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IKEA orders fan DIY site ‘IKEA Hackers’ to change its name

A screenshot from ikeahackers.net, a website that has creative ways to use IKEA furniture, was sent a cease and desist letter by the Swedish furniture company.

Since 2006, IKEA Hacker has not only been a great resource for anyone who wants to take an Expedit desk extension and turn it into a bar or create a wall made from Rektangel vases, it's also been the kind of free advertising most companies would beg for. As far as cheerleading for a brand goes, it doesn't get much better than this.

But now, IKEA has issued a cease-and-desist letter to the DIY site.

The site's founder, Jules Yap (a pseudonym inspired by IKEA's Jules chair), announced the news on Saturday. Yap explained that she is now only allowed to keep the domain name IKEAhackers.net on the condition that she not make any money from selling advertising.

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"Needless to say, I am crushed," Yap wrote. "I don't have an issue with them protecting their trademark but I think they could have handled it better. I am a person, not a corporation. A blogger who obviously is on their side. Could they not have talked to me like normal people do without issuing a C&D?"

The post went on to explain that the site will eventually move to a new domain, and asked readers to sign up to a mailing list in order to stay in touch. Yap is essentially forced to find a new domain name in order to continue making a living.

In a statement sent to the Washington Post, the Swedish furniture giant said that the company is responsible to "the many people who want to know what is really connected to IKEA – and what is not. For that reason the IKEA name and brand must be used correctly. When other companies use the IKEA name for economic gain, it creates confusion and rights are lost."

Some people responded angrily on social media. "What possesses a company like @DesignByIKEA to punish their customers and fans?" one man tweeted.

Cory Doctorow, an advocate of liberalizing copyright laws, said in a post on BoingBoing: "There is no chance of confusion or dilution from IKEAhackers' use of the mark. This is pure bullying, an attempt at censorship."

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

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