1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Contacted by a legal team (need advice)

Discussion in 'Business & Tax Advice' started by islandcoli, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. islandcoli

    islandcoli Regular Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    39
    I own a domain ZumbaDVDs.com. I was contacted by their legal team today. I was assuming it was about my domain name having their business in it, but it was for something different.

    Highlight if you cant read below, wont let me change the color for some reason.

    This e-mail is from the Zumba legal compliance department. Zumba Fitness, LLC ("Zumba Fitness") is the world's largest provider of dance-fitness programs and related products and offers goods and services under the trademarks ZUMBA® and ZUMBA FITNESS® ("ZUMBA® marks"). Zumba Fitness owns these trademarks which are registered in the United States and in the European Union numbered 008244089, 006712475, 006712434, 006712152 and 004712152. We also own Benelux trademark application no. 1179082. We are committed to aggressive protection of our copyright and trademark rights.

    Zumba Fitness is also the owner of several international copyrights for its video and sound recordings. These copyrights include protection of same of our world-famous DVD collections including:


    ZUMBA® Fitness Basics + ZUMBA® Fitness 20-Minute Express

    ZUMBA® Fitness Sculpt & Tone

    ZUMBA® Fitness Cardio Party + bonuses

    ZUMBA® Fitness Total Body Transformation Guide

    ZUMBA® Fitness LIVE!

    ZUMBA® Fitness Flat Abs

    ZUMBA® Fitness Toning Sticks

    ZUMBA® Fitness, Advance, Power, Beginners, and Abs, Buns and Thighs

    We are aware that you are offering Zumba DVDs through your website Zumbadvds.com. Genuine Zumba Fitness DVDs are distributed only by Zumba Fitness and its licensee, Guthy-Renker. There is no other bulk source of genuine Zumba Fitness DVDs. The DVDs that you were offering for sale are unauthorized copies that were either made in violation of Zumba Fitness's copyrights or being distributed illegally. The packaging and labels used for these pirated DVDs make unauthorized use of the ZUMBA FITNESS trademark, logo and packaging design in violation of Zumba Fitness's trademarks, copyrights and trade dress rights. It is unlawful to sell or distribute these Zumba Fitness DVDs or through Zumbadvds.com or any other channel of dis tribution. To avoid further damage to ZUMBA® Fitness, Zumbadvds.com must immediately take the following steps to abate its infringement of Zumba Fitness' copyright, trademark and trade dress rights:

    1. Zumbadvds.com must immediately cease manufacturing, importing, advertising, displaying, offering to sell, selling, shipping and distributing any DVDs labeled with the trademarks ZUMBA or ZUMBA® Fitness .

    2. Zumbadvds.commust destroy its entire inventory of the DVDs labeled with the trademarks ZUMBA or ZUMBA® Fitness.

    3. Zumbadvds.com must cease all used of "Zumba" or any variant thereon as a search term, keyword, website meta tags or on any webpage in the source code for any webpage, as an AdWord or in any other manner whatsoever. Zumba Fitness is committed to aggressive protection of our copyright, trademark and trade dress rights and will carefully monitor your website to ensure that ceases Zumba dvds.com all further sales and distribution of the subject DVDs and pirated materials.

    If Zumbadvds.comdoes not comply in full with each of our demands on or before November 8, 2009, we will refer this
    matter to our attorneys with instructions that they aggressively pursue all remedies available under applicable law.

    Thank you.
    Legal Compliance Department
    Zumba Fitness, LLC
    3801 N 29th Ave - Hollywood, FL 33020
    O: 954.925.3755 F: 954.925.3505

    W: www.zumba.com

    Now everything I sell, I dont really sell from my site, its just a small site referring people to Amazon.com, which as far as I know legally carries a stock of Zumba DVD's, so the implication that I'm manufactering fraudulant copies of these dvd's is false. All I'm doing is sending traffic to my Amazon affiliate link.

    They mention briefly I must cease all usage of Zumba in "search terms, keywords, website meta tags, or on any webpage source code or Adsense

    What are my options?
    What if I remove the word Zumba from all my pages, change the links to "Buy fitness dvds click here" (courtesy of amazon)" take it out of the Title, and any part of my html. Would I be in the clear???

