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Jack Daniels Shows How To Write a Cease and Desist Letter

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the more-complies-with-honey dept.

Businesses 402

NormalVisual writes "When the Jack Daniels distillery recently became aware of a book whose cover they felt substantially infringed their trademark, they didn't go into instant 'Terminator mode' — instead, they wrote a very thoughtful, civil letter to the infringing party, and even offered to help defray the costs of coming into compliance. I believe plenty of other companies (and many in the tech world) could use this as an example of how *not* to alienate people and come off looking like a bunch of greedy jerks."

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402 comments

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Classy (5, Insightful)

rwise2112 (648849) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735693)

That's classy.
Why can't more companies act this way towards one another?

One Word (5, Insightful)

zblack_eagle (971870) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735705)

Why can't more companies act this way towards one another?

Sociopaths

Re:One Word (5, Insightful)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735901)

Sociopaths

Maybe, or maybe just immature butthurt jerks.

Re:One Word (0)

bob zee (701656) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736157)

we are very butt hurt about homegirl's passing...

Re:One Word (2, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736183)

Re: Why can't more companies act this way towards one another?
Poor kids who made it and became 'rich' still feel they will never belong.
Legal rage to protect their 'things' makes it feel better for a few seconds.
Rich kids who made it and became 'smart' wonder why they never feel anything.
Legal rage to protect their 'things' lets them feel fun for a few seconds.

Re:Classy (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735713)

I would like to propose new legislation in which every time you file a lawsuit for patent, copyright or trademark infringement, you must send a bottle of a nice bourbon to the defendant.

Re:Classy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735985)

Not to be an ass sir, but I've notice you've advocated sending a bottle of nice bourbon along with a lawsuit. I agree with the sentiment, but most note a concern on execution.

Pedantry IMO is a worse sin than you have committed. However, I must point out that although a fine product Jack Daniels is Tennessee Whiskey and not to be confused with Bourbon that elixir of the gods distilled in Kentucky.

     

Re:Classy (2)

DeathElk (883654) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736229)

Gimme the Jack charcoal filter smoothness over Jim throat sandpaper any day of the week, any hour of the day.

Re:Classy (3, Insightful)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736031)

I would like to propose new legislation in which every time you file a lawsuit for patent, copyright or trademark infringement, you must send a bottle of a nice bourbon to the defendant.

Wouldn't that actually encourage infringing?

Anyway it is nice to see that some people defend their trademark without acting like a douche about it. While I'm not a huge fan of their product or bourbon in general (Scottish single malts for me), I really like their way of doing business.
Well done and please enjoy the free publicity, you earned it.

Re:Classy (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735731)

That's classy.
Why can't more companies act this way towards one another?

It's not profitable (or at least it is not immediately obvious why doing so would be profitable).

Re:Classy (5, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735785)

That's classy. Why can't more companies act this way towards one another?

It's not profitable (or at least it is not immediately obvious why doing so would be profitable).

Not profitable? Do you know how many "That's so classy I'm going to buy a bottle just to support them" messages I've read on various blogs? It's not just a cease and desist letter; it is an advertising coup.

Re:Classy (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735829)

Sure, but Jack Daniels has worked for decades to build that image (probably to overcome the "outlaw redneck" image that comes to mind); how would a company like Microsoft pull this off?

Re:Classy (3, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735937)

Sure, but Jack Daniels has worked for decades to build that image (probably to overcome the "outlaw redneck" image that comes to mind); how would a company like Microsoft pull this off?

Actually, if Microsoft did this it would be even more newsworthy. And they can use all the good will they can get.

Re:Classy (4, Insightful)

rezalas (1227518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736215)

Microsoft provides free updates to their OS even if you're using a copy they know is pirated. I'd say that has a bit of good will to it, especially since most people just get a "you may be a victim of piracy" warning and a black desktop background. When it comes to being polite to people who pirate or infringe on your work, MS isn't exactly slashing throats.

Re:Classy (3, Interesting)

kilfarsnar (561956) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735863)

That's classy. Why can't more companies act this way towards one another?

