Author Topic: Google upset over parody  (Read 95 times)


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Google upset over parody
« on: February 05, 2004, 10:20:01 PM »

is telling Booble to change its clothes or else. The search kings have sent the adult search engine that parodies Google's familiar appearance a cease-and-desist demand.

Sent earlier this week, Google's letter demanded Booble disable their Website and stop using the domain name, "take steps to transfer" the domain to Google, "(i)dentify and agree to transfer to Google any other domain names registered by you that contain the GOOGLE or are confusingly similar to the GOOGLE marks," and "permanently refrain" from using Google's name or any variation on it "that is likely to cause confusion or dilution."

An adult Web portal, YouHo!, uses a parody of one of the earlier Yahoo! homepage styles and layouts, a parody the site continues to use despite Yahoo! undergoing several alterations to its basic homepage look in the past several years.

"We note that you have given interviews to the press in which you state that you intend to be a parody," said a passage from the Google Trademark Enforcement Team, cited on Booble's Website. "We dispute your assertion that your Website is a parody. For a work to constitute a parody, it must use some elements of a prior author's composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on the original author's works."

Booble's main page mimics Google's basic white with search engine and spare category links, with the Booble logo styled with lettering similar to Google's logo, a caricature pair of breasts in the "oo" the immediate attention-grabber of the Booble logo.

"If we weren't commenting Google's logo and functionality, and the way men use the web, we wouldn't be hearing from them now," said Booble's founder, who goes only by Bob, in a statement on their site. "We responded with our own letter, asserting our right to parody under the first amendment. The entire universe gets the joke. Only a lawyer could say 'Booble' without smiling."

Booble premiered Jan. 20 and claims it was hit with so much traffic their servers went down temporarily not long after the launch.

"This is a high class problem", said Bob, who also noted Booble added servers following that shutdown. "People love this idea." As for Google, he said, "We have just begun to fight for our right to parody."

Google representatives familiar with the company's legal activities could not be reached for comment before this story went to press. But the Search Engine Journal, a Website reviewing search engine issues, says Google may well have the upper hand in such a dispute, "since Booble may be trying to profit from the marketability of the parody."