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Internet Brands Sues People For Forking Under CC BY-SA

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the do-you-know-how-this-works dept.

The Courts 168

David Gerard writes "Internet Brands bought Wikitravel.org in 2006, plastered it with ads and neglected it. After years, the Wikitravel community finally decided to fork under CC by-sa and move to Wikimedia. Internet Brands is now suing two of the unpaid volunteers for wanting to leave. The Wikimedia Foundation is seeking a declaratory judgement (PDF) that you can actually fork a free-content project without permission. Internet Brands has a track record of scorched-earth litigation tactics."

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frosty piss heals scortched hearth (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266143)

drink it down

Fork-A (-1, Offtopic)

puddingebola (2036796) | about 2 years ago | (#41266173)

(Italian accent) I fork-a the free meat-a whenever I get-a the chance-a. Of course-a you can-a do that-a. Were they-a at-a a party-a or something-a?

Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266223)

I hope Internet Brands wins. Fuck the freetards.

Re:Good (5, Funny)

oakgrove (845019) | about 2 years ago | (#41266773)

I hope Internet Brands wins. Fuck the freetards.

So, um, I notice you're using words from the English language without a license, freetard. See you in court.

Re:Good (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41267127)

Please dont feed the trolls.

Sincerely,
The internet.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41267571)

But it's so much fun to use their own shit against them.

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41267655)

"Hurr hurr I so smarts except that I'm not".

-F. Re Tard

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41268187)

"Hurr hurr I a hypocrite who use free website to talk shit but call other guy freetard"

-H. Y. Pocrite

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41267581)

I see you're a fucking idiot since the English language isn't copyrighted. Go die in a fire.

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41268153)

How much did you pay to post on Slashdot, freetard? I'll happily get in line behind you at the bonfire.

CC-BY-SA is copyrighted you teutonic twat (1)

decora (1710862) | about 2 years ago | (#41268391)

the whole basis of the GPL, BSD, CC, and all other 'open source' licenses is founded in copyright law, you bulbous, leaking colostomy bag.

Re:Good (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#41267637)

I hope Internet Brands wins. Fuck the freetards.

You are posting AC, so I think it is fair to assume you haven't paid for a slashdot subscription.
That makes you a freetard. So, you first - let's see you fuck yourself!

Re:Good (4, Funny)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#41268301)

I don't think ANYONE wants to see that!

Boycott! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266315)

I would boycott these assholes if I'd ever heard of them.

Re:Boycott! (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#41266567)

I would boycott these assholes if I'd ever heard of them.

I'd just say fork 'em.

Re:Boycott! (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#41266813)

They actually own a lot of things. They bought a website I used to frequent. Things didn't change much if at all from what I could tell after they bought it though.

Re:Boycott! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41267519)

They're the guys who bought vbulletin and destroyed it.

Re:Boycott! (1)

Goaway (82658) | about 2 years ago | (#41268559)

There was something to destroy in vbulletin?

Re:Boycott! (2)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#41267939)

I would boycott these assholes if I'd ever heard of them.

The same for me. Plus, I love the fact that their wikipedia entry for Xenforo says: "Its popularity is growing according to feedback from various community forums and weblogs.[2]". With the citation pointing back to just one blog, its own company blog with absolutely zero comments posted on it (despite having that feature turned on).

Re:Boycott! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41268605)

The same for me. Plus, I love the fact that their wikipedia entry for Xenforo says: "Its popularity is growing according to feedback from various community forums and weblogs.[2]". With the citation pointing back to just one blog, its own company blog with absolutely zero comments posted on it (despite having that feature turned on).

That site in the notation is not owned, ran by, or associated in any way with XenForo; it is somebodys spam link farm hoping that people might be confused into thinking it was an official site.

You get what you pay for (5, Insightful)

sabri (584428) | about 2 years ago | (#41266327)

How can they not understand that volunteers are exactly that: someone volunteering. And their volunteering can cease at any time. They should be countersued for abuse of legal procedures.

Re:You get what you pay for (5, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41266525)

How can they not understand that volunteers are exactly that: someone volunteering. And their volunteering can cease at any time. They should be countersued for abuse of legal procedures.

Well, a little background on who Internet Brands is and what their business model is might help....

