United Airlines has won a lawsuit against 20-year old complaint website Untied.com

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United Airlines has won a lawsuit against complaint website Untied.com for violation of trademarks and copyright, a Canadian judge ruled last Friday.

Untied.com is a website critical of United Airlines that logs complaints from passengers. The name untied.com transposes two of the letters of the name “United” and also suggests disorder. Back in 1998 Jeremy Cooperstock, the website founder, said that Untied.com was “a Web site that offers frustrated former United Airlines passengers a chance to speak out.”

In June 1996, Jeremy Cooperstock, then a University of Toronto student had been a passenger on a United itinerary from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Tokyo Narita International Airport. During the itinerary Cooperstock experienced lost seat reservations, a bungled connection, and having a suit in a set of luggage crushed. After that trip ended, Cooperstock wrote a complaint letter regarding the Japan flight and the service on United flights to Hawaii.

Cooperstock received no reply to his complaint. After sending a second complaint, he received a form-letter reply. He posted his letter and United’s reply on his website on the University of Toronto servers saying that the airline’s customer service constituted a “Poor Show.” In a seven-month period thirty people contacted him, sending him additional complaints, which he also posted. He contacted the airline and told it about his webpages. United then filed a complaint with the University of Toronto, accusing the webpages of copyright infringement.

Cooperstock, by then a researcher at Sony Corp., and later an assistant professor at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, shut down the site. In April 1997, after several people supporting his webpages asked him to continue it, he registered the domain name Untied.com. An airline employee had sent Cooperstock a check with the funds needed to operate the website. Cooperstock said that he was willing to modify his webpages and change his views on United if the airline sent any type of response other than a form letter. Cooperstock said he never received a response that satisfied his demands. Cooperstock stated on Untied.com that “It was not the poor treatment we received from United, but rather the subsequent disregard for a serious, polite complaint, which led to the creation of the Web pages.”

More on Wikipedia: Wikipedia – Untied.com

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