www.LetsRun.com – 2700 Woodlands Village Blvd.
To: ALLEN I. TULLAR - ATTORNEY AT LAW at GROSS, MCGINLEY, LABARRE & EATON, LLP
CC: Claudia Morf, Sr. V.P./CFO (**@rodale.com)
Amby Burfoot (**@rodale.com)
Paul A. McGinley, Esquire (**@GMLE.COM)
Dear Mr. Tullar:
We are responding to the letter
you wrote on
Let us correct a few errors in
your most-recent letter. For some reason you fail to understand that we have
not reproduced the runnersworld.com Peter Snell Interview on the LetsRun.com
site. You stated, “Contrary to your
assertion, to the extent that the entire article was reproduced by letsrun.com,
that republication hardly constitutes fair use.” This statement is false because the Peter
Snell Interview isn’t being reproduced by letsrun.com at all. We are simply linking to the Interview on Runnersworld.com’s website (http://www.runnersworld.com/home/0,1300,1-0-0-1963-1-0-P,00.html).
It is not being reproduced on LetsRun.com as the above hyperlink attests.
Therefore your assertions that “clicking on the hyperlink fails to take viewers directly to Rodale's runnersworld.com website” and “Letsrun.com has not created a hyperlink to Rodale's runnersworld.com website” are false. Clicking on the hyperlink does take one to the runnersworld.com web-site – it specifically takes them to the Peter Snell Interview on Runnersworld.com. More specifically, it takes them to the “Printer Friendly” version of the Peter Snell Interview.
Additionally, you also stated that the Peter Snell Interview we linked to “was stripped of all Rodale ads and navigational information and aids.” If it was stripped of any ads or navigational information, it was stripped of them by Runnersworld.com not LetsRun.com. Runnersworld.com decided that the “Printer Friendly” version of the Interview wouldn’t contain any ads. LetsRun.com didn’t make this decision.
You also even go as far as to say that our “use of the Rodale trademark runnersworld.com by letsrun.com is also infringing.” That’s utterly false. We specifically used the trademark “runnersworld.com” so that no one would think the article came from us. Our use of the term “runnersworld.com” is the complete opposite of copyright infringement. We are purposely using the trademark to show that the article was not written by us and is runnerworld.com’s work. We could remove the term runnersworld.com, but then you would probably be on our case for trying to pass the article off as our own.
We find it extremely ironic that you claim that our linking directly to
an article or interview on another website, in this case runnersworld.com,
is a violation of
Additionally, it has come to our attention that Runnersworld.com has at least on one occasion “deep linked” to a page on LetsRun.com in exactly the same fashion that we have “deep linked” to the Peter Snell Interview. On
As Runnersworld.com recognizes, linking directly to another web-site’s article or interview is not a violation of copyright law. It’s unfortunate that you, their lawyer, do not recognize this fact. The case: Ticketmaster Corp., et al. v. Tickets.Com, Inc. (U.S. District Court, Central District of Californiam,
“Further, hyperlinking does not itself involve a violation of the Copyright Act (whatever it may do for other claims) since no copying is involved. The customer is automatically transferred to the particular genuine web page of the original author. There is no deception in what is happening. This is analogous to using a library's card index to get reference to particular items, albeit faster and more efficiently.”
We clearly are not violating
If you truly are interested in protecting the copyright of runnersworld.com (which you should be) then we urge you to visit the following web-site: www.mariusbakken.com. If you visit the site, you will see that this particular website reproduces copyright material in its entirety throughout its site. In fact, the Peter Snell Interview is reproduced in its entirety on that site currently (see http://www.mariusbakken.com/cgi-bin/news/viewnews.cgi?newsid1021086912,59276). We know copyright infringement when we see it and hope your financial resources can put a stop to it when it legitimately occurs.
We wish you luck in pursuing the above mentioned instance of copyright infringement but hope that you will stop harassing us as we are law abiding entrepreneurs. (We’re not sure why Runnersworld.com hasn’t notified you of the copyright infringement on mariusbakken.com as they have featured it as their link of the day in the past and must be aware of the blatant copyright violations. Our only guess is they must not view www.mariusbakken.com as a threatening competitor and thus they don’t care. Perhaps, Runnersworld.com and Rodale, Inc only care to use their vast resources to squash upstart competitors.)
In conclusion, we are pretty much mystified as why we keep getting threatening letters from you on behalf of Runnersworld.com as we have never done anything that they themselves do not do. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the world-wide web where deep linking is done by thousands if not millions each and every day. We will not stop deep linking to articles or interviews to runnersworld.com or any other site per your request. Deep linking is clearly is protected “fair use” of copyrighted material as established by legal precedent and we are not willing to forsake this first amendment right.
In the last month, The Dallas Morning News has threatened to sue a site, barkingdogs.org, for deep linking to its articles. The threat has received much attention in the press because it, much like your own threat of a lawsuit, goes against the very nature of the world wide web. The web is a world wide web of links, not a world wide straight line to a homepage, and legal precedent and Runnersworld.com’s own website support deep linking.
Public Citizen, the Ralph Nader, public advocacy group has agreed to provide pro-bono the legal services for Barkingdogs.org should The Dallas Morning News actually file a lawsuit. But no one actually anticipates a lawsuit, since the DallasNews.com (The Dallas Morning News’ web-site) is apparently just trying to intimidate another website. The threat by The Dallas Morning News has garnered coverage in the NYTimes (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/06/technology/06WEB.html), AbcNews.com (http://abcnews.go.com/sections/business/DailyNews/links020513.html), Wired.com (http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,52213-1-13,00.html), and Dotcomscoop.com (http://www.dotcomscoop.com/050202.html#belo) among others.
(Maybe you shouldn’t read those links because if we understand your argument correctly, we are violating copyright by providing the above links above to you.)
We urge you to read the letters from Public Citizen to the Dallas Morning News’ lawyers: http://www.barkingdogs.org/News_Features/May2002/05092002_citizen/05092002_citizen.shtml explaining the legal precedent on Barkingdogs.org side.
If you do not agree with this letter, then we urge someone from Runnersworld.com to call us as it’s much easier (and less expensive) to solve things without involving lawyers. Tell Amby Burfoot to call us as we’ve gotten along with him great in the past. Our phone # is 928-***-****. If not, we’re looking forward to getting Public Citizen behind our cause.
Robert and Weldon Johnosn
PS. In follow up to the earlier letter we sent you, please not we have found another instance where copyrighted letsrun.com material has been posted on the runnersworld.com message boards without our permission. An article from our April Fools edition has been illegally posted on the Runnersworld.com message board. It can be found at:
Examples of Runnersworld.com directly linking to other websites’ copyrighted articles.
(The examples below were copied from the runnersworld.com website verbatim for demonstrative purposes)
From: http://www.runnersworld.com/home/0,1300,1-0-0-ZNEWS,00.html at 6:16 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on May 13, 2002.
In this section, we provide links
to recent English-language stories about running or athletics/track &
field that have appeared in newspapers around the globe. You may want to
refer to these links for additional information on subjects of particular
interest; you'll also find occasional articles from RW Daily contributors.
Examples Of Runnersworld.com directly linking to LetsRun.com
Copied verbatim for example purposes.