From wikipedia: The company was founded in 1998 as CarsDirect.com, launched from the business incubator Idealab. The company invented a consumer-advocacy approach to selling cars "haggle-free" online, an approach it continues to employ.[9] In 2000, Roger Penske invested in the company and joined the Board of Directors. In 2002, Time Magazine voted the site one of the 50 best in the world.[10]
The company changed its name to Internet Brands in 2005.[11] The company's IPO was in November 2007 on the NASDAQ exchange.[12] INET was added to the NASDAQ Internet Index on March 22, 2010.[13]
Internet Brands is headquartered in El Segundo, California; Autodata is headquartered in London, Ontario.
Internet Brands agreed to be acquired for $640 million by the private equity firm Hellman & Friedman in September 2010,[14][15] and was thus delisted from NASDAQ.

Might be more interesting now to find out who Hellman & Friedman are...

Also from wikipedia: Hellman & Friedman LLC (H&F) is a private equity firm, founded in 1984 by Warren Hellman[2][3] and Tully Friedman,[note 1] that makes investments primarily through leveraged buyouts and minority growth capital investments.

Dunno about you, but LBO people don't set well with me after an LBO killed a company I worked for, which would have been worth at least a billion $ annually, had they invested in us rather than suck us dry like a bunch of leeches. YMMV

Re:You get what you pay for (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266735)

LBO - Private Equity - aka Corporate Raider: buy a company with little money down, load acquired company up with debt, charge acquired company millions of dollars in "fees" for "consulting", and then if company is still successful sucker the....do an IPO and if the acquired company goes belly up, stick the...put the company into bankruptcy and let the creditors eat it after siphoning millions of dollars out of the company. In the meantime, honest hardworking people - people who actually have to work for a living - get canned without so much as a handshake and the Private Equity guys walk away with millions or billions of dollars of equity that was sucked out of the company.

A great illustration of this technique was the bar that Paulie bought in the movie GoodFellas: run up the restaurant's credit, buy Cutty Sark, sell the booze at a discount, and when the restaurant goes bankrupt, burn it down the for insurance money. The only difference is that the Private Equity guys do the legal version.

That's how Mitt Romney made his millions: by fucking over small investors and banks.

Re:You get what you pay for (1, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41267039)

LBO - Private Equity - aka Corporate Raider: buy a company with little money down, load acquired company up with debt, charge acquired company millions of dollars in "fees" for "consulting", and then if company is still successful sucker the....do an IPO and if the acquired company goes belly up, stick the...put the company into bankruptcy and let the creditors eat it after siphoning millions of dollars out of the company. In the meantime, honest hardworking people - people who actually have to work for a living - get canned without so much as a handshake and the Private Equity guys walk away with millions or billions of dollars of equity that was sucked out of the company.

A great illustration of this technique was the bar that Paulie bought in the movie GoodFellas: run up the restaurant's credit, buy Cutty Sark, sell the booze at a discount, and when the restaurant goes bankrupt, burn it down the for insurance money. The only difference is that the Private Equity guys do the legal version.

That's how Mitt Romney made his millions: by fucking over small investors and banks.

And the private equity people usually are using someone else's money, rarely putting their own into the mix, but collecting their wages as "administrative fee" Our LBO people leveraged our own assets to buy us, plus some investor money. They're rule of thum was 1 in 5 companies go bust anyway, no matter what you do, so they work on keeping 4 companies going, hoping to spin them off or sell assets for a profit, while they draw "administrative fees" from the 5th company until it's fully wound down and dies, leaving the bank and their own investors with a loss. Not particularly the sort of success story you'll hear Mitt going on about.

Re:You get what you pay for (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 years ago | (#41267423)

The way you make it sound, they were holding a gun to the original owners head to make them sell. Or people were forced to hand over cash to finance these operations. Or that ...

The point is, this shit was all voluntary by all parties. The only people I actually feel sorry for at the "human resources" that worked there. And anyplace that has a "human resources" department should be suspect.

Re:You get what you pay for (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41268671)

you should read "Barbarians at the gate" and "den of thieves" .. excellent books on LBOs and junk bonds.... and how everyone is screwed over except the banks involved... people should stop investing in mutual funds and trusting fund managers... alas that is a hard sell...

Re:You get what you pay for (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#41267909)

You do realize that Bain Capital made most of its money by finding companies that were in trouble. They then figured if there was a way they could save them.
They would then purchase the company at a deep discount and then turn the company around for a massive profit.
If it did not work then they would try to get what they could back from the company before it died.

They did not always do "best for the employee" stuff but the did invest in troubled assets and try to save them. For profit of course.

Most of the companies that filed under Bain were companies that were doing badly when they were purchased.

Re:You get what you pay for (2)

hrvatska (790627) | about 2 years ago | (#41267085)

You left out the raiding of the company pension plan step that's occasionally done after an LBO.

Re:You get what you pay for (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 2 years ago | (#41267387)

In fairness to Romney and Bain Capital, their only motive is not to gut a company; their motive is profit. Most often gutting a company is the way they make their money. Sometimes they rescue a company as this is more profitable. I don't know what the percentages are but I would say gutting is done more often.

Re:You get what you pay for (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#41267565)

I don't know what the percentages are but I would say gutting is done more often.

I wish we would get some actual investigative journalism on Bain's record. All I've heard so far are one-off cases cherry-picked to support the advocacy position that the particular cherry-picker wants to make. I'd like to a see a comprehensively researched table listing every company Bain took over and the various results of the time before, during and after Bain's involvement.

you know what happens to journalists (2)

decora (1710862) | about 2 years ago | (#41268475)

who go after wall street?

ask Leah McGrath Goodman.

or Moe Tkacik

or Michael Lewis

Re:You get what you pay for (5, Informative)

bws111 (1216812) | about 2 years ago | (#41266767)

This has nothing to do with them being volunteers, and very little to do with the fork.

If you read the actual suit, you will find tha tthe actual complaints are trademark violations, among some other things.

From the suit, they are claiming that the 'unpaid volunteers' decided to fork the site (which they admit they can do). However, the admins then went on WikiTravel's site and made posts stating that 'WikiTravel (a trademark) was moving to WikiMedia'. It is not. In addition, they claim, these volunteers sent out emails to WikiTravel's customers, using WiikiTravel's email accounts, and again stated in these emails that WikiTravel was moving to WikiMedia.

If true, that is not 'forking a project', it is lying and forgery.

Re:You get what you pay for (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#41266845)

I wish I'd read this before commenting earlier. This is the other side of the proverbial coin it seems.

the trademark claims are bogus (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41267003)

The IB complaint mentions "unlawful acts" several times, but usually without any specifics. The only allegation that comes anywhere close to a trademark infringement is that one of the defendants sent an email saying "the wikitravel admins are planning to..." do exactly what they then did, i.e. fork the project. That's a nominative use of the wikitravel trademark, totally protected under the First Amendment.

The IB complaint really tries to paint a picture of some kind of tortious interference, but doesn't actually list that claim. Possibly because those admins are volunteers and they have no business relations with IB to interfere with.

It's a little odd that Wikimedia filed a separate action; I'd think a simple demurral would make the original case go away more cheaply.

Re:the trademark claims are bogus (4, Informative)

bws111 (1216812) | about 2 years ago | (#41267267)

I don't know what you were reading, but they clearly do state the claim.

29. For example, on August 18, 2012, Holliday improperly and
wrongfully emailed at least several hundred of Wikitravel members, purporting to
be from Wikitravel and informing members that the Wikitravel Website was
“migrating” to the Wikimedia Foundation. Upon information and belief, the
number emailed is far greater.

30. Specifically, Holliday’s email contained the Subject Line, “Important
information about Wikitravel” and its body stated, “This email is being sent to you
on behalf of the Wikitravel administrators since you have put some real time and
effort into working on Wikitravel. We wanted to make sure that you are up to
date and in the loop regarding big changes in the community that will affect the
future of your work! As you may already have heard, Wikitravel’s community is
looking to migrate to the Wikimedia Foundation.”

the 'wikitravel community' is not the same thing (4, Insightful)

decora (1710862) | about 2 years ago | (#41268493)

as the 'wikitravel company'. the company doesnt own the 'community'.

