Facebook Inc. has filed a lawsuit against the parody site Lamebook, which initially surprised the social network and legal experts by proactively suing first, instead of the other way around.
The social network has a long history of proactively suing would-be patent infringers, namely any website that either begins with “Face” or ends with “book.” The maneuvers often start with what lawyers call a “cease-and-desist” letter, then an actual lawsuit.
This time around, the parody site got the first laugh, so to speak. Before Facebook could move from “cease and desist” to sue, Lamebook sued.
Lamebook wanted an injunction barring Facebook from suing, invoking First Amendment freedom of speech, along with a well-known exception to copyright protection known as “fair use,” which includes parody. Now some of the same pundits who’d snipped that Lamebook’s attempt at humor wasn’t funny are kvetching that Facebook can’t take a joke.
The latest lawsuit has less to do with whether Facebook has a sense of humor that having a sense of urgency. The social network needed to sue before any injunction sought by Lamebook could take effect. Ultimately, the litigant with the biggest largest purse wins in today’s legal climate, and few companies have more money than Facebook.
Lamebook is actually a project that Urban Outfitters plans to render into a coffee-table book. The hipster retailer has a total market capitalization of $5.4 billion, compared to Facebook’s $41 billion estimated value. Based on that alone, it looks like Urban Outfitters might have to find another name for its parody site and any related projects.
Readers, what should Lamebook change its name to, if at all? And do you find any of the material on that site funny?