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Copyright infringement notice / suspension of services

category: general [glöplog]
Hello,

My friend managing atari-forum received this threatening notice from Atari: they basically ask that he immediately discontinues any and all use of the Domain Name and takes steps to transfer the domain name to Atari.

http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=26131

Any help or advice is welcome, especially if you already had to face that issue with a website or if you know how those legal matters should be handled.

Thanks
added on the 2014-02-21 15:03:37 by keops keops
Damn, I know they own the trademark rights, but it's still sad to see the real die hard fans treated in such a way. Unfortunately I cant help you, but I wish you all the best in resolving the matter.
added on the 2014-02-21 15:12:33 by keito keito
contact eff
added on the 2014-02-21 15:12:49 by psenough psenough
Sounds like a case for Netpoet.
added on the 2014-02-21 15:15:53 by Gargaj Gargaj
Thanks guys, that's a start :)
added on the 2014-02-21 15:19:47 by keops keops
i have some experience of this too. I had a pong clone (similar name, similar style, but totally different gameplay) on the iOS app store. Atari wrote to me telling me to remove it.

As it happened the game wasn't selling anyway so I just removed it, but I talked to other devs about it at the time. From what people said, it wasn't the game itself that atari were interested in but any use of atari trademarks. So I'd say there's a fair chance they're just interested in the "atari-forum" domain name, and not the site.

But tbh, I'd say 1st option should be to call them and talk about it - they might have just gone through an auto-generated list of domains with atari in them and fired out automatic letters. They might not mind the site, so long as it's clearly not an official atari site.

Worst case I guess is that the site gets a new domain.
added on the 2014-02-21 15:53:33 by psonice psonice
derivative usage of the trademark on a domain name can fall under fair use in some cases. best to talk with folks who are inside the law that applies before taking any decision imho.
added on the 2014-02-21 16:27:56 by psenough psenough
It is certainly a problem that some companies don't tolerate when fans use the brand name or when they develop remakes of their games. I developed a remake of the game Shining Force 2 some years ago. With an ill gut feeling I eventually decided to remove it from my website because I was afraid that I might get legal problems. It has been a childhood dream of mine to make a game similar to Shining Force 2 as I was having several ideas how the gameplay could be improved. I am happy that I finally managed to make such a game last year and I like playing it myself now. Nevertheless it is a pity that you cannot show your game to other people without risking legal problems.
added on the 2014-02-21 17:25:06 by Adok Adok
Not that this will help legally in any way, but having contacts that could help bringing the news to some big IT news site or something like that could be useful. This is not the first time a big company tries to munch smaller non-commercial projects / sites that way, and whenenver this has been brought up to some big news portal and people started screaming, these companies often redacted their plans, simply because it damages their brand more than keeping that site online.
Change domain name to Schmatari, that should do the trick... Atari, do they even exist anymore lol... seriously, what i see here sadly everyones losing in this case. Atari corp the most. Probably serves em right.
added on the 2014-02-21 18:19:37 by Duncan Duncan
Have a look at

http://www.calyptus.net/atari/PR%20Revenue%20Q3%202014.pdf

it explains why Atari US suddenly behaves as "in charge" again.
Apparently, they failed to sell the Atari brand under chapter 11 so i assume they are out to increase the brand's value by regaining control over its usage.

Like everyone else said: It's their brand name, every website using the logo is at their mercy and if they show none, moving to another domain name is all there is left to do.
added on the 2014-02-21 18:49:51 by Paranoid Paranoid
Quote:
Not that this will help legally in any way, but having contacts that could help bringing the news to some big IT news site or something like that could be useful. This is not the first time a big company tries to munch smaller non-commercial projects / sites that way, and whenenver this has been brought up to some big news portal and people started screaming, these companies often redacted their plans, simply because it damages their brand more than keeping that site online.


Yes, but talk to them first rather than giving them a huge pile of shit with no chance to apologise and withdraw the complaint. If they're being arses, cause some shit.
added on the 2014-02-21 21:26:39 by psonice psonice
Quote:
Yes, but talk to them first rather than giving them a huge pile of shit with no chance to apologise and withdraw the complaint. If they're being arses, cause some shit.


A sensible, non-heated and civilised approach is being attempted by the admins at Atari Forum.

