January 10th, 2004, 01:06 PM
say "garageband" and be sued
Well, the title may be an exaduration, but tell me what you think.
When I was the ripe old age of 15, I got the idea for my new website. I wanted to make a website where bands can post their music, and people could listen to it. I didn't know about mp3.com, or garageband.com at the time, and did very little research. I wasn't very formal in my website building techniques.
After thinking about a name for a while, I came up with garage band records. I didn't bother to search for any of these terms like any professional web programmer would. In fact, this website was really a perl experiment. It was the first website I made to use CGI, so as you could imagine, the code was messy.
I finally got the website together, and I started getting bands on there, I was proud of myself, it was the most successful website I had ever built. Then it happened..
One day I got an email from garageband.com saying that I was in danger of being sued for copyright infringement. i didn't know what to think. I asked my friend's dad whom was a lawyer if they could get away with that, and he said the term was too generic. The term "garage band" was around a lot longer than their website. Besides, my website drew in no profit, I was a minor, and never did I say on the website that it was trademarked or copyrighted. I decided to take the website down temporarily when I then decided to rebuild it. Once I put it up again, with the same name, garageband.com sent me another email. I told them that I wasn't going to change it, because it wasn't copyright infringement, and there was nothing they could do abotut it. They never said anything again, but once my domain expired, they bought it within seconds.
I thought the whole thing was over, but then recently I recieved an email from someone at garagebandhosting.com asking me if garageband.com ever threatened to sue me because of my former website name, because they were doing the same to him. It also appears that apple even made an agreement with them before making their new program GarageBand.
So now I am confused. Are they just running around scaring people, or was I truely at risk of being sued?
January 11th, 2004, 12:35 PM
It is more difficult to trademark garage band as your attorney friend pointed out. The name has been around forever. You should have kept the domain name. They were just bullying you. You hit back & you never heard from them again.
It it was something that - say was not a "normal" word / words, like ebay - then yes you would have had an issue. I ran into the this same thing a few years ago & never heard anything from them.
January 17th, 2004, 11:12 AM