What’s an airline company to do when passengers air their grievances via the World Wide Web? If it’s United, it gets all huffy about a 15-year-old complaint site that the airline claims has violated its copyright, trademarks and privacy of senior employees. United Continental Holdings is suing Untied.com for those very reasons, and not, it says, because passengers are complaining.
According to the Chicago Tribune, United filed two suits in Canada, where the site is based, saying it’s only trying to protect its intellectual property, namely, its logo. The company probably isn’t too keen on that whole “An Evil Alliance Member” thing either.
But the site’s operator says the airline is just mad because Untied.com is so popular and effective when it comes to publishing passenger complaints. He calls the lawsuits, SLAPP suits, or ”strategic lawsuit against public participation.”
He says in a statement:
“They are trying to shut down my site instead of dealing with their problems. If they had put as much effort into improving their service as into these SLAPP-suits, there’d be no reason for the website.”
United hasn’t responded with its own comment about the site, which says it has more than 25,000 passenger complaints as well as plenty of postings from disgruntled employees of United.
Now, where would we be if complaints weren’t allowed to be posted on the Internet? Unless United can pull off the copyright infringement stuff, it’s our guess Untied.com will stay put.
United Continental sues passenger complaint website [Chicago Tribune]