It may not be a scam, but, “it just doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Better Business Bureau president and CEO Rosalind Scott.
Scott’s is among a few complaints received by Black Press, owner of Victoria News, about an email offer to purchase a mounted copy of a recent article in the News.
The offer comes from That’s Great News, a Cheshire, Connecticut-based company that has been sued in Illinois over copyright infringement in the past.
In 2008, GateHouse Media, publisher of 97 dailies in 20 states and 198 paid weeklies, filed a lawsuit against That’s Great News, a company which makes plaques out of newspaper articles and sells them to people featured in the articles. GateHouse sued for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising.
The “customized plaque” offered by the company costs $169.
“We want our readers and customers to know that this is very serious and indeed an infringement on our copyright,” said Black Press Group Publisher Penny Sakamoto. “We urge our readers and customers not to fall for this.”
The company is also known for its aggressive tactics, continuing to send the emails soliciting business. “This is the fourth time they’ve contacted me,” said Scott. “Clearly I’m not interested, I haven’t replied. To me that kind of marketing … I don’t like it.”
Scott said Canada’s anti-spam legislation isn’t much help when dealing with companies based in the US.
“If you’re contacted by a Canadian company you should be able to opt in or opt out. But with emails from the US, our legislation doesn’t apply.”
Scott recommends not replying to unsolicited email offers, or searching the bottom of the email for a link to unsubscribe from the solicitations.
The News contacted That’s Great News’ owner Robert Roscoe for comment, but the call was not returned by press time.