Re:the trademark claims are bogus (2)

arose (644256) | about 2 years ago | (#41268849)

So what exactly is untrue about the community looking to migrate? The interpretation that it's the website that's migrating is not supported by the given quote.

Re:the trademark claims are bogus (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41267511)

>>>The IB complaint really tries to paint a picture of some kind of tortious interference, but doesn't actually list that claim.

"C'mon Boss. Can't I just shoot 'em? It will be quicker....."

Re:You get what you pay for (3, Informative)

hydrofix (1253498) | about 2 years ago | (#41267531)

Interesting points, but in paragraphs 24 and 34 of the suit [ibsrv.net] they quite much seem to claim a "violation of the [CC BY-SA] License" and that "the creation of 'Wiki Travel Guide' has been done without proper attribution". The alleged trademark infringement happened when the volunteer admin wrote to the Wikitravel users in an e-mail that the "Wikitravel community" was migrating to Wikimedia Foundation, which is obviously different from claiming that "Wikitravel" (the site) was migrating to Wikimedia (a view also admitted by Internet Brands in the suit.)

Anyway, just because someone somewhere mentioned your trademark in context that did not please you is not grounds for damages. What IB seems to claim is that the supposed Wikimedia hosted travel website would infringe its trademark - before it has even launched! Given that they only own a trademark for a travel website "Wikitravel", anyone should be able to launch a new website with different name.

Given that they are making such claims of trademark and license violations even before those have happened (obviously you can not infringe with a non-existing product or not give attribution before you actually start distributing the content), it seems like a desperate last resort effort to stop the split by suing a few individuals to me.

Re:You get what you pay for (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41267961)

it seems like a desperate last resort effort to stop the split by suing a few individuals to me.

And don't forget the free publicity. I hear they might even get Streisand to sing.

Re:You get what you pay for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41267995)

To me, "WikiTravel" isn't a trademark associated with the company that owns it: it's a label for the assembly of data that's been contributed to the corresponding wiki over the last decade. I get that they have a legal hold on the trademark - but in an ideal world, a trademark wouldn't go to whoever pays for it, but to whoever is providing something closest to whatever product made the trademark known.

Re:You get what you pay for (4, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#41266867)

Uhhh...way to not read TFA or even TFS friend. They are NOT suing because they left, they are suing because they forked Wikitravel which they want to keep as a spammy park page until you give them "what its worth" which I guarantee you is some insane amount that nobody in their right mind would ever give.

Sadly I got to see the same kind of douchebag behavior when I tried contacting the companies that put out the old shareware discs for putting out a shareware emulator on a stick. I wasn't gonna make a dime, the companies that made the shareware was gonna split every cent, and the actual game devs liked the idea of their old games being played again, it was the douchebag companies that had bought up the rights when the original companies went out of business that wouldn't settle for less than assraping. We are talking titles that wouldn't have made it up to even Codename:Tenka on name recognition and companies wanting $75,000+ AND the rights to all our stuff just to have their "precious IP".

Which is of course why we need a "use it or lose it" clause because otherwise you get shit like this, where a company has no desire or intention to ever do a damned thing with a property but won't let anybody else do a damned thing either without giving them 50 times what they paid for it. Total horseshit and I hope the volunteers win.

It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (-1, Troll)

Orga (1720130) | about 2 years ago | (#41266347)

They bought it, they can bury it. Just because someone is trashing something doesn't give you the right to steal it from them claiming you'll use it better.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (5, Informative)

devlogic (109750) | about 2 years ago | (#41266395)

But it's not content theft; the volunteers who are forking via Wikitravel via CC-sa are obeying the license that the source site uses; it's even on the original site right now:
"Wikitravel uses a copyleft license for all text, images, and other content on the Web site. Anyone can use Wikitravel content according to the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license."
via: http://wikitravel.org/shared/Copyleft [wikitravel.org]

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (-1, Troll)

Orga (1720130) | about 2 years ago | (#41266447)

Citation that they are obeying the license that the source site uses?

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266529)

Citation that they are not?

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (1)

Orga (1720130) | about 2 years ago | (#41266619)

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 2 years ago | (#41266865)

That's really cute. But judging from your vehement arguing for the indefensible in this case, I'm going to have to strike your citation on grounds of "original research". Sorry, Ms. Giberti. Welcome to the internet.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41268593)

No, we should welcome you to "the rest of the internet", which is not actually Wikipedia.

