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'Twilight' Movie Studio Sues Over Twilight.com Website

Summit says that the website, first registered in 1994, will lead consumers to believing they reached the official "Twilight" destination.

Twilight
Summit Entertainment
"Twilight"

Summit Entertainment has filed all sorts of lawsuits with the goal of protecting its lucrative Twilight franchise. The latest legal target is the owner of Twilight.com, alleged to be deceiving consumers into believing the website is authorized by the studio and connected to the vampire romance films.

From the looks of Twilight.com, the site appears to be rather unimpressive. One could call it a fan site except the average 13-year-old girl with a Rob Pattinson crush could probably design something better. Nevertheless, the site seems hardly nefarious, even linking to Amazon.com so that consumers can purchase Stephenie Meyer books and The Twilight Saga DVDs and CDs instead of pirating them.

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But Summit, which has previously been in court over things like Twilight toiletries and Bella jackets, sees something here that compels litigation against the dilution of its marks.

According to the complaint, the website's owner, Tom Markson, has been using the studio's copyrighted Twilight materials in his banner, plus linking to stuff like unauthorized Twilight contests and "fake casting calls."

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In fairness, many of those links appear to be provided by Google AdSense at the bottom of the page, which may lead to the question of whether the studio would ever follow other trademark owners by taking legal action against Google.

So far, we haven't gotten word from Summit on this question, but we'll update if we hear back.

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In the meantime, Summit says in its complaint that the false implication of Summit's endorsement of Twilight.com constitutes unfair competition, is likely to confuse consumers, will injure the studio's reputation, and will result in irreparable damage. The studio is suing for copyright and trademark infringement and demanding gains, profits and advantages from the defendant.

Markson didn't respond to our queries for comment.

It appears he registered the website all the way back in 1994, predating the rise of the Twilight books and movies. Summit has been attempting to shut down his activities since at least 2009. According to the complaint, Markson responded to a cease-and-desist letter by denying Summit's claims.

E-mail: eriqgardner@yahoo.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner