The Net Responds (cont.)

Due to an incredible response volume, the responses page was getting pretty lengthy, so I split it. These are the latest. If you haven't already seen them, don't forget to check out the earlier responses.

We can't disclose full contest entries yet, but we can let you see a few of the letters of support we have received. Meanwhile, write letters to Geoffrey! Alert Dave Barry! Write the Attorney General! (Maybe we can get on TV when the BATF is sent in to wipe us out!)

All opinions expressed belong to their owners. Our opinions about a certain mongo toy chain and its corporate parent are hopefully apparent from these pages!

Remember, you must send the letters to TRU via us, or at least Cc: us, if you want to qualify for the contest!

Names will be added after the contest is over.

What You've Been Saying

Some of these have been lightly edited purely for spelling, grammar, or strong language. My comments are emphasized just like this text.

Added to page Dec. 7


I just came from the ``RRU'' home page. I am appalled at the absolute childlike absurdity with which TRU is addressing the issue of ``copyright infringement''. As many people have noted in their responses to RRU, satire is NOT considered (R) infringement, and it has become quite apparent that someone at TRU has fallen off of one too many pogo-sticks.

I hope that on the behalf of RRU and all other intelligent beings in the universe, you have told TRU to stick their request to (revoke?) RRU's web access with you in the sunny spot in their lives.

I, for one, am going to write them a nast-e-mail message. And guess what??? IT'S CHRISTMASTIME!!!! (I have 18 kids to buy for this year- maybe I can help K-MART get out of debt!!!)

Most sincerely, and HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

Please inform the good (albeit thick-headed) folk at Toys-R-Us that the unilateral bullying of a lawyer is not the same thing as legal precedent, and that they have themselves weakened their own trademark by writing of it in their letter to you as Toys-R-Us (with the forward, rather than reverse, R).

I can't believe they'd bully you as they have, but worse, I can't believe you'd cave in as you have, guys. Let them take you to court. They'll lose.

I'm going looking for the real TRU site to leave them comments, as well. Happy holidays, all. I'll have to find some place other than Toys-Ya-Us to shop, though.

We love you and your fight against evil, humorless companies that profit from the guilt of parents, single parents, divorced parents, grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles and economically defenseless rug-rats.
This is the rest of an earlier email which I had only partially posted for various reasons. I now add it for your edification.

You are being way, way too concilitory.

1)Roadkills-R-Us exists stricitly as a digital electronic representation as part of a satric work-of-art, and as such, is NOT subject to the restrictions of business use of trademarks.

2)Even should you change the name of your site, Roadkills-R-US pages and terminology on that site would qualify as protected satiric works-of-art.

3)While it is likely true that previous litigation may have established the trademark ownership of names ending in "-R-US", or their look, or sound-alikes; the very specificity of those rulings that the unique and distinguishing feature of those marks is the "R-US" suffix does not permit TRU to unilaterally extend that protection to ANY name that ends in "-US" preceeded by any english preposition or conjunction, as suggested by Ms Fowler in her correspondence. Those decisions *may*, in fact, support the use of a name such as Roadkills-BY-US as specifically distinct from and recognizably different from, the unique and distinguishing aspects of the protected "R-US" marks, despite her assertions.

4)It is the burden of the complaintent to prove that your actions are infringing. Specifically, it is their burden to show that your signs, stationery, business cards, telphone directory listings, trade listings and similar have infringed their marks. It is not required that you to respond regarding the existence or form of any of these items of alleged infringement, unless so ordered by an action of a legal body having jurisdiction over the place of "business" of Roadkills-R-US.

5)If your previous signs, stationery, business cards, telphone directory listings, trade listings and similar have infringed their marks, it is their burden to determine that any prior infringement is continuing. In particular, absent an injunction or judgment from a legal body having jurisdiction over the place of "business" of Roadkills-R-US, TRU cannot require you to deliver proofs or copy them on any actions you may take to remove any alleged or actual infringement. Before they could carry forward any action, they would be required to show that infringement is continuing.

6)Absent an injunction or judgment from a legal body having jurisdiction over the place of "business" of Roadkills-R-US, TRU cannot require you to obtain prior clearance from them regarding any potential new or modified name you may chose to use.