You see, Wikipedia's rules actually only apply to Wikipedia itself. "The rest of the internet" does not actually need to follow them.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (1)

Rakishi (759894) | about 2 years ago | (#41267009)

What you linked explicitly says that others can copy the wikitravel website because of the licence. So according to your own document it's not theft if it's attributed.

The complaints are about trademark infringement and various things which had nothing to do with the fact that wikitravel was copied but merely deals with the circumstances around it being copied. In other words it's nothing to do with the licence so your statements are utter BS.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 2 years ago | (#41266741)

Statement ending with a question mark?

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#41266857)

Declaration ending with a period.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#41267215)

Exclamatory!

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41267327)

Title of the song! [youtube.com]

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#41266545)

The citation showing that current materials on WikiTravel are licensed under CC-BY-SA is in the post to which you've replied to. You can go and read the text of the license yourself, it's public. Finally, all Wikimedia projects to date (Wikipedia, Wiktionary etc) are also under CC-BY-SA, so of course this one will be, as well.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 2 years ago | (#41266903)

This case has very little to do with the content or the CC-sa license. That seems to just be a red herring used to raise the righteous indignation of slashdot.

The actual suit seems to be about trademarks and misleading statements. Namely statements that say that WikiTravel is becoming or moving to WikiMedia. WikiTravel is a trademark owned by Internet Brands, and is not moving to WikiMedia. Some people that used to be associated with WikiTravel are moving to WikiMedia and taking content with them, but that is not the issue..

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (2)

Alan Shutko (5101) | about 2 years ago | (#41266427)

The Creative Commons License that it was under gives you the right to do exactly that. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ [creativecommons.org]

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41266429)

There's no theft here. All the web site content is published under a license that allows copying, provided you attribute the original.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266437)

They bought it, they can bury it. Just because someone is trashing something doesn't give you the right to steal it from them claiming you'll use it better.

What's good for the goose is also good for the gander.

If I write something for Wikipedia, then *I* am the original copyright holder.
When posting it to Wikipedia, I license *my content* to Wikipedia under fairly liberal terms.
Because I am the copyright holder, I am free to license it to one or more entities under the same or different terms, or contribute it to the public domain.

Just because somebody owns one copy doesn't mean they own all copies.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266485)

You misunderstand the situation. They do not own the copyright to the material on the website. Furthermore, it is all licensed under a cc-by-sa license, so even if it were, they presumably would still have the right to use it however they like (that is how it is licensed). The only people "stealing" anything are the website owners.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (2)

Intropy (2009018) | about 2 years ago | (#41266555)

That would be true but the materials they purchased the rights to had already been made available under the Creative Commons License BY-SA. Internet Brands has the rights to the content, but they can't revoke licenses already given. The license under which the material was already made available permits redistribution as long as the redistribution is done with an identical license to the original and provides attribution, so if Wikimedia follows those guidelines they are free to redistribute it, create derivative works, etc.

Consider this analogy in the print world. I write a novel and license a PublisherCo to distribute the novel in any form for all time in exchange for a big one-time payment up front. I'm then free to sell the copyright to Paper Brands for another one-time payment. Paper Brands now holds the copyright, but the licenses are still out there. They can't call up PublisherCo and call takesies-backsies any more than I could have before selling the rights.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#41266633)

Not true. You can revoke the licensing rights to your novel. Copyright licensing rights are not unrevokable.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#41266659)

I should say not unrevokable unless you have a contract saying otherwise.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266591)

I'm not sure what you are trying to say exactly, but you might want to do a little more reading.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (2)

Orga (1720130) | about 2 years ago | (#41266635)

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (2)

Rakishi (759894) | about 2 years ago | (#41267025)

What you linked explicitly says that others can copy the wikitravel website because of the licence. So according to your own document it's not theft if it's attributed. In other words your original statement was utter stupidity and you just admitted as much. Good job.

