According to The New York Times, Subway is suing Quiznos and iFilm, for running less than flattering content about their sandwiches.
The spot shown above was the winning entry in a 2006 contest conducted by Quiznos. Its creators won $10,000, and their video was shown on VH1 and on a giant screen in Times Square on New Year’s Eve in 2006.
The Subway/Quiznos case hinges on how the District Court of Connecticut interprets two federal laws: the Lanham Act, which dates to the 1940s and centers on trademark rights, and the Communications Decency Act, which was passed in 1996 to safeguard the Internet. If Subway wins, advertisers and media companies may find themselves liable for false advertising claims made by consumers who participate in their contests.
Last spring, Quiznos and iFilm tried to claim they should not be liable for user-generated content because of the Communications Decency Act, which immunizes “providers” of “interactive computer services” from responsibility for user postings on their sites.
That provision protects YouTube, for example, from liability for consumer videos on its site and AOL for comments in its chat rooms. But it is not clear whether Quiznos was an uninvolved provider along the lines of a YouTube or AOL.