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Our First Cease And Desist Order... Thanks Wynn!

By Chuckmonster on Monday, 2nd November 2009 3:53pm
  » filed under Wynn Resorts  comments: 35

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I find it amazing how a big goofy joke that we've yet to pull the trigger on can make its way to the intellectual property goons at Wynn Resorts.

Apparently someone at Wynn Resorts caught wind of our work-in-progress parody website Wynncore.com and decided to have their lawyers send us a threatening letter demanding that we "give them" the domain name. For the record, I invented the term "Wynncore".

Wynn Resorts Cease and Desist Order

Perhaps this is another reason why having casinos in your social stream is a supremely bad idea.

Anyways, the Wynncore website is an unfinished parody website which was meant to be a part of this years Trippies awards for "Worst Casino Website". Thank you Wynn Resorts for ruining the joke.

Anybody know a good lawyer in Los Angeles who wants to take on our case for cheap?



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Comments & Discussion:

been there and done that. it's happened to several people with even the shittiest of hotels/companies. no biggie, but good luck with everything :)

Gloria Allred.
To bad OJ's lawyer is dead. Do you guys have 1-800-ASK GARY out there? LoL
Oh wait, that's only for auto accidents, but I'm sure they could point you in the right direction

You may want to give the Fair Use Project folks up at Stanford a buzz. http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/taxonomy/term/374

This is definitely bullying on the part of Wynn Resorts. What's next, Harrah's going to send a C & D order for the Emperor Wang's Impotent Palace shirts?

Of course you could play some ball with these guys and see if they'll cut a deal. Maybe something along the lines of a villa for a long weekend in exchange for the Wynncore domain name.......

What law firm is this guy from, Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe?

Its not worth the headache (or money) to fight this and you would definitely lose in the long run (I know of what I speak). You've also got copyright and trade dress infringement problems. Wynn wouldn't be able to get much, if any, from you in damages. Your best bet would be a fair use (parody) defense with no commercial gain. If you used only one "n" - Wyncore, change the font, color scheme, and layout you might be ok, but they could still put you in the poor house with legal fees.

Maybe you can split a lawyer with Jamie.......

I wish I can say that I'm shocked, however I'm not. I even mentioned to one of our mutual friends, I thought that it was a bit risky and very brave on your part. I wondered if you should have used the name Wyncore instead? The one positive thing I will say, is at least Wynn is being cool enough, to just ignore this if you simply pull the site offline basically. The idea of a single, independent person trying to fight multi-billion dollar corporation in our legal system, is obviously less than desirable.

I would have thought that most personalities/companies would allow for some parodies. If memory serves, the only reason Robin Williams got away with his Barbara Streisand impression in the makeover sequence was because it was classified as a parody and therefore no royalties were due and there were no legal ramifications as such. It would stand to reason that some companies would allow for certain parodies as well, especially when it is very obvious that there is no defamation intended, but merely a joke.

But then again, isn't this the guy who eats hookers at his property for breakfast?

Personally, I think Steve needs to get over the divorce, grow a pair and learn to laugh.

I agree with everyone else about your chances of winning the case being incredibly low. If I were you, I would just email them back and agree to transfer the domain to them only if they give you a ridiculously sweet offer at the Wynn, as Vespa suggested. Fairway Villa > trippies joke.

Be sure to frame that letter ;)

Brian, your white flag of surrender is raised like a true worshipper of the dolla dolla bill yo. :)

Parody is fair use and protected under the first amendment. It allows things like, say, the shirts and posters and other merchandise of cartoon characters dressed like famous people (reminds me of the poster I saw of Kermit the Frog as David Letterman, with gapped teeth and all.)

I gave you two different avenues, publicly and privately, on Everybody's Favourite Messaging Service (since we all know enemy territory is looking here.) Do what you want to do, but I believe you have the grounds to essentially do nothing.

And ditto what Mac said, frame that motherfucker.

Damn, I'd take it to the Red Card desk and ask them what I won. ("I got this letter, I think it's an offer for something...")

