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Court Orders Owner Of Peta.org To Give Up Domain 537

Kancer writes: "According to Boston.com a federal judge ordered PETA.org parody site to relinquish their Web address over to PETA.com. People just can't take a joke, People Eating Tasty Animals, now that is funny." It's actually a really crappy legal precedent. Using other people's trade names for parodies is not an illegitimate use of the name, and their site was not confusingly similar to PETA - there's no way you could mistake one for the other. The judge was ruling based on the name alone, with no consideration of the content.
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Court Orders Owner of Peta.org to Give Up Domain

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  • by whoop ( 194 )
    I'll do you one better by eating a turkey sandwich and drinking a glass of milk while brosing Slashdot right now!! I'd cook a rat as well, but they don't seem to think my apartment is messy enough...
  • Philosophy Existing Through Affluence
    --
  • You forget the most obvious criticism of this idea: Jesus was a Jew, and celibrated Passover like all jews. (Christians belive that until Jesus died the passover was a nessicary celebration, and even today most continue it in some form with Easter) The major feature of passover is you killed a lamb (baby sheep) in your house, cooked it and ate it. OF course there is lots of tardition and such behind it, and the butcher probably did the accualy killing, but it had to be done in your house.

  • by Danse ( 1026 )

    No, more like a rather small, but vocal, portion of slashdot posters.

  • They forgot to tell you that after the lion lies down with the lamb, it begins to chew. :)

  • Weird Al pays large sums of moneys to aquires rights to parody songs (of course, most of that money going to the record companies, but that's not the issue), and such that he will not face legal charges for using those parodies (one of the reason, I believe, that the Amish Paradise issue never went to court). Once he's paid that, then he's ok to make money off the parody, but do realize that some of that money he makes goes back into the original owner's record company's pocket.

    "peta.org" without further knowledge, tells me that the site is owned by a group named "peta" which is a non-profit organization. This is probably the first site that most people go to when they want to visit PETA's website, knowing that it's a npo. They don't need to trademark "peta.org", much like MS does with microsoft.com (though I'd be surprised), as the full domain name itself is not trademarkable, only the part before the .com, .org. or whatever.

  • PETA is a joke, they are a bunch of irresponsible, childish hate-mongers who tolerate no other view than their own.

    The worst thing about PETA is that they divert money away from organizations that actually help animals. They are an Animal Rights group, which means that they spend their money on lawyers and publications to push their radical cause.

    They aren't an Animal Welfare group. Their idea of ethical treatment of animals is to ignore them and debate the issue.

  • Can I kill the veggies? It isn't just the (carni|omni)vores that have a sense of humor! (meat tastes bad! ick! cheese, OTOH... mmmm...) Sounds like a good idea, all told, as long as you feed us veggie-types too! :)

    Lea
  • ah, the old "humans are animals too, so anything that an animal does, we can do" argument.

    Boring.


    But nonetheless true when it comes to dietary practices.
  • When checking out the PETA Parody Site [mtd.com] I tried following numerous links, particularly in the Miscellaneous section. Most don't work at all, including some interesting titles such as The Implications of Nazi Animal Protection [uga.edu], Militant Vegetariansim [uga.edu], and Animal Rights and the New Man Haters [aynrand.org].

    No, none of these were hosted on peta.org, they were hosted elsewhere. Obviously, the long arm of PETA and its supporters appears to have reached well beyond peta.org in silencing their critics.
  • Without passing judgment on the merits of this particular case, I would point out that a .org top-level domain implies non-profit organizationhood, which PEthicalTA has, and which PEatingTA does not. A .com domain is pretty much meaningless these days, though, so that would make more sense for a parody site. Having said that, I think it's pretty clear that PEatingTA is not confusable with PEthicalTA, and I don't see that they should have been required to do anything beyond prominently announcing that they are a parody and linking to the real site.
  • PETA refused even to talk to the owner of PETA.org. Going to NSI for domain dispute is supposed to be your last resort, it was PETA's first. Well first legal resort, this mickey mouse group's first attempt was by cross posting an message on news groups encouraging people to email bomb and threaten and harass the owner of PETA.org.

    Finkployd
  • I think its fucking funny. FUCK MCMURDER!!!

    I agree, I think people eating tasty animals is funny as well. Since both are satire, I think both should be allowed. However, you don't see Mcdonalds trying to stop peta. You DO see peta trying to stop anyone from satiring them.

    Finkployd
  • PyRoNeRd wrote:
    >>Case law is showing that having a domain name registered and pointing to a website
    >>is, for all intents and purposes, "commercial use".

    >Well there you have it. That leaves no room for non-commercial domains. All sites on them
    >are "infringing" if someone registers the site name as a trademark (even if they do it after
    >the site went up or even just so they can steal the domain name).

    That's a bit harsh. There's still plenty of room for sites based on names, e.g. John Smith has an assumed interest in johnsmith.com, or variations; prior art, e.g. the etoy defense; and so on. Probably the key issue is that only "famous marks" enjoy this level of protection. Clue Computing (clue.com) succeeded because the "Clue" board game was ruled not "famous" under the statute.

    It is true that this dispute is a problem. An important case in the 1960s established eight points for a judge to determine whether trademark infringement had occurred. The problem is, when domain names on the internet are involved, two of those points are automatically in favor of the trademark owner: that the spheres of commerce may one day merge (too late), and that they are one and the same (worldwide). In essence, trademark law means that a domain name dispute is automatically 1/4 lost -- or won -- before it begins.

    >There should be a "Non-trade Mark" registration procedure to protect the interest of non-commercial site owners.

    That's a neat idea, but it would be difficult to police against intentional infringement. What I'd like to see is a "safe harbor" for personal sites such that if they follow a simple checklist under the law they can know they're safe, instead of waiting for a cease and desist letter some day.

