Faceporn Site Being Sued by Facebook

The website commonly referred to as Faceporn has apparently tried to ride the wave of Facebook’s popularity, and the top social networking site is having none of it. To stop Faceporn.com dead in its tracks, Facebook filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on October 15. The suit was filed claiming that the creators of Faceporn.com created their own racy social networking site by copying Facebook both in its look and function.

Faceporn offered users pornographic content that blended with a social network format. To reflect its format, Faceporn claimed it was “the number one socializing porn and sex network.” A visit to Faceporn.com right now suggests otherwise, however. The website no longer features any evidence of social networking or pornography. Instead, the following message exists: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, faceporn is down until further notice.” 

The home page also offers users a chance to sign up for the site’s newsletter, as well as the opportunity to follow it on Twitter. Recently, Faceporn posted on its home page that its designers were creating a new version of the site.

Unfortunately for Faceporn, the likelihood of any positive updates regarding its status in the near future is low. The site’s Twitter page states that it was forced to close down. It does promise that it will be back and better than ever, however.  Perhaps the site’s owners will be able to return with a revamped design that does not resemble Facebook so closely. 

If Facebook has its way in court, that possibility may not exist, though. Facebook has requested ownership of the Faceporn.com domain as well as any revenue generated from the site.

In its suit, Facebook states that Faceporn copied its logo. In addition, Faceporn was also accused of copying the overall site structure, as well as the Wall trademark. Prior to its closing, Faceporn allowed its users to make Wall postings, just as those seen on Facebook. Its color scheme, blue and white, was also similar to Facebook’s. 

Another copied element was that of poking, a function commonly used on the Facebook site. Faceporn’s version differed slightly, and it allowed its users to send a flirt instead. To provide the court evidence of these accusations, Facebook included screen shots of the Faceporn site before it was shut down. A spokesman for Facebook, Simon Axten, stated that Faceporn’s use of a name similar to Facebook was tarnishing and diluting the brand, and that its trademark integrity was at stake.

The suit against Faceporn is not the first time Facebook has gone to court over trademark infringement, especially with other sites that have used the terms “face” and “book” in their names. TeachBook, a networking site created to connect teachers, was sued by Facebook in August over its use of the word “book” in its name. Even though the site offered a unique design, Facebook claimed that it was guilty of trademark infringement. 

Although Facebook may have a solid claim against Faceporn, the popular social networking site does have critics who oppose some of its overzealous litigation in certain circumstances. They claim that by trying to prevent others from using the terms “face” and “book” in their names, Facebook is trying to claim ownership of words that are commonly used in the English language.

For more on this topic, visit the Computer World story.

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