This is actually the second time I’ve received a cease and desist demand in regards to a Web site that I run. And boy, is it a strange one.
So some of the readers of this blog may be aware that I run a Web site called Fine Tuned Mac, which is a Macintosh technical troubleshooting forum. It was born when C-Net bought the largest Mac forum site, MacFixIt, so that they could shut it down and direct traffic to their own rival Mac site.
Anyway, this evening, the following gem of an email appeared in my inbox, which I reproduce in all its glory for your entertainment:
Subject: finetunedmac.com – Notice of Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights of Rosetta Stone Ltd. [Case #70995]
Date: December 1, 2011 9:37:35 AM PST
To: Franklin Veaux
To whom it may concern:
This is to inform you that a website you manage, finetunedmac.com, has come to the attention of Rosetta Stone Ltd. (“Rosetta Stone”).
Rosetta Stone’s automated monitoring software continually monitors, collects and stores instances of unauthorized use, sales or other violations of Rosetta Stone’s intellectual property rights on the Internet. Our records indicate that your site, finetunedmac.com, has employed an advertising or sales campaign that may have incorporated Rosetta Stone products and/or trademarks or terms confusingly similar thereto.
In order to ensure your compliance with our request, you should (i) delete “Rosetta”, “Rosetta Stone” and any variations thereof, from your search engine keyword list, and (ii) add “-Rosetta” and “-Rosetta Stone” as negative keywords (negative matching) to your search engine keyword list. If you have questions, the search engine websites explain how this is done.
We believe that there is no legitimate reason or basis for you to rely on any Rosetta Stone trademark, image or product in your marketing or sales campaigns, and encourage you to review all of your advertising campaigns and sites to avoid such practices in the future.
Rosetta Stone Ltd.
Now, there are a number of things about this email that jump out at me, the first and perhaps most relevant being that Fine Tuned Mac doesn’t have a marketing or advertising budget, and the second being that if we did have a marketing or advertising budget, advertising the site using Rosetta Stone’s logo or trademarks wouldn’t do fuckall for us, since our target demographic is Mac geeks rather than hipsters who think they can get laid if they learn Italian.
So I wrote them this reply. What do you think, too formal?
To whom it may concern:
Your IP department appears to have gone mad.
I can’t tell if it’s too much time spent listening to crappy language tutorials on CD or too much time spent shooting moodily lit photographs of said CDs to appear in Skymall magazine, but Fine Tuned Mac does not, and never has, used any Rosetta Stone image, product, brand name, trademark, or any other intellectual property for any reason.
In fact, I am quite baffled (German: verdutzt; French: déconcerté; Italian: sconcertato; Finnish: hämmentynyt) by your email. Try as I might, I can not make head nor tail of what you’re talking about. Fine Tuned Mac is a free forum-based Macintosh technical troubleshooting site. We have no marketing campaigns, and the only Google ads we’ve ever run have focused solely on Macintosh troubleshooting terms.
Now, I can perhaps, if I squint REALLY hard, perhaps see where you might have run off the rails, insofar as there are troubleshooting threads on the Fine Tuned Mac Web site that talk about Rosetta. However, what you may not know is that Rosetta is Apple’s trade name for their proprietary real-time interpreter that permits machine code written for PowerPC processors to run on Intel-based computers. If you’re unfamiliar with any of those terms, you might find a Google search enlightening.
Should you have a problem with Apple’s use of the word “Rosetta,” I respectfully (well, as respectfully as I can manage, anyway) suggest you take this up with Apple’s intellectual property lawyers.
I trust this concludes your interest in Fine Tuned Mac.