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'SHSU Confessions' page taken down due to trademark violations

Editor-in-Chief

Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 01:02

The popular “SHSU Confessions” Facebook page mysteriously disappeared on Wednesday just as mysteriously as it appeared.


Sam Houston State University officials asked the page administrators to remove trademarked materials or they would take further action against the page.

The administrators of the page said it was an amicable decision.


“They told us that it wasn’t necessarily a matter of what was being posted, it was just simply that we didn’t have the rights to post on behalf of SHSU as a whole,” the administrator said. “Everything was trademarked. Both sides of the conversation were polite and professional. They actually highly praised us upon our punctuality and professionalism by coming to resolve it face to face.”


The page allowed Facebook users to anonymously post any confession they wanted to make about SHSU through web-survey site SurveyMonkey.com. The same administrators opened a new page with the same concept under the name “Prison City Confessions”.


The sometimes-explicit content was one of the reasons they decided to comply with the request quickly.


“We agreed to take it down by request from SHSU to avoid possibly harming the name and reputation of (the university),” the administrator said. “We knew from the beginning we would run into the issue so once it arose we just didn’t want to fight or argue with them.”


Kris Ruiz, SHSU marketing director, said the university’s issue arose not from the content but it’s labeling.


“As per recommended Facebook procedure for trademark infringement, we first contacted ‘SHSU Confessions’ regarding the unauthorized use/infringement of university trademarks prior to formally reporting the violation to Facebook,” Ruiz said. “We asked they remove all registered marks including ‘SHSU’ from their page.”


Page administrators said it wasn’t easy to remove the trademarks, including the logo and “SHSU” from the title.


“After the page got 200 likes we were unable to change it so at that point we decided to just change the page all together,” the administrator said. “When we talked to them they told us our content was not a problem just the pictures and the name, they gave us an hour to take it down before they said they would personally take it down for us, so we deleted it.”

Ruiz said the university has been reactionary and not proactive in tracking down trademark violators.


“In the past, we have not actively monitored the Internet or social medium platforms for infringement violations.  To date, all the infringement cases we have had to address were referred by other people.”


Once a group has been deemed to be in violation, Ruiz said recommended university policy is to first contact the group and request they comply with trademark law. After that the university would take steps to have the page, or any materials in violation, removed.


Although she didn’t release specific numbers, Ruiz said everyone that has been asked to remove material has complied with the request.

 

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