    >BTW: How can Linus Torvalds get a trade mark for Linux, while he doesn't use it in commerce?

    The definition of "use in commerce" is broad, and doesn't require selling anything. Good for Linus/Linux, but bad for personal domain owners.
    ----
  • I do want to see this appealed however, up to the Supreme Court, such that some national precident is set; hopefully not in the judges words, but to the point that the cybersquatting/trademark laws are more strongly set. Why this case? Neither side is a large company with lots of money to blow, so this won't be a battle of resources, but of true intent.

    Well, I bet PETA has bigger lawyers than Donoghue does, even if he's rich.

    This won't get appealed, at least not that far, though. The law has already changed, and the Supreme Court is generally only interested in taking cases where there's a question about interpretation or an inconsistency. Here, the law in effect in 1995 (basic trademark law, for all intents and purposes) has been underlined and strengthened by the 1999 AntiCybersquatting law (S.1948 over at thomas.loc.gov, I've linked to it too many times to do it again :-S). Essentially, Congress has made its intent clear: famous marks have greater protection under the law, and even non-famous marks get full trademark protection from infringement or dilution. (And parody is NOT an affirmative defense against infringement or dilution, although it can be an effective one.)

    In this case, nobody was arguing about the content of the site, except insofar as it pertained to the domain name. The domain name was clearly a trademark, even a famous one, and under S.1948 there's clearly no other way the decision could have gone.

    Essentially, an appeal would be arguing obsolete law, which is generally a waste of time. When somebody's on death row, it's worth pursuing. When the appellant has no real economic harm to show, let alone personal harm, nobody's going to care. His site's still up; it's survived four years without the domain name so far.

    ----
  • Domain names aren't a public domain thing, or property of the government. They are the property of the maintainer of the database

    Not exactly. There is a public interest in internet addressing that is legally recognized.

    (and there is more than one, just thing of alternic). What is to prevent me from creating my own database of, and having people register to me? Will the government ultimately rule over my business if I do?

    What makes you think that just by setting up a database, you operate outside of applicable law?

    This is a persistent meme among netizens. I recognize its origins, but it's really just a fantasy. The fact is that the internet never was a separate place from the real world and never has been. Just because it's on the internet doesn't automagically erase the book of laws that people operate under. The internet, after all, is just a big wire. It's the actions of the people on either end of the wire that are regulated.

    Essentially, you're saying that you would set up a parallel name registry. Such a registry may well be ignored as a toy (e.g. alternic, surprise surprise). But if that name registry came to mean anything at all, which I suppose would mean significant commercial interests, all it would take is one judicial ruling to assure that your registry was under the same legal authority. Say one of your registry's users decided to use existing trademarks as names, e.g. cocacola.alt. Don't you think that Coke would STILL sue them? Do you think that because they're on a separate registry, they are somehow immune from trademark law? Unh-unh. They're still on the same planet as the rest of the world, and the same trademark laws still apply.

    As I said, I see the appeal, but I don't see how it would work in the real world. Because, you see, there's only one real world, and we're all in it.
    ----
  • As far as I understand, parodies are protected under copyright law.

    Easy. This case is not about copyright law, but trademark law. There are significant differences, and I'm getting tired of teaching Slashdot what they could learn by glancing at a dictionary.

    But, as a far as I can remember, it's ok to parody something as long as your parodoy is clearly a an imitaion that acknowledges the fact that it is immitating. ie. You can take a copyrighted material and make fun of it, provided it is apparent you can make fun of it. This one should be overturned in a second. I have no idea how the judge justified his descision.

    Copyright law does make exceptions for parodies. Trademark law does not make explicit exceptions for parodies, although they're not impossible to find.

    You'll notice the actual content of the parody is still online. This is simply about the use of the trademark as expressed in the domain name.
    ----
  • >But I still don't think trademark law applies to DNS.

    Well, that's a nice sentiment, but at this point we're looking at close to a decade of case law that says otherwise.

    The most applicable decision was probably Panavision vs. Toeppen. Toeppen was a domain-name reseller who registered panavision.com. The court said:

    "We reject Toeppen's premise that a domain name is nothing more than an address. A significant purpose of a domain name is to identify the entity that owns the web site.... The domain name serves a dual purpose. It marks the location of the site within cyberspace, much like a postal address in the real world, but it may also indicate to users some information as to the content of the site, and, in instances of well-known trade names or trademarks, may provide information as to the origin of the contents of the site.... Using a company's name or trademark as a domain name is also the easiest way to locate that company's web site.... Moreover, potential customers of Panavision will be discouraged if they cannot find its web page by typing in "Panavision.com," but instead are forced to wade through hundreds of web sites. This dilutes the value of Panavision's trademark.... Toeppen's use of Panavision.com also puts Panavision's name and reputation at his mercy."

    [The MTV case is cited. It was really the first example of someone -- former VeeJay Adam Curry, in this case -- trying to assert simple first-come-first-served rights. He lost.]

    >Assuming that I gave them the incorrect address out of malice or as a prank, would I have violated PETA's trademark?

    Not as an individual. But if you ran, say, an 800-number directory service, you certainly would have. DNS isn't a peer-to-peer system, it's a central registry.

    >Let's say that CmdrTaco gave me that slip of paper because he owns the meat packing plant

    Oh my yes. Most certainly a trademark dilution case. Anything done to confuse or deceive consumers strikes to the heart of the origins of trademark law.

    >Can Coke stop me from giving people directions to the Pepsi store whenever people ask for directions to Coke? Or even worse, can they stop me from giving people directions to the coal mine?