It's not profitable (or at least it is not immediately obvious why doing so would be profitable).

Not profitable? Do you know how many "That's so classy I'm going to buy a bottle just to support them" messages I've read on various blogs? It's not just a cease and desist letter; it is an advertising coup.

Indeed, this is a great example of garnering a positive public image by actually being positive. It's too bad I don't really like their whiskey, or I'd be sure to buy a bottle myself.

Re:Classy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735989)

That's classy.

Why can't more companies act this way towards one another?

It's not profitable (or at least it is not immediately obvious why doing so would be profitable).

Not profitable? Do you know how many "That's so classy I'm going to buy a bottle just to support them" messages I've read on various blogs? It's not just a cease and desist letter; it is an advertising coup.

Profitable for JD possibly, but not profitable for the lawyers. (If in-house, the profit is corporate empire building.)

Re:Classy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40736117)

(If in-house, the profit is corporate empire building.)

It is clearly an inhouse lawyer from the letterhead and first paragraph, if you'd bothered to RTFA.

Okay, so I couldn't say it with a straight face.

Re:Classy (1)

milkmage (795746) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736111)

....can't really put a price on goodwill or public relations. this move may not directly impact the bottom line, but I, for one, will remember JD as a class act (even though I don't drink it)

Re:Classy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40736147)

It is free advertising and the only reason they are defending is to protect the trademark. This is different than a patent case. The cease and desist is just more advertising.

Re:Classy (4, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735787)

It's not profitable (or at least it is not immediately obvious why doing so would be profitable).

Well... not sure how they're advertising their product in the states, but here in Canada their current ad campaign is all about their history, and trying to set themselves up as a friend of the family. The publicity that a "fuck off and die" C&D letter could create has the potential destroy that ad campaign.

The good will and good publicity that this letter has created, on the other hand, almost certainly helps the image they're trying to foster for their product.

Re:Classy (4, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735995)

Yes, but the question was why other companies are not like this, and the answer is that for most companies, it is not clear that doing this would be competitive or profitable. Jack Daniels has been working very hard to make themselves seem classy, because they want to compete with high end bourbon and scotch brands (I don't think they have a chance if they continue to make whiskey their traditional way). Most companies are not marketing themselves as "classy," because it would not be profitable for them to do so in the first place -- who wants a "classy lawnmower" or a "classy backhoe?"

Re:Classy (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735827)

That's classy.

Why can't more companies act this way towards one another?

It's not profitable (or at least it is not immediately obvious why doing so would be profitable).

The profitability comes from not having to pay their attorneys to sue someone. Lawyers are expensive, probably moreso than graphic designers.

Re:Classy (4, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736009)

I was just thinking same thing from the opposite direction.

Most C&D letters are written by the lawyers. What incentive does a lawyer have to be non-combatitive?

If he is combatative it makes him look good to the people he is representing, and doesn't risk having them question whether he is really doing his job. If he is non-combatative, like this, then that doesn't make more work for him either.

If it leads to a huge battle, the company isn't going to blame the lawyer for being to combative, since he is just fighting for them. If it looks soft or like it isn't going to be effective, they are going to blame him.

Its true, that on a deeper analsys this is probably the better way to go... that doesn't mean that every cog in the wheel making decisions is making that deeper analsys. When the legal department gets notice of infingement, they have one hammer, and you know what that tends to make all problems look like.

Re:Classy (2)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735911)

'not immediately obvious' is right. It's kind of like how lawyers have been telling us, for decades, 'don't apologize, it might open you up to liability in a lawsuit!!!'. When they finally do a study, they find that apologizing, especially with an honest attempt to make it right, virtually eliminates lawsuits, and even if it goes to trial, the apology and offer of (reasponable) compensation tends to keep the awards down.

Of course, my point would be - why would it be in a lawyer's best interest to reduce the number of suits? They generally get paid whether they win the case or not.