    Any help/advice appreciated!
     
  2. leprakhauns

    leprakhauns Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    15
    Occupation:
    PHP Programmer
    Location:
    New York
    Home Page:
    Since it's through Amazon I don't think you have anything to worry about, they should take it up with them.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  3. oxonbeef

    oxonbeef BANNED BANNED

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    7,872
    Let them take you to court a good lawyer will make you a mint.
    Then counter sue for slander, deformation of character anything
    you can. As long as you'r referring them to Amazon and you arn't
    breaking Amazons TOS you have nothing to worry about. It looks
    like they didn't do their homework before sending that.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. KrisMalena

    KrisMalena Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    4
    Occupation:
    Internet Marketing
    Location:
    West Virginia/Philippines
    Home Page:
    I'd have an attorney send them a letter them you are not the distributor of any DVDs and only advertise for Amazon.com
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  5. NewWayInvest

    NewWayInvest Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    34
    Occupation:
    Finance Lead Gen / Nutra / Development & Design
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Home Page:
    A good lawyer will also cost you a mint... for a site that makes what?

     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  6. Silencer

    Silencer Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2008
    Messages:
    1,149
    Likes Received:
    1,639
    Tell them you're ordering your DVDs from them and reselling :D
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  7. islandcoli

    islandcoli Regular Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    39
    Thanks for the replies, if you guys have a moment will you please check my site, it's only 3 pages. It makes me a steady 2/day, and it hasn't been indexed long. I think they're threatened because I am ahead of them on google for "zumba dvds" at certain times of the day.

    Thanks again
     
  8. goldengod420

    goldengod420 Newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    23
    Although you may not be breaking any laws, it is advisable that you chalk this up to a loss. They will be able to pursue legal action based on trademark laws at a civil level. They will likely win and you will lose simply because of the domain you are using uses their trademarked name. End of story, you will be on the wrong side of that one in a courtroom and a good lawyer could cost you a fortune to lose that one. Also, it is not slander or defamation of character to say that someone is using your protected trademark and pursue legal action when you are in fact using their trademark. I would take legal advice from a lawyer and a lawyer only(no offense to people here, but it seems that there is a severe problem with authority from people). That being said, it is a bad idea to fight this.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  9. habs4life

    habs4life BANNED BANNED

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    9
    sue the pants right off those fockers!!
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  10. TheTRUTH

    TheTRUTH Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2008
    Messages:
    345
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    In the sky baby!
    Just email them back and tell them that you are only adveritsing THEIR products through AMAZON, somewher eint heir try to sell them the domain
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  11. womanfcuker

    womanfcuker Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    151
    Home Page:
    Send them a reply saying that you are only selling their products as an affiliate through AMAZON. Show confidence in your reply.

    And if I would have been in your place I offer them to sell the Domain for a great price :) What's say?
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  12. shopigig

    shopigig Newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    Yeah agreed with TheTruth, they may just not understand the dynamic. Email to explain you are promoting for them through a channel (amazon) that they obviously approved.

    Though if they do understand and just want to control your use of their trademark, I'm with goldengod, do what they say and walk away. Its Guthy-Renker son! They've got more money than satan

     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  13. jay101

    jay101 Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    212
    Likes Received:
    711
    Are you for certain it's not one of your competitors pulling a fast one on you?

    I can understand somewhat if they feel you have violated the way your selling, by using their trademark name in your domain, like alot of higher up companies.

    But it seems a little strange that they would acuse you of selling pirated copies, considering your earning through amazon.

    I would try and talk with someone directly to find out for sure where you have gone wrong, if in fact you have, the domain name is the only thing I would think of.

    Maybe could even strike a better deal, if you can prove some high volumes and convince them that they need you.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  14. alexaassassin

    alexaassassin Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    255
    If this was me, I would either:

    A:
    Do nothing and WAIT until they have spent a lot of time and money
    on creating a case which has no merit (see below) because if they
    were smart they would have BOUGHT from your site and the second
    you put it int he mail, you would be on your way to jail for Mail Fraud.
    Criminal charge - supercedes any an all civil remedies available to them.

