Go Daddy's War On Bloggers

As I’ve documented over the past couple of days (here and here), GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons is in hot water for killing an elephant during a recent trip to Zimbabwe.

This morning, I read that he has authorized a company to begin issuing copyright infringement notices to websites that are running this photo:

According to Domain Name Wire, a GoDaddy representative said the following:

“Proper requests for use of images, both still and moving, from Mr. Parsons’ recent Africa trip were granted quite liberally. I’m told he continues to receive, and grant, those requests. However, those individuals and outlets electing to use the material without permission are being asked to remove it, as per relevant copyright law.”


I have not received that notice, but I asked copyright and trademark attorney Erik Pelton to assess my risk for continuing to run the photo. His reply?

“I would happily argue your use in a blog discussion is fair use.”


Mr. Parsons is demonstrating, yet again, terrible judgment in this crisis.

Not only does his demand to cease and desist use of his photo live on rocky legal ground, but his latest bullying move will unnecessarily extend the life of this crisis. The “Streisand Effect” tells us that when threatened with action, bloggers will spread his photo around even more widely than before.

Even more chilling is the impact for bloggers who host their sites on GoDaddy.com. I have an uneasy feeling they might resort to shutting down the sites they host that contain this photo. That may seem like an extreme fear, but it would be consistent with the dreadful approach they’ve taken with this crisis thus far.

Related: Go Daddy CEO Steps in Elephant Dung

Related: Five Things I’d Tell Go Daddy’s CEO Right Now

Related: April 11, 2011: Crisis Communications Lesson: Why I Finally Quit Go Daddy