I figure it's the same deal here. A little bit of niceness can go a long ways to preventing a lawsuit(expensive), gives good publicity, etc...

Re:Classy (-1, Troll)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735753)

Classy would have been minding their own business. There is no chance of Wensink's book being mistaken for a bottle of Jack Daniels, and therefore there is no trademark infringement or dilution. This letter, though cordial, is as frivolous a trademark complaint as there ever was.

Re:Classy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735789)

right... the sweetness of the letter and the offer for money to help has a lot to do with the fact that there is nothing else they could possibly do..

Re:Classy (2)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735801)

What's that thing about having cake and eating it too. . . . Realistically, trademark and intellectual property aren't going away anytime soon. So, would you rather have letters and processes like this, or would you just like to skip to the lawsuits at the drop of a hat?

Re:Classy (4, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735831)

Unfortunately, no. Failure to enforce a trademark does weaken it. I am not a lawyer but here's a Web page by someone who is: http://www.ggmark.com/protect.html#Maintenance [ggmark.com]

It's not that consumers are apt to confuse the book with the whiskey. It's that Jack Daniel's failure to respond would be taken as evidence by a future trademark court that they don't care who uses their logo or for what purpose.

Re:Classy (-1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735907)

You can't fail to enforce a trademark where no valid trademark rights exist. There is no trademark infringement by this book, so there is nothing for JD to defend.

Re:Classy (4, Insightful)

RaceProUK (1137575) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736171)

Apart from guarding against potential misuse of their trademark design, that is.

The book may not technically be infringing, but it's close enough that JD had to do something. At least they had the decency to say 'We like what you did, but unfortunately we have to request you change it. We'll even help with the cost.', instead of the more usual 'Remove it last year of we'll sue for a kajillion dollars every second you don't comply!!!!1'.

Re:Classy (4, Informative)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735843)

It could be mistaken as being an official JD product. I assume JD sells merchandise (including books of some sort) in addition to the drinks themselves.

Re:Classy (4, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735857)

They simply can't do this. This is the one area of intellectual property where they simply cannot mind their own business. This is mentioned in the letter and is done so in a very civil matter.

They can't just "ignore this and hope it will go away".

Re:Classy (2)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735875)

Due to the sometimes crazy way Trademarks are purchased (yes they're purchased based on industries) a company by law protect their trademark or they loose it. Read up on Xerox and Trademark Dilution, it'll tell you a lot about how crazy trademark law can be.

In this case, I have to agree with the others and offer another "Well Done" to the Jack Daniels Lawyers who didn't go overboard on the trademark issue. Hell this is the first I've even heard of a company offering to help someone avoid infringing, which is refreshing instead of annoying everyone by immedaitely going to war.

Re:Classy (4, Interesting)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735881)

There is indeed a chance that the book could be confused with having been produced by Jack Daniels, and that the content reflects the views of the company.

Re:Classy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735891)

A company is required to at least make an attempt to address all remotely possible trademark infringement. If they don't, someone else can use it as an example later to allow actual trademark infringement - it's a way of protecting against brand genericisation. Most companies' legal teams do so with *angry* letters, so it's nice to see a company do so politely.

Re:Classy (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735895)

Classy would have been minding their own business. There is no chance of Wensink's book being mistaken for a bottle of Jack Daniels, and therefore there is no trademark infringement or dilution.

Classy, or at least very funny, would have been peeling the "real label" off a bottle of jack, and pasting a color photocopy of the dudes book cover on the bottle, shipping it to the author, and asking him what he thinks of the situation now that the tables are turned on him. That would have been intensely LOL-worthy.

Its appropriate to protect trademarks. I don't think you'd find it very amusing if I started wearing a tee shirt with a logo of "My name is Hatta (162192)". Most paid by the hour lawyers tend to go a bit overboard, maxing out the billable hours rather than responsibly serving their masters, etc.

Re:Classy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735913)

Best answer so far. Most businesses aren't nice about defending their trademarks because they'll get lawyered right back if they do. If you wrote a nice letter like that and received a "mind your own business, we're not selling liquor", would you send a nice letter the next time?

