Monday, March 5, 2012

Kintiskton, MarkMonitor, Google, Online Brand Protection And IP Violations

Almost all small websites and small companies prefer to use limited computational powers, software, hardware, bandwidth consumption, etc. Within these limited resources these small companies and websites have to provide the best results.

However, the entire planning and financial equilibrium of these companies and websites is jeopardised the moment some individual, company or robot crawlers mess up with such website. There are some very aggressive crawler bots that consume the bandwidth meant for entire month in few days.

These crawler bots do not respect the restrictions placed by the robot txt files and even if you block their internet protocol (IP) range, they resurface again with newer IP blocks. In almost all cases this behaviour is attributable to a company or organisation that is helping in investigation, preventing, fighting and remedying intellectual property rights (IPRs) violations.

It may be an IPRs law firm or a company like MarkMonitor that helps in online brand protection and online trademark protection. Such IPRs law firm or company like MarkMonitor are well within their rights to analyse and report online contents for IPRs violations. However, they must do so in a manner that is not only legal but also reasonable and not causing any loss, financial or otherwise, to third parties.

Bombarding websites and blogs having limited capabilities and computational resources with mammoth requests that also bypassing the restrictions placed by website owner is strictly not legal. It involves issues like privacy violations, trespass, unauthorised access, possible denial of service attack and distributed denial of service attack, etc.

For instance, the Kintiskton crawling bot is behaving in the abovementioned manner. Some have claimed that the Kintiskton bot is operating on the part of IPRs law enforcement firms and companies like MarkMonitor.

This also reminds us about our recent series of complaints with Google, MarkMonitor, etc. During the period we pursued our trademark and copyright violation complaints with Google, MarkMonitor was the registrant for the domains blogspot and blogger. The legal notice sent to MarkMonitor to bring to Google’s knowledge the offending act and omissions was replied to after much time with a standard reply that is far from satisfactory.

It is also obvious that MarkMonitor is managing the brand and IPRs related issues of Google. The Kintiskton crawling bot seems to be acting on behalf of MarkMonitor and wherever applicable on behalf of Google as well. However, this could have serious legal consequences as this exercise of Kintiskton crawling bot may not be legally sustainable under the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act 2000) that is the cyber law of India.

Now this fact has also been made public so whoever managing the Kintiskton crawling bot must be aware that this exercise may not be entirely legal and acceptable to users and website owners whose websites are vandalised by the bot. Time has come to change the crawling policy of Kintiskton crawling bot.