CSX-Sucks!

Pictures

CSX sued CSX-Sucks.com in federal court. The case was dismissed, based on the parties reaching an agreement. Of course, there's a quite a difference between what CSX wanted, and what CSX got.

This table highlights the areas where CSX got screwed, including what CSX screwed up to allow the release of the agreement (CSX wanted the agreement to be a secret). After reading the original draft and the final agreement, it seems that CSX didn't come out ahead in any area of the agreement.

In fact, it seems that by suing CSX-Sucks.com, CSX accomplished two things:

  1. They wasted a huge pile of money
  2. They established legal protections for CSX-Sucks.com that might not have existed otherwise
And of course, they failed to keep it secret.

Original Draft Final Agreement
1 This is neutral, and a reasonably standard part of any contract.
2a-2b These domains are no longer an asset. Not only is CSX Corp doing me a favor by taking possession of these domains, they're even gonna pay for them!
2c
Smasher does not hereby reserve any rights to use the CSX-Diversity Domain Name for any purpose whatsoever.
2c
[added], except that these domain names may be used... next to the hit counter on the CSX-Sucks.com Web site, to state: "This includes hits to this site's previous location, www.CSX- Diversity.com."

This is all that's needed to keep "CSX-Diversity" current in a search engine. Try it out!
2d-2f Nothing exciting here.
2f Something's missing.... 2f
[added] CSX agrees not to take or cause any action that would impair or interfere with Smasher's ownership, registration or maintenance of the CSX-Sucks.com or the publication of the... Web Site Content on CSX-Sucks.com.
2g
As of the Effective Date, the current disclaimer located at CSX-Diversity.com will be replaced with a disclaimer in the form of Exhibit C, annexed hereto

The brilliance of this (and CSX wanted it), is that it censors the content of a domain that's being turned off as the agreement goes into effect.
3 Usually an agreement of this sort requires that the 'offending' party agree to not use the sequence of letters that comprise a company's name in the registration of a domain name. The final agreement allows for a much more reasonable criteria.
4
Smasher shall not use any of CSX's trade marks, trade names and services marks...
4
[added], except the following CSX trademarks, which may be used... csx, csxt, CSX Technology, CSX Transportation, CSX Corporation.

I think that's pretty much all of them. Thanks CSX!
5
The CSX Sucks logo... shall be altered in design and appearance to be substantially similar to the logo annexed hereto as Exhibit D
5
[changed to] Smasher will display a "CSX Sucks" logo on the CSX-sucks.com Web site that does not infringe on CSX's trademark, such as a logo annexed hereto in Exhibit D

The wording of the final agreement gives much more artistic license of what logo can be displayed, since it does not have to be "substantially similar" to anything.
6
The photographs of the "chain gang" and the "Klu Klux Klan" shall be eliminated from the... Web Site... Smasher shall not use such photographs or similar images on the csx-sucks.com website, nor in any other way with direct or indirect reference to CSX.
N/A That paragraph just had to go.

Those pictures have an added charm, since the slavery reparations lawsuit was filed against CSX.

7-9 Nothing exciting here. 6-8  
10
CSX will pay to Smasher $[ ], the costs associated with the acquisition and transfer of the CSX-Diversity Domain Name...

Hmmm... so they're gonna pay me for the domain names that I'm not even using....
9
[added] In the event that CSX fails to pay any fees owed to Smasher under this paragraph within 30 days of the Transfer Date, Paragraph 13 of this Agreement will be void.

Guess what they failed to do?
11
CSX releases and discharges Smasher... [for] use of the domain name CSX- Diversity.com...

Hey! they can still sue me for "CSX-Sucks.com"!! That's not cool!
10 Release of liability in the final agreement includes "CSX-Sucks.com". That's much better, thanks.

Of course, if I were a stockholder, I'd be a little bit upset that I'm explicitly a party to this agreement.

N/A Um, something's missing here.... 11
The parties shall execute a stipulation of dismissal of the Action...

Oh, you'll throw out the suit against me... OK!
12 Standard contract stuff
13
None of the parties hereto shall directly or indirectly inform, or issue any oral or written statement to the press or on a web site concerning the conduct of the parties with respect to the matters mentioned in this Agreement, this Agreement or any terms of this Agreement without the prior written approval of all of the parties hereto.

CSX really didn't want this agreement to be publicly available. I guess they were afraid of looking stupid and weak.
13 Too bad they screwed up paying on time. So, do they look stupid and weak now that I've wiped my ass with them and their high-priced lawyers?
  • Cost to register a domain name: $15
  • Cost to file suit against that domain: $250,000+ (est)
  • Cost to transfer 2 unused domains to CSX: $200
  • Cost of voiding the confidentiality clause, because of $200: Priceless
14-21 Standard contract stuff