The complaints are about trademark infringement and various things which have nothing to do with the fact that wikitravel was copied but merely deals with the circumstances around it being copied.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (0)

Senior Frac (110715) | about 2 years ago | (#41266717)

The Wikitravel.org website is theirs. The content was created by volunteers, who agreed to let the site use the content they created under the CC by-sa license. At no point did the content creators relinquish their copyright to Wikitravel.org. In fact the volunteers all agreed their content could be shared and modified under the Creative Commons license, as long as the modifications were also shareable.

Wikitravel wants to claim copyright on material that was never theirs to begin with.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (5, Interesting)

bws111 (1216812) | about 2 years ago | (#41267189)

No, that is entirely false. Read the lawsuit, not the bullshit flamebait summary.

The suit is about Trademark Infringement, Unfair business practices under the Lanham Act, Unfair business practices under California Business Practices Act, and Civil Conspiracy. Copyright is not mentioned at all.

Basically, WikiTravel (Internet Brands) is claiming that the site was forked, which they admit right in the suit is legal. However, these two 'unpaid volunteers' , who were admins for WikiTravel (and are the ones who forked the site) then went on WikiTravel's web site and made statements to the effect that WikiTravel was moving to or becoming WikiMedia. That is a lie. WikiTrave is a trademark owned by Internet Brands, and is going nowhere. They also used their admin authority to send emails from WikiTravels email to WikiTravels customers stating the same thing.

They can fork the site if they want. They can not claim or imply that the site is WikiTravel (a trademark violation). And they can not make it appear as if the WikiTravel business no longer exists or has become something else. That is a Lanham Act violation.

Re:It's theirs no matter what they did with it. (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#41266921)

They bought the servers and the rights to the name of the site, but they did not buy the information, since the information never left the ownership of the people that posted it in the first place, according to the terms of the Creative Commons license under which that information was provided to the site. The site is only able to display the information because they have the right to do so under Creative Commons, but those same rights also allow anyone else to freely copy it and host it elsewhere.

If they wanted to sue them for using the Wikitravel brand name elsewhere, they may have a case. Similarly, since they own the servers, they could simply shut the servers down and deny anyone access to the information. But they have no leg to stand on when it comes to suing a group of volunteers who are not contractually bound to support the site and who retained full ownership of the content that they provided to the site. Those volunteers have to legal obligation to the site, nor is there anything stopping them from taking their content (or anyone else's, since it's all freely available according to Creative Commons) and going elsewhere.

CC by-sa? (4, Interesting)

the_humeister (922869) | about 2 years ago | (#41266351)

What the hell is a CC by-sa? I did RTFA, but perhaps my reading comprehension is lacking.

Re:CC by-sa? (4, Informative)

Orga (1720130) | about 2 years ago | (#41266373)

Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

Re:CC by-sa? (0, Flamebait)

killmenow (184444) | about 2 years ago | (#41266379)

Is your google comprehension lacking? I highlighted that text, right-clicked, and selected Search Google for 'CC-by-sa' and this [creativecommons.org] was the first result. Easy Peasy.

My Horse Is Higher Than Yours (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266657)

People that know how to write know that it is mandatory to define non-standard terms and to expand acronyms upon first use, rather similarly to how programmers must declare their types or variables.

The whole point of writing is to make clear to the reader the idea that you are attempting to impart. The writer wants to paint a clear picture in the reader's mind. The writer should not want to challenge the reader or his/her abilities and the writer certainly should not want to frustrate the reader.

Now, some writers are not very good and any writer can make a mistake. It is for these reasons that publications, such as Slashdot, have editors. The editors are supposed to perform the final quality control, if you will, on to-be published material. They are supposed to spell check, grammar check, and even alter the writer's work for correctness, clarity and sometimes brevity. This being Slashdot though, the editors will continue to be shit slinging monkeys, trying to get the poop to stick on the walls.

See what happens when you Google this: STFU!

Re:My Horse Is Higher Than Yours (-1, Offtopic)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41266905)

A shame you posted as AC - you'd have had a modpoint or two from me if I had them, too.

Re:My Horse Is Higher Than Yours (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41267233)

This kind of thing is the utopian ideal. The modern difference is what constitutes quality. In print media, managing editors are mostly interested in sales and connections with their advertising partners and what the influential owners want to broadcast. Readability and fact-checking is for lowly sub-editors. There is still quality control on the modern web, the quality being how linkbaity your headlines are, how outrageous the summaries are, and how many paid press releases you can get away with on the front page.