    Heh. Famous issue, here. It's trademark dilution for a restaurant to give you a Pepsi when you order a Coke. They have to say, for example, "We serve Coke, is that all right?" Coke and Pepsi (like the recording industry) send agents out to catch violators, or at least, used to. In essence, both your examples are very much trademark dilution.

    The key is *commercial use*. The DNS is considered to be a directory that consumers rely on to give them correct information, not throw them in the wrong direction. Personally, you can do WTF you like. See, DNS doesn't exist on its own. That's the problem. It's run by people.
    ----
  • JohnJake sputters:
    Judges must learn that cyberspace is not just a "virtual world." Cyberspace is an alternative world! It is a complete reality with its own atmosphere, culter, people, and real-estate.

    Uh, hello, JJ. Ever looked inside your computer? It's a bunch of electronic parts. It's connected to a big wire that goes everywhere. These are all just physical parts in the real world. You, yourself, are still sitting in a chair, real as could be, and you are still subject to all the laws of the real world.

    Especialy since the US government has no jurisdiction over international property like the internet! They have no right to restrict use of a domain name simply because some big dollar is upset!

    Again, the internet isn't a place, somewhere outside the real world. The people who connect to the internet and use it are still here, still subject to the same laws as before. One of those laws concerns trademarks.

    I'm as concerned as you for individual rights vs. corporations, but this isn't the fight. Look instead to mattl.com (Mattel wants him to shut down), or Naked Juice journal (no domain at all), or Digital Divas (for once, a little guy with trademark law fully on their side).

    This is a horibble step for the internet. I fear we will have to start copyrighting our domain names just to protect them!

    Uh, that would be trademarking domain names. Yes, that would be wise, if you have a good one. Still, this is no precedent; the precedents were set years ago already, and encoded into US trademark law several years ago. The fact is that the existing domain name system, as designed, forces individuals into direct conflict with corporate interests. This is a double-edged sword; witness Slashdot itself, which could not exist without the internet. Yet at the same time individuals who only want to use the net to reach a wide audience must now step carefully amid trademark issues. With power comes responsibility. It's a little like people moving to the suburbs, then trying to stop anyone else from moving in next door and "ruining" it. The wonderful benefits of the net come from this power, but they also expose people to conflicts they aren't necessarily prepared for.
    ----
  • US courts do not have power over DNS. They have power over the individuals and businesses USING the DNS. Crucial difference.

    Just because I register a domain name doesn't mean I'm suddenly outside the reach of US (or any other country's) trademark law.

    >Excuse me, but ICANN sits at the top of the current DNS system most of us use. Shouldn't *they* have the final say on taking someone's domain name away? Why are these 3rd party courts involved and who gave them power to control who registers what?

    Actually, NSI and ICANN have limited powers. Most of these domain-name cases have taken place merely as straightforward trademark cases without reference to the DNS at all. If I'm enjoined by a judge from using a name, it doesn't matter what NSI does.

    But more specifically, the domain name registrars are conducting a business. As such, when they sell you the service of a domain name (whether or not the domain name is viewed as property /per se/), they are engaged in a contract with you. Normally a contract is spelled out, and also contract relief provisions. In the case of NSI, the Fairfax County, VA courts (where NSI is physically located) are the first place to go.

    These "3rd party courts", as you say, are the same courts that were created in the United States over 200 years ago to manage the affairs of US citizens. They didn't spring up overnight, nor did they suddenly take over the internet. They always had jurisdiction.

    [FooDNS example] (4) At some point US courts will suddenly decide that they have the absolute power to decide what domains I can and cannot allow? And who may register what?

    Assuming you're based in Australia, then you would be open to a lawsuit under Australian law for similar injunctive relief. I assume, for example, that although Coca-Cola is a US company, they have made certain that Coca-Cola, Coke, etc. are all registered trademarks in your legal system.

    It may be slightly more difficult for someone in a different jurisdiction to bring such a lawsuit, but don't think they couldn't do it at all.

    Let's make it more complicated still. US company, fooDNS in Australia, and infringer based in Singapore. They could bring suit in Singapore and force the "owner" of the name to turn it over under Singaporean law.

    For purposes of international trade, countries that don't recognize other countries' intellectual property will soon find themselves having economic or political problems (e.g. trade embargo). Thus there will be very few countries that would bar such lawsuits.
    ----
  • john said:
    [in reply to dhartung, myself]:
    >>The internet isn't exempt from real-world laws.

    >And real world laws, and many prior court ruleings, allow for the use of other's material for a variety of uses, including parody, commentary, critisism, etc...
    >"Sec. 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: [remainder of copyright law snipped]

    Wonderful. You understand copyright law. Too bad this is a trademark case.

    >PeatingTA, is clearly a commentary, and/or criticism of PethicalTA. Wether or not PeatingTA makes money or not is irrelevant.
    >Weird AL certianly makes money off HIS parodies, yet they are still protected as fair use.

    And indeed, the Tasty Animals site remains online. The parody content was unaffected by this ruling. There is no argument that the parody content is protected (although there are other ways it could infringe PETA trademarks, e.g. a parody logo, or copyrights, e.g. excessive quoting).

    >The mass judge is clearly an idiot who ignored YEARS of precidents protecting fair use rights.

    Actually, the judge in question is in Virginia (the quoted article is from the Boston Globe, but datelined Norfolk, VA). The NSI contract states that the jurisdiction of choice is the local courts in Fairfax County, Virginia, and secondarily the Eastern District Federal District Court encompassing it, so most domain name rulings come through courts in this area. (Unfortunately, and rather ironically, they're not online.)

    Fair use is a concept deriving from copyright law. Fair use under trademark law is a little more difficult to prove, which is the defendant's responsibility (and under civil litigation, you may recall, the standard isn't innocent until proven guilty; it's preponderance of the evidence). Fair use does not supersede confusion. If there's a chance the consumer may be confused by, say, a "Coke adds life" pro-drug parody bumper sticker, well, the parody producer is in a difficult legal position.

