Facebook removes "I Hate the Pedal Pub" page after Pedal Pub's lawyer complains

Categories: Blogs/Web, Law
IHatethePedalPub_removed.JPG
Since Matt Peterson created the "I Hate the Pedal Pub" Facebook page in 2010, it's taken off in popularity, "liked" by hundreds who share Peterson's complaints about the roaming beer bikes.

But about a week ago, when Peterson went to log in, he had a message waiting from Facebook: the social media giant had removed the page, and Peterson could only get it back, Facebook wrote, by negotiating with the "complaining party."

The next day, Peterson found out that that party was Pedal Pub.

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This isn't the first time "I Hate the Pedal Pub" and Pedal Pub have clashed. In February 2013, Facebook removed photos of "I Hate the Pedal Pub" stickers, citing a copyright violation, but reinstated them -- and apologized -- a week later. In May, Pedal Pub contacted "I Hate the Pedal Pub" by email to ask them to refrain from encouraging any direct, physical action against Pedal Pub or its employees, which IHTPP did.

But this time around, the dispute has escalated. After Peterson got the notice from Facebook, he emailed the contact Facebook had given him. The next day, he got a response.

"I am [an] attorney representing my client PedalPub LLC," the lawyer's email begins. "Your page has been taken down by Facebook due to TRADEMARK infringement... may I suggest that you contact an attorney to advise you of what is at stake."

"Let me make clear," the lawyer's email continues. "You will be immediately faced with a civil lawsuit for damages if you continue to use any of the PEDALPUB registered marks... and/or any marks that are nearly identical and/or confusingly similar." 

Peterson, though, saw it differently: as a free speech issue. His page, and the t-shirts and stickers he had created, all seemed to be protected as either parody or protest.

"Generally speaking, if it is a parody then it would be protected by freedom of speech," explains Jana Kooren of the ACLU's Minnesota chapter, adding that even something like a petition to shut down Pedal Pub would generally be covered by free speech rights.

But, she cautions, Facebook is a private entity that can determine its own rules about what it allows: "We don't necessarily have free speech protections on Facebook."

And in any case, she says, Peterson would still have to defend himself.

"He should never be criminally charged for that, but that doesn't prevent him from ever getting a lawsuit," Kooren says. "You have a free speech right, but that doesn't prevent them from trying to stop you."

Reached by phone, Pedal Pub partner Al Boyce would not comment on whether Pedal Pub had hired the lawyer, or what had spurred the company to take action.

"Regarding the hater page being dropped from Facebook, that is between the owner of that page, Matthew Peterson, and Facebook," Boyce wrote in an email. "Mr. Peterson has been informed by Facebook what he needs to do to reprise some form of his page."

Peterson has consulted with a trademark lawyer and is weighing how far he wants to pursue getting his page back.

"I don't really want to get involved with a ton of lawyers over a Facebook page," he says. "But I still want to have this content, and want to be able to point out some of the issues that I think are pretty prevalent, and want to have people who are interested respond to that."

-- Reach Olivia LaVecchia at olavecchia@citypages.com or on Twitter at @olavecchia

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81 comments
vonnykleinman
vonnykleinman

I LUV the PEDAL PUB> Its so f'in awesome. I did 30 jag-bombs on it! WHOO OOO!!!! I went into a bar and ordered a beer cause Im notta queer or anything, right bro? People were all uptite because I was blocking traffice, but I was like "SIMMER DOWN! I HAVE TO PISS."

IHPP lives on, click below...

https://www.facebook.com/pedalpubisSOawesome


MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

I like the Pedal Pub and the jobs it creates. Although I've never been on one, I see them go by my place all the time. Their customers seem to be enjoying themselves and keep coming back for more. What I hate is hipster douchebags who hate pedal pubs. Live and let live, A-holes.

wendy1974
wendy1974

THOUSANDS of likes, actually.  3120 to be exact. IHTPP Lives On!

Brendon Hayes
Brendon Hayes

Dawn Peterson Breidenstein you must not live in Minneapolis. Pedal pubs may not be a magnet for "the criminal element" but they are an excuse for generally annoying people to go over board in public. Also, please note that falling off ones seat and spilling a beer in traffic is probably unsafe. Btw, how does the pedal pub get insured and licensed by the city?

swmguy
swmguy

I love the taste of anus.

Jeremy Martin
Jeremy Martin

I used to just think it was an accident waiting to happen. I still think that, but in addition now i hate those deathtraps on wheels. Lame!

Erin Wilson
Erin Wilson

who would hate on the pedal pubs????

Dawn Peterson Breidenstein
Dawn Peterson Breidenstein

I will be happy to review any police reports that say Pedal Pub riders go around "Victimizing" the good citizens of the Twin Cities. But I have yet to see that. If in fact, the Pedal Pub was a magnet to the criminal element, it would have been shut down long ago. Also, please note that an occasional falling off one's seat and spilling a beer is not what I would consider "vicitimization", but rather a waste of good liquor.

Christine Brown
Christine Brown

there are weirdos who pay 100 bucks to sit still on a sort-of bike and think they are somehow being wild and outrageous for doing so, and then there are the people they victimize. no overlap.

Christine Brown
Christine Brown

or any variation.... 'i love the pedal pub - yeah, right' page, etc.

Erica Anderson
Erica Anderson

What was said on the page pales in comparison to the hate towards gays & lesbians, muslims, women, feminists, atheists, and liberals all over FB but yet those pages don't get taken down. The majority of PP haters (including me) has ever asked for from Pedal Pub is for the riders to stop with the whoo hooing and don't puke on private property. The only losers here is the butthurt lawyer who complained about the page and you.

Casey Finne
Casey Finne

Just comment on their page. I hate pedal pub

Lynne Rollins
Lynne Rollins

I understand the private entity thing but "I hate" groups for just about anything are on fb and remain.

Craig Boyte
Craig Boyte

Also freedom of speech does not apply to private entities. FB may feel like a public space because everyone is on it, but it is not.

Chad Liljegren
Chad Liljegren

The left is against the 1st, 2nd and 4th amendment. Thats what happened.

Chad Liljegren
Chad Liljegren

I am a Chad. I HATE the pedel pubs things. They ran into my car and didnt stop. Called the cops and they wouldnt do anything about it. Tole me it is a civil issue.

Chad Liljegren
Chad Liljegren

Against free speech. LEAVE THE F-ING COUNTRY THEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Salena Tumini
Salena Tumini

Then I'm guessing you don't live on a route...

Salena Tumini
Salena Tumini

As the article says, he could've kept the page up and gone to court to protect his rights. The use of the Trademark PedalPub in that way is likely protected as protest speech, but to the creator I'm sure it's not worth the time or money. Still a bummer.

Nathan Hoffmann
Nathan Hoffmann

The powers that be at Pedal Pub seem to be as douchey as their average customers

Mpls Dancehall
Mpls Dancehall

damn, what's next to go? HughesNet SUCKS!!!??? :( www.facebook.com/pages/HughesNet-SUCKS/316089946898

Shawn Clark
Shawn Clark

what ? happened to freedom of speech

Noah Z ItMan
Noah Z ItMan

Aka: people who are not stupid have more of a reason to hate the pedal pub now

mplatterell1
mplatterell1

Obviously we now have to refer to it as the PedoPub. Done and done.

TweetsAreYours
TweetsAreYours

If there was any doubt, it has been removed. All things pedalpubbing = douchebaggery. #TweetsAreYours

theoko
theoko

"Regarding the hater page being dropped from Facebook, that is between the owner of that page, Matthew Peterson, and Facebook" - wow, so the attorney on the other end of the Facebook complaint had no connection with the company behind Pedal Pub, huh?  I guess he's just out there as a vigilante correcting wrongs all for the sheer love of justice.  Thank god for attorneys and pedal pubs: they both make life so much better!

Erica Anderson
Erica Anderson

Sounds like someone had a bad case of butthurtitis.

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

@Brendon Hayes Yeah! Get off my lawn you punks!

christine 16
christine 16

@Dawn Peterson Breidenstein actually from the pedal pubs i've seen in progress, i'm pretty sure good liquor is not allowed on a pedal pub.

vonnykleinman
vonnykleinman

@Dawn Peterson Breidenstein  When they were loading and unloading next to my house I called the police ALL THE TIME.  Loud music, drinking in the street, basically, tailgating on public property.  The Pedal Pub itself parked in front of my driveway to load up patrons to go on their tours.  Futhermore, the lawn in front of the hair salon adjacent to my home is where the Pedal Pub told their patrons to dump the extra beer after a tour.  The smell was overwhelming, and attracted bees.  THey have since moved to a different location to load and unload, because I basically had a rage-seizure for 3 months, involving the city and police and Pedal Pub Hate Page until they left.


swmguy
swmguy

Don't tease us...........PUT IT IN!!!

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

@Chad Liljegren You don't even know what those are about. I'll bet you couldn't pass a simple citizenship test.

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

@Chad Liljegren Your Vikings suck and have always sucked.

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

@Chad Liljegren The word is told. There is no such word as pedel. Learn proper English or "LEAVE THE F-ING COUNTRY THEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

@Chad Liljegren Go read a book about free speech and get back to us. Not all speech is free. Try yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre. Try making threats against the president on here and see who shows up at your front door. (Hint: FBI)

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

@charliegoodvibes @MNjoe What an intelligent comment! You must be one of those hipster douchebags that love to lay own their laws on others, 

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