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from the L.A. Times

Facebook in another legal 'book' fight, parody site says it's being lame

You don’t get to 500 million friends without spwaning a few imitators. But Facebook is not fond of other websites that use the word "book" in their names (think Teachbook and Placebook) and has moved aggressively to protect its multibillion-dollar brand.

The latest offender is a wiseass creation from two Austin, Texas, graphic artists: Lamebook, which pokes fun at status updates, photos, comments and other tidbits on Facebook. Except Facebook is not laughing. The Palo Alto company threatened to take Lamebook to court. That's when things got interesting.

Lamebook creators Jonathan Standefer and Matthew Genitempo turned the tables last week and filed a lawsuit against Facebook in Austin asking the court to rule that, as parody, the website is protected by the 1st Amendment and does not infringe on Facebook's trademarks. Facebook says Lamebook isn't legally protected parody because it doesn't "provide any critique or comment of Facebook itself." This week it sued Lamebook in federal court in San Jose.

"We're disappointed that after months of working with Lamebook they have turned to litigation," Facebook said in an e-mailed statement. "We believe their website is an improper attempt to trade off of Facebook's popularity and fame and we will continue to protect our brand and trademark."

Lamebook is soliciting donations to its legal fund on its site.

"We really love running Lamebook. Aside from the laughs, it represents an opportunity to work on an incredibly fun project with our buddies that makes a lot of people happy and still allows us to make rent at the end of the month," the solicitation reads. "Problem is, Facebook didn't get the joke. They've decided to pick on the little guys: small business owners who seem to be no match for a multibillion-dollar behemoth. But this is one website that's not going down without a fight."

-- Jessica Guynn

 
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