As if Ford didn't have enough bad PR today after a South Carolinian dealer shout his mouth off on the radio. Now comes word that fan site TheRangerStation.com (TRS) has been contacted by the automaker's lawyers and told to cough up $5,000 and the rights to the website's domain name as a result of copyright infringement. First of all, we're just as surprised as you that there's a fan site devoted to the Ford Ranger and that the Blue Oval even remembered it still sold the Ranger.
This isn't the first time that Ford has sought to protect its trademarked names. Earlier this year it sent out lawyers to confront enthusiast magazines, websites and even parts suppliers using the Mustang name. We're not sure how those cases ended, but we can understand the Blue Oval getting antsy over unapproved use of its most famous brand. But the Ranger? We suspect that TRS ran afoul when Ford's lawyers noticed the online store at which people can buy decals and apparels bearing the website's name.
Despite what you may think of Ford's actions here, TheRangerStation.com has little wiggle room. The 10-year-old website can either pay Ford the licensing fee and seek approval for all material on its website bearing the Ranger name, or it can erase all mention of the truck's moniker from the website, including the URL. Members are currently emailing Ford to petition against these two options, so we'll see what happens. Thanks to everyone for the tip!
Email response from Ford lawyers
"Ford is not trying to shut down the entire website, just stop the
counterfeiting of its trademarks. If the Ranger Station wants a license it
needs to seek one from Ford.
But I don't think Ford will license some of the images, particularly the
naked woman straddling the Ford Blue Oval. See attached.
As you can see, the Ranger Station is not telling the entire story while
seeking your support.
I hope that you will post Ford's position on the various discussion boards.