Friday, January 05, 2001

NFL cracks down on anti-Brown site

Copyright is main issue

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NFL Properties has issued a “cease and desist” letter to organizers of the Web site.

        The NFL, citing copyright and trademark infringement, demanded the site:

        • Discontinue use of a modified Bengals tiger logo on the Web site and related merchandise;

        • Stop posting information originally produced by the Bengals' Web site;

        • Remove any links to the team's Web site;

        • Provide a “full accounting with respect to all sales of merchandise incorporating your facsimile of the Bengals Tiger Head Design Mark and the records documenting the same.”

        The NFL letter, which is posted on the fans' site, also demands compliance and written acknowledgement by Jan.16, or the organizers will face legal action.

        “This is not content-based,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Thursday. “We would have had the some position if the site was We sent a standard letter we send to 50 or 60 companies or individuals each year for violating our property rights.”

        The letter was addressed to David Young, who is listed on the site as a co-founder with Chase Peel. Young also is known on the site as “Fraidy Cat.”

        Efforts Thursday to reach Young and Peel were unsuccessful.

        The site has received national publicity and bills itself as being for “enraged fans.” It has collected signatures on petitions seeking Brown's suspension, features a message board, posts guest columns and sells T-shirts that list the name of the site and its Web address.

        On Thursday, the site sought free legal help from its readers.

        The site's mission statement says Bengals ownership has “broken the unwritten contract between a team and its fans. ... It is the opinion of (the site) and its thousands of supporters that (NFL) commissioner Paul Tagliabue must suspend Mike Brown from the day-to-day operations of the Cincinnati Bengals and elect an acting General Manager in order to preserve the integrity of the game.”

        The site also attempted to organize a boycott of all concessions and the Dec.3 game at Paul Brown Stadium against Arizona. The Bengals sold 50,289 tickets for that game between two of the NFL's worst teams, the fewest sold for any of their eight home dates. The Dec.17 game against Jacksonville, the second-coldest game day in Bengals history, sold 180 more tickets.


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