Canadian culture isn’t much different than ours. I mean when was the last time you heard anyone say, “Let’s stay home and order some Canadian food”? If you’ve watched the comedy movie Canadian Bacon,
however, you might agree with some of the stereotypes: they are nice, they are polite, and they don’t litter. For British Columbians that’s true I’m sure but I’m not so sure about French Canadians being nice. At least not all of them.
One of my competitors in Montreal, LinkNow! Media, seems to be a bully on par with the American president played by Alan Alda in the movie who warned the Canadians, “Surrender pronto, or we’ll level Toronto.”
One thing for sure: Canadians are good at ice hockey and downright dominating when it comes to the sport of curling. At the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics they got 5 gold medals, 3 silver medals, and 2 bronze medals while the Americans only managed to eak out one measly bronze. Good grief! Canadians, I hereby take back my dig about you just being wannabe Alaskans. You guys rock!
A little background to the current confrontation. A few months ago I got an email from Getty Images saying:
“I would take any image down that you didn’t purchase the rights to use for your blog. There is one in particular on your LinkNOW story that isn’t your image. Are you interested in talking about image licensing and buying options?”
Here is the image:
This ironically coming from a company that has garnered quite a reputation for engaging in predatory lawsuit threats and yet was itself ordered to pay $1.2 Million in restitution for distributing a photographer’s picture on Twitter without his permission. This letter was actually a very nice letter compared to what thousands of website owners have been getting which demand about $800 to settle or be taken to court and stand losing thousands.
“That picture was a screenshot of a website mock-up done for me by that company. I did the screenshot myself. Nice try. “
Fast forward to today and I get an overnight FedEx package from LinkNow! Media in Montreal with a “cease and desist demand” and threats of lawsuits from Canadian Marc Viaud, who claims to be an attorney in Quebec (he isn’t), saying my screenshot displays LinkNow’s US trademark (it doesn’t), and that I engaged in “defamations of its name and goodwill” by myself and the author of comments on my blog page about LinkNow. The comment author for the only comment at the time never mentioned LinkNow but talked about another company. I was summarily ordered to remove the image and remove the “defamatory comments made against our client” on my review article detailing LinkNow’s offerings (or lack thereof) in comparison to what I have to offer for website design and Search Engine Optimization at Kirbyworks. Is this the new way of “reputation management”: bully blog owners with threats of legal action if they critique their competition? How low can we go? They must have seen how well intimidation tactics have worked for Getty images and decided to follow suit. Or perhaps this French Canadian company is just trying to make up for French passivity during the Gulf War?
I have another theory: these Canadians are trying to make up for British Columbia not getting Washington State’s San Juan Islands during the bloodless Pig War of 1859. Bloodless as far as humans were concerned, that is. One pig did receive a bullet for trespassing on an American’s farm and eating his potatoes. For the next 12 years San Juan Island was under joint occupation of British and US troops until Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm 1 was called on to arbitrate the border dispute and decided to give the islands to the Yanks. Got to love the Germans for giving us those islands. And Porsches!
At any rate, any company that can’t stand to have a competitor critique their services and resorts to legal intimidation for writing a review needs to get out of the business and get into something of which the Canadians will always be intimidatingly good at: clean air and curling. This certainly gives me more material to post about LinkNow which will boost my rankings for terms used by people doing research on LinkNow. Interestingly enough, my post about LinkNow was the 4th most visited page on my website in the last year since most any search using their name puts my post on Google page 1 with my mug shot on it. It’s currently Google #3 for “linknow media” behind their website and Yelp pages but ahead of their Facebook and Twitter profile pages, none of which of course have the unfair advantage of a ruggedly handsome mug shot like mine! No wonder they consider me to be a threat!
LinkNow, if you’re reading this, I’ll make a deal with you. Keep doing what you are doing and I’ll keep writing articles about you and keep search optimizing those articles until I’m Google #1 for your own company name and everyone will see how pathetic your SEO services are that you can’t be #1 for your own company name. Furthermore, I’ll probably end up with more than one of my articles on Google page 1 which will crowd you out of the SERP’s. I’ve had pretty good success with that in the past. Here’s the deal: pay me $16,000 in damages for your bullying and I will remove all these negative articles about you that are siphoning off clients from you. I’ll even divide that $16,000 equally between my four favorite charities:
- A struggling church in Finley, WA.
- A drug/alcohol rehab center in Elma, WA.
- My brother’s alcohol rehab treatment if I can get him to go there.
- My favorite charity – my five kids.
Am I worried about being taken to court and having to pay damages to LinkNow? No, they don’t have a case. Their accusations of “defemations of name and goodwill” are just plain silly. As for copyright issues with the screenshot of the mock-up they sent me, according to my attorney, my use of that image, even if it were their image, would fall under “fair use.” “Fair use” is an exception to the exclusive rights held by a copyright owner. It exists in some countries such as the US and the UK. Under it, in certain cases, using work without permission is possible. If someone’s usage is defined as fair use, then they don’t need to obtain a license. Essentially, using copyrighted material is a legal right. Examples of fair use might include:
- Educational purposes, such as teaching and student research.
- Commentary, search engines, criticism, parody, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship.
That’s how my attorney looks at it, and I’ll put my fake American attorney up against their fake Canadian attorney any day. Unless they want to challenge us to a game of curling, in which case we give up.