World Trademark Review reports on the ongoing trademark dispute between Instagram and writer Matt Unsworth over Unsworth’s registration of the domain names slutsofinstagram.com and whoresofinstagram.com (both safe for viewing). As detailed in an earlier post, the slutsofinstagram.com domain registration earned Unsworth a cease and desist letter from Instagram, asserting that the domain name appears to incorporate the registered INSTAGRAM trademark, and appears to be used in a manner that infringes, dilutes, and tarnishes the reputation of the INSTAGRAM mark (i.e., sluts of instagram). Unsworth publicly responded to Instagram by explaining that the domain name is properly read as “Slütsof in Stâgram,” the title of a fantasy story about a duck named Slütsof who journeys across the mystical land of Stagrâm in search of her brother Whöresof.
Unsworth appears to be sticking by his original story, telling World Trademark Review that “at no point was it a plan to start a website for people to post pictures of promiscuous girls they found on Instagram, nor was it all done as an elaborate prank on Instagram. Slütsof in Stâgram is an original piece of art that I created because I like telling stories and enjoy the creative process.” Unsworth also noted that, due to the media attention surrounding the dispute, the slutsofinstagram.com site received “a million hits in under a day.”
Instagram effectively had no choice but to send the letter, since trademark owners who fail to police the infringement or misuse of their marks risk losing their exclusive rights to the marks. However, as Instagram’s situation shows, the act of trying to take down an unauthorized site can have the unintended consequence of increasing the amount of media coverage and web traffic to that site. It will be interesting to see how the dispute will be resolved, and what ultimately becomes of poor Slütsof and Whöresof (and whether the two have any other long-lost siblings). Read the full article here.
Reposted from World Trademark Review.