Email to Atari wrote:

Hi,

I hope you are able to help us, I am writing on behalf of atari-forum.com - a community forum that has proudly spent the last decade or so providing a platform to enthusiasts of the Atari 16/32bit range of home computers (ST/TT/Falcon).

We have received a notification from our domain name provider that you have effectively issued a cease and desist notification based on our use of the Atari name in our registered domain.

Please see our thread where a copy of this notification has been posted: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=26131&p=247068#p247068

I'm sure you can appreciate, the purpose of our community is to support and preserve Atari hardware products that are now considered vintage and we are not operating for any commercial reasons.

I ask you to review this decision and please let me know directly if you wish to proceed with your action. Our community strives on the love of Atari we have harboured for the past 30+ years, this cease and desist will only serve to give us all a bitter taste and a negative view of a company we have spent a large part of our lives supporting and honouring.

I hope we can reach a sensible understanding here. Your attention to this matter will be greatly appreciated.
added on the 2014-02-21 23:25:16 by CiH CiH
Looks good, hopefully they'll get somewhere with it :)
added on the 2014-02-21 23:53:02 by psonice psonice
Is it the "same company"? How many of the original people are left?
added on the 2014-02-21 23:53:56 by yzi yzi
Quote:
Is it the "same company"? How many of the original people are left?


1. No.

2. None.

There's been about 3-4 distinct iterations of 'Atari' since its founding in 1972, and quite a bit of weird corporate politics mixed in there too.
added on the 2014-02-22 01:18:54 by CiH CiH
if they still persist try to change the domain name to .org, sometimes companies like atari consider the use of a .com domain de facto as a commercially related website and take law action. also contacting them as a community is also a really good idea.
added on the 2014-02-22 14:48:33 by Defiance Defiance
*facepalm* - best of luck sorting this - very sad to see fans treated in this way...
added on the 2014-02-22 15:41:06 by ne7 ne7
Actually I can understand that a company would have problem with a website under the domain "atari-forum", since the name suggest an official affiliation of the website with the company and thus representing it towards the public. Of course a company wants to have control over how their brand is used and presented to the public (since they invested a lot of money and time into that brand name, so it became popular).

A good compromise would be a little rename of the domain like to "www.atarifanforum.com", so it is clear, the content of the site is not directly affiliated to the company but a third party refering to it ("Atari-Fans" != "Atari").
added on the 2014-02-22 16:45:38 by Salinga Salinga
Ok, let's buy a hundred of domain names with 'atari' in it (atari-love, atari-fanboys, atari-rulez...), for approx. 12$ each, it's not that expensive...

...then let's wait til they sue us, individually (do'h).
added on the 2014-02-22 17:27:14 by fra fra
What Salinga says, but is a compromise possible? Lawyers sometimes are a bit narrow minded...
added on the 2014-02-22 20:47:05 by baah baah
Chances are it's an automated mail with no regards towards what the actual domain name is (which is why they sent it to the hosting party, not the site maintainer).
added on the 2014-02-22 21:38:16 by Gargaj Gargaj
cih: they wont give a fuck, they just want all domains they are possibly entitled (or can coherce folks to give up) to, to be able to exploit them commercially in one way or another. and as gargaj mentioned it's very likely an automated mail that was sent (we had a few from disney or nintendo at scene.org at some point, assuming that an ftp with files that have some of their trademark names must be infringing intellectual property, all automated crawl the internet and send. probably even commissioned by a third party "IT company". my point is: it's very unlikely that a human will pick up on their end and see the wrong in any of this and bother to resolve this in a way that will bring happiness to the community, so appealing to good sense is usually a waste of time, and can also probably be used as admission of guilt if written poorly. as i already suggested i strongly believe your best coarse of action is to figure out your rights of usage with a person or entity who knows the law that is applied, and only then reply (or in some cases even ignore) accordingly.
added on the 2014-02-22 22:45:59 by psenough psenough
I have been talking via Facebook to Leonard Tramiel's wife and also Nolan Bushnell today with regards to this. Hopefully they may be able to suggest a way forward, if they have any clout at all. They do, however, think that it is wrong for Atari to pursue this, bearing in mind the site itself deals with products that Atari themselves are no longer involved with and henceforth have been treated as 'abandonware' commercially for quite a few years now. I guess we'll have to see what happens.
added on the 2014-02-22 23:40:21 by Felice Felice
you can always move along to AMIGA!!!!!
added on the 2014-02-23 01:12:44 by Maali Maali

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