Sony Ericsson Shows How Not To Connect With Fans: Forces Shutdown Of Xperia Fan Blog

from the bad-moves dept

Via Reddit we learn of yet another bad move by a shortsighted company. This time it’s Sony Ericsson, who sent a legal nastygram to the Xperia blog at xperiablog.net — a blog that talks up and promotes a bunch of things happening with the Xperia device that Sony Ericsson is pushing. Since it sounds like the blog itself, and the post explaining this, is likely to go away pretty soon, we’re reposting it here:


It is with great sadness that we have to bring you the news that this will be the last post on this website. Sony Ericsson has filed a formal complaint about the use of the trademarked ‘Xperia’ name in our domain name and have requested that the domain names, including that of XperiaX10.net, be transferred to them.

Sony Ericsson is alleging that we have used the domain names in “bad faith”. We are stunned and disappointed that Sony Ericsson, a company that we have spent much of our free personal time in promoting, especially the Xperia brand, has decided to take this formal action against us. After all we are just like you, passionate Sony Ericsson users, who have strived to bring the community breaking news and an independent viewpoint.

We do not have the resources to fight Sony Ericsson on this and therefore this is the last you will hear from us. Sony Ericsson has made great strides in its Xperia portfolio, especially in listening to the community. This makes it all the more confusing as to why Sony Ericsson would want to shut us down. We genuinely believe that 2012 could be a bumper year for the company, we just wish we could have been there along for the ride.

It’s too bad they decided to cave. I would imagine they might be able to find some pro bono legal help on this, because the claim that the domain was registered in bad faith seems pretty freaking ridiculous. Plenty of “fan sites” have been allowed to continue, as long as there’s no likelihood of confusion. It really is too bad that Sony Ericsson not only chose to go this route, but also went all the way to a formal dispute resolution (they don’t say what, but I’m guessing a UDRP claim). It’s amazing how many companies do really dumb things, just because some lawyers know they can.

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Comments on “Sony Ericsson Shows How Not To Connect With Fans: Forces Shutdown Of Xperia Fan Blog”

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61 Comments
Anonymoussays:

I think though that this is one of those grand overstatements. Sony isn’t ordering them to close the blog, Sony is only asking them to stop using the domain name in question. They could easily re-open as the xperienceblog.net or whatever, and not have an issue. It is only the name itself which would be an issue, nothing else.

These guys need to learn how to read a legal letter and understand the implications. They don’t have to shut down the blog, just stop using the name in the domain and site name.

Yes, there was advertising on the site, doubleclick and google adwords – both of which would target in on the material on the site and likely offer links off to people selling the Sony phone. So directly or indirectly, these guys could be profiting from the using the name, and thus Sony is very much in their rights.

JMTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Bricks

“When being a fan crosses the line to “making a profit off their name” perhaps we have entered a different realm.”

You mean like a realm where the blog site is able to provide even more free promotion to Sony Ericsson’s products? Jeez, can’t have that!

So what if they made some money, what’s the downside to SE? And how is the massive loss of goodwill a better alternative?

Vsays:

Re:

[i]These guys need to learn how to read a legal letter and understand the implications. They don’t have to shut down the blog, just stop using the name in the domain and site name.[/i]

And you need to start thinking with your ENTIRE brain, not just the 2 brain cells you rub together to move your mouth and fingers.

Why would they WANT to continue? They’re not dogs – that get kicked and beaten – and come back for more.

They’re human beings. The company they were spending alot of time proponenting, just have them a huge kick in the nuts.

Like any sane person (obviously this excludes you), they ar giving Sony the finger and moving away.

Why would they lift a finger to EVER proponent Sony again, when Sony has let slip the dogs of war on them?

Go get a brain scan – maybe the docs can tell you why you’re not functioning on all cylinders.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

V, first off, keep the insults to yourself. I don’t need them, and nobody else does.

Second, these guys were running a blog without compensation and without any reason already. They already put themselves in a dog house, attached the leash, and licked out of Sony’s food bowl. Sony is only asking them to lick out of their own bowl, and now they are tossing all their toys out of them pram.

If they want to stop, that is fine – but they need to understand that yes, they are in violation, and no, it isn’t in Sony’s best interest to let them set a precedent by allowing them to keep the domain name.

Trademarks must be protected zealously, lest they fall into common use.

Carry on.

The Devil's Coachmansays:

Sony......blows ponies!

Hey, pal, if anyone needs insults, it’s you. Believe me, you are richly deserving of every one of them that comes your way, and if you don’t need them, you’ll still get them. Get over it. Get over yourself. Get a life. Is this all you do? Looks that way to me, Zippy. Move along now. Nothing to say here. Buh-bye!

JMTsays:

Re: Re: Re:

“They already put themselves in a dog house, attached the leash, and licked out of Sony’s food bowl.”