Re:My Horse Is Higher Than Yours (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41267313)

CC by-sa is a standard term. Not knowing CC licenses is non-standard.

Re:My Horse Is Higher Than Yours (3, Insightful)

Cederic (9623) | about 2 years ago | (#41268339)

Don't be daft. I could walk into my office and ask who knows what CC is and after dealing with the multiple "carbon copy!" answers there'd be around 3 out of 40 people that would know.

Re:CC by-sa? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266393)

https://www.google.com/search?q=cc+by-sa

First result: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

"Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)"

You are free:

to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
to Remix — to adapt the work
to make commercial use of the work
Under the following conditions:

Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.
With the understanding that:

Waiver — Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.
Public Domain — Where the work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license.
Other Rights — In no way are any of the following rights affected by the license:
Your fair dealing or fair use rights, or other applicable copyright exceptions and limitations;
The author's moral rights;
Rights other persons may have either in the work itself or in how the work is used, such as publicity or privacy rights.
Notice — For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page.

Re:CC by-sa? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266401)

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

Re:CC by-sa? (1)

number6x (626555) | about 2 years ago | (#41266411)

Here is a definition [creativecommons.org] of CC by SA

Re:CC by-sa? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266419)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons_license [wikipedia.org]

Licensees may distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs the original work. (copied from above link)

Re:CC by-sa? (4, Informative)

Old Wolf (56093) | about 2 years ago | (#41266441)

"CC by-sa" means:

Licensees may copy, distribute, display and perform the work and make derivative works based on it only if they give the author or licensor the credits in the manner specified by these.

Licensees may distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs the original work.

There is not any other restriction on commercial use of the work, or making derivative works based on it.

(source: Wikipedia)

Re:CC by-sa? (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#41266559)

It's a Creative Commons license. It's like GPL, except designed for broader works than code (the GPL has many sections dealing with code- and program-specific things).

In particular, it's the BY-SA license. There are a number of CC licenses, with significant differences; these are marked by which "features" they include. BY means "with attribution" - you have to list who you took the original version from. SA means "share-alike" - any derivative work is also subject to the same license (making it a viral license like the GPL).

The other features are NC, "non-commercial", meaning you can't try to make money off it, and ND, "no derivatives", meaning you can only replicate the original, not modify it.

As it is just the BY-SA license, not BY-ND, they really have no leg to stand on, suing someone for making a derivative work.

Re:CC by-sa? (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about 2 years ago | (#41267411)

CC stands for "Creative Commons", "by" stands for Attribution (must give some credit to original creator), "sa" stands for "Share Alike".

False Positives War (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266375)

Time for the internet to rise up and light these detection firms up like Christmas tree with false positives.

wiki-copy-right-rick-rolling for the lulz (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 2 years ago | (#41266601)

Time for the internet to rise up and light these detection firms up like Christmas tree with false positives.

I concur [wikipedia.org] .

It's in God's hands now!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266571)

I think people are losing a bit of focus here, sure the content they forked was retrieved under whatever license ..
but they are hurting a business in the long run and that's where the buck must stop. The way I see it, IB probably
paid for a lot of things such as servers and bandwidth and invested considerably in making the project marketable
so ownership of content issues not in favor of IB would take a backseat if I was hearing the case. Plus we must
also take into consideration that the volunteer content was created by individuals in their spare time, I don't want
to belittle that effort but essentially I could adopt the view that the content the volunteers provided is of minor value
compared to the major contributions made by IB.

You're in the hands of God on the high seas and in court :-)

Re:It's in God's hands now!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266893)

Then you would make a horrible judge. I mean literally horrible.

Re:It's in God's hands now!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266931)

Oh when the shills, oh when the shills, oh when the shills come march-ing in, Oh I post, AC, for this company, Oh when the shills come marching in....

Private Equity Again (5, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41266581)

Note that Internet Brands was bought by a private equity firm a couple years ago. This stupidity is consistent with the private equity way of doing business. They always seem to have a really poor understanding of the businesses they buy. And indeed they don't need to, since their business model seems to be acquire, pillage, and abandon.

This is what I most hold against a certain private equity capitalist who's now running for President. Bain is most often criticized for costing people their jobs, but layoffs can be justified if cutting back helps save the company.