Yeah well, doing nothing probably isn't a good option. Like another poster mentioned, even if you won, they'd bankrupt the average person in legal fees, just trying to fight them. Not sure its worth starting a war just over a joke. Its a war you probably can't win.

As someone who has also gotten these, it's all well and good to be ra-ra for the First Amendment when you're not faced with the prospect of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Changes significantly when your name is on the top of the letter.

I think you should get the name "whynecore" and use that . Should be pretty obvious that is parody. As far as people criticizing Brian for worshipping the "dolla" sounds to me like you must have tons of it so you can finance this multi year litigation right?? Should be just pocket change to you.

Another funny letter:

http://media.ratevegas.com/wynn_letter.jpg

Payback for Encore Media Week?

I'm no lawyer but I wouldn't think they can make you transfer the domain name to them for free. If you had obviously made money off if it I could see that, but I don't see how they can ask you to transfer it as a case of charity for poor ol' Wynn. It probably would entail some headaches on the phone with customer service people, but I imagine there's a way to "de-register" a domain and simply release it from your ownership. I would get that in writing and forward that to the lawyers, and kindly inform them its free for them to purchase at their will. Otherwise I would kindly remind them you never made a dime off the website and would like to be reimbursed for registering the domain for Wynn Resorts. I dont think its out of line to ask that, considering the innocent nature of the site.

Well I will start everyone off with a personal boycott of the Wynn resorts next week when I am in Vegas.

I will cease and desist giving Wynn Resorts any of my money. I urge others to consider doing the same, in our support of Chuck and is often misplaced sense of humor.

Bad Advice Alert:
Asking for some kind of compensation in exchange for the domain is a horrible idea. What I believe the WLV people are trying to do is accuse you of Cybersquatting, and asking for compensation would only strengthen their case.

The Wikipedia entry ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybersquatting ) is a good resource on the deets of how conflicts are resolved and who is often favoured in such battles. The fact that their title is "Bad Faith Domain Name Registration" suggests that they want to petition ICANN to take your domain away. Actual courtroom drama, as the article says, is unlikely due to jurisdiction issues (and if they took it to Nevada expect to also hire on a lawyer licensed in Nevada on your council in addition to your regular lawyer, ala O.J.), as well as the fact that a courtroom battle with you will cost them as much as a set of premium wheels for Steve's Ferrari whereas going to ICANN and having them force it away from you will cost a little more than a three-night weekend at Encore.

Their copyright/logo concerns seem secondary to their attempt at Reverse Domain Hijacking ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_domain_hijacking )

Talktobrent:

Actually Chuck can and should inform Wynn Resorts that any disputes over domain name registrations have to go through the formal ICANN domain name dispute process. It is a tough process where Wynn would have to provide proof that they copywrited or trademarked the Wynncore name prior to the domain registration before Chuck would be forced to turn the domain name over.

Right now the Wynn lawyers are trying to bully Chuck. If enough bad press is generated against Wynn over these tactics, then maybe they will backoff and be reasonable about this.

Hey Chuck:

Can you get Google to cease and desist placing any ads for Wynn properties on your site?

Why would you want to advertise their properties when their lawyer is acting like such a douchebag. I say everyone ought to boycott the Wynn properties in support of poor old Chuckmonster.

MinVegas,
I wasn't suggesting "compensation," but simply reimbursement for the cost he paid to register it, since Wynn wants to own it now (they would have paid to register it had he not). I should have clarified... He should provide verification of what he paid to register it, as to NOT be accused of squatting. My issue is: what's the incentive for a company to register and protect variations of their name if they can simply threaten others when it comes about, and get it for free? So Wynn has some kind of universal right to yet unrealized variations of their name, and we all are supposed to someone know and respect this? If they want the names they need to pay for them like anyone lese would. So if I registered WynncoreLV now,they could send me a letter and get that for free? Just seems like a slippery slope to me.

I thought parody was protected by the First Amendment.

Just look at "The People vs. Larry Flynt".

"Posted by Atltrainman on Monday, 2nd November 2009 - 8:21 pm
Well I will start everyone off with a personal boycott of the Wynn resorts next week when I am in Vegas.

