« Reply #2 on: 04/20/03 at 22:28:58 »
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(Actually, I believe the YaBB software only strips carriage returns from posts by Mac users.)

I just posted a lengthy diatribe on this
here, but I'll try to clarify a little bit for your specific question.

First of all, there's an important difference between copyright violations on the site, and copyright violations that actually make it to production.  

CafePress has over 3 million active products for sale, and obviously we don't have the capability to screen each one individually for infringers.  Luckily, the DMCA says we don't have to.  We're just responsible for the obvious ones, meaning the ones we come across in the course of running our business.  So while copyright infringers may setup stores with infringing products, it's much less likely that they'll be able to sell those products successfully.

At production, however, that's where people do actually see individual designs.  But we're only responsible for obvious infringement -- and the definition of obvious varies from person to person.  

For example, if someone at our production facility grew up in Sweden, they might not realize that a product is an "obvious" infringement of "Romper Room."  And though I live here, I still might not notice one of the millions of obvious popular culture references out there.  If someone printed the dialogue from a famous scene in the Godfather on a poster, I wouldn't recognize it, because I've never seen it.  Even though it would probably be obvious to 95% of the adult population in this country.

Of course, we do pull the obvious infringers, which do show up on a regular basis -- for example, Britney Spears posters -- and mark them as questionable.  Someone reviews them, and, where necessary, cancels the appropriate orders, informing the buyer that the product violates our terms of service.  If the product is a single violation in a store, then we tell the storeowner to remove it.  If the entire store is full of violations, we close the store, and tell the storeowner.
« Last Edit: 02/16/04 at 11:40:19 by Marty » Logged

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nolageek
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Re: CafePress Legal Issues?
« Reply #3 on: 02/03/04 at 13:10:39 »
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on 04/20/03 at 22:28:58, Marty wrote:
If the product is a single violation in a store, then we tell the storeowner to remove it.  If the entire store is full of violations, we close the store, and tell the storeowner.


I can attest to this.
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Xeon
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Re: CafePress Legal Issues?
« Reply #4 on: 02/16/04 at 05:05:21 »
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Hi! I've a slightly off-topic question about trademarks.

If a product is trademarked with a "tm" thing, does that mean that no one else on earth other than the author can use it?

For example, there's an oven product, and the company gave it a name called "Jazos".
Now, assume it is trademarked(tm).

So, if a father, anywhere in the world, give his son a name called "Jazos", will he be sued?
Or does this trademark thing apply only to competitors' products/products of a similar nature?

Thanks!
Xeon!
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Marty
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Re: CafePress Legal Issues?
« Reply #5 on: 02/16/04 at 11:37:58 »
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It's all a question of scope.  

If Company A trademarks a term, and Company B uses it, the question is whether there is any possibility of confusing the consumer as to which is which.

The two main arenas involved are market and scale.
  • Market - Steven Spielberg's film company is called Amblin Entertainment.  If I start a talent agency called "Amblin Talent" then there's a considerable chance a consumer might think I'm affiliated with Amblin Entertainment.  But if I start a plumbing company called Amblin Plumbing, there's a much smaller chance of confusion between the two.

  • Scale - Two tiny restaurants in different cities might share the same name ("Joe's Diner") without confusing anybody.  But if I open up a burger joint and call it "Wendy's" there's a very high chance someone will think it's a Wendy's franchise, because Wendy's is such a recognizable brand.  Likewise, were I to open a burger joint called "Microsoft Burgers," there's still a significant chance of confusion, since the name "Microsoft" is so widely-known.
So it's all dependant on the situation.  Occasionally you get someone who tries to take advantage of the little guy (e.g. the veronica.org flap of 1999), but courts are becoming smarter about this stuff all the time.

And to answer your question, the scope of a child's name is very likely not going to overlap that of a company's trademark -- unless the child happens to be named "Microsoft."
« Last Edit: 02/16/04 at 11:41:51 by Marty » Logged

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Xeon
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Re: CafePress Legal Issues?
« Reply #6 on: 02/17/04 at 04:40:02 »
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Thank you so much, Marty!
Well, my web alias is called Xeon, and you know......the word "Xeon" is actually the name of Intel's server processors : Intel(r) Pentium Xeon.

Is this gonna be a potential problem?

Thanks Marty!
Xeon!
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Marty
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Re: CafePress Legal Issues?
« Reply #7 on: 02/17/04 at 10:46:39 »
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No, it shouldn't be a problem.  (Not as long as you don't try to market a product named Xeon.)
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Xeon
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Re: CafePress Legal Issues?
« Reply #8 on: 02/18/04 at 05:18:14 »
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Thanks Marty! Actually, I just intend to use the word "Xeon" on my web site mascot.

Thanks!  
Xeon.
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