handy does Cybersquatting & gets a lot of press

Yes, in '99 I got this brilliant idea to get a new web site called sandykoffman.com So? Well, our mayor of 5 years, her name is Sandy Koffman. Year 2000 is our election year.
Spent $70 for two years, free website & setup.

Well, one new person running for mayor is Susan Goldbeck. I got this real neat idea, to put a huge banner on the web site that said “Elect Susan Goldbeck for Mayor”
[see gwbush.com for a similar idea]

Guess who noticed? Sandy, Susan & the Carmel Pine Cone & the Monterey Peninsula Herald newspapers…so far & it hasn’t been a week yet. I took the banner off. I put up something about the current mayors special interests. But the press are still contacting me.

So, anyone else out there doing any Cybersquatting?

I’m more into Cyberthrusting. (If you know what I mean :o)

No, but you should check out press about SF’s most recent mayorial election. The political consultant for Clint Reily got the job because he grabbed all the available web sites for both Clint Reily and Willie Brown

I hope you’re not planning to cash in…there’s been a rash of lawsuits on both sides of the Atlantic recently, where courts have (IIRC) without exception ruled against the cybersquatters.

Should Pacific Grove city employees be paid to lose weight?
Yes (4) 15%
No (20) 77%
Don’t Care (2) 8%

From the handy page

Of the 15%, how much would they pay?

Ok, maybe I’m not understanding the whole premis behind this, but why are the courts ruling against cybersquaters? I mean especially in the US, capitalism is our motto. IMHO, if a person can see far enough in advance to reserve a site that could go to a big company, and asks that company for a large amount of money in exchange for the site name, how is that any different from some guy buying all the Orange Juice in the country and selling it for as much as he can get? (just an example, but you get the idea)

I think the problem is trademark infringement. I think they lose if they try to use a name that another company has and have no other claim on it. You could probably get and auction http://www.beer.com, but not http://www.Budweiser.com. (note: abbreviations don’t always hold - TNT tv didn’t get TNT, the overnight company did.). Also, some people who squat on a name use it to promote stuff. Selling stuff on, say, http://www.clinton.com would imply an endorsement. Guess it comes under misleading advertising.

It’s still a vaguely grey area, but the rulings are based on the idea that cybersquatters are buying up names with the sole intention of (for want of a better phrase) holding the owners to ransom over them. In the case of registered trademarks it’s a fairly clear infringement, and recently several celebs have won similar cases…

(from http://news.bbc.co.uk)

The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (1999) allows for this kind of action in the US. Further details are available here.

And possibly relating to handy’s site:

Some more…from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (http://www.wipo.org/eng/main.htm):

Question re the Julia Roberts thing.

Say there’s this celebrity, I don’t know, Roberta July. And say my name is Robert A. July. Do you think they would rule against me if I registered http://www.robertajuly.com before she did?

Unfortunately, they could well do, matt…

(from the link I posted regarding the Act)

Arnold, we always know what you mean.

it bears highlighting that the key phrase in this whole thing is “with the intent to sell the domain name,” If you were named Van Nawhite and registered the domain “vannawhite” and made use of the website in a constructive manner (i.e. put up your personal homepage, tried to hawk a product, etc.) and in general did not either attempt to sell the domain back to Vanna White or use the site to profit from her celebrity, you would probably be in the clear.

jayron 32:

I think this is the really grey area. As the quote above says, there are investigations underway to bring about clear regulations in this area (italics are mine):

On the other hand, legitimate business people shouldn’t worry. There was another story recently about the software developer Infogrames paying an American businessman a seven figure sum for his domain name, ronaldo.com. Infogrames wanted it for their new football game (based around the Brazilian footballer Ronaldo), but as it was used as a legitimate small business they couldn’t take legal action.

While you guys duke it out over the finer legalities, I want to address something in the OP that everyone has overlooked…


That’s a real newspaper? Is it run by a troop of Girl Scouts? Does their name give them credibility problems? I mean if the Pine Cone had broken the Watergate case, Nixon might have made it to Mt. Rushmore.

Its a California thang.

Wait wait wait…I don’t think you understand my question. I understand what the law says, I just don’t understand why it’s legal. I can understand it if you register a domain name that is someone else’s trademark (i.e. straightdope.com) But if I have the forsight to register and reserve the domain ibm.com years before IBM thinks of making a website, well, I should be able to reap the benifits of that intuition. Again, if I sense that there’s going to be a market for pink shoelaces next year, and I buy up all the options on pink shoelaces that are available, and charge $20 a pop for people to buy them, how is that different?

If you thought that McDonalds was going to move into your area, you couldn’t decorate a building with the McDonalds logo and characters, and then sell shoes in it, waiting for them to offer to buy the building. You’re stepping on their trademark. You also can’t have Ronald McDonald in your condom advertising without McDonald’s permission.

Taking a web site is a worse offense, because it is a limited resource, and very valuable to the owner.

I think there are times when the attacks are taken too far. Under the current climate, if two companies share a common trademark, the bigger one wins, despite how long the smaller has had the trademark, or if they are even in competing markets.

I’m actually having to worry about my own website, as I’ve found that there is a band in Seattle called MadPoet, and they have expressed interest in my site (they’ve been cool, only asking if I could make a link to their homepage). If they decided to press the issue, I couldn’t afford to defend it, and it would be hard to prove who was MadPoet first.

Okay, let me set some of this straight. First, if you register any part of a a trademark name, say, Ford, you can
be sued $200,000 per site [I think thats the right amount of money] as a guy tried that on ebay.com [ford-parts.com].
You cannot sell such a name for profit in the US.

Next, personal names, can indeed be registered. Check at:
WillieBrown.com a more lengthly explanation of this at:

However, if you take a persons’ name you cannot pretend to be the person.

I wasn’t planning on selling it anyway. Best $70 I ever spent.

handy - I don’t want to cast any aspersions on why you have the site, I just wanted to point out that anyone registering a domain name should be careful that they can provide legitimate reasons why they have chose it (and, more cynically, can afford better lawyers than any potential complainants). However, in your case, the possible regulations against registering domain names for current or potential public officials could be a problem, if they come into effect.

Atrael - unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. I don’t think the courts see it as “foresight”; I think they see it as a bunch of chancers who spend a couple of minutes registering every company/celebrity name they can think of - it’s not really like you’ve put a huge effort into starting, maintaining and advertising a business.

IBM is a trademark. The medium doesn’t matter, the fact that the name was “owned” long before the web was around does.