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The Internet

Playboy sues Search Engines over Trademark 46

takshaka writes "Playboy Enterprises has joined the mass of trademark litigants, alleging that Excite and Netscape are violating its trademark by serving banner ads for other adult sites whenever visitors search for the magazine's home page. This seems to be yet another case of actively defending a trademark to avoid name dilution. But, really, how many people who type "playboy" as a search term are actually looking for playboy.com? " I just search for the articles.
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Playboy sues Search Engines over Trademark

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  • The problem is if the pictures are being sold and they are not actually from Playboy Enterprises.

    There is a very real chance that someone thinks they're buying from a source they trust, but end up with junk and blame Playboy.

    Imagine if some properitary software companies starting buying banner space using "Linux" to suck in users that don't fully know the difference.
  • Perhaps the law is fuzzy in this area.

    The thing is, the shared netizen ethic is not, and by it there are clear issues of right and wrong on this issue. Folks are expected to follow them.

    Thing is, lawyers aren't good netizens -- just like AOLers -- and, like AOLers, they're despised by those whose communities they disrupt.
  • Posted by Charles Bronson:

    I laughed out loud. My mom came in and read it, and she laughed out loud.
  • That gives a nice tripple-meaning.
  • I think I understand what the previous poster was trying to say. It wasn't very clear, and at first I thought it was a load of **** as well.

    But.

    Playboy maight have a legitimate claim.

    IF:

    Yahoo, et. al. were deliberately selling banner ads on the basis that they would be turned up specifically when the user searched for "Playboy". In which case Playboy would definitely have a legitimate gripe against Yahoo.

    OR:

    These banner ads were specifically designed to mislead users into thinking that they (the ads) were from Playboy or Playboy-related products. If that were the case, then again, Playboy /could/ have a case against Yahoo for not stipulating that the ads couldn't be misleading in this way. This argument is weaker than the first, but I wouldn't reject it outright.

    If, however, Playboy is just complaining that generic porn-site ads were displayed whenever the user entered a porn-related search term (such as "playboy"), then they are total arseholes, and this complaint should be blown out of the galaxy :-)

    Basically, what I'm saying, is that the article didn't give enough details for me to be comfortable making a judgement one way or the other. And I think that's what the poster you were responding to was trying to get at as well.

    (NB: I use the term "Yahoo" here to reference any search engine portals that Playboy is complaining agains, not necessarily Yahoo in particular).

    - Sean


    - SeanNi
  • I think I understand what the previous poster was trying to say. It wasn't very clear, and at first I thought it was a load of **** as well.

    But.

    Playboy maight have a legitimate claim.

    IF:

    Yahoo, et. al. were deliberately selling banner ads on the basis that they would be turned up specifically when the user searched for "Playboy". In which case Playboy would definitely have a legitimate gripe against Yahoo.

    OR:

    These banner ads were specifically designed to mislead users into thinking that they (the ads) were from Playboy or Playboy-related products. If that were the case, then again, Playboy /could/ have a case against Yahoo for not stipulating that the ads couldn't be misleading in this way. This argument is weaker than the first, but I wouldn't reject it outright.

    If, however, Playboy is just complaining that generic porn-site ads were displayed whenever the user entered a porn-related search term (such as "playboy"), then they are total arseholes, and this complaint should be blown out of the galaxy :-)

    Basically, what I'm saying, is that the article didn't give enough details for me to be comfortable making a judgement one way or the other. And I think that's what the poster you were responding to was trying to get at as well.

    (NB: I use the term "Yahoo" here to reference any search engine portals that Playboy is complaining against, not necessarily Yahoo in particular).

    - Sean


    - SeanNi
  • I use lynx to read it myself. Loads a hell of a lot faster!
  • So is history being re-written to claim that Heafner coined the word playboy? Do they think they own the word now? Even MSN returns a bunch of mineral related stuff if you search for "slate". Is "Playboy Magazine" paying anyone to have their search engines include them, or to move them closer to the top of the list than they would be otherwise, or are they just looking for a free ride?
  • "Other people who bought this book also...."

    I don't see how it's trademark violation to display an ad for a related website... or am I missing something?
  • Maybe one solution to this problem would be for the search engines to not "target" the banner ads shown depending on keywords in the search. Then neither the people associated with any trademark of a keyword which a user inputs, nor their competitors would be able to complain about unfair treatment.

    Any banners shown by sites which are returned as a result of the search are, of course, nothing to do with the owners or operators of the search engines.
  • At least in altavista searching for a url finds all sites that link to that url. Very useful for a number of reasons.

    Gee it's been ages (weeks) since I performed a search using one of those old search engines. Try www.google.com you won't regret it.

  • Okay, this is getting out of hand. It seems that every day, I end up reading about someone suing someone else over search engine placement, netscape's "what's related", domain names, etc. When will it end? To me, the point isn't that someone's rights may have been violated, but that every company who's got a foot in the internet is only thinking about themselves. "Oh, our playboy website isn't getting enough visitors. Let's sue everyone so we can sell more magazines." Yes, I'm mainly concerned about this because I could be next... sued by Fox over my site. But really, what do all these lawsuits accomplish? Nothing.

    Lawyers should be permanently banned from the internet.

  • Hmm...
    What if i wanted to register www.telephonerules.com... Alexandre Graham Bell gonna sue me?
  • Fox has been known to shut down sites bearing no resemlance to their own, and ones that never claimed to be the official sites. I know of a lot of X-files sites that were 'foxed' over so-called intellectual property.

  • How ironic that Playboy, once a champion of free expression should be persuing this ridiculous legal action against people who are simply practicing good product placement.
    Next Microsoft will be suing NBC if they sell an advertising slot to to Netscape during the same show they buy advertising on.
    This is simply a case of Playboy desperate to cover its ass as the internet slowly puts paper magazines out of business. Sorry Heff, just as your rag goes on a shelf with a bunch of other rags, your smut site goes on a rack with a bunch of other smut sites.
    I think they'd be better off investing time and money in creating a site that can compete than trying to censor the ads of the competition.
  • When will copyright law die? 10 years MAX for copyright, 5 years MAX for patents. NO SOFTWARE PATENTS.

    (my two cents ;))

  • Articles, what articles? I didn't know Play Boy had articles.
  • I don't understand why people don't just block banner ads. You save bandwith while at the same time not allowing yourself to be targeted with advertisements... check out www.junkbuster.com [junkbusters.com] or mail me for a copy of my squid redirector that block banner adds...
  • That is all we need are more global-hyper-mega comglomerates suing for some not-to-well-defined reason. I love this country! Everybody has their hands on everyone elses pie.

    -Signed Me
  • Have ever looked at the Ticker at webcrawer.com
    It shows what people are searching for and you would be surprised at what lame things are out there.
    Some people do infact search for
    "www.playboy.com"
    Check it out:
    http://webcrawler.com/SearchTicker.html
  • The really ridiculous thing is, playboy thinks it owns the word "playmate". Doesn't almost every child in the world have a playmate? What if Excite places the banner for a daycare center tied to that keyword? Would playboy still argue that their infringing on their perverted use of the word?

Egotist: A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me. -- Ambrose Bierce

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