7) There is no actual infringement unless and until determined by a court of jurisdiction. Their strong assertions to the contrary do not carry legal weight until brought before a court (though they undoutably have more resources to do that than do you).

Good luck, and have fun with it, as long as you can.

They had more resources. I now have not only public support, but offers from several attorneys to help, and the media is starting to come in - on my side.

A little more information concerning Toys r us. A friend of mine, locally in Bakersfield, named her business Clowns are us. She recieved a curt letter from guess who, by way of an attorney ,telling her she risked litigation if she kept her name. It wasn't even spelled the same way. Toys r us does not in fact use the letter R it in fact uses the russian letter n, which looks like a backwards r. Look at the sign or ad in the Yellow pages. I seriously doubt if anyone has ever really challanged them. they in fact do not use an R. But again who really has the money to take them on, or wants to expend that much energy on this [stuff] from them.
I have been following your page for quite some time but I must have been away for awhile. Wow, it must be a slow day at the office for them (TRU) to attack you. If the attorney wasn't a woman, then the expression "[nevermind] for brains" would fit well. This is so typical of these attorney types. If it helps any, there was a woman in Alief, Texas (a small burb that was engulfed by Houston) that was jumped on by Anhusier Busch because she had a little flower shop named ``This Bud's for You''. They hit her hard and fast with the lawsuit and she went to court to fight. To [Busch's]'s embarrassment, they discovered that she had been around for years before Budweiser began their ad campaign and the assumption that she had tried to cash in on Bud's popularity was false. The Judge ruled that they (Budwieser) were in violation of HER ``trade-mark'' and they should have left things alone and they better consider settling before she decides how deep her pockets are about to become!!!! I know you aren't a business but, I wanted you to know that other over zealous companies have stepped on their [nev....] I guess brains in this case.. and you should keep up the fight.

Good luck and this is the best humor I've seen on your page.

(Life is stranger than fiction any day)

In general, I'm not accepting notes on phone conversations. I just happen to know the person who sent me this, and trust them beyond any doubt.

After giving some thought to the matter, I decided to call Ms. Fowler and tell her that I was boycotting the store. The conversation was quite revealing. The call occured at 7:40 am CST.

{ring} TRU - Legal Department, Can I help you?
ME - Yes, could I speak to Ms. Fowler?
TRU - One moment
TRU - Can I ask whose calling?
ME - [1st name]
TRU - One moment
TRU - What is this regarding?
ME - The Roadkills-R-Us web pages
TRU - The Toys-R-Us web pages?
ME - No, the lawsuit that Ms. Fowler has threatened over the Roadkills-R-Us pages
TRU - Ohhh, Roadkills-R-Us...I see, one moment
FOWLER - Mavis Fowler, how can I help? (note: the tone of her voice did not indicate to me that she was real happy)
ME - I'm calling about the lawsuit that you have threatened against the creator of the Roadkills-R-Us page.
FOWLER - (gruffly) What's your name?
ME - [1st name]
FOWLER - (still not pleasant) Do you have a last name?
ME - [last name]
FOWLER - (essentially what do you want)
ME - I'd like information about the lawsuit that you've threatened.
FOWLER - (Urumph)(brief sigh that indicated she didn't want to talk to me, and she did not answer the question)
ME - I want you to be aware that I will be boycotting your store because of your actions.
FOWLER - Thank you.
ME - You're welcome.

Oh, Come on! This is [something] ridiculous the [something] TOYS R US. I didn't believe it until I saw the scans, and I'm still not sure whether to...

Believe me, I felt the same way. Feel free to call them up and ask about it!

Here in Australia, TOYS R US has just opened this year - so come over here, and sue their [fanny packs] off, as I can guarentee that I have been logging on for 3 years!

Presumably to RRU stuff.

If you are cut off by your provider, then we'd be happy to give you some webspace and an account. We're in Holland, Europe. I don't think Toys-R-Us would go as far as to harass us here in Holland.

Apparently they did try to harass Homes-R-Us in England. Of course, Homes-R-Us is still there!

Good Luck in your quest against TRU.

