Wikipedia Throws Hissy Fit About

Recently, the people over at have had a bee in their bonnet about a site called Wikipedia doesn’t like this other site using its name in their domain name, and is threatening to pursue legal action against for trademark infringement. According to

This web site documents performance art work that promotes critical analysis of the nature of art and Wikipedia. It is not affiliated with Wikipedia in any way. The Wikipedia website is located at

That certainly sounds specific and respectful, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s also legally appropriate. On February 7, 2003, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that:

Abstract: The Sixth Circuit (which covers Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan) held that a domain name holder’s use of another’s trademark in a ‘fan’ site did not run afoul of Section 1114 of the Lanham Act because of the presence of both a prominent disclaimer on the site disavowing any affiliation with mark owner, and a link to plaintiff’s official web site.

The Lanham Trademark Act (title 15, chapter 22 of the United States Code) is legislation that contains the federal statutes of trademark law in the United States. The Act prohibits a number of activities, including trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and false advertising. The case centered around the adding of “-sucks” at the end of a previously registered domain name in order to accommodate free speech. You know, like The ruling continues:

The domain holder’s use of the trademarks in conjunction with the word “sucks” in the domain names of non-commercial complaint sites did not violate Section 1114 of the Lanham Act because there was no likelihood of consumer confusion arising from that type of use, and because such speech is protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The Taubman Company v. Webfeats, et al., Nos. 01-2648/2725 (6th Cir., February 7, 2003).

In the case of, not only is there an appropriate disclaimer consistent with the 6th Court of Appeals ruling, but also, on a larger note, the purpose of the site enhances Wikipedia’s appeal. In essence, Wikipedia is acting against its own interests.  The odds are even as to whether or not it will lose in civil court more quickly than in the public court of opinion.

1 Response to "Wikipedia Throws Hissy Fit About"

  • battery-stores

    May 21, 2010

    I like your style so much, I am your honest reader.
    Thanks for sharing the post.

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