The civil thing to do is not to use other people's trademarks, whole or modified, to sell your products, same category or not. Have some pride in your work and build your own brand. It may or may not be legal to use a likeness in this case because it's another product category, but it's certainly not nice and Jack Daniels is perfectly entitled to being miffed.

Re:Classy (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735941)

Cow manure. It is very understandable that they want their trademark to stand out. Sure, they could have allowed him to use it, just this once.... and the dude selling candy would have been okay as well. Oh, sure, the granny selling her knitting with a similar logo... who cares...

And then the kiddie-porn company that kills baby seals and dumps radioactive shit into the world's water supply comes along and claims that the trademark is free game because Jack Daniels, obviously, hasn't felt the need to protect it thus far.

No, THIS is exactly how this should have happened. Anyone not doing it like this needs to get kicked in the balls either by society or by stock holders.

Re:Classy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735993)

Hardly "frivolous" from my point of view.
Fast sum-up for those not reading the article (this is /. )
They're not telling "you can't do that", but clearly "please change your cover when your book is re-printed".
They are willing to participate to the cost involved if the author, for whatever reason, want to recall the current edition.

I agree, there is no trademark infringement (but there are books, probably licensed, using the design http://www.amazon.com/Jack-Daniels-Spirit-Tennessee-Cookbook/dp/1595553010/ref=pd_sim_b_7 so I'm not sure...) and they would probably loose any legal action.

You blame them for protecting the visual identity of their brand ? By a gentle demand ?
I'm sure you can find better targets...

Re:Classy (5, Insightful)

Sentrion (964745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736143)

1. Companies don't just have the option of defending their trademarks, they have the DUTY to defend their trademarks or lose the right to those trademarks. Of course nobody is going to presume that a book is a bottle of Jack Daniels, but the design of the cover is clearly recognizable as the Jack Daniels design, even referencing "40% ALC. BY VOL." Having your trademark used by other people and companies could set a track record of not defending your trademark, which would mean that more people could use your trademark and with so many examples of others being allowed to do it you might not be able to stop anybody from using in the future. So if someone used the trademark and wrote a book that advocated giving alcohol to children it could become a real liability for Jack Daniels, both in the court of law and the court of public opinion, which could really affect a companies ability to sell and market their product.

2. Jack Daniels also does license their trademarks to other companies, such a Friday's restaurants that serve the Jack Daniel's grilled meals, and there are also cookbooks that have agreements with Jack Daniels to use the trademark. So sub-licensing their own trademark is a profitable side business, and a business that is hard to continue when anybody can just use their trademark for free without paying for it.

If you don't like trademark law then do something to change it, but don't disparage Jack Daniels for playing by the rules and conducting themselves in a manner that goes above and beyond what the law requires and above what is commonly accepted practice.

Re:Classy (5, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735803)

That's classy. Why can't more companies act this way towards one another?

It may well be the entire industry that acts that way. A couple of years ago I was at a tasting event with the either Grandson or Great Grandson of Jim Beam, and he was the same way. He had great things to say about all of his Kentucky competitors' products. I think their view of things is to promote Kentucky Burbon, not just their own label. A rising tide lifts all ships kind of thing.

Re:Classy (4, Funny)

RaceProUK (1137575) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736225)

That's probably because he's a member of the sub-species 'Homo sapiens pleasentus', rather than the parasitic 'Homo sapiens legalitus' aka lawyer.

Re:Classy (3, Insightful)

habig (12787) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735811)

Why can't more companies act this way towards one another?

A cynical take on why lawyers don't usually act like this: the purpose of law and lawyers is to resolve conflicts. By doing so in a jerky way, they ensure more future conflicts, ergo, job security.

That said, these guys resolved this conflict in the best way possible, kudos to them: hope they don't get disbarred for it or anything!

Re:Classy (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735813)

Too many people grew up watching Apple sue everybody, never thinking Apple was doing it wrong.

