I had no idea the #FedEx #Furniture Guy had been DMCA’ed into oblivion…

FedEx furniture is the artistic creation of computer programmer Jose Avila, III. In June, 2005, Avila created a website, Fedexfurniture.com, to display photographs of a couch, bed, dining room table, and desk that he had constructed out of cartons obtained from overnight shipping giant FedEx Corporation (FedEx). FedEx attorneys used the takedown provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to force Avila’s ISP to take the site offline, accusing Avila of infringing on FedEx’s copyrights and trademarks, breaching his contract with FedEx by using the cartons for purposes other than shipping, and potentially misleading consumers into believing that FedEx approved or endorsed Avila’s actions. Among attorneys and activist organizations concerned with the exercise of First Amendment rights on the Internet, FedEx’s actions raised questions about the constitutionality of using the DMCA to censor unwanted speech. The Fedexfurniture.com website is down as of September 15, 2011.

See examples of the work here and here.

via FedEx furniture – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

3 Replies to “I had no idea the #FedEx #Furniture Guy had been DMCA’ed into oblivion…”

  1. Well, there’s an endorsement for FedEx, eh? (crosses them firmly off list of “couriers to use, ever” – they join the Home Delivery Network in the bargepole line-up.

  2. This seems to be an unintended consequence of one of the wackier elements of US trademark law, which can be summarised as “if you’re not seen to defend your trademarks, they can be rescinded”.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if many folk at FedEx reckon, like most of us, that the installations were creative and gently funny – however as the FedEx name is probably deemed to be worth a bit, the result comes down to a bunch of highly risk-averse lawyers who are entirely aware that the keeping of one’s trademarks is defined by a very blurry line resulting from case precedent and not much else, so the sensible thing to do is stay as far away from that line as possible.

    Picking on the DMCA as the vehicle for trademark defence is a very strange path to take, though, and smacks of desperation (as well as lawyer paranoia). Also, the idea that purchasing a cardboard box from FedEx involves “a contract with FedEx to use the cartons for shipping” has me hoping that the same doesn’t apply over here with the Post Office, as I have some sturdy cardboard Post Office boxes in the back of my garage, where they are used for storage…

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