LinkedIn: Protecting your brand or stifling spin-off innovation?

I’m an active part of the LinkedIn subculture (here’s my profile) and a long-time member of groups like My LinkedIn Power Forum, so I was quite interested to hear from Marc Freedman that he’d received a Cease & Desist from LinkedIn and had his account summarily suspended for two weeks because of his MyLink500.com site.
Marc explains: “The LinkedIn attorney wrote that my use of the logo is unauthorized and that MyLink500 encourages users to send invitations to people they don’t know.”
While most LinkedIn members are free, there’s a second echelon of professional paid members, and Marc is part of that group, hence his concern: “I don’t deny LinkedIn the right to protect their brand and Terms of Service. What I do object to is the unprofessional way it was handled, especially since I’m a paying business customer. LinkedIn should provide a business-class service that is responsive and doesn’t cavalierly turn off service. Suspending one’s account is an extreme measure. Some people like me depend on daily access to my account to conduct business. Suspending an account should be the LAST thing LinkedIn does, not the first.”
I concur. There’s a fine line between protecting your brand and intellectual property and squelching innovation, preventing people from finding new and innovative ways to use your tools for their own business purposes. LinkedIn, you should have handled this with the proverbial kid gloves, not with a rusty shiv…

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