You must wait until Nov. 19 to know what delicious deals Walmart has in store for America this “Black Friday.” The Mart of Wal is threatening legal action against any website so bold as to post the coveted “Black Friday” circular before that date.
Brad Olson, the founder of Gottadeal.com, a Web site that markets itself as one of many “official Black Friday deals sites,” told CNNMoney.com that he received an e-mail Wednesday from lawyers representing Wal-Mart (Charts, Fortune 500) warning him against “improper release” of the No. 1 retailer’s Black Friday sales circular.
And he isn’t the only one. Neal Rapoport, founder of Dealtaker.com which also leaks Black Friday ads, received the same legal notice from Wal-Mart on Wednesday.
“It has recently come to our attention that you and/or your company may potentially obtain possession of and untimely release Wal-Mart’s sales circulars, advertisements or other information prior to their authorized release dates,” the law firm Baker Hostetler, which represents Wal-Mart, wrote in a legal notice e-mailed to Brad Olson and obtained by CNNMoney.com.
The notice said Wal-Mart’s circulars are protected by copyright laws, and any unauthorized reproduction, publication or distribution of that information prior to Wal-Mart’s release date of Nov. 19 for its Black Friday ads “violates Wal-Mart’s right.”
“To the extent that the methods of acquisition or use include criminal activity, criminal penalties may also apply,” the notice said.
Criminal? As in jail? What does Walmart think this is, an airport?