Is it copyright infringement to reference a tradename within an article? 1 Answers as of August 12, 2010

My company owns a website that allows users to post their own unique articles, and we then share the advertising revenue generated by these articles. One of our users referenced a large US national bank within an article. This article was not trying to sell anything, it was only advocating for a specific service that this bank provides. The bank informed us that we are committing copyright infringement by this reference to their trademark/tradename, and demands that we take down every webpage that contains the tradename.

Are they legally able to make this request? Does a mere reference to a trademark/tradename constitute copyright infringement? Does the trademark/tradename have to be included within the sites meta data to constitute infringement? And perhaps most importantly, can we be held liable for any of this?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
Can they do so? Of course.

Have you actually violated some protected right? Maybe, but not substantially. The issue is whether you have damaged them, or misled their customers, etc.

Right or wrong does not matter. On the theory that anybody can sue anybody for anything and cause legal fees and problems, you must decide if you want to contest this and risk being sued, or simply comply and avoid the risk.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/12/2010
Click to View More Answers: