The boycott of Politico is back on.
As regular readers will remember, I vowed to boycott Politico almost a year ago, after they issued a cease-and-desist letter to Stephen Gutowski, aka The College Politico. Politico lawyers claimed that Gutowski was infringing their trademark by using the word “politico” — a commonly used term defined in the dictionary as “politician.”
Some time later, I wrote Gutkowski to ask what had happened with the lawyers. He told me he thought the episode was behind him:
[In response to my e-mail, Gutkowski] said that [Politico] had never followed up and he assumed that they had silently backed down. He doesn’t consider it an issue any more, and accordingly, neither do I.
Well, things just changed. The Daily Caller reports that, this week,
Gutowski received another take-down notice [PDF], this time arguing that he’s “squatting” on the TheCollegePolitico.com domain.
“We have not received any response to our demand that Mr. Gutowski immediately cease all use of any marks or domain names that are confusingly similar to the POLITICO Marks, including all use of the mark THE COLLEGE POLITICO and the domain name ‘thecollegepolitico.com,’ and that Mr. Gutowski promptly take all necessary steps to transfer ‘thecollegepolitico.com’ domain name to out client,” the letter reads.
The letter also charges that Gutowski’s use of the word “politico” is “actiononable under both the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act,” which prevents consumers from buying up domain names and using them to wring money out of companies or persons who might one day seek to start a website using their name in the URL.
In other words, they’re still threatening to sue.
This cannot stand.
This is a bogus claim with no legal merit. It’s classic Internet bullying by the Big Guy against the Little Guy — with no basis in law.
We must fight it.
I am on a Politico e-mail list that sends out Politico stories to bloggers. I am unsubscribing from that list tonight, and explaining why. I am reinstating my boycott on the site — meaning I will not link Politico stories until this is resolved in a manner favorable to Gutowski. I encourage all like-minded bloggers to do the same.
We’re not submitting to bogus licensing demands by the government, and we’re not giving in to legal thuggery.
We have to take a stand.
Spread the word.