Western Union Demanded Takedown of User’s Bitcoin Advert Mocking the Company

Western Union filed a copyright claim against the bitcoin enthusiast, who uploaded the image, illustrating the comapny’s disadvantages, on Facebook.

Update: Kristin Kelly, a Western Union spokeswoman, told Ars Technica via e-mail: “Western Union takes all brand matters seriously, and we take steps that we believe are necessary to protect our intellectual property interests.”

Dave Aiello filed a counter notification with Facebook on Tuesday in an attempt to have his image restored.

However, a Facebook Community Operations representative named Laurel told Dave Aiello also via e-mail (which he shared with Ars Technica) that “the company would restore the image within 10 and 14 business days ‘unless we receive notice that the complainant has filed an action seeking a federal court order to restrain you from engaging in infringing activity on Facebook related to the material in question.”

Original Post: The US-based Western Union is the world’s leading provider of international payments services. Some people consider that the digital currency poses serious threats to the company, as it may be a reason for Western Union disruption in the future.

In comparison with the company, payments in bitcoin are much faster and have almost a zero fee ($0.01). The issue was illustrated by one bitcoin user, who made an image, comparing bitcoin with financial services provider, reports Vox.

According to another bitcoin user Dave Aiello, he faced a copyright claim from Western Union after publishing the picture on his page in Facebook. Aiello said Facebook acted in accordance with the copyright law and immediately removed the image.

However, the use of the company’s advertisement this way is not prohibited by the copyright law’s imitations. According to the “fair use” doctrine, the images could be used by people for criticism or comment, and in this particular case bitcoin users criticized the company and its advertisement, focusing on benefits of the virtual currency. This situation is just an exception.

The ad stresses the main drawbacks of Western Union, including low speed of transactions and their high price. The company charges a 5% transfer fee per transaction and the amount transferred could not surpass $50. Meantime, bitcoin allows users to send unlimited sums of money and charges only 0.01% fee.

However, the bitcoin advantages are a little bit exaggerated. Sending cryptocurrency from one bitcoin user to another implies low fees. Still, in order to contribute to bitcoin adoption, it is necessary to provide a way for ordinary people to convert fiat currency to bitcoin.

Today, the fees for bitcoin money transfers are too high, what makes them as expensive as Western Union transfers. However, the price is expected to decrease over time, although it will not be significant.

The copyright claim filed by the Western Union will only fuel the people interest in the image. The controversy has already been actively discussed on Reddit.

Western Union did not provide any comments on the issue.

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