Re:Classy (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735855)

Trademarks are supposed to prevent consumers from being confused as to the source of a product. There is no chance someone who is looking to buy a bottle of whiskey is going to be duped into buying a book instead. This supposedly 'classy' move is nothing more than an attempt to sweet-talk the guy into changing something that no court would order him to change.

Re:Classy (4, Informative)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735991)

Jack Daniels produces other items as well, such as t-shirts with their logo on them. The book could easily be mistaken as a product of the company.

Re:Classy (2)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736039)

As opposed to bullying him and threatening him with the ruinous legal fees he would have to pay to get the court to rule in his favour? Yeah, I'll take this. A step in the right direction is a GOOD thing, even if it's only part of the way there.

Re:Classy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40736149)

Except Jack Daniels also sells BBQ sauce; which means they probably also published a cookbook to go with it.

Re:Classy (1)

Sentrion (964745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736191)

You need to see my reply to Hatta above.

Re:Classy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735925)

That's classy.

Why can't more companies act this way towards one another?

Because lawyers get more money/power when they get a good fight going then when they smooth things over...

Stylish but IMHO they are over-reaching scum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735969)

I know the majority opinion is JD wrote a nice letter, therefore are good guys. But I fundemanetally disagree.

JD sells booze. The JD trademark is to do with booze.

The book author sells books. There is no likelihood that a consumer will look at the book, and think it's a bottle of booze, or that's made by JD.

The purpose of a trademark is to allow the owner to identify their goods to the public, without confusion. It isn't to control all cultural or artistic references to the product. For this reason I think JD is over-reaching.

The fact that that JD wrote a nice letter, is also leading people to ignore that JD wants to step on this guy's artistic vision. Yes maybe, the vision is crap (I haven't read the book, so I don't know), and maybe he doesn't care about the cover (or maybe he does, and it's fundamental to his vision?) - but JD have no right to intrude on this.

MobyDobie

Re:Classy (-1, Redundant)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736057)

classy or not, it's still bullshit. this is an artistic rendering for a book cover, nothing more. JD has no business asking an author to change their cover. IMO they have no legal recourse, so they're just going to "ask nicely" and hope they get what they want. if they had a solid legal case against this, they would most certainly have sent a nastier letter. why are you people so happy to allow a corporation to try to limit artistic expression? it would be like them asking a country songwriter to remove the words "jack daniels" from a song about an alcoholic father who beats his kids... i'm sure the response would be quite different in this case...

Re:Classy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40736199)

Why? Because there are a lot of jerks out there that are trying to piggy pack off intellectual property of others and won't stop until they are told in no uncertain terms what will happen to them if they don't stop.

If a guy comes into your yard with a shovel and starts digging up your grass, your bushes, your flowers, etc., are you going to say "uh .... do you mind not digging ... errr ... it really doesn't look very nice .... uhh ... I could help carry that shovel for you" or are you going to say "get off my law you mf because I'm calling the police right now"? Maybe a few people will respond to the first statement, but most will respond to the second statement.

Re:Classy (1)

Zemran (3101) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736219)

This will get them so much more good PR than all those other stupid cease and desist letters :-) I for one am positively impressed by this.

Quite unusual (5, Funny)

geogob (569250) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735699)

Their lawyers must be drunk or something...

Re:Quite unusual (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735795)

It was a nicely worded letter. Unfortunately it was delivered by taping it to a whiskey bottle then throwing it at the offenders head.

Re:Quite unusual (4, Informative)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735927)

Their lawyers must be drunk or something...

It was too nice to be written by lawyers.

In the interests of promoting good businesses, (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735703)

I intend to go out and buy a bottle of fine Jack Daniels bourbon after work today.

Re:In the interests of promoting good businesses, (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735733)

The same as you did yesterday and the day before.... I'll be doing the same.

Re:In the interests of promoting good businesses, (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735825)

Jack Daniels is NOT bourbon... it is a charcoal-filtered Tennessee whiskey. Bourbon comes from Kentucky. They are close, but not the same thing. ...and I will also be buying a bottle tonight.

