Information wants to be clearly presented in an accessible format.
June 24, 2011 6:56 AM Subscribe
I want to create a website that presents the schedule/info of a con in a more usable format than officially provided. Is this something I should be asking a lawyer about?
My friends and I go to a lot of cons, and often want better/different schedule presentation than is provided. I decided to go ahead and create this for one of the (small, non-profit) cons, and emailed them asking if they had this data available in text form instead of just the images they put up on their site. They replied with a nasty 'you can't use our trademarked data like that' email that sounded hysterically ignorant. I decided not to go ahead because I don't need that trouble, but now I want to know what the deal is.
1. Do they have a legal right to stop me putting their schedule up on my own website? (A schedule can't possibly be trademarked, right? And I thought it couldn't be copyrighted either, it's just a list of facts). Or to stop me using their name, or their logo, to refer to them? (That is probably trademarked, but I'm using it to talk about them?) Does this change if I were making money off it somehow (by ads on the page, or by offering printed copies for sale somehow)?
2. If what I'm doing is legally ok, how much trouble can they cause me, and how can I avoid this trouble? Do I just have to accept the risk that they bring a crazy lawsuit and waste my time and money?
I know you are not a/my lawyer, and that you are not offering legal advice. I am unlikely to do anything with this information, but the Andy Baio thread made me curious. Anon in case I do ever move forward with it and having talked about it turns out to be a bad thing.