    The 1995 Trademark Dilution act [loc.gov] clarified case law somewhat, but while it explicitly protects parody and fair use, there is a direct contradiction once a domain name is involved. Case law is showing that having a domain name registered and pointing to a website is, for all intents and purposes, "commercial use". This is where Doughney ran into trouble, even though his parody was arguably "non-commercial" in that it was not intended to be profitable. By having a live domain name, he was invading the sphere of commerce in question, the internet namespace, and therefore open to trademark dilution questions.

    In short, "fair use" does not normally extend to domain names. petasucks.org WOULD be a clear parody in terms of the name, but peta.org itself is a collision.

    Keep in mind that this is FAR from being a precedent-setting decision. The real precedent was years ago, when Planned Parenthood won back the plannedparenthood.org name from a group that used it to distribute anti-abortion literature.

    Or perhaps he's a militant PETA zealot. Or perhaps he's one of those RIAA/MPAA/metallica/DMCA types who beleives that fair use should be abolished.

    Or perhaps he's actually a jurist who applies the law regardless of whether he approves of the plaintiff, the defendant, either, or neither. Why make assumptions you can't support? Why not simply argue the law?

    Which are you?

    Which do you think I am? I don't have to explain myself.

    In any event, you, and that judge, are wrong.

    I would suggest you do more reading on trademark law before you say that again. In any case, the 1995 Trademark Dilution law [loc.gov] is quite clear, and the 1999 Anticybersquatting law [loc.gov] is even clearer. (I suggest you read them.)

    If you want change, write your congressman.
    ----
  • OH GOD, I FEEL THEIR PAIN!!! i mentioned i was a McClure, no? For about three years, "mcclure" or "mcclure111" (depending on letter limit) was my handle on various chat and message board forums. -- EVERY -- --SINGLE-- --F******-- [does anyone mind if i curse here? better safe than sorry, i guess] --TIME-- i would go into a room.. SOMEBODY would make a joke that went like "Hi, i'm Troy McClure. You may remember me from such channels as #macintosh, #macdev, #bjork..." Yeh, sure, it's just a joke. That's how i looked at it first. You start looking at things like that differently once you've heard them more than fifty times. guess why i use the nick "mcc" now. -_-
  • Now, waitaminute. Whatever happened to all the fair use clauses of copyright laws, where you could use the likness of a corporate logo, etc. etc. in a parody? These fair use precedents were set in early political satire cartoons. Are they not being argued in internet cases (like the starbucks case) for a reason? or are the lawyers just, well, blind to this precedent?
  • I suggest the parody site should register "PETAphiles.org" or maybe .com or whatever.

    I make a habit of referring to PETA nutcases, err, members by the term "PETAphiles".

    Given that PETA has a history of abuse of domain names (ringlingbros.com), it isn't fair for them to be critical of the same behavior from others. PETA has also been known to engage or condone other illegal activities (trespassing, vandalism, etc) in order to further their political goals. For that reason alone, I don't agree that PETA is in the right on this. They are merely acting out of revenge over hurt feelings.

  • Oh please. Tell me why it is different when humans kill animals for food and when other animals kill animals for food? Other species are even cannibals. Many animals that ignorant militant vegitarians like PETAphiles think are herbivores are not. Pigs, for example. Pigs aren't just cute little piglets you see on TV. I've seen both wild and domestic pigs eat small animals. I've seen boars kill and eat their own male offspring in order to reduce competition for their dominant male spot.

    Until PETA is ready to domesticate all animals everywhere so that all of the carnivores and omnivores can be forced to give up eating meat, then I think they have no justification for using your sort of argument in trying to prevent humans from eating meat.

  • Hello... You are defending PETA for being tasteful? They are the boneheads who show up at events such as the National Pork Producer's Expo and throw pies at the Pork Queen, amongst other disruptive and illegal activities. They are the ones who run around with t-shirts reading 'meat is murder' and other things that many people find offensive. They condone making fun of other people's culture, why is it not fair to turn the tables on them? PETA seems to have a very thin skin if they can't take what they dish out.

  • 1> Ever notice how these damn bleeding heart tree hugging dope smoking hippy liberals are just as quick to trample over the rights of those they don't agree with as thosedamn fascist xtians?!

    The only difference between Stalinists (extreme leftists for lack of a better term) and Fascists is the order in which they will remove all individual rights and the rhetoric that they will use to justify it. The end result is the same. It seems that when you move too far to either pole of the political extremes you wrap back around.

  • Accidental stepping on ants can hardly be compared to the intentional "farming" of animal drones in 2" x 2" cages and their subsequent mechanised slaughter.

    Damn, 2 inch square cages? What you gonna farm in that? For that matter, what domestic animals will fit in a 2 foot square cage.

    Is it any different if I hunt down and kill animals for food with my bare hands than if I 'farm' them?

    So would you think it would be wrong if I intentionally eat ants? Other primates do it. People in some parts of the world eat insects.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those types who think killing is always wrong.

    So when do you think is killing O.K.?

    I'm also quite aware of the nature's seemingly cruel ways. The Nature, however, is fundamentally non-moral whereas we are either moral or immoral.

    Nature is amoral, that is the word you are looking at. We don't necessarily have to be moral or immoral in everything we do. Some things are based simply on what is imposed on us by nature, and some things are based on simple, rational decisions of fact which don't involve a moral decision. Humans were made by nature to be omnivores, we don't control that. If we were intended to be herbivores, we would probably have two stomachs, cloven hooves and walk on four legs. We wouldn't have canine teeth, and we wouldn't be able to properly digest meat.

