Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.226.60.235

Forum Moderators: LifeinAsia & httpwebwitch

Message Too Old, No Replies

Is saying something "sucks" considered slander?

Just got a cease and desist.

     

Perfection

8:17 pm on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



So I just got a cease and desist letter about an older blog post of mine that is sort of a review of a product. Let's call the product "Blah Blah Blah."

The title of this post is: "The Blah Blah Blah Sucks"

The cease and desist I got is telling me I need to rename this post (and it's url which also contains that title).

My question is, do they really have me on something here, or is it my legal right to say their product sucks in this manner?

Thanks in advance.

pageoneresults

8:20 pm on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Since when do lawyers send C&Ds via email? It's been a while since I've gotten one but they usually come via Registered Snail Mail and not email.

jwolthuis

8:44 pm on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Take down the blog post. It shouldn't hurt you financially (or if it does, it strengthens their case), and no post is worth the legal hassle.

They win. Life is short. Move on.

Samizdata

9:48 pm on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



They win. Life is short. Move on.

That opinion sucks, in my opinion.

...

lexipixel

9:59 pm on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Take down the blog post. It shouldn't hurt you financially (or if it does, it strengthens their case), and no post is worth the legal hassle.


Bull-puckey. If you're in the right, don't cave.


I would follow up with a blog post outlining this farce!


Agreed. If you are in the right, (they do actually suck in your opinion), DO NOT edit or change the post in any way -- as others have said, this is probably nothing more than "SEO flavored with online reputation management" -- the threat of legal action makes me want to say, "bring it on" -- and the best defense is a good offense.

Do a follow up post:

Example Doesn't Want me to Tell You They Suck

You need to monetize the pages to make it worthwhile or they win by the mere fact that you spent time and didn't get paid.

There's a guy on t.v. who claims to have been bullied by the FDA and had his book banned -- he's been flaunting it on late night t.v. for years... "The FDA Doesn't Want You to Know"... (Kevin T?).

Register the sucks version of their domain if it's available to really send the right message.

robdwoods

10:53 pm on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I think you are pretty safe. Offering an opinion, even a negative one, on a trademarked product is considered fair use. If you link out to their site go back and put a nofollow on it.... no sense passing them any value, or even better, find other sites criticizing their products and link to them to both back up your opinion and to maybe increase the other complaint sites in the rankings :) As long as there are no factual inaccuracies in the post you are fine. It would be like saying that a certain car manufacturer sucks because they've had 10 different recalls in the last 2 years. As long as they have had those recalls, they have no recourse.

bwnbwn

11:06 pm on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



A serious post here I wrote a really negative article on a company about 9 years ago. It is a franchise the article is still in the index and when searched "franchise name profits" my article is #1.
I didn't need to use the word sucks but did a good article I felt people would do a search for when researching the franchise.

Why don't you do the same post another blog or add to the one you have get a couple good links pointing at it and forget this mess. Let the search engines do the rest for you.

If you chose to use the word sucks so be it it is your blog and can post whaever you feel like posting.

AndyA

11:12 pm on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



As a consumer, you have every right to post about your negative experience with a product, service, or company. After all, it is your opinion of the way you were treated, how the item you purchased failed to meet your expectations, etc.

If the company doesn't like it, perhaps they should look to correcting the issues and making things good with you, rather than threatening you. It's easy to see why there was an issue, based on their reaction.

Lyn99

12:59 am on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Of course it's jurisdictional, as we see from todays charging of the Knox family with slander in Italy.

As for a US claim, they would have to show financial damages. I wouldn't be shaking in my boots too badly, since they don't even know the correct word to use.

Like Paypal, Washington Mutual tried for years to muzzle "WAMU Sucks", but they were unsuccessful. They failed with the libel claim, and they epic failed at not sucking.

[edited by: Lyn99 at 1:03 am (utc) on Jul 8, 2010]

phranque

1:01 am on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



be sure to link that follow-up blog post to the most specifically relevant page on their site with some really good, search keyword relevant anchor text.

Perfection

1:59 am on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Ha, good stuff guys. Here's an update.

After going back and forth with them a few times, I've now basically told them to shove their C&D, mocked them for not understanding the difference between slander and libel, and updated that post with a sarcastic mention of how their lawyers wanted me to delete it.

Win, win and win! If they reply again, I'll gladly let you know what they say.

blend27

2:52 am on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



do they really have me + difference between slander and libel


I would not post anything that has that word "Sucks" any where, be it a blog, forum, or any other medium. It just shows how desperate you were when someone refused your way.

If their service/widgets/opinion/anything pushed you to the level of expressing your self in that manner that means they win no matter what.

I am gonna go hug something, but that was my 2 cents.

jkovar

4:52 am on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I didn't see any mention of what laws are being broken in their letter. Such letters that aren't simply scare tactics generally include references to legal code.

I would respond with, "Until you can provide thorough references to legal documentation which entitles you to make this _demand_, I have no choice but to consider it a _request_ that has no legal basis, and to decline your request. Thank you."

tangor

5:35 am on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Until "sucks" is declared verbotten, it is merely an adjective. :)

I'm with jkovar above... demand their legal reason (and the venue) upon which they seek recourse. Meanwhile, change nothing! Any modifications now, after their letter, will show..."something" whether that is "guilt" or "remorse" or "reconsideration" makes no difference.

One of those "put up or shut up" situations.

graeme_p

5:51 am on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



<quote>They have nothing on you unless you live somewhere that doesn't see things that way. Maybe China. </quote>
The problem is that it does not mater where you live, but where your site can be read - which is usually every where.

