Black Friday Sites Get Warning from Wal-Mart

Bentonville, Ark., Wal-Mart's lawyers have an early holiday message for Web sites that post "Black Friday" ads ahead of their official release date: Don't do it, according to a Reuters report.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Friday that its lawyers have sent letters to the Web sites, saying publishing the ads before their official Nov. 19 release date violates Wal-Mart's copyrights and other rights. Although Nov. 19 is just four days before "Black Friday," more and more of the advertising circulars retailers put out a few days ahead of "Black Friday" have found their way to Web sites weeks in advance.

Wal-Mart has asked the Web sites not to post the ads in the past, but the ads have still been posted, said John Simley, a spokesman for the world's largest retailer.

Designers, printers and others all have access to the "Black Friday" sale information well ahead of time as the circulars are prepared.

"We've made notice everywhere in the custody chain of this information that the information is confidential until it is publicly released," Simley said.

Some of the Web sites are asking readers to contact Wal-Mart and urge the company to change is mind.

"Remember, if this is allowed to happen with one store, it can happen with them all and in the future no ads will be able to be released early," said a posting on blackfriday.gottadeal.com, which bills itself the "Official Black Friday Deal Site." The post includes a link to Wal-Mart's online feedback page and also has the Wal-Mart media relations telephone number.