So let’s say you’re a retail store. You’re planning some kind of post-holiday sale. You don’t, however, want the details of the sale to become public knowledge too soon. But your ad copy and other elements of planning need to be worked out in advance. Because your store is imperfectly managed, information about the sale leaks onto a website. You’re pissed off. What do you do? Wield copyright law as a fearsome bludgeon:
Deal site BlackFriday.info yesterday removed the Best Buy “Black Friday” sales price list after the big box retailer threatened to deliver a DMCA takedown notice to Black Friday’s ISP. In a brief posting, Black Friday said, “While we believe that sale prices are facts and not copyrightable, we do not want to risk having this website shut down due to a DMCA take down notice.”
In recent years, information on the post-Thanksgiving sales has become a highly prized commodity, with a number of sites featuring copies of major retailers’ ads. Consumers looking for the best prices and wanting to streamline their shopping are responsible for the sites’ popularity.
This is absurd. We’re inching toward companies being able to prevent newspapers from publishing any sort of adverse information just all on vague copyright grounds. Facts are facts and people are entitled to circulate them.