By the way, I know a guy named Geofrey who is 70+ years old and he now thinks that he is giraffe because of TRU's using his name for their giraffe. He has suffered irrepairable damage because of this confusion. He obviously had the name first, so what gives?

I'm afraid he may die this winter on his migration to the Serenghti Plains in Africa.

Please help.

Toys-R-Us, you've got to be kidding.

I've shopped your store for years; for both myself and my kids- 2 boys, now 10 and 11.

That will cease, especially this Christmas season, for me and anyone I happen to talk to with kids. I believe your roughing up of a satirical site on the internet is quite silly, and against the spirit of fun that you should be in harmony with.

In my own life, and home, I have satirized the Toys-R-Us name on many occasions in cute little ways; pointing at my cat and saying kitties-r-us to my kids, etc., etc. That same dynamic, repeated millions of times by folks just like me, is all is part of becoming a household word.

But now, I will think twice before I innocently and fondly parodize the Toys-R-Us name in real life; you've removed the fun from it.

Thanks loads. I don't expect I will hear back from you on this, you have too many toys to sell.

But not to me, my children, or my friends. Unless, for some reason, Scrooge gets ousted from your Corporate Department and replaced by Santa- how it should be.

If he's there, have him send me a note.

I appreciate the opportunity to show big companies that this petty haggling and trouncing upon of the individuals who make up their customer base is not good for business. I will boycott TRU and pass this story on to all. It will be good entertainment for people who are looking for information about the internet, that is, folks with enough money to be shopping at TRU.
Martin Short on Saturday Nite Live, many years ago portrayed a classic TRU type lawyer. I don't have a suggestion for a new name, but I would suggest you check with the ACLU and see if they are interested in this as a freedom of speach issue on the internet. Plough new ground for them perhaps.
Dear Toys R us,
This stinks.I think You are making a VERY BIG MISTAKE.
This is not a good move to make.
Plaese realize that this is not a threat.
Oh,by the way,I will not shop at toys are us any more.THBBTH.
-Esther O'Neal
11 yrs.old.

My daughter did this on her own initiative. She knows she isn't eligible for a prize. Even if you COULD win the battle, Toys-R-Us[tm] - is it worth losing the war?

This E-mail comes all the way from chilly Montreal Quebec. I have rarely gone shopping for toys at Toys R Us and now I am sure that I will not. I never did like MEGA huge business corporations that try to pass themselves off as cute and lovable. The present controvery only serves to reinforce my gut feeling. These people just do not have a sense of humour or fun (and they sell toys...what irony). Keep up the good work and I will support you in the best way I know how; with my wallet.

Take care and good luck.

As a partner in a small multimedia firm serving large financial service clients, I have the both-sides-of-the-table perspective to become extremely hateful when i read of large, drab corporations full of non-essential personnel harassing silly, fun, non-existent entities full of non-personnel. Therefore, I revoke my patronage (limited tho it may have been) of the toys-backwards-r-us empire. Because I am thirty years old and have no children, my boycott may have little impact. But I have two nephews, and they will both have birthdays at some point and I may be forced to buy them a toy or something so they'll identify me as their uncle and not as "the tv repairman" anymore when i walk into their home, which, unfortunately, happened last year. But anyway, I know the corporate world strips even good people of the traits that make them worthwhile in the first place - I have meetings with the mutant results every day - but get a grip, toys-r-us, and leave this silly Web site alone.
P.S. You people, if there were any people, which there aren't, R sick! So are your preserves, snakes, dogs, and pets. Hang in there!
Don't change your name!
You have the support of everyone who can destroy any internet presence that any other R-Us Giraffe might ever want in the future.
Stay Strong!!!

(By the way that wasn't a threat to anyone in particular. Just the people who stand in the way of free speech and want to battle in our neighborhood...)

Right on!

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Last updated: 25 October 2001

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Copyright 1995-2001 Roadkills-R-Us, Austin, TX. All rights preserved, jellied, or jammed. All giraffe images based on an image courtesy of Philip Greenspun. Gratefully used with permission. Roadkills-R-Us and RRU are trademarks of Miles O'Neal <>. Web space provided by Net Ads.