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Censorship Your Rights Online

Verizon Threatens 2600 Over Domain Name 15

commodoresloat writes "You've probably already heard this, but Verizon (That's Bell Atlantic + GTE) has threatened 2600 to make them give up the domain name '' (apparently, Verizon already owns ''). It seems like a blatant attempt to squash criticism while pretending to protect trademarks from 'cybersquatters.' " The thing is, since there are now about four different tools where a company can take away a domain name from someone else, the odds are that they'll be able to do it.
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Verizon Threatens 2600 Over Domain Name

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  • even find a good parody name, these days.

    Already taken:


  • Emmanuel Goldstein has morphed from a small publisher of a {h|cr}acking mag, low audience radio guy, into one of the preeminent defenders of individuals' liberties in the internet era.

    On multiple fronts, he is defending our right to freedom of speech, and protecting us from giant behemoth corporations who want to restrict what we say, and even what we think.

    It is easy to see the parallel with Larry Flint, who began simply as a publisher of a porno mag, and became a very important of champion of civil liberties.

    More and more (we read it on /. every day) companies are trying to control the net, and, by extension, the future of both news and entertainment. By getting laws passes which make it illegal to look at someone else's software, or link to another site, or even express a thought (Verizon probably does suck!) their power is growing enormously.

    We should applaud Emmanuel, and follow his example. If individuals do not stand up for our right to watch moves, listen to music, or criticize a company, we will lose those rights, and we will have no defense against the McDonalds-Nike-AOL-TimeWarner-Microsoft-General Electric conglomerates, the 'Big Brother' of the future.
  • seemed available.
  • Until this is tested in court, there is no prescedent for whether or not is an infringement upon
    Actually, there is court guidance:

    In Bally a California court held that defendant Faber, who had created a website named Bally Sucks, which he created "in a simmering rage after a Bally club in California didn't upgrade his membership as promised," violated neither federal trademark infringement nor trademark dilution statutes because the site was merely a parody designed to voice consumer complaints and not commercially competitive with Bally in any way. The site was so clearly anti-Bally that it could not be construed as the company's handiwork. In Bally, the court noted that Faber "does not use Bally in his domain name" and that "even if Faber did use the mark as part of a larger domain name, such as '', this would not necessarily be a violation as a matter of law" because "no reasonably prudent Internet user would believe that '' is the official Bally site or is sponsored by Bally. Finally, the court also cited congressional intent to exempt parody and other non-commercial imitation from the Act. idx.htm []

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer

    - the Boston Lunatic

  • Just be a little imaginative:


    Maybe I should go register them?

  • Odd. Most of these appear to be owned by the same person. Have to wonder if it's someone from Verizon, or someone who really really hates them. :)
  • What if someone made a site? Or if the owners of created a news site similar to /.?

    I think that VA Linux, if it wanted to get its trademark application for Slashdot approved, would have to try to shut down the site, free speech be damned.

    Without a trademark, anyone could provide shoddy goods and services to besmirch the Slashdot name. Consider Harvard Brand cigarettes, for example. You can buy them in India. That doesn't reflect very well on a medical school, does it?

    The issue is about limiting free speech -- you're not allowed to pretend to be someone else by using their name.

  • Well, OK, $945. But whoever's doing it has a lot more money than me.

    -- LoonXTall
  • The ODP already has a Disputed Domain Names: [] category for links about this dispute.
  • <i>The issue is about limiting free speech - you're not allowed to pretend to be someone else by using their name.</i>

    Let me make sure I understand your position: you are claiming, with a straight face, that reasonable people will think "verizonreallysucks" is an official site sponsored by Verizon?


    NOBODY is arguing that critics have an absolute right to, oh, "". Since "Verizon" is a made-up word, a lot of people could reasonably confuse verison and verizon. (However, also remember that the other limited resource - toll-free numbers - accepts the use of misspellings to grab customers. E.g., 1-800-OPERATOR vs. 1-800-OPERATER.)

    However, once there's no risk of confusion all of these rights vanish like your last date. No company, with the possible exception of infant pacifiers, will use (company-name)-SUCKS or anything remotely like it to sell their product. The *only* reason for grabbing these domains is to stiffle criticism, and as others have pointed out there is no practical limit to the number of such domain names.

    It's easy to say that critics should simply sell the name (at cost) and register a new one, but it will destroy any ability to effectively communicate your message if you're forced to change domain names on a weekly basis. This is barely different from the widely condemned SLAPP suits - and IMHO both acts should bring about the severest sanctions against the attorneys.
  • I'll assume you are not trolling.

    The issue is about limiting free speech -- you're not allowed to pretend to be someone else by using their name.

    Yes, but I am allowed to use their name to criticize them, or their product, and this has long been upheld by the courts.

    If someone had registered and tried to sell cellular phones, the verizon people would have a very valid claim. But I am allowed to tell people just how bad CocaCola is, and do not need to refer to them as a 'softdrink company located in Atlanta'.

    My point, and 2600's, is that business are becoming the most powerful forces in the world today, and in their quest from ever increasing amounts of money, they are trampling over individuals' rights.

    We must stand up to the freedoms we have always had, otherwise we will find ourselves with none.
  • One of the issues with the Cybersquatting bills is that you can't take a domain name with the intent of holding it from a legitimate user - i.e. I can't buy the domain 'MickeyDees' to get money from McDonalds.

    Can this law be used to force companies to give up Domain Names 'Obviously not suited to selling their products' of some sort? I can't possibly accidently type 'Verizonsucks' as a typo - It should be held out for someone willing to use it to criticize Verizon.

    The scary thing is, this might actually be a valis interpretation of the law -

    This has been a test of the Slashdot Broadcast Network . . .

  • We have a minor miscommunication:

    Under US law, if you fail to defend your tradmarks, you lose them. Until this is tested in court, there is no prescedent for whether or not is an infringement upon So is obligated to go through legal action against

    So, the matter goes to the lawyers. This is, after all, our society's officially approved way of settling disputes.

    Now for the flamebait:

    Why do people get so uppity over cease and desist letters? It's just a letter. It doesn't mean that goons are coming to break down the door -- it means that somebody thinks that you're in the wrong, and you had better pay attention.

  • Well, simply put, they're being commonly used to threaten people into giving up their rights. I'm sure the vast majority of C&D orders published in the US are reasonable orders given about reasonable things, but the ones you hear about, and that upset people, are the new 'Cease and Desist unless you can afford a Lawyer for five years to fight US' orders that have become SOP for corporations to get what they want by acting like schoolyard bullies. - Parody site. - Criticism site - you may have heard of them

    etc etc etc

    Oddly enough, hackers and internet savvy people have generally reached a point by the time we're adults that, hey, we're sick of bullies. Don't know why - :-)

    This has been a test of the Slashdot Broadcast Network . . .

  • Isn't Verizon guilty of the same squating they falsely accuse others of? If Verizon can use the anti-squating rules to unjustly seize insulting names from others, can't you or I use the same rules to seize VERIZON-STINKS.COM from Verizon?

    Seems to me a class action lawsuit is here in the making -- get twenty satarists together and go after 'em!

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.