    Thusly, we cannot refer to Nature's example when it comes to deciding what is moral and what is not.

    To my mind killing animals for food just isn't necessary and as such is evil.

    What is the difference between killing of plants for food and killing of animals? Plankton and algae are animals, but you can't tell me they are much more sentient than a tomato.

    So is it wrong for other animals which you have previously written you consider sentient to kill other animals for food? It is necessary to kill other animals for carnivores to survive. Other omnivores (For example pigs, bears, raccoons, etc. Those are just a few examples I can think of off the top of my head that live near me), don't _need_ to kill other animals for food by your standards, so are they evil?

    I think your arguments are full of holes.

  • The problem is that there is no biblical reference to show that Jesus (assuming you believe he was a real person) was a vegetarian or espoused vegetarianism to others. In fact, one of the miracles that is credited to Jesus was feeding of fish to the multitudes...

    Like just about anything, if you want to twist hard enough you can bend bible passages to fit just about anything.

  • Pre-emptive registration of possible negative or parody site domains like this seems like evidence that PETAphiles have an active policy of discouraging free speech and open political discourse.

    Perhaps if someone owned "petasucks.com" they could sue PETA over "petasucks.org" on the same grounds PETA sued under in this case. It certainly seems intentionally misleading for PETA to register a "sucks." domain to misdirect people who might be looking for anti-PETA materials.

  • It might be squatting if the person had obtained the trademark in order to try to extort money from PETA. On the other hand, PETA now owns the domain name "petasucks.org" which is depriving someone from a domain name that would clearly be more appropriate for a parody or opposition group to own.

    And if PETA thinks they should be protected from this kind of imposition on their supposed trademark, they shouldn't have registered 'ringlingbros.com' as an anti-circus page. PETA's hands are dirty, and they really don't deserve protection on this one.

  • I would agree on the first come, first served for the most part, except that PETA has taken action not consistant with that, so for them to engage in that sort of behavior seems highly hypocritical.

  • To: info@peta-online.org
    To: webmaster@peta-online.org

    Kudos to you, peta.com - for winning this "landmark case".
    Kudos to you, for restricting free speech.

    I am very disapointed in your organisation - fighting for animal liberation.
    Freedom is also a liberation - which you now has restricted. Trademarks are a
    limitation to freedom. And - not only that - limiting humor is a limitation to
    freedom. You fight for freedom for animals, but forget the animal you yourself
    are - namely human beeings.

    I felt discusted when I heard about you winning the case. Discusted, that
    people actually WANT to limit freedom of speech. Discusted, that people
    actually WANT to limit humor.

    I have a lot of sympathy for your norwegian counterpart - that is "NOAH". I
    now know that I do NOT have ANY sympathy WHATSOEVER for NOAH's american
    counterpart - namely YOU - peta.

    --
    "Rune Kristian Viken" - arcade@kvine-nospam.sdal.com - arcade@efnet
  • Peta.org [peta.org] is down, seemingly. The DNS points nowhere anymore. Looks like they (or their hosters) are complying with the order, although the WHOIS information is still available.

    Sad.

    --Remove SPAM from my address to mail me
  • From the press release:

    Tim Enstice
    757-622-7382

    FYI, it's extension 610.
  • Respect, easy to lose, hard to regain.

    After PETA's pronouncement that drinking milk was bad, cruel, or whatever, and that the only viable alternative was beer, I couldn't stop laughing about it for a week. I called up my couple PETA friends, and informed them that they no longer could argue for PETA as providing a healthy alternative. Fine, don't drink milk, there are other ways to get the protien/calcium the body needs, but BEER?!? Gimme a break. Whether or not one enjoys downing alcohol as a means of entertainment, and whether or not alcohol in small doses can be healthy, beer in large quantities is not a healthy alternative to milk. Fruit drinks apparently didn't come to their drunken minds.

    On the matter of interfering with a meat sale, I'd like to say they did wonders for business. A large number of students didn't hear abut the first one in time, but thanks to the well-announced SETA protests, everyone came to the second meat sale. Kind of like suing some niche group pirate software, and thus calling EVERYONE's attention to it. That, and listening to them read anti-meat poems while the folks selling the kabobs and burgers drew up and displayed large "EAT MOR MEET" signs was absolutely hilarious.

    Some SETA/PETA enthusiasts may have a cause, the rest just feel some need to protest, rebel, and generally stir up trouble and make themselves look bad.

  • Back in University (York), one of the cafeterias switched to a vegetarian menu.
    My friends Dan and Chris made a giant banner saying "Stop the mindless vegicide!" and one morning during exams I helped them hang it in said cafeteria. It lasted a few hours before it was torn down by the staff, and got a few laughs, but if we did this these days I'm sure we'd be sued and kicked out of school.
    Damn all these "alternative" viewpoints. I guess we're not allowed to criticize the critics.

    Pope

    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • And why can't a person make a profit from a parody? In that case you had better call the PETA Police and turn in Conan, Dave, and Jay.

    The judge's decision was wrong. Dead wrong.

  • The street name analogy does *not* hold. If I decide to set up shop at 7th st and 9th ave, it does *not* give the business owner at 9th st and 7th ave the right to sue me. Especially if I have a business that is of a comic nature. This precedent worries me greatly. Just think openssh.com vs openssh.org for a domain name dispute that matters to a large number of /.ers.

    On a slightly unrelated note, my friend just bought some bumper stickers yesterday. The thing that makes parody so damn funny is when the similarities make you do a double take. 'Thank you for not smoking - Canadian Cancer Society' becomes 'Thank you for pot smoking - Canadian Cannabis Society.'