Wow, that’s a pretty shocking and stupid attitude towards fans. You clearly know nothing about marketing. If I found out the maker of a product I was a fan of thought like you I wouldn’t be able to dump them fast enough.

“Trademarks must be protected zealously, lest they fall into common use.”

Trademarks must be protected sensibly, lest they fall into common use. This does not fall into that category.

harbingerofdoomsays:

Re: Re: Re:

you appear to have not actually looked at the site in question.
There is not a chance in hell that the average moron in a hurry would confuse it for an SE site. so the overzealous protection of the trademark pretty much goes out the window right there.

and are you really suggesting that a personal blog about a commercial product requires payment to the trademark holder of that product? thats how your comment reads, but im hoping and praying that im wrong because you cannot be seriously making that statement. so if you are not, please explain the compensation.

as for reason, how’s ‘because they wanted to’? seems like a good enough reason for me. if you dont like that one hows ‘because they can’? and yes, they can do it legally, SE is just being a little bitch about it and bullying someone it knows cant afford to stand up for themselves.

i do not believe they are in violation of anything and i do not believe that you can mount any valid argument to show they are. but feel free to try if you like…

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Re:

Trademarks must be protected zealously, lest they fall into common use.

But this isn’t a case of actually protecting their trademark. The bit about how you must protect your trademark comes into play when your mark is actually being violated. A trademark is not violated merely by it being used. It must be used in a manner that is likely to cause consumer confusion. If I produce a phone and call it Xperia, that’s a violation. If I make a blog called XperiaSucksBalls.com, it’s not.

Would anyone think this blog was an official Sony blog?

Jeff Rifesays:

Re: Re:

Why would they WANT to continue?

I would think that getting this sort of C&D letter would make it likely that the owner of the site would close down and then go on to register something like “xperiasucks.com”, which Sony would have no chance of closing down (as “-sucks” sites have time and again been ruled to not be infringement).

harbingerofdoomsays:

Re:

im just curious how exactly you got from the fact that SE is requesting the domain name be transferred to them to the notion that they are not ordering them to close the blog entirely.

sure you can set up on a new domain, but thats a completely different issue. by demanding the domain name itself be transferred you are, in fact, demanding the blog stop its activities too.

naschsays:

Re: Re:

sure you can set up on a new domain, but thats a completely different issue. by demanding the domain name itself be transferred you are, in fact, demanding the blog stop its activities too.

You contradicted yourself there. If they could continue the exact same activities with a different domain without violating the cease and desist order (or whatever it is they got), then that means SE didn’t order them to cease the activities.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

“sure you can set up on a new domain, but thats a completely different issue. by demanding the domain name itself be transferred you are, in fact, demanding the blog stop its activities too.”

Nope. Just like the Roja case, the content of the site can run on ANY domain. The SE letter asks only for the domain to C&D, not the site. They have decided to take the site down, but they could have easily put it up on another domain without issue.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re:

…yet they couldn’t name the product they were writing about in the URL. Kind of silly, huh?

So, instead of jumping over whatever hurdles Sony tries putting in front of them in order for them to continue providing free promotion for their product, they simply decided that they no longer wished to provide said free promotion.

Sony, Style Without Substance

Attacking fan sites and turning fans into adversaries is just plain stupid.

It would be better to use XperiaX10-SUCKS.net. And while they are at it they should register the name on other top level domains. For an example of this take a look at http://www.CyberTrialLawyer-SUCKS.com, a site I created about a self professed Super BS lawyer.

One reason for hyphenating is that search engines parse on the hyphen, seeing the terms as separate words. The other is that there is case law regarding the use of sucks in a domain name. The minute you add sucks you remove any possibility of confusion about the trademark.

If Sony registers that domain (they know that they suck) there are an endless number of other possibilities such as XperiaX10-Really-SUCKS.net or XperiaX10-Sony-SUCKS.net. I thing that XperiaX10-Sony-SUCKS might be the best because it ties the trademark and Sony’s name to the site.

There was a time when Sony actually produced quality products, but in my experience that time is long past. Sony became Style without Substance, a nice play on SonyStyle.com 🙂 They are good at building attractive products which are by design in really ugly inside.

When you look at Sony you are seeing Apple’s eventual fate. In both cases they produce products which are attractive on the surface but limited by design in ways which are meant to extort more money from customers. It is one thing to offer additional value and profit from doing so and quite another to force a user into a shotgun wedding where additional money is extracted without delivering fair value.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Sony, Style Without Substance

Rofl, that is true when Sony themselves actually build the product. A lot of thir products are just re-branded products from other vendors with a Sony name price markup on it. One only needs to look at the Lite-On CD burners they use to re-brand and sell for $15 more even though the product was identical except the bezel. Have fun overpaying for your Sony re-brands chumps!

