Lawyers Gone Wild...
October 8, 2002 7:42 PM   Subscribe

Lawyers Gone Wild... Webpig, well known philistine webmaster of Internet Gossip has announced that he has been threatened with a lawsuit against his OTHER site Apparently he received a letter from the bloodsucking lawyers of girlsgonewild. They claim their company has a trademark on girlsgonewild, and only they are allowed to sell videos of drunk and stupid girls exploiting themselves unknowingly.
posted by rabbit (14 comments total)
god forbid a lawyer tries to defend the trademark of his client from infringement by an equally seedy competitor that is quite likely trying to steal business from him. bloodsuckers indeed.
posted by boltman at 8:07 PM on October 8, 2002

(KIND OF work unsafe, but, uh, duh.)

From what I understand, the girls on Girls Gone Wild (blech!) aren't necessarily "drunk and stupid" -- some of them are non-consentingly photographed, though I haven't heard much beyond rumblings of lawsuits from those depicted. Anyone?

And besides that, many people reserve the right to smartly and soberly flash parts of their bodies, on camera or in public.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:11 PM on October 8, 2002

I have to agree with boltman... camgirlsgonewild is obviously trying to profit off of the girlsgonewild trademark; this is actually what trademark law is designed to protect against.
posted by reverendX at 8:13 PM on October 8, 2002

It's difficult to trademark individual regular words ("cam", "girls", "gone", "wild") but it is definitely possible to trademark a particular sequence of words. Looks like a slam dunk to me -- sorry, rabbit.

There was at least one lawsuit over GGW, but it was settled out of court. The argument wasn't that she was videoed without her knowledge; they had to argue under more obscure terms that her image was exploited in the advertising for the video. In any event, no case law.
posted by dhartung at 9:25 PM on October 8, 2002

it's pretty clear the name 'cam girls gone wild' is derived from 'girls gone wild.' in which case -- seems pretty much a blatant violation.
posted by aenemated at 11:27 PM on October 8, 2002

OT: I note that the email had one of these silly clauses:
This email and any attached documents contain information which is PRIVILEGED, PROPRIETARY AND CONFIDENTIAL, are protected by State and Federal copyright laws, and is intended only for the use of the addressee(s) named herein. No part of this document or any attachments may be reproduced or transmitted without permission from Pollet, Richardson & Patel, a California professional law corporation.
Does anyone believe that this sort of thing has any legal force at all? Surely you cannot send someone an unsolicited email and in the process claim it's confidential and proprietary -- to show breach of confidentiality you have to show that the recipient agreed before you gave them the information. And to show misappropriation of of proprietary information you have to show that you made reasonable efforts to secure the information rather than farting it out to someone in an email message.

I would love to see lawyers like these try to actually sustain this clause in court.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:46 PM on October 8, 2002

I read Internet Gossip all the time. Cam Girls Gone Wild, from what I can tell, was named as a parody of the Girls Gone Wild group. Would that work as an argument in his defense? I don't know.

That being said, Webpig (if his site is to be believed - and it isn't always to be believed) spends a lot of time in a sort of legal grey area. I think he relishes the idea of being sued (hence the fact that this lawsuit immediately became a story on his site) in the same way that, say, a shock DJ might relish being sued. Thus, weep not for Webpig! These are the salad days.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:13 AM on October 9, 2002

posted by Shane at 6:37 AM on October 9, 2002

Yes there is an affirmative parody defense in trademark law. But, when you are in commerce with a mark selling similar goods...tough road. boltman is right. The lawyers are doing their job by policing the mark. Policing is a fundamental part of keeping a mark. How this makes them "bloodsucking" is beyond me.
posted by anathema at 8:21 AM on October 9, 2002

videos of drunk and stupid girls exploiting themselves

Yeah, that website doesn't exploit them at all ...
posted by walrus at 9:07 AM on October 9, 2002

George_Spiggot: Copyright on both paper and electronic mail resides with the sender. It was never much enforced, but one notable case in recent years was Salinger's letters.

In any case, it's standard now for many corporations, especially in certain fields such as law, to include such a warning. Even if it's a weak defense, it's better than no defense at all.
posted by dhartung at 9:30 AM on October 9, 2002

Imagine what this lawsuit will be like once Snoop Dogg gets behind the camera!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:28 PM on October 9, 2002

Of interest:
'Girls Gone Wild' cases test Constitution
posted by Zulujines at 10:14 AM on October 15, 2002

And for the record, I think it's a sad, sad thing.
posted by Zulujines at 10:15 AM on October 15, 2002

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