    Hrmph. When will I no longer be allowed to have fun on the grounds that it might piss off some interest group/corporation with lots of lawyers.
  • Weird Al pays large sums of moneys to aquires rights to parody songs

    From what I've read, Weird Al asks the original artist for permission to parody the song. Not because he has a legal obligation to obtain permission, but because he is a nice guy. This was the problem with Coolio and Amish Paradise. There was a breakdown in communication between Weird Al and Coolio. The original artist gets royalties from the sales of the parody, not big bags of cash for giving permission to Weird Al.

  • Umm hate to inform you but the rules of .org being nonprofit and .com being commercial and .net being network services went out the window a few years ago. While its convention there is no rules you have to follow for that.
  • it should be a .com

    so should /. become slashdot.com instead of slashdot.org because somebody is making money off of the ads?

    setting up rules about what sites can own .org, .com, etc. will lead to whole heap of trouble in the future. this judge's decision is clearly a precident that is NOT good for the net.

    LL
  • Shouldn't web sites be ruled the same as parody in other forms of media, such as movies and songs?

    They are. But that's a copyright issue, not a trademark issue. Doughney's free to do a PETA parody page -- he just can't put it under "peta.org," where people would reasonably expect to find the actual PETA site. Similarly, I could write a "Harry Potter" parody, but I can't title it "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," because that would clearly confuse people looking for the actual book. In short, there's no free speech right to misappropriate someone's trademark.(*)

    (* Just to clarify a repeated misunderstanding before it inevitably appears again, it is not a misappropriation of someone's trademark to say or write the trademarked word, phrase, or logo. It is misappropriation to use that trademark to divert people who want to deal with the actual individual or entity that uses the name. If you read this and persist in posting something along the lines of "So does this mean I can't use the letters I, B and M in my domain name?" you are a pinhead.)

  • Impersonation is the (some say) greatest form of flattery ...

    I would like to pay you a high compliment. Please send me your SSN, credit card numbers, color copies of various photo IDs, a recording of your voice and the home phone numbers of your boss/thesis adviser and significant other.

  • ...or whatever it was called?

    http://compupix.com/ballysucks

    I tried to get to the above link, but my corporate internet connection won't let me for some reason. Is this still alive? I know that this site is a parody/criticism of Bally Total Fitness (the bastards stole over $1000 from me).

    I think that this peta thing is remarkably similar to the ballyssucks page. I remember that the ballyssucks page used to be the first link that would come up on a yahoo search of ballys.

    Court rulings similar to the peta ruling are a dangerous precedent for the net and all of you should do whatever you can to stop this abuse of the law.

  • Yeah, but what would you use as the domain name? SETI.org [seti.org]? ;)
  • What about La Femme Nikita star Peta Wilson [imdb.com]? She's much better than those Secretary-of-Agriculture-assaulting, fur-coat-painting wackos that are behind this mess.
  • Maybe Hole and/or other "screw the man" type bands would want to perform music during the demonstration/cookout.

    I'll bet you could get Ted Nugent to play at this. He's an avid bow-hunter and all-around badass, from what I've seen on VH1 (that's a pop-music oriented cable TV station for those out of range...)

  • I'd say it probably lost it the moment the internet changed from cyber-library to cyber-mall (uh oh, that makes us all mallrats, I've gotta get a life, however I digress).

    Another similar story to this is the case of a small IT business in the UK being forced to give up their domain chase.co.uk [chase.co.uk] to Chase Manhatten, merely because they don't have the 5/6 figure sums to contest the case. There is more about it on their site, also the register had an article about it, one of the best bits is that chase manhatten's lawyers actually suggested that they register cbs.com instead :)

    FWIW you have copyright the moment you create something, you don't have to register, problem is that names are covered by trademark law not copyright...

  • It is one thing to state reasons why you don't feel there was a likelihood of confusion, but a lot of effort was spent by an impartial judge and staff to make a legal determination whether it was so. Because of the peculiar (i.e. unique) properties of a domain name, the first place I would look to find peta would be peta.org, which creates a particular presumption.

    Now, I don't know the facts of this case, but the mere unsubstantiated statement that a judicial determination is a "crappy precedent" because there was no "likelihood of confusion," just doesn't make it so. Clearly, at least one jurist felt there was a credible case for the other side.

    The vast majority of trademark parody cases where a defendant upheld were cases where the parody was biting, directly targeted to the subject matter, and didn't use the exact trademark name, to wit: the Lardache parody of Jordache; the Off-the-Wall-Street Journal and the like. Further, not a one of the parody uses actually deprived the owner of the ability to use that name.

    Now, I disagree strongly with the rights-in-gross proposition that the International Trademark Association and its membership have taken, and the regrettable position Congress took under the Cybersquatter's act. But to say this isn't presently the law, and that a judge did wrong by enforcing it is to miss the point.

    We might reasonably argue (and I might join, depending upon the particular facts) that the law should not create a cause of action in this case. But where it does, leave the judge alone -- its not for him to make the law -- its for him to apply the law to the facts.
  • what's to prevent someone from registering massive numbers of likely domain names, and rendering the whole TLD useless?
  • The original post didn't say a parody site couldn't make money; it said that a non-profit organization (PETA) should get a .org TLD. If the parody site is making money (which I think it is), it should be a .com That is what he is saying.
  • by lovelace ( 4159 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @08:36AM (#985823) Homepage
    Peta's press release says: PETA won the precedent-setting case on three grounds. First, trademark infringement-the PETA trademark belongs to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Doughney had no right to use it. Second, Doughney diluted the value of the trademark by his use of it. Third, Doughney was found in violation of the "Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act," because he appropriated the distinctive and famous "PETA" mark for his own commercial benefit.

