Wal-Mart Warns Sites Not To Leak Black Friday Ads

    October 19, 2007

Wal-Mart is threatening legal action against some Web sites that may release its Black Friday ads in advance.

Wal-Mart lawyers have sent letters to the Web sites warning that publishing the ads before their official November 19 release date violates Wal-Mart’s copyrights. One such Web site that has received an email from the retailer is Gottadeal.com. Brad Olson founder of the site told CNNMoney.com that Wal-Mart sent him an email Wednesday warning him not to release the Black Friday sales circular early.

"It has recently come to our attention that you and/or your company may potentially obtain possession of and untimely release Wal-Mart’s sales circulars, advertisements or other information prior to their authorized release dates," the law firm Baker Hostetler, which represents Wal-Mart, wrote in a legal notice e-mailed to Brad Olson.

Wal-Mart spokesman John Simley said the company aims to stop leaks on all levels. We have tried other methods with inadequate results," Simley said. "We believe that the unauthorized distribution of [Wal-Mart ads and circulars] is a violation of our legal rights. This needs to be respected."

Olson had been able to leak Wal-Mart’s Black Friday deals for the past two years. "It appears to me that Wal-Mart knows their ad is going to get leaked and is doing whatever they can to intimidate me to prevent the information from being leaked and posted on my site," he said.

Olson said that the Wal-Mart Black Friday ad is one of the most popular on his site and that they receive 2 million clicks on the ad between October and November. He said Gottadeal.com receives a small percentage for any product purchased on walmart.com through the sites links. Olson said he receives the ads from people who design them or print them and that he has not received an ad this year. He has not decided what he will do but did say it would be a blow to the site if he were not able to post the Wal-Mart ad.