Government of Canada vs. BlogsCanada
April 15, 2004 10:25 AM   Subscribe

Government of Canada vs. BlogsCanada The Government of Canada has served a cease and desist order to Canadian blog portal, BlogsCanada. Obviously the Treasury Department doesn't agree that the sincerest form of flattery is imitation.
posted by Coop (11 comments total)
The state has no business in the blogservers of the nation.
posted by stonerose at 10:52 AM on April 15, 2004

That's funny. But also a total rip-off. Does he seriously think he has a case?

Also, I'm surprised our government is hip enough to actually be scouring the internet for trademark infringments. Good for them, I guess.
posted by loquax at 10:53 AM on April 15, 2004

From the opening paragraph:

Ever since launching BlogsCanada last August, I've been waiting for the Government of Canada (GoC) to tell me that they don't like the way this site looks so much like the main GoC site.

and further down:

The Government of Canada has requested that I cease and desist from what they contend is reproducing the Government of Canada's corporate signature, the Canada wordmark and the Common Look and Feel layout.

So he admits that the sites are nearly identical and then implies that they're not but that the GoC is contending they are.

Though I think the cease and desist letter and any followup on the GoC's part is a waste of time and money, I think this guy's arguments are just plain silly. If he wants to argue that it's parody, fine, go ahead, but trying to act like he didn't intentionally copy the GoC's web site is ludicrous.
posted by dobbs at 10:55 AM on April 15, 2004

This guy is a twit. He's blatantly and deliberately ripped off the look and marks on the government site, and then trying to pretend that a 3 pixel difference in font size makes a difference. If he made a strong argument that the government shouldn't be prosecuting its citizens for relatively trivial immitations, I'd have some sympathy. But apparently he thinks minute technical differences somehow absolve him of his overall character flaw of being an uncreative plagiarist.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:56 AM on April 15, 2004

For me, it isn't an issue of it being a rip-off, it is. I just can't believe that the Government of Canada feels it is in the nations best interest to shut it down. Is nothing too small?
posted by Coop at 11:15 AM on April 15, 2004

Coop, this may seem trivial. But most large trademark and copyright holders will send out a bigfoot letter like this because they endanger their trademark and copyrights if they don't. Essentially if they don't defend their trademark here, they risk giving tacit license to anyone (commercial or non-commercial) to use it. I don't know if this guy knows that, but I expect he is happy to have the attention this is bringing.
posted by tranquileye at 11:51 AM on April 15, 2004

As far as I can tell, parody is not a defense against copyright infringement charges in Canada. Kind of scary. Perils of Parody (pdf)
posted by teg at 12:09 PM on April 15, 2004

Yeah, it's pretty much an intentional publicity grab on this guy's part. Worked like a charm, too.

I congratulate the little mediawhore on getting the Government to pay attention, and I hope he knows when to cut bait and switch to a new model.

I speak from experience*: you don't want to drag this out too far; you do run the risk of someone actually serving you with papers, and that can get expensive.

*I had a band in Toronto for a while called The Murder Of Bryan Adams, until Bryan's people called & wrote me and said basically "ha ha, very funny, now change your band's name or we'll make you very poor forever."
posted by chicobangs at 12:24 PM on April 15, 2004

One of the many cool things I like about Canada is that it has a very cool VID for all of its government agencies. The Canada logotype is on every official document and building this USian has come in contact with.

This guy's site isn't a parody of the Canada govt sites like is to He ripped off the VID of the government's site for no reason.

Not even Bubbles from the Trailer Park Boys would think is an official government site. But by not protecting its marks, the goverment opens itself to setting the precident that other less obvious sites might exploit. Freight forwarders could fake the Canadian Customs site; immigration attornies can fake Citizen and Immigration and so on.

If only my homeland had such some consistency across its agencies.
posted by birdherder at 3:52 PM on April 15, 2004

It's simple. They've infringed trademark and copyright.

It's illegal to use the Canadian flag without permission from the Canadian government. They own the trademark and copyright on it and are willing to use it whenever they get angry. Who cares if the site looks the same when you still have a #1 problem right there!

That's why (I assume) all the cheap flags in Canada have the wrong dimensions (2/3 red to 1/3 white background) rather than the right ones (1/2 red to 1/2 white background). They just don't feel like paying lip service (and probably money) to the Canadian government. Even the maple leaf itself is trademarked against such use.

Remember Canadians! DON'T PROUDLY FLY THE COPYRIGHTED FLAG OF CANADA -- DON'T BREAK THE LAW! Fly the old, Free Red Ensign instead. You'll notice some old homes in Niagra Falls still do.

Or you can wait for a couple of decades for copyright to expire on our flag and hope that we only beat you down on trademark law. Whichever you prefer.
posted by shepd at 7:35 PM on April 15, 2004

There's a persistent mail scam in Canada. Scammers mail out bogus invoices in envelopes designed to look a hell of a lot like government issue. They've fooled a lot of domain owners into paying a "fee" to keep their domains active. This scam has probably made the Canadian government extra vigilant about internet entities masquerading as government bodies. Or so I'm guessing.
posted by zadcat at 7:36 PM on April 15, 2004

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