What kinds of legal issues do websites such as [businessname]sucks.com have in terms of copyright infringement, libel and defamation, and/or other issues?
Let's say there is a website called [businessname]sucks.com. (See my example of walmartsucks.org below)
The domain [businessname]sucks.com is registered to a US citizen (private registration), and the website hosted in the US. The site allows users from the general public from the US and internationally. The [businessname] company is US-based, with a trademark on the name.
The site posts are written critiques and complaints and allegations about [businessname] by the website and domain owner; the general public can also contribute complaints and allegations.
The [businessname]sucks.com site will not use the [businessname]'s logo, and will have a clear disclaimer stating the [businessname]sucks.com is not owned or authorized by [businessname].
The TOS will state that the purpose of the site is to provide feedback and an outlet for complaints about [businessname] that are not allowed on the Is a site such as on the [businessname]'s own site.
1: Does such a site [businessname]sucks.com fall under Protected Speech?
2: Can the [businessname] force the owner of the domain [businessname]sucks.com to relinquish the domain and in effect, take down the site? And/or does the [businessname] have recourse against the web-hosting company, a third party that simply hosts the website?
3: If there are clear instances of libel or defamation by a public user, who is liable? The website owner who allowed the instances to be posted? Or the member of the public who posted the instance?
That site clearly shows the site owner and complaints and allegations by the general public (using their real names). The site is hosted by Google. The domain registration information (not private) is at Whois.
One possible point of difference is that the owner of the domain resides in Canada; Walmart does business in Canada, as well as Google, the web host.
Just came across this (though it is 6 years old at this point):
A gripe site that incorporates a company's entire trademark into its domain is still protected under the First Amendment, a US District Judge has ruled. In the case of Career Agents Network v. careeragentsnetwork.biz, the judge said that the gripe site made no effort to bolster its own business and was noncommercial, therefore protecting it from Career Agents Network's trademark claims and cybersquatting accusations.
And, another site mentioned in the article Goldmansachs666 is still up and running.