I will cease and desist giving Wynn Resorts any of my money. I urge others to consider doing the same, in our support of Chuck and is often misplaced sense of humor."


This is nice in theory, but doesn't work. even if you get 100 people to join you, it won't work, unless they are all whales. You need many thousands to make a difference with a boycott. this sums it up perfectly:
http://www.vegasrex.com/2009/04/16/im-mad-as-hell-but-im-not-sure-why/

it's a nice gesture, and i will probably not gamble there on my next trip either, but it's unfortunately not going to be noticed.

now if you can find some special interest group (like the ones who have nothing better to do when someone on the radio says a bad word or makes an "offensive'" joke) to do some damage - that may work.

I'd probably pull the website, but no way in hell would I suggest turning over the domain name over. Your registration of the name was after your publishing of the phrase, which you coined. Cybersquatting should be fairly easy to disprove, given that. Just because Wynn decided to embrace the name post development does not give them the right to unilaterally take it back. While I understand it's a difficult thing to be on the other end of the scare tactics, I wouldn't want to turn over the domain name without a fight. The website itself, I'd probably take down.

Further irony: is a network engineering and consulting firm called "Wynn Data, Ltd."

That should say "www.wynn.com is a network..."

I also note that the esteemed barrister forgot the word "limit" in his reservations of rights.

They're going to have a hard time getting the registrar to transfer the domain under ICANN's UDDRP because wynncore doesn't 'infringe upon or violate the rights of a third party', and is not 'knowingly' being used to violate any law or regulation (fair-use/parody.) As for any claim that it is cybersquatting under the federal Anti-cybersquatting consumer protection act, as long as you don't try to sell them the domain name, you don't do any advertising where you make any money whatsoever on the domain, and it is made very clear on the first page and subsequent pages that it is a parody then they're also going to have a hard time proving that the domain was registered in bad faith. Remember, trademarks aren't intended to protect the owner of the trademark/servicemark, they're intended to protect consumers from being misled by others using similar marks.
Having said that, attorneys aren't cheap.

I'm only licensed in Nevada, not California, but my bet is that if you're sued, it will be in Nevada not California anyway.

I'd also suggest contacting the Stanford Fair Use Project as well to see what they say, or a Nevada licensed attorney.

And you never got the chance to read the winners of the Trippies from the roof of "Wynncore."

P.S. Next time, do it from the lobby.

Would a Nevada court have personal jurisdiction over Chuckmonster, a California resident? Is the publication of the website enough? Just curious.

Probably a moot point, because what they may do is file suit in Nevada, and Chuck would have to hire Nevada counsel to enter a special appearance to contest jurisdiction. Pricey, even if you win. Then they'd just refile in California and/or Federal Court. My guess is they'd seek an injunction first.

This is one of those unpleasant situations where you may have some rights, but the other guy has the inexhaustible resources to spend you into submission. Sucks.

Infringing a federal trademark and/or violating a federal anti-cybersquatting consumer protection act are both federal issues so the case would not be filed in Nevada state court. It would be filed in the U.S. District Court in the State of Nevada which can hear these types of cases even if the defendant is not in Nevada. To control jurisdiction, a potential defendant, if they are accused of actually violating a federal law (not just 'you may be violating federal law'), could file a lawsuit for declaratory judgment in their local USDC.

You also have to remember the golden rule - he with the most gold rules. Sucks, I know.

They did the same to a friend of mine concerning a domain name registration, except I don't recall them giving him the option of transferring it over quietly. I do know that he spent (wasted?) god knows how much in legal fees not to fight the claim but to ensure it was closed properly. It wasn't my money, but it still irritates me to this day.

This is the way they treat you after all the good press you've given to Encore and Wynn. The responses above are thoughtful and at the same time mindboggling. Perhaps, Uncle Sheldon at LVS would like to have a piece of this. He should loan you one of his staff legal eagles to fight this to the Supreme Court if necessary. One does not look at this with a good feeling.

Fuck you, Steve!

Wynn Resorts did not trademark "Wynncore"...its not even a real name...it just a parody...Wynn Resorts doesn't have a sense of humor I guess...

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