Re:In the interests of promoting good businesses, (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735943)

I guess bourbon poured through a BBQ isn't great sales patter. Mmmmm Whiskey and BBQ. Ribs and beer.

Hello..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735709)

Quote: "I believe plenty of other companies (and many in the tech world) could use this as an example of how *not* to alienate people and come off looking like a bunch of greedy jerks."

Apple.........

This is how you get things done (5, Insightful)

din0 (2608929) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735711)

With a tip of the hat, a please and thank you --A Southerner

Wouldn't work in the tech world... (0)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735715)

In this case the first run of the book survives. In the tech world, changing the "digital version" of infringing software wouldn't leave a trace.

>> ...one party claims that another party is using its size to “bully” to get its way. Not this time.

Er...yes, this time. Jack Daniels won.

Re:Wouldn't work in the tech world... (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735873)

Except JD isn't using its size to bully around the author... so no, not this time. Whether or not JD won doesn't much matter (especially since the author made out too).

There's a difference. (5, Informative)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735893)

Jack Daniels didn't demand the book cease printing, nor did it demand all the current books be taken off the shelf.

we simply request that you change the cover design when the book is re-printed

They go on to offer to help pay for the change if he does it sooner than the reprint/on the digital version.

Re:Wouldn't work in the tech world... (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735957)

I don't see anything about size. If you didn't know anything about Jack Daniels how would you be able to say they are a huge brand just from the letter?

Decent, I don't think so... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735739)

Who cares that they can write a decent cease and desist letter over something dumb? Maybe they can be decent and stop contributing to lobbyists, who push for laws that hinder police and prosecutors from punishing drunk drivers, and protect bars and bartenders who over serve!

Besides, I like Wild Turkey.

I always knew Jack was a gentleman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735747)

and his instructions to his lawyers to send this nice a C&D are proof of his excellent character.

Re:I always knew Jack was a gentleman (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735997)

There's fightin' whiskey and there's lovin' whiskey...

Well yeah (1)

kiriath (2670145) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735761)

They're Gentlemen... not in the define-which-is-the-guys-bathroom way, but in the fine-upstanding-wellmannered-educated way.

Kudos!

Happy Drunk Lawyers FTW!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735769)

Think the next bottle of whiskey I buy for making whiskey burgers will be a bottle of Jacks.

Re:Happy Drunk Lawyers FTW!! (3, Interesting)

marsu_k (701360) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736013)

Offtopic, but... whiskey burgers? Please elaborate, I'm intrigued.

How to publish a book... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735771)

You want to write your own book?

But you don't have enough money to spend on good design for the cover?

Your problem is solved!

Just use Jack Daniels label for your cover and you are going to receive C&D letter with offer for FREE design and republish!

P.S. Do not forget to mention that you are a big fan of Jack Daniels brand and products!

Little bit surprised by the poor phrasing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735775)

Nice sentiments in the letter, but poor phrasing. The writer of the letter commended the author for being a "fan of the brand", but the one sentence is ambiguous at best and poorly written at worst: "As a fan of the brand, I'm sure that is not something you intended..." The author is the "fan of the brand", but the writer of the letter implies that he is the fan. That usage happens quite often. For an expensive law firm, though, it seems like a stupid error.

Re:Little bit surprised by the poor phrasing (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736003)

"The author is the "fan of the brand", but the writer of the letter implies that he is the fan."

It's implied.

'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.'
      Charles Caleb Colton

Re:Little bit surprised by the poor phrasing (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736089)

That usage happens quite often. For an expensive law firm, though, it seems like a stupid error.

Usages that happen quite often are by definition not errors. Source: Every linguist of the last century.

Re:Little bit surprised by the poor phrasing (1)

Sentrion (964745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736245)

Slurred speech quickly translates to slurred grammar when you're a corporate lawyer who consumes every free sample of your company's product.

Settle this over a bottle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735791)

Why not settle the dispute over a bottle of jack daniels and a drinking game?

