Intellectual Property Rights – where do you stand?
Intellectual property rights are generally rights owned by their creator. They also include specific rights belonging to an entity, such as a company. These include trademarked words and titles often associated with a particular brand. Are you guilty of trademark infringement?
I recently read an article on this subject on a site for affiliates that dealt specifically with this term, trademark infringement. The writer shared the term’s definition as
a symbol, word, or words legally registered or established by use as representing a company or product.
The writer of the post mentioned that companies such as Amazon, Apple and Sony aggressively protect their brand identity. I could not agree more.
Their conclusion was that since big brands have big name lawyers and the money to back them up, you should never use their name or any other trademarked term in your URL, unless you really don’t care if you lose it.
I would go one step further, though. It is becoming increasingly dangerous even to mention a brand in an article, such as I have, above. If you own the site, you can get away with it, because you aren’t actually breaking any laws and if they complain, you can politely tell them to stick a sock in it. However, as I have found on sites like eBay, Amazon and even freelancer sites, if you include a brand name even as I just did, you can run into all kinds of trouble.
The reason for this is that if one of these big brands contacts the service you are using to market on, such as the above named companies, and complains about trademark or intellectual property rights infringement, they will shut you down. I speak from experience. The fact is, they don’t want a lawsuit from a big brand, even if the big brand is nothing more than a bully. They don’t care if the big name company has no legal right for the challenge. They only care about what it will cost them to fight it out. It’s a lot easier to tell you to back off or even to simply shut you down.
The most recent example for me was having a gig shut down on a freelancer service I use. It was a gig that pulled in regular orders, and I took a hit in losing it. While they still refuse to give me a reason for pulling the gig, I know what it is, because they told me they had a complaint about intellectual property rights.
The ONLY thing in the gig that could have done that was a single mention of Amazon, where I said in my FAQ that I do not write fake reviews on Amazon.
Amazon certainly has no legal grounds for a complaint, but as mentioned above, the platforms we use to sell or advertise on are terrified of being taken to court by one of these bully giants, and simply cave.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is, don’t even mention brand names, unless you own the platform you’re mentioning them on. At that, be aware that even your hosting provider may be threatened and be very careful how you word things.
Like it or not, big brother IS watching in the form of the big brands. Using digital “robots,” they are constantly scouring the internet for even the slightest possible infringements of their intellectual property rights.
Be aware, be smart, but at the same time, don’t be scared. Always back up everything you have, and if something happens, be prepared to start again.
You can’t fight the big brands, but you can preserve your own intellectual property.
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