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June 02, 2011

Rumors: Canon laywers forcing CanonFilmMakers.com to shut down?

CanonFilmMakers.com, an independent website that was designed to help film makers using Canon DSLRs has announced on their website that they are shutting down because of legal action. Being an indie website, they simply don't have the resources to fight off armies of lawyers. You can also follow their updates on the situation at their Twitter page in case the website magically disappears.

If you read the reader comments on the post and the photo-forum-blogo-social-sphere, it looks like the armies of lawyers are coming from your friends at Canon. This is not the first time Canon has tried to shut down websites, as you may recall they tried it with Canon Rumors and the Fake Chuck Westfall (props to Wordpress.com for saying no to Canon in the Fake Chuck kerfuffle)

The manufacturers will likely say they are doing this to protect their brand and prevent confusion and such. On the other hand, the manufacturers are more than happy to receive all the free publicity they get from independent and fan-based websites. There is the letter of the law, and there is what people perceive as fair or ethical or moral behavior from a manufacturer. Now that the Supreme Court has found that corporations are people, we should expect corporations to behave ethically and morally like human-people, and hold them accountable when they don't!

Which brings us to the very practical question of what do you do if you plan to have a website that focuses on a specific brand? Do you name it BeautifulElephantPortraitsInTheSummerAlsoAsWell101.com and hope people will realize it's actually talking about Sony or Nikon or Canon cameras?

CFM has posted a new epic 2-minute Vimeo video showing exactly how "easy" it is to discuss specific products without mentioning their name. (if you are using headphones, you may want to lower the volume - there are a few beeps in the video).


UPDATE (June-3-2011): Two new detailed posts on this issue have been posted online since, one at the Blog Herald (by Jonathan Bailey of Plagiarism Today) and another by Karel Donk.


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