Re: Re: Sony, Style Without Substance

Sony is all about style. InventorEd.org is designed to deliver substance at low bandwidth because in addition to serving people in developed countries it also serves people in developing countries. Not everyone has low cost connections. And many are using older computers. It also serves visually impaired people and is designed to be easy to navigate with screen readers.

Anonymoussays:

Some old wise fool once said:

?Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.?

Isn’t it time to say that users of Sony products are insane? They just keep on fanboi’ing Sony’s products, only to get sued, shut down, etc. At this point, why would any one in their right minds be a “fan” of any Sony product? Why would you even subject yourself to this company’s anti-consumer agenda? I quit using Sony products a loooong time ago and I still feel dirty for giving my money to such a bastard of a corporation before that.

Anonymoussays:

I have a VAIO Z, an Xperia Arc S, a PS3, and an Alpha DSLR. I’ve been a fanboy of sorts ever since the original Playstation came out.

I must say though… that this is a pretty dick move by Sony, one in a series of dick moves. Through browsing tech articles for the last 3 years, I’ve noticed that these type of greedy maneuvers have become more and more commonplace.

Bloatware, bullying through the RIAA, DRM fiascos, etc. It seems that Sony has become such a faceless money hungry corporation that wants to wring every penny out of its customers.

Next game system: Xbox (PSN hack, anyone?)
Next laptop: I don’t know, but not Sony (bloatware to the max, took 2+ hours to completely uninstall)

hmmsays:

Well

It’s because Sony (internally) has decided that Xperia is a long-term failure (info from someone quite deep inside Sony) and intends to terminate products/projects around January 2012. They’re starting on a “denial of existence” push to lower peoples recognition of xperia as being connected to sony and therefore have to force fan-sites to close.

Sony is a Failure / Re: Well

Or at least well along the path to eventual total failure.

“They’re starting on a “denial of existence” push to lower peoples recognition of xperia as being connected to sony and therefore have to force fan-sites to close.”

Another good reason to move the website to Experia-Sony-Sucks. If they pull the plug next year and leave all their customers with expensive orphan systems there will be plenty of people interested in using a more aptly named discussion forum.

It seems that Sony knows and acknowledges that they SUCK 🙂

SonySucks.com
Registrant:
Domain Administrator
Sony Music Entertainment
550 Madison Ave.
New York ny 10022
US
domain.admin@sonymusic.com

+1.2128338000
Like most big companies they did not realize that this was futile, see: http://Sony-SUCKS.com/

Hopefully the owner of http://Sony-SUCKS.com/ will work with the people by offering them use of Experia.Sony-SUCKS.com

Why Mike Picks on Sony?

There is no question that Mike Masnick has rightfully pegged Sony and I do appreciate when Mike gets something right as he has in this case.

I have not noticed any puff pieces like Intel and other have had on TechDIRT for Sony. I wonder if this is a marketing tactic to sell Sony some insight? But I do think it is reasonable to consider why Sony and not also Intel?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Why Mike Picks on Sony?

Mike ignores plenty of things if he doesn’t like the outcome or feels that it hurts his “idea base”.

Unless of course someone is paying. The Intel piece starts a new trend of whoring out posts to whoever wants to pay for them. Advertising as content, and you are stupid enough to be the consumer.

Whoring For Big Companies Is Not New

Actually, this is not a new trend.

Actually creating new things is fraught with risk. Sucking up to large companies in order to be tossed a few scraps may not be sexy, but if one is a really effective at brown nosing it can provide a good living.

It looks to me like there are many similarities between Intellectual Vultures business model and that of TechDIRT. It will be interesting to see if Sony sees merit in seeking TechDIRT insight.

Spaceman Spiffsays:

Since the CD rootkit fiasco

I’ve been boycotting ALL Sony products (including CD’s and videos) since their ill-considered CD rootkit fiasco. So far, they have done zero, zilch, nada to change my mind about that. Anyone who purchases ANYTHING from Sony should have their head examined, IMHO. Hardware, software, games, music, videos, ANYTHING! Show them what we thing by refusing to give them a single sou!

Re: Since the CD rootkit fiasco

I agree. When sales pitches arrive in my mailbox I scan them. When Sony is mentioned I scan over and delete because experience has taught me that Sony builds junk. Attractive on the outside but with serious flaws on the inside. When you add poor service and attitude on top of their design and quality problems and compound those issues with their high prices it is not prudent to buy Sony products.

mattbancroftsays:

sony ericsson protecting their tradmark

Sony Ericsson has filed a formal complaint against the fan-operated blog/forum Xperiablog.net. If you ask me that was it Sony Ericsson?s job to protect their trademark then our answer would be hell yes but when you ask about the ways to deal about, for that they could have gone for the better ones.read more http://radiomobiletech.com/uncategorized/sony-ericsson-goes-grumpy-over-a-fan-site.html

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