But Bain never saved anything. The acquired previously healthy companies and drove them into the ground. Inasmuch as they actually tried to run them, they did so ineptly. But mostly they just found ways to pass assets onto their own investors and pay themselves fat management fees in the process.

So of course Internet Brands is acting stupidly Stupidity has become a valid business model!

Re:Private Equity Again (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41267129)

"... acquire, pillage, and abandon." Yup, sounds like the Republican plans for the future of America to me!

Work for hire or Authorship ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266755)

I'm surprised that nobody brought up the dual nature of copyright licenses by now. When you contribute to a project, it can be a work for hire. But, it can also be authorship. So, you grant the site permission to publish this data, but most of the times you don't forfeit the rights to also publish that data yourself. So, you are free to re-publish your contribution elsewhere. In many times it can also be quoted in its entirety if it's a short comment. If you haven't forfeited all your copyrights, you might just still have the right to re-publish your original work. Because you are bound by the copyright you set for yourself when you published your contribution on a site. The law here is really muddy. I doubt most of the users even know what I'm talking about. For instance, you can contribute code to a GPL project while you at the same time use that code in a closed-source product that you sell for yourself as long as you made the code in question. Most of the time copyrighted material will be licensed under several different licenses to multiple entities.

I like that graph in the linked article (1)

neminem (561346) | about 2 years ago | (#41266787)

I've seen exactly that happen before (minus the lawsuit). I actually found a GM script and used it for a while to automatically go to the equivalent wowpedia page whenever I directed my browser to open a page on wowwiki, after they moved all their content and allowed the original wiki to continue to exist as a stagnant shell. Fun times.

No Love for Internet Brands (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41266805)

As a former employee of theirs (worked for a company that IB bought, left about a month post-acquisition), I can't say I'm surprised. It was clear they had no interest in developing or maintaining a quality product, but that their business model was simply to milk their assets for revenue while leaving them to wither on the vine. Several weeks after the acquisition closed they brought the hatchet down, and in return for severance pay, asked all fired employees had to agree *never to apply for a job at IB or any subsidiaries, ever* - not that it was really a risk, but WTF?

Will be nice to see them get spanked.

Re:No Love for Internet Brands (2)

norfolkboy (235999) | about 2 years ago | (#41268659)

I've heard some horrible things about how they've treated Randy Peterson, the Flyertalk fonder. I've more or less stopped using the site since.

I didn't understand a word of that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41267691)

Let me bust out my acronym dictionary.

Counter Claims from these victims (1)

kawabago (551139) | about 2 years ago | (#41267869)

These volunteers could launch counter claims against the company and possibly get millions!!!!!

Not about forking...seriously, foks. (1)

rocket rancher (447670) | about 2 years ago | (#41268361)

Geesh. It is not about forking a CC project. You can already do that. It's about people that misrepresented themselves to direct traffic away from a site. I think the author of the quoted story is simply trying to provide some damage control, so that the shit storm that these volunteers have stirred up by their deceptive actions won't completely wreck the already forked part of the CC project.

Trademarks vs. free speech (5, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | about 2 years ago | (#41268953)

I was active in Wikitravel at the time Internet Brands bought the site. They knew damn well that the content was CC-BY-SA licensed and what that meant (that the content was not theirs, and could be taken and reproduced anywhere), and they explicitly promised the community that they would abide by the terms of that license. Obviously they have no intention of doing so, as demonstrated by the fact that they have spent the last several years dragging their feet about their promises to make the content easily portable.

Suing volunteer contributors for casually using the name "wikitravel" in reference to a community of contributors which existed long before IB bought the trademark rights to the web site, is unconscionable. Trademark rights are intended to prevent customers from being ripped off by other companies, not to squelch the free-speech rights of individuals to talk about the company. This is fundamentally no different from if employees of Widget Corp identified themselves as "employees of Widget Corp" and talked about why they were organizing a strike, or calling for a boycott, or threatening to quit.

IB owns a domain name and the exclusive rights to use the mark "Wikitravel" in trade. That is all. They do not control the right to say "Wikitravel" or to talk about "the Wikitravel community" in reference to the people who use the web site that IB hosts.

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