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#Instagram threatens to sue operator of DontUseInstagram.com

Instagram is a Facebook brand, and the behemoth of social media is known to be very protective of its brands.

A cease and desist notice has been sent to the registrant of the domain name DontUseInstagram.com. The domain was registered in 2016.

On the active web site, the operator of “Don’t Use Instagram” presents a series of plausible reasons about why people should not be using Instagram. They summarize their approach thus:

“A brief-ish discourse of fact-derived opinions about why maybe you shouldn’t use Instagram, delivered to artists, businesses, and you.”

The Instagram lawyers sent the following to the web site’s operators:

To Whom It May Concern,

We are writing concerning your registration and use of the domain name dontuseinstagram.com, which contains the Instagram trademark.

You are undoubtedly familiar with Instagram and its worldwide renown in providing photo sharing and editing services, online networking and related products and services through a number of channels, including through its mobile application software and its website available at Instagram.com. Instagram owns exclusive rights to the INSTAGRAM trademark, including rights secured through common law use and registration in the United States (Reg. Nos. 4,170,675 and 4,146,057) and internationally. Instagram is a global leader in photography software for mobile devices, with over 800 million monthly active accounts. Due to Instagram’s exponential growth and immense popularity, the Instagram brand, is frequently, if not daily, referenced in the media and pop culture. Its fame entitles it to broad legal protection.

We have recently discovered that you registered the domain name, which incorporates the famous INSTAGRAM mark. Instagram has an obligation to its users and the public to police against the registration and/or use of domain names that may cause consumer confusion as to affiliation with or sponsorship by Instagram, dilute the distinctiveness of its INSTAGRAM mark, or otherwise tarnish the mark. Accordingly, in addition to civil actions, Instagram and its parent Facebook have filed numerous proceedings pursuant to ICANN’S Uniform Domain-Name Dispute- Resolution Policy (http://www.icann.org/en/help/dndr/udrp) to secure the transfer of infringing domain names. Moreover, the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act provides for serious penalties (up to $100,000 per domain name) against persons who, without authorization, use, sell, or offer for sale a domain name that infringes another’s trademark.

While Instagram respects your right of expression and your desire to conduct business on the Internet, Instagram must take action to stop the misuse of its intellectual property. As you can imagine, various third parties around the world have attempted to wrongfully capitalize on Instagram’s reputation by registering domain names that include or are derived from the INSTAGRAM brand. Such names are confusingly similar to, dilutive of, and can tarnish the INSTAGRAM mark.

We understand that you may have registered dontuseinstagram.com without full knowledge of the law in this area. However, Instagram is concerned about your use of the Instagram trademark in your domain name. Accordingly, we must insist that you immediately cease using and disable either delete or transfer to Instagram any site available at that address. You should not sell, offer to sell, or transfer the domain name to any third party.

Please confirm in writing that you will agree to resolve this matter as requested. If we do not receive confirmation that you will comply with our request, we will have no other choice but to pursue all available remedies against you.

Sincerely,

Instagram IP & DNS Enforcement Group

Instagram, Inc.

Paul Kruczynski, the recipient of this “nastygram,” lawyered up with the help of the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard Law’s Berkman Klein Center.

You can read the domain operator’s response here, along with more details on what ensued.


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Comments

One Response to “#Instagram threatens to sue operator of DontUseInstagram.com”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Instagram will likely lose because of “fair use” in IP law. Ontop of that there’s precedence…PayPalSucks.org among many other websites that are critical of brands.

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