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Seven forces Rafters fansite to shut

Network Seven lawyers have instructed a fan website for Packed to the Rafters to close down and hand over the domain. TV Tonight talks exclusively to a disappointed webmaster, who is all of 18 years old.

The Seven Network has muscled in on a website packedtotherafters.com.au run by an 18 year old fan, after it deemed his site would cause confusion with the show’s official website.

Seven’s own website is at the clunky address http://au.tv.yahoo.com/b/packed-to-the-rafters/

But now the network wants the webmaster, Michael, who started the site based on his love of the new Seven drama, to close down the site and hand over the domain.

Michael says he was shocked when he read the email from Seven lawyers.

“I couldn’t believe they required me to hand over the domain which means shutting down the entire site,” he told TV Tonight. “I had a feeling that one day they might require me to make it more obvious that it wasn’t the official website. I would get emails from other fans saying how much they loved the show and asked questions, I would always make sure I stated that we weren’t the official website and pointed them in the right direction.”

The site now tells readers: ‘Due to matters out of our hands packedtotherafters.com.au has been shut down & taken offline. We would like to thank everyone who helped get the site up and running & appreciate all those who visited the site and left comments. I hope you enjoy the final episode of the series on Tuesday night. I can’t wait for series two!’

Fans would always compliment him for updating the site, which added content more regularly than Seven’s.

But a disappointed Michael  is complying with the request, saying he can’t afford to take Seven on legally. He says Seven has agreed to cover the cost of the initial registration fee but he is hoping the network may reconsider its demands.

Given the revenue Seven has generated from the number #1 series of 2008, it would certainly be nice if they could find it within their pockets to dig a little deeper, especially for a fan who was smart enough to register it.

“I’m left extremely disappointed that after all the time and effort I put into it the blog has gone to waste and all because I wanted to keep other fans informed about news, rumours & information about the show I fell in love with,” Michael said.

62 Responses

  1. Nimbus,

    *The word unofficial does not have to be used in the domain.
    *Streaming full episodes is just common sense.
    *You do not need permission to make a site, there is billions in the world and i highly doubt any of them got permission. I bet David didn’t for TV Tonight.
    *Do a little research, yes.
    *They can be asked to remove content, they cannot force them to hand over a domain because they don’t want the site out there.

  2. Everyone can learn a lesson from this:-

    *Always use ‘unofficlal’ in the doman name and site name.
    *Streaming full episodes is a definite no no!
    *How about acutally asking for permission.
    *Do your homework before you publish the site.
    *Fan sites use copyrighted material.. the text, dialogue, quotes, printed matter, scanned material, photos, captures taken off the DVD or television are all copyrighted and any fansite can be asked to remove them at any time.

  3. I could not agree with you more Russell. Seven “official” website as an absolute joke. There is nothing there. And it is not just Packed to the Rafters. All of seven shows have very little information on their official websites. Time to get your act together Seven. Stop this stupid alliance with Yahoo, move back to seven.com.au and God’s sake start adding some bloody content.

  4. Oh my god…

    The fact is, Seven’s legal department have every legal right to do what they have done. The age of the website owner is irrelevant. The employees of Seven’s legal department are doing their jobs, not going around looking for 18 year old website owners to pick on.

    Michael can just shift his site to a new domain name. If he wanted packedtotherafters.net or .info or whatever, all it takes is fifteen bucks to register the domain for a year, and one or two days for the new domain to be updated across the internet.

    I agree, kind of a bummer but not the huge deal some here are making it out to be. And no, I don’t work for Seven.

  5. “Packed To The Rafters” is not a registered trademark, therefore Michael has every right to use the name. Also in Australia a company/name is no longer required to obtain a .com.au domain.
    Absolutely pathetic of a major business threatening a young person with legal action to get their way.

  6. God, some people here are really annoying. Obviously Seven can take away the domain. They didn’t take away the site itself, merely the domain name. This guy can easier start again elsewhere. He should have realised that using a copy-righted name on Australia’s most watched TV show would get a reaction. A lot of other shows also have the shows name with a .com.au at the end, so why would Packed be any different? Not forgetting its a new show, so just because Seven’s website’s link doesn’t currently have much content doesn’t mean its not going to change.

    Maybe people should be having a go at the other guy for being an idiot. Maybe he should have thought about the domain name, thought about what could happen if you used the title of an already running show and thought about what would happen if the name is already owned by Seven. Seven didn’t do anything wrong, it was the creator in the first place.

    And I dont think he’d if he tried to take them on legally. Not only would Seven have some rather grand lawers, but Seven would be the one with the registered ABN, a copyrighted product and the like.

  7. It’s disappointing to see Seven hound a dedicated fan like this. Were the people at Seven resentful that Michael was doing a better job on his fansite than they were on their own shoddy “official” website? Instead of having the courtesy to negotiate an agreement, Seven decided to take advantage of Michael because they knew that he, as an 18-year-old, wouldn’t have any paths for recourse in terms of legal issues. It is nothing short of disgraceful.

  8. Wait. Am I missing something?

    Seven’s “official” website at http://au.tv.yahoo.com/b/packed-to-the-rafters/ is not a website – it’s a logo!

    There is nothing there! 19 still pictures and a series blurb and that is it?

    This is the #1 show on TV – where is it’s web presence?

    No ep guide. No music details. No video. No online eps. No cast info. No games. No downloads. Nothing! It’s laughable!

    Here you have a show that Australian’s have shown a huge appetite for and Seven develops no online component at all?

    They could be making money and creating a community here!

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