Will not work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735807)

While in other businesses a greedy attitude does not work, in technology and financial companies the management is greed driven. So while Jack Daniels tend to look not greedy (and they most definitely aren't) Samsung, Apple, M$, IBM, Oracle, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup etc. pp. are greedy companies. That's why they collect so much money for mean products.

Win/win (5, Insightful)

Jesrad (716567) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735839)

JD's gets free publicity, and strengthens the brand by setting a nice example and by turning Wensik's book's first edition into a collector for its own whiskey fans, while the author enjoys greater exposition for his book, and sells out the first edition as a collector item. The general public loses nothing, some of us can even enjoy an unexpected collectible.

This really is the nicer way to handle brand infringement.

Only one thing explains the "niceness" factor (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735853)

They wrote it while testing their own product.

Re:Only one thing explains the "niceness" factor (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40736033)

Good thing they wrote it when they did then as an hour or two later this article would be titled "Jack Daniels Shows How Not To Write a Cease and Desist Letter".

Sneaky and devious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735859)

No one would confuse a novel for a bottle of bourbon. JD is simply trying psychological manipulation 101 to get what they want. NEVER trust a lawyer, not even your own, NEVER believe what a business is telling you.

Re:Sneaky and devious (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735965)

What about other JD merchandise? I could see someone thinking it was an official JD book.

Re:Sneaky and devious (5, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736237)

Nah, I'm going to give them this one. The slam dunk is a book that's "40 % ALC. By VOL". It was obviously created to connect with the brand. The decorative lines (filigree?) around the edges is also identical. You don't get to trade on someone else's brand, and that's what the author is doing.

Follow up (3)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735865)

Please tell me the author had as much decency as Jack Daniels and did the right thing by responding with a simple statement along the lines of

"done".

The publisher never considered trademark issue? (2)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735879)

I find that a little hard to believe.

Well done JD (2)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735909)

$faith_in_humanity++;

Better than he deserved (5, Interesting)

namgge (777284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40735915)

The Jack Daniel's company's gracious reaction to the abuse of their trade mark is more than the book's publisher deserved. Deliberately ripping-off another company's IPR for a book jacket is not the behaviour of a reputable publisher.

My experience, however, is that book-publishers are meticulous to the point of obsession about ensuring they have all the necessary rights for the cover artwork in place before going to press. This does make me wonder whether this incident is actually a publicity stunt...

We all love uncle Jack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40735961)

+1 to uncle Jack

Parody (4, Insightful)

hey (83763) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736045)

Perhaps this could be called parody. Lots of times people take a famous logo and tweak it for a joke or comment. eg the Coke logo that says "Cocaine".
Generally that's called fair use.

Fair use, free speech (1)

k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736241)

Especially since it's not in the same line (and scale) of business. Besides fair use, parodies (such as the cover if not the book itself) ought to be covered by freedom of expression laws.

Jack Daniels previously sued Swedish bar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40736049)

Here's a Google translation from the Swedish news about it: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=sv&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gp.se%2Fnyheter%2Fgoteborg%2F1.1007511-whiskyjatte-stammer-avenykrog-pa-miljonbelopp

Just means (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40736065)

It just means they have no case to get them to stop doing what they're doing, and their lawyer knows that. It's parody, and that is fair use. So they write this dumb shit, and the whole world thinks they're saints. Pathetic.

Re:Just means (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40736221)

Finally, someone sees through the pathetic, manipulative "psych 101" shyster garbage. This is a corporation, with lawyers. Period, end of story.

This will be remembered (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#40736165)

case in point: the first thing I thought of when reading TFA, was the bloodthirsty license agreement [frogstar.com] which was written around 1985.

Band Logo (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40736223)

A couple of friends of mine formed band that used a very Jack Daniels-esque Logo for a while. When they became popular, they got a very similar letter from JD. They changed the logo - and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have if the letter had been more harshly-worded or even threatening, given how anti-establishment they are =)
Not being an asshole can bring you remarkably far when dealing with people.

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