    1. The first amendment always allows parody, even if someone has a trademark.
    2. Diluted the value of the trademark?!? He just gave a ton of press to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He should be charging them for advertising.
    3. Commercial benefit?!? How was this commercial at all? He put up a parody site.
    As a vegetarian, I must say that I view PETA in an extremely bad light. All you have to do is take a look at some of the hate mail [mtd.com] this guy has received from PETA advocates to realize what scumbags they really are.

    Besides that, I really think this sets a dangerous precedent. Trademarks are limited to specific things whereas domain names inevitably cross all boundaries. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office [uspto.gov] PETA's trademark [uspto.gov] is for "educational services; namely, providing programs and seminars on the subject of animal rights and welfare" and "educational services; namely, providing programs and seminars on the subject of animal rights and welfare." (See also here [uspto.gov] and here [uspto.gov] or here for all trademarks with PETA in them [uspto.gov].) This trademark classification has nothing to do with computers, so what right do they have to the domain name. If this is allowed to stand it will make taking away someone's domain name much easier.
  • by GeorgeH ( 5469 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @09:37AM (#985824) Homepage Journal
    ... http://www.eatdifferent.com/ [eatdifferent.com]

    Of course Apple isn't exactly in opposition to PETA's ideals... :)
    --
  • by DHartung ( 13689 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @08:53AM (#985825) Homepage
    Parody is considered one of the fair use exemption to copyright law and I see no reason why trademark parodies should not be subject to the same protection.

    Perhaps on principle, but in the real world, no. Trademark damages generally fall under the categories of infringement and dilution, and parody is NOT an affirmative defense for either. For example, the fellow up in Seattle who produced t-shirts that parodied the Starbucks logo as a "Corporate Whore" or something like that. Essentially, he was creating a whole new business based on public recognition of the other company's marks. Even though it was a funny parody, the fact that it was pursued in the realm of commerce of the original owner (who also sells T-shirts and coffee mugs with its mark) made it infringement and dilution.

    Trademark laws are a LOT murkier than copyright laws. And unlike copyright laws, the owner is required to vigorously defend its mark, lest it go the way of "escalator" or "aspirin".
    ----
  • by BeBoxer ( 14448 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @01:03PM (#985826)
    kinnunen wrote:
    So being a vegetarian is Ok, but if a person is a vegan it makes makes him an asshole who should kill himself. I see. I am not a vegan, nor am I a vegetarian - I enjoy a good burger every now and then (in McDonalds). I may not agree with the PETA ideals (or methods), but I sure as hell don't condem a group of people for having a very high respect for life.

    What was the point of the message that you replied to? Think really hard.


    I think you missed a certain level of sarcasm in my post, along with a heathy dose of reductio ad absurdam argument. My point being, that if you think that your life is worth the same as any other living being on the planet, the only logical conclusion is to kill yourself. Why? Because it is simply not possible for a human to live their life without destroying millions if not billions of "innocent" lifeforms in the process. Is my life worth the same as another humans? Sure. Is my life worth the same as a cat or dog? Debatable. Is my life worth the same as a worm? No. Anybody who really believes so really has no logical option but to kill themselves.

    This does not mean that I think that vegan's are necessarily assholes? (your word, not mine.) Nor does it mean that I condemn people for having a high respect for life. I condemn them for having a set of beliefs which is directly at odds with their own voluntary choice to continue their life at all. People whose beliefs don't take into account that their own life by necessity continues only at the cost of other beings lives are hypocrites whose beliefs are just so much touchy feely nonsense.
  • by mcc ( 14761 ) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @09:06AM (#985827) Homepage
    Take notice, none of the following is terribly ontopic, but it's interesting.
    And before i start, i would like to note that the name "MRJ" is already registered [apple.com] and MRJ-1s is going to have to surrender their mrjones.com domain.

    I saw this thing on 60 minutes once.
    Some tiny restaurant had opened up in the middle of scotland. LIke, one single building in the middle of a town that didn't look exactly overly urban.
    They named themselves "McMunchies".
    McDonalds sued the shit out of them. You can guess what for. This despite the fact that only an idiot would mistake the one for the other or think that the McMunchies resteraunt was in any way connected to McDonalds.
    And that the prefix "Mc" or "Mac" is a very common traditional prefix to scottish surnames meaning "the son of" [i think].
    [this post is, btw, being made by a McClure, so i have some amount of personal interest in this, seeing as it may end with my surname being owned by a corporation..]

    Lord MacDonald of MacDonald, who if ANYONE can "own" the name MacDonald, "owns" it in the sense that he is the clan leader, it is his title and his family has owned it for, what, a thousand years? was rather upset by this [understandably.. McDonalds didn't feel like they had to ask _his_ permission to name their resteraunt, but then feel like the name..] and set up some sort of legal defense fund.
    And then he decided to open a restaurant. He called it "MacDonalds."
    So if you feel like it, you can go to Scotland and go to a McDonalds where they serve rather nice steak, pheasant, etc., in a rather old building surrounded by rolling green hills..

    If anyone would like to fill in details, or if you'd like to look for yourself [google.com] or something.

    Or rather look at
    http://www.mcspotlight.org/media/press/telegraph _24sep96.html
    http://www.mcspotlight.org/media/press/herald_7o ct96.html

    "Mr Ronald McDonald, retired teacher, said the use of the name Ronald McDonald for the clown used by the company to entertain children was an insult to the Scottish clan system. "
    Now if that isn't a good quote i don't know what is.
  • by SoftwareJanitor ( 15983 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @08:33AM (#985828)
    In my opinion (IANAL), we have long since passed the time when that adage was true. There are so many laws in the US, and they are so complex, and written in such incredibly opaque legalese that ignorance of the law should really be a reasonable excuse in some cases. There are so many laws that seem contrary to common sense and so many laws on the books are so widely and openly ignored by people that I don't even think it is reasonable to put the burden of proof on the accused for them to prove their own ignorance. It should be up to the accusers to prove that the accused knew what they were doing was illegal, or at least prove that common sense and common action would dictate that they should have known it was illegal.

