A man named Cody Romano has not made a friend in Facebook.
The social network’s legal counsel sent Romano a cease and desist email earlier this week, insinuating that Facebook could extract a fine of $US100,000 from him for creating a tool called “Break Your Facebook.” Facebook doesn’t like it when other companies use the name “Facebook.”
Romano’s app allows users to take structured breaks from their Facebook accounts.
This is how it works:
You decide how long you’d like to stop using Facebook. My app randomly generates a secure password. You use the new password for Facebook without saving or memorizing it. Next, you get a secure link, which will remind you of your password on the date of your choice. On that date, you will be able to log back into Facebook.
Facebook sent Romano this letter (click on the image to make it larger), alleging he is using the trademark “Facebook” improperly, and ordering him to stop. To be clear, Facebook seems to be objecting to the trademark infringement specifically rather than the app itself:
“I don’t know enough about intellectual property law to determine if a judge would agree that my small side project constitutes fair use,” Romano wrote on his blog. “But I do know that I will have to break my app and let the domain die (without selling it) because I don’t want to contend with Facebook’s endless legal resources.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment; we’ll update this item if we hear back.