    However, they don't seem to be smart - they obviously did not buy
    a DVD from your site, or they'd KNOW you are an Amazon affiliate
    AND they did not mention the surrendering of your domain name
    nor offer to just buy the site.


    B:
    Write them and explain that you are simply directing traffic as an affliate
    to ensure their fine, first generation products are sold through a reputable
    point of sale; Amazon.com and that by your estimation, if all affiliate efforts
    were to stop under duress, that would be be a restraint of trade matter.

    C: The smart-ass approach.

    Hi. Got your letter. Laughed my ass off.
    Do you know who is the top Amazon.com affiliate for your products listed there
    and who drives all the sales traffic to Amazon.com? Do you know the reason
    behind your success through Amazon.com ??? Maybe you should first figure
    how much of your yearly income is derived from Amazon.com sales and work
    backwards from there to really understand the ramifications of stopping me!

    You obviously did not buy a product through my site or you would
    see that you are making false claims. All the products are sold
    through Amazon.com There is no way to be confused about this
    if you had simply tried to buy one - you'd be on the Amazon.com site.
    Can you imagine what would go through a judges mind if he were
    to duplicate and verify my statement against your false claims?
    HE WOULD ADVISE YOU TO READ "Chicken Little"

    Because the products available through my site are sold by Amazon.com
    you are claiming that Amazon.com is selling pirated copies of your product.
    If that is so, it is between you and Amazon.com

    If you write me one more letter, I will do the worst thing that anyone
    has ever done to you; I will stop promotion of your products and I
    can guarantee that as a direct result, Amazon.com will, too!
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  15. rolarome

    rolarome Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    4
    do nothing. they are using scare tactics with no grounds upon which to do so.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  16. snowwhite

    snowwhite Power Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    730
    Likes Received:
    1,415
    Occupation:
    Psychiatrist
    Location:
    Las Islas Filipinas
    A trademark is a trademark!
    Your CANNOT BE EXEMPTED just because youre selling THEIR PRODUCT
    The company has all the right to their trademarked name may it be in a domain or a keyword

    Be smart and do not follow the advice of other people here
    Believe me its not worth the time and money to mess with big companies
    I have been there!
    Well you can try and gamble with fate, but in the end, uncertainty is unhealthy

    Drop the domain, buy a new one, try to use a keyword-domain instead
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  17. spdgxp

    spdgxp Newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    14
    They may be pulling the "unauthorized DVD sales" thing out of their collective legal asses, but, as snowwhite mentioned, you are using their trademark in your domain name in a manner likely to confuse consumers into believing you are somehow affiliated with Zumba. This issue of confusion is the legal basis for trademark infringement; there's no way you can win this one, unfortunately.

    If you're up for a little revenge, register zumbasucks.com and sell a competitor's DVDs. Hey, you could still rank for "zumba" if you work it, and you'll get to stick it to the man without being out thousands of dollars in legal fees. :D
     
  18. islandcoli

    islandcoli Regular Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    39
    I'm considering first sending an email explaining that I'm simply sending traffic to Amazon. Then perhaps removing the word Zumba from everywhere on my site, meta tags, and title.
     
  19. SpazzyMcSpazz

    SpazzyMcSpazz Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Messages:
    261
    Likes Received:
    76
    At least amazon hasn't banned you (yet?). Don't screw around too much with this though. With a good enough lawyer they could sue you for pretty much anything. Just send them some emails asking for clarification and check if they're really serious.

    Now how come they can't sue you for that? Is it like freedom of speech or something? But you're using their trademark!! This justice system is really screwed :)
     
  20. DrJekyll

    DrJekyll Senior Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    831
    Likes Received:
    697
    Location:
    1-9 for your Keyword goodluck
    create a huge zumba cd's suck site, based on your personal experience, do not buy any zumba product ever,

    then send them an email stating you are no longer directing your traffic to an affiliate site that sells thier product.

    they can feel free to check and see.