    For that matter, as other people have said, even judges or lawyers can't know every law. Given that they have to spend significant time researching everything, why is it that private citizens are supposed to know everything? If everyone took the time to consult a lawyer every time they did something that was the slightest bit questionable, nothing at all would ever get done.

    Seems to me that this adage is just lawyers and the judicial system trying to ensure great profits and long term employment for themselves.

    The whole problem is that people seem to think that just adding more legislation to the system will cure its problems. I think that most laws need to be reviewed periodically or expire so that they get updated to reflect the current state of reality. Laws that are unenforceable or that the system has no intention on ever being able to enforce uniformly should probably not be made in the first place.

  • by SoftwareJanitor ( 15983 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @09:04AM (#985829)
    jesusveg.com (Jesus was a vegetarian, and we're just like Jesus apparently)

    Damn, those PETAphiles are really full of crap. Not only is there no biblical evidence to suggest that (assuming you believe that Jesus was a real person) Jesus was a vegetarian, if you read the bible, one of the miracles he is credited with is feeding fish to the multitudes. Sounds like something the PETAphiles would advocate, not.

  • by SoftwareJanitor ( 15983 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @12:00PM (#985830)
    Why are you making up stuff?

    What am I supposedly making up? In case you didn't know, PETA really has registered "petasucks.org".

    The argument was simply because Peta.org is where someone would go to look for PETAs website.

    Either someone else got PETA.org first, or PETA incorrectly registered PETA.com instead of PETA.org. Either way, other posters have already commented that the page itself clearly stated it was a parody site, and had a prominantly displayed link to the actual PETA site. Hardly sounds like someone who was just trying to get accidental people visiting.

    Some clown hijacked that to put up a parody there. That's all this issue is about.

    Clown? I'd have considered it hijacking if the domain was grabbed by someone who just wanted to try to hold PETA up for money. I don't consider a legitimate parody site to be a hijacking. If that was the case, what was PETA doing when they registered "ringlingbros.com"?

    Don't bring whatever prejudices you might have about PETA to pretend they are working against all prejudices or discouraging discourse or whatever you pretend they are doing.

    Look carefully at my wording. I said it appears that they are actively working against freedom of speech and the open discourse of ideas. Tell me how their pre-emptive registration of "petasucks.com" is not consistant with that appearance?

    My 'predjudices', about PETA being what they are don't change things. Everyone brings their own predjudices to things. What are your predjudices about PETA? That they would never do anything illegal or unethical in furtherance of their political goals?

    I'm willing to at least put my handle and email on my postings. You, sir, (assuming, if not then substitute ma'am there), are an 'anonymous coward'. What does that mean? You can look at the posting history to determine what my biases might be and use that to do your own judgement of value of what I say. I'm not against anonymous posting, but forgive me if I am more skeptical about anonymous posts than normal.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @08:16AM (#985831) Homepage Journal
    A pox on both their houses. The PETA.ORG people for registering a domain to trick people looking for the real PETA into viewing a parody -- it is deliberate misdirection, not a simple name space collision. The PETA people for establishing a lousy legal precedent. The damage to the system is the same: people need a simple, stable way of finding resources on the Internet and the behavior of both parties undermines this.

    What people want: a simple, mnemonic way to identify organizations and resources they offer on the Internet (e-mail service, public information kiosks).

    What people have: The domain name system.

    DNS filled the bill way back when, but doesn't cut it today. It's a typical technological victim of success -- it became so popular it has outstripped its design. The name space is both too small and too loosely regulated (the registrars have no interest in limiting the number of domains registered, although this would be good for the system as a whole). That people can make money by having possession of a valuable domain, in the absence of the usual kinds of goodwill associated with a trademark, is evidence that the system is broken. Money is being diverted to people who are in no way producing wealth, just exploiting scarcity of a resource that should, in a system adequate to the task, be abundant.

    Does anyone think that the current system of two and three letter TLDs is going to be workable ten years hence? Where are the proposals for the next generation solution that will technically, from a user standpoint and from and administrative one?

  • by SvnLyrBrto ( 62138 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @10:29AM (#985832)

    Does mcdonalds legal have it's own url/email?

    The McLibel case certianly shows that the golden arches will (try to) sue nonprofits into the ground when they talk smack about ronald.

    Sick huh, that we're talking about doing part of a mulitbillion dollar corp's legal dept's work for them. Normally I'd despise mcdonalds as much as anyone...

    But PethicalTS's rampage against the internet and the fair use principle is a real pisser.

    I's *LOVE* to see both of those bastards grind it out to the tune of millions in legal fees in court.

    And no matter *who* wins, we all win, because one bunch of assholes or another will lose!

    john
    Resistance is NOT futile!!!

    Haiku:
    I am not a drone.
    Remove the collective if

  • by SvnLyrBrto ( 62138 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @10:03AM (#985833)
    >The internet isn't exempt from real-world laws.

    And real world laws, and many prior court ruleings, allow for the use of other's material for a variety of uses, including parody, commentary, critisism, etc...

    "Sec. 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair
    use Notwithstanding the provisions of sections
    106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work,
    including such use by reproduction in copies or
    phonorecords or by any other means specified by
    that section, for purposes such as criticism,
    comment, news reporting, teaching(including
    multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship,
    or research, is not an infringement of copy-
    right."

    PeatingTA, is clearly a commentary, and/or criticism of PethicalTA. Wether or not PeatingTA makes money or not is irrelevant. Weird AL certianly makes money off HIS parodies, yet they are still