BT slips into farce with Superfarce gag
Emails between Richard Brown, the site owner, and BT reveal that BT doesn’t even own the site it accuses Brown of copying.
Brown received a letter from BT’s legal department informing him that he had copied much of the content of the website Superfast-Wales.com, including the design of the front page, and giving him seven days to remove material that was BT’s intellectual property.
Brown wrote back asking which bits infringed BT’s copyright. “As you have chosen to give this the highest of priorities (just 7 days) I would like to expedite this for you, but in the absence of a response to my request for clarification regarding the specific nature of the changes you wish to see it is somewhat challenging to assist you.”
Bernadette Mee, head of trade marks at BT, who wrote the original letter, apparently went on leave in the middle of this correspondence. As a result it escalated to Miles Beckingham, BT’s senior trade mark attorney, who thundered, “BT requires that you remove from your website all content which has been directly copied from www.superfast-wales.com.”
Brown had done some homework in the meantime. He responded to Beckingham, saying “Well, as you are apparently unclear as to what elements of the site are in question, perhaps it would be helpful if we clarified what we are discussing.
“Firstly, http://superfast-wales.com is not a BT property, as demonstrated by the leasing arrangement for the URL that can be evidenced here:
This shows that Superfast-Wales.com is registered to one Gary Mortensen-Baker. Googling Mr Mortensen-Baker throws up a credit for a YouTube animation that explains the next generation broadband technologies BT plans to deploy in Lancashire, home to the B4RN fibre to the home community project.
Brown wrote, “Whilst superfast-wales.com is not a BT property, I am nonetheless keen to try and assist you with concerns you have expressed with regard to your copyright and/or IP.
“Perhaps you can find the time to identify those elements that you believe are BT property, regardless of the ownership of the superfast-wales.com website?
“With specific regard to your artificially short deadline – this would have already been completed if your department had acted promptly, as per my requests.”
Meanwhile on Twitter, @BroadbandBill, widely believed to be Bill Murphy, managing director of BT’s next generation access project, indicated that all Brown has to do is remove the blurred image that BT’s legal department believes represents the BT logo.