Domain Name Wire

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  • It’s not really Walmart: Walmart goes after union’s parody site

    1. BY - Jul 23, 2013
    2. Policy & Law
    3. 8 Comments

    Retailer files complaint to take over domain names used for parody site.

    Walmart has filed a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) case with World Intellectual Property Organization against domain names registered by United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

    The dispute seeks to take down the web site ReallyWalmart.org and the associated domain names ReallyWalmart.com/.net/.info.

    ReallyWalmart.org is a self-described parody site set up by the UFCW union in response to Walmart’s official site TheRealWalmart.com.

    In the image below, the site on the left is the real Walmart site and the one on the right is the union’s.

    really-walmart

    Walmart has turned to the UDRP in the past to take over domain names used by unions.

    It lost a battle against the UFCW for the domain Walmartat50.com last year, but won a case for OURWalmart.com in 2011.

8 Comments
  • This is just another tactic that Walmart uses to silence their workers. I’m a current worker for Walmart and I will never give up fighting for my rights to speak out for better working conditions and to end retaliation for speaking out.

  • Daniel Baird says:

    July 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Aaron – If you’re really concerned about speaking out against Wal-Mart, why don’t you all actually operate a criticism site instead of blatantly engaging in trademark and copyright infringement and creating consumer confusion as to whether the site is legitimate? Pathetic.

    • Daniel, parody sites are explicitly protected by trademark and copyright laws so your wording is misinformed at best. No one with half a brain is even remotely in danger of being confused that ReallyWalMart.org is actually the official Wal-Martâ„¢. But thanks for your FUD :-P

      (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt)

      • @ Armer – the UDRP is a little bit different. It protects parody and criticism sites in some ways, but WalMart has a chance of winning this case.

        • It’s true the UDRP has gone both ways on parody sites (while copyright law is more clear) but my understanding (not a lawyer) is the main point is essentially the same in that if a *reasonable* visitor would not mistake the parody site for the official site then it’s most likely not infringing under either definition.

          If the parody site has no legitimate interest in the domain that contains the trademarked word (reallywalmart.org clearly does) or is monetizing the site in some way then bad faith may be established. I will concede that WM has a chance of winning this UDRP arbitration mainly because there have been many, many bad UDRP decisions but if the panelists base their findings solely on the facts and merits only one outcome should be likely.

          Let’s not forget to mention the logo and most prominent graphic on the site clearly reads: “Really Walmart?” and even has a frowny face in the question mark. A reasonable visitor would never confuse this site for an official WalMart property and that really should be the end of that.

          (http://www.chillingeffects.org/protest/faq.cgi#QID85)

          • @ J -

            There are two things this case will hinge on.

            First is if the domain is confusingly similar. Keep in mind this is the domain, not the site. Many panels have looked at this as “if someone saw the domain name, would they think based on the domain alone that it was owned by the trademark holder?”

            In this case, before you visit the website, you’d probably think ReallyWalmart.com “really” belonged to Walmart. More on this here:

            http://domainnamewire.com/2012/07/20/occupy-is-the-new-sucks/

            Second is if the union is making money from the site in some way.

            Usually a panel considers if the site is selling something or making money from ads. In this case, the union clearly profits by spreading is message and potentially getting more members, but that may not be “direct” enough for a panelist.

            Here’s where this is a crapshoot. In OurWalmart.org, the panel found that the domain was registered in bad faith for commercial gain. In Walmartat50.com, the panel did not.

            So I’m not willing to bet either way on this one.

    • If freecreditreport dot com can exist, then so can this parody site.

  • Bruce Kent says:

    July 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    It’s people like Daniel that miss the big picture and allow the unfair treatment. It’s funny how the idiots always defend that which harms them.

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