I cannot find the reference, but a Saudi banker who was accused of funding terrorism in a book published in the US successfully sued in England on the grounds that a few copies of book had been sold there.

People who want to get you will go jurisdiction shopping and sue where it suits them (in the case of libel, usually England).

Sgt_Kickaxe

6:52 am on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Saying something sucks is opinion, we're all entitled to one and free to share it on our blogs.

We're also allowed to mention a brand name in the course of discussion without infringing on the copyright, you're obviously not pretending to represent the company you say sucks.

If they can make their case that your post is damaging their company and place a specific dollar value on that damage a judge would entertain them but they would need to prove you're not correct because you also have freedom of speech that allows you to tell the truth under any circumstance.

~ You could always suggest arbitration and bring money into the fray, a "pay me to settle this" approach is cheaper than court and more profitable for you. Whatever you do don't be insulting in response, make sure you "review" their claim even if you don't intend to change anything.

lexipixel

8:17 am on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



be sure to link that follow-up blog post to the most specifically relevant page on their site with some really good, search keyword relevant anchor text.
-phranque


"miserable failure" lives in spite of Google's attempt to defeat the bomb, news of their defeat ranks #1, (on Google) ... ..- -.-. -.- ... don't it?

johnnie

10:08 am on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I don't see anything wrong with saying something sucks. It's just an opinion. They better deal with it and instead of threatening everybody who is negative about their product, they would be wise to invest their time in improving the product.

BeeDeeDubbleU

10:45 am on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



"pay me to settle this"

I like this idea. :)

jbinbpt

11:21 am on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



The phrase "sucks" was used in the confirmation hearings for Elena Kagen[tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com ]

Apparently it's mainstream enough for the senator from South Carolina to enter it into the record.

StoutFiles

12:04 pm on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Win, win and win! If they reply again, I'll gladly let you know what they say.


If they decide to sue you don't win, because it costs time and money to deal with defending yourself. Hopefully you don't regret making a spectacle out of the post.

samc

12:15 pm on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



There is an assumption that there has to be a reason to be sued. You can be sued for any reason or no reason so if your afraid of legal action don't have a web site. They come via registered mail, not email. To live in fear... Give them a double sux! with a follow up blog article. Shoot if they really did sue you could go to CNN and go on about David and Goliath.

jkwilson78

1:34 pm on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



If they decide to sue you don't win, because it costs time and money to deal with defending yourself. Hopefully you don't regret making a spectacle out of the post.


This actually goes both ways. It is also expensive for the company bringing the suit and if they have no case at all and it will just get dismissed they won't want to waste the money either.

Larger companies generally keep law firms on retainer that do nothing but send out cease and desist threats. This is a scare tactic plain and simple.

I once had a similar situation where a company threatened legal action because they did not like something I wrote. I changed nothing and stood my ground and they backed off.

The funny thing is while all this was going on, the affiliate manager for the same company threatening to sue me tried to recruit me as a reseller. Clearly one part of the company knew nothing about what the other part was doing.

ceestand

5:39 pm on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I am sure they would like for you to take it down; Personally, I use "sucks" as part of a search when evaluating something where honest reviews aren't easily found - web hosting, for instance. As long as you accept that the person who wrote "Company X sucks" may be more disgruntled than the average customer, it's a good way to find specific issues that may exist.

ergophobe

6:34 pm on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator ergophobe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Uh oh... this movieweb review is in big trouble:

YOUR SUMMER MOVIE SUCKS: Does The Last Airbender Suck Air or Just Blow? [movieweb.com]

Personally, when I'm investigating a product/company I always do a sucks/rocks search

"Company Sucks"
"Company Rocks"

Half the time, I think the "sucks" searches just reveal whiners and I buy anyway. Sometimes they reveal fundamental problems. In cases like that, if it's a popular product, the SERPS can be filled with thousands of results. Sometimes 127,000 results [google.com] sometimes (and this is really worth clicking on) as many as 158,000 results [google.com] especially considering that this search [google.com] only yields 1/3 as many results.

The defense rests its case.

ergophobe

6:36 pm on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator ergophobe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



PS, given a popular bumper sticker in the US, I am forthwith launching a class action lawsuit on behalf of all mean people.

PPS - a certain entrepeneur is targeting at least one sports team with

[team]-sucks.com and lots of [team] sucks merchandise. If a pro sports team can't protect itself against this...

BeeDeeDubbleU

7:23 pm on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



This one gives 90,000 results.
[google.com...]

No please, I am only kidding, really! :)

ergophobe

8:28 pm on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator ergophobe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



BDW - actually, my searches are all phrase searches, with quotes. Add quotes and your search only gives 5 results.

If you remove quotes, my Google sucks search yields 14,000,000 and my Microsoft sucks search yields about 6,000,000, but I don't count those because, for example, the #1 result for Webmasterworld Sucks (no quotes) is for... this thread!

Sgt_Kickaxe

1:27 am on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



If you get sued for using the word sucks, and they win a dime, PLEASE let us know so that we can all embark on a lawsuit campaign against the countless hordes of people who say our sites suck too.

BeeDeeDubbleU - webmasterworld does not suck, the 90,000 people in your link are wrong. Brett's going to be busy raking in the cash if the word sucks is libelous!

incrediBILL

2:17 am on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



webmasterworld does not suck


Very true.

WebmasterWorld just inhales very vigorously ;) <ducks>

ergophobe

4:50 am on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator ergophobe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Bill, WebmasterWorld smoked but did not inhale.
This 73 message thread spans 3 pages: 73
 

Featured Threads

Hot Threads This Week

Hot Threads This Month