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Getting Sued Because I Reviewed A Company!

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by cartoonbabyboy, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. #1
    I own a blog that reviews certain companies and products, but none of the reviews contain personal opinions, in fact they don't contain opinions at all. They are basically summaries about what the company offers and the benefits of their products.

    I have received several praises from these companies in the past and some have even published my reviews on their websites, however yesterday I received a letter from one saying that I do not have permission to use their logo (It was part of a screenshot that I made of the company's website) or use the name of their products in my review. If I do not remove the review they will file a claim to the federal court and I will be held liable for whatever damage my blog have done, which in my opinion is nothing.

    Currently the only income I get from my blog are affiliate links from some of the companies I have written about but not every review I wrote about has an affiliate link.

    I was wondering what I should do about this.
    SEMrush
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
    cartoonbabyboy, Feb 6, 2013 IP
    SEMrush
  2. Senobia

    Senobia Notable Member

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    #2
    If the copyright infringement is US based and if all you really did was a critique as you say, you should refer them to the Fair Use Clause and stand your ground.
     
    Senobia, Feb 6, 2013 IP
    WebDev Solutions likes this.
  3. cartoonbabyboy

    cartoonbabyboy Active Member

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    #3
    The company is Canadian, is it the same as US?
     
    cartoonbabyboy, Feb 6, 2013 IP
  4. browntwn

    browntwn Illustrious Member

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    #4
    Your thread title says you are being sued, but you mention nothing about that in the actual post. So I assume a company has contacted and threatened to sue you. From what you describe it doesn't particularly sound like you did anything wrong. Using a companies name and nominal use of it's logo, as in a screen shot, are usually not a problem either, especially in a review. Nobody has a right not to have their company name or product mentioned by others. I have not read the "review" in question but if it is an honest summary of what the company offers then I would have little reason for concern if it were me in your position.

    One other note, you mention opinions as though you are safe because yours does not have one. Opinions are fine. In fact, you are usually safer when you are stating things that are your opinion.

    Anyway, the easy solution if you want to just avoid problems is to remove the review (probably what they want because they think you are getting their traffic). Or you can leave it up if you wish. I doubt you would get sued unless the review contained misleading or blatantly false information and even then it would be doubtful for them to sue you. They might try to send an unmeritorious DMCA, but that could be solved with a counter notice. How you respond really depends on how comfortable you are with the content you wrote.
     
    browntwn, Feb 6, 2013 IP
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  5. cartoonbabyboy

    cartoonbabyboy Active Member

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    #5
    The company is a financial company and the reason why I didn't put any opinions like stating "I recommend you take out a loan from this company because they offer cheap rates" is so that I can avoid the legal liability of someone taking my opinion/advice and then suffering a loss.
     
    cartoonbabyboy, Feb 6, 2013 IP
  6. cartoonbabyboy

    cartoonbabyboy Active Member

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    #6
    So furthermore, should I just ignore the letter or respond to it? If I am to respond, what would I write? Their letter was written in a formal format from their legal department and I simply don't have the skill or knowledge of the legal system to be able to write something as professional enough back to them.
     
    cartoonbabyboy, Feb 6, 2013 IP
  7. browntwn

    browntwn Illustrious Member

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    #7
    Offering advice is distinct from offering an opinion, but I understand what you are saying.

    opinion - "seems to me like company X offers cheap rates"
    advice - "I recommend you take a loan out with company X"

    It is hard to tell you what to do without seeing your site or the letter. But if you don't want to remove the content then there is little reason to reply to the letter. You don't need to explain yourself to them and you don't need to provide them with a reply.

    You mention they are a Canadian company, where do you live?
     
    browntwn, Feb 6, 2013 IP
  8. cartoonbabyboy

    cartoonbabyboy Active Member

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    #8
    I live in Australia but my website is a .ca domain.
     
    cartoonbabyboy, Feb 6, 2013 IP
  9. Johnny Mnemonic

    Johnny Mnemonic Well-Known Member

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    #9
    I don't see how you can get someone to sue you over posting your opinions. But such is brutal life.
     
    Johnny Mnemonic, Feb 6, 2013 IP
  10. Senobia

    Senobia Notable Member

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    #10

    You can research Canadian laws yourself. My guess would be no.
     
    Senobia, Feb 7, 2013 IP
  11. Knocks

    Knocks Active Member

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    #11
    You really shouldn't be asking for legal advice on a forum like this because hardly anyone knows what they're talking about, and you can get into even bigger trouble by following this kind of advice.
     
    Knocks, Feb 7, 2013 IP
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  12. matt_62

    matt_62 Notable Member

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    #12
    While I am certain you are in the right, my unprofessional advice is to consider hiding the content in question until you have had a chance to personnally consult someone who is really able to review it and give you accurate legal advice. There are a few times now when people who were in the right still got dragged through the whole court system.

    Good thing is that australia has legal aid and calling them might be a good place to start for legal advice.
     
    matt_62, Feb 7, 2013 IP
  13. ryan_uk

    ryan_uk Illustrious Member

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    #13
    Given how stupid this company is behaving, do you really want to have review for them on your site? If there isn't an affiliate link (or it's not making you money), you could change the content and document your experience with them (emails and a commentary on what happened, but do it in a factual manner). It is more likely to gain some interest (and organic links), as many people like "gossip". (Do a bit of marketing - social media, let owners of other finance blogs know, etc.)
     
    ryan_uk, Feb 8, 2013 IP
  14. strngproblem

    strngproblem Peon

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    #14
    If I were you, I would just delete the review if it didn't have a significant source of money to me. Because it is the easiest way to solve this problem.
     
    strngproblem, Feb 22, 2013 IP
  15. oneclickfixed

    oneclickfixed Well-Known Member

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    #15
    I wouldn't remove it, I would blur their logo though. As long as you are not stating opinion you are fine. Let them spend the $10k to come after you, which they would be stupid to do.
     
    oneclickfixed, Feb 26, 2013 IP
  16. wounded1987

    wounded1987 Well-Known Member

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    #16
    remove the review and move on, why waste time on a problem you can't benefit? save your time for more important stuff such as expanding your business.
     
    wounded1987, Feb 26, 2013 IP
  17. cartoonbabyboy

    cartoonbabyboy Active Member

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    #17
    The only benefit i get, if any, is google adsense on the website.
     
    cartoonbabyboy, Feb 26, 2013 IP
  18. Maharani

    Maharani Member

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    #18
    it is best way to remove the article review, despite the fact that international demand will impose more costs to the company. they try to bully you just for corporate image.
     
    Maharani, Mar 6, 2013 IP
  19. dscurlock

    dscurlock Prominent Member

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    #19
    If this happened to me, then I would drop them in a second...
    There are many other fish in the sea that would appreciate
    the free advertising; In fact, I would have not even wasted
    my time coming here to post such a question....
     
    dscurlock, Mar 24, 2013 IP
  20. ChrisMono

    ChrisMono Active Member

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    #20
    They haven't got a case, they are merely threatening you.

    Do you have a disclaimer or something stating that you are merely voicing your own opinion, freedom of speech, blah blah etc
     
    ChrisMono, Mar 25, 2013 IP