Moot v Moot. 4Chan founder in legal row with US start-up

It’s time for a quick bit of education. The word moot comes from the Old English language (Anglo-Saxon), meaning meeting. Now we’ve got that out of the way, a row is brewing between 4Chan founder Chris 'Moot' Poole and US start-up Moot.it, all over the use of the name Moot.

Poole has kicked off the row, stating he’s been using the online alias Moot since 2003. Poole’s lawyer has said the Moot alias has become part of his “protectable right of publicity” and has sent a legal letter to Moot.it saying its use of the name will cause confusion.


The moot.it homepage

The letter goes on to say that confusion was “unavoidable” as there was a “strong association” among many internet users with Moot aka Poole, and discussions on 4Chan. The letter “respectfully suggests” that the company pick another name that can’t be confused with Poole’s online identity.  If Moot.it carry on using the name and begin using it as a trademark, Poole would investigate “all options” available to him.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Moot.it have said that it is refusing to give up the right to use the name, with further letters received from Poole and his legal team met with a lawsuit for malicious prosecution.


More than one Moot. An example of searching for Moot in Google

Doing a quick search on Google throws up other businesses and organisations that use the word moot in their name (or as their name), along with the dictionary and definition sites telling you what the meaning of the word is. You can even see the Wikipedia link where we found the origins of the word moot.

Moot.it chose the name as it plans to setup discussion forums for businesses and online communities, hence the Anglo-Saxon titbit!

Source: BBC | Image of Chris “Moot” Poole courtesy of ohinternet.com

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4chan's anonymous members have an uncanny way of digging up information.
So when "Lawyers acting for Moot.it told Betabeat that it refuses to give up the right to use the name. Any further letters from Mr Poole and his legal team would be met with a lawsuit for malicious prosecution, they warned in comments given to Betabeat." I sure hope that their lawyers are clean as a whistle and nothing to hide.

Given what 4chan's reputation is, I'm surprised the BBC has run with the story. I know news should be independent and free to report etc but this does seem like they're verging on breaking internet rules..

But still, if moot is wanting legal action, I think its a bit in poor taste and I'm going to guess its more of a publicity stunt for 4chan then anything else.

sagum said,
Given what 4chan's reputation is, I'm surprised the BBC has run with the story. I know news should be independent and free to report etc but this does seem like they're verging on breaking internet rules..

The BBC's reporting has become a joke recently. It's not the respectable organisation that it used to be.

This is a landmark case, I've been rocking this identity for over a decade, time to go sue me some shoe manufacturers or ancient egyptian gods...pay day bitches...or maybe it is I who should be sued for rocking an unoriginal alias /s

So, is Christopher Poole saying that I should be able to sue a company if they start calling their service Calum? That sounds a bit ridiculous to me.

That means that everyone called Dave who lives in the United Kingdom should be able to sue the TV channel Dave. . . .

Well the part that is left out is the following (from original article on BetaBeat):
"In view of the strong associations in the minds of a substantial part of the Internet community between MOOT and commenting and discussion, it is unavoidable that your continued use of MOOT as a trademark would lead to confusion."

After reading that, I get the point.
Still don't find it very valid though and can't see it holding up. Although I understand the main argument now.

Calum said,

That means that everyone called Dave who lives in the United Kingdom should be able to sue the TV channel Dave. . . .

"Moot is a London-based community of spiritual travelers who seek to live in a way that is honest to God and honest to now."

I'm guessing Mr. Poole and his legal team assumed they couldn't extract money from these guys (because they probably have none).

TheLegendOfMart said,
Yeah that's clever, go up against 4chan, this isn't going to end well.

Yeah nothing good can come from this, I sense moot.it might end up disappearing!

TheLegendOfMart said,
Yeah that's clever, go up against 4chan, this isn't going to end well.

And what are those pre-puberty kids going to do? Fire up the LOIC once more? Aww..sad day indeed.

TheLegendOfMart said,
Yeah that's clever, go up against 4chan, this isn't going to end well.

Uh. This is one guy 99% of the world has never heard of who harassed a business that never thought about him. They aren't going "up against 4chan". They're simply refusing to roll over for some whiny, self-righteous, glorified forum mod from a community that gets off on its own ability to get away with posting child pr0n.

Fark 4chan, and fark this guy.

Joshie said,

Uh. This is one guy 99% of the world has never heard of who harassed a business that never thought about him. They aren't going "up against 4chan". They're simply refusing to roll over for some whiny, self-righteous, glorified forum mod from a community that gets off on its own ability to get away with posting child pr0n.

Fark 4chan, and fark this guy.

orly

MidTxWRX said,

orly


Ya rly. The 4chan community is a cesspool, and proud of it, though for some reason rapidly butt-hurt if anyone else says so.

Anyone who thinks this is anything other than a business defending itself against unwarranted harassment by an art school drop-out could only possibly be a 4chan fanboy twisting reality to justify his own fanboyism.

Nothing on 4chan even approaches cultural relevance until someone notices and posts it to Reddit.

Debating a "moot" or "moot point" in the UK is part of becoming a qualified Barrister here. So Chris want to take on ALL these Qualified Solicitors and Barristers?

I thought not!!!......

grabageek said,
Debating a "moot" or "moot point" in the UK is part of becoming a qualified Barrister here. So Chris want to take on ALL these Qualified Solicitors and Barristers?
In the US, we have "Moot" Court as well, which are simply mock trials for learning purposes that I imagine mirror what is being done in the UK.

pickypg said,
In the US, we have "Moot" Court as well, which are simply mock trials for learning purposes that I imagine mirror what is being done in the UK.

Yup that's exactly the same thing :-)

Has he trademarked the word? If not, then he has no case.

Also, whenever someone says the word 'moot' to me, I think of 'pointless'. That's all that word means to me.

jamesyfx said,
Has he trademarked the word? If not, then he has no case.

Also, whenever someone says the word 'moot' to me, I think of 'pointless'. That's all that word means to me.

Yeah me to

jamesyfx said,
Has he trademarked the word? If not, then he has no case.

Also, whenever someone says the word 'moot' to me, I think of 'pointless'. That's all that word means to me.


What a moot case.

Guth said,
that was wierd, came here just after 4chan and this is what I saw lol.
f*ck m00t.

I guess the 4chan gold accounts will be paying for the legal battle

theyarecomingforyou said,

Well, that's what happens when tweens are allowed unrestricted access to the internet.

This stuff always makes me laugh. You might think you're making a slam against 4chan users, but you're really only making the companies they attack look worse if they're IT security is incapable of defending against a mean 12 year old.

dead.cell said,
This stuff always makes me laugh. You might think you're making a slam against 4chan users, but you're really only making the companies they attack look worse if they're IT security is incapable of defending against a mean 12 year old.
There's a difference between a denial of service and someone hacking.

The number of people without anything better to do on 4chan often outweighs the the bandwidth (either computational or network) to handle the number of requests that can be sent. Shy of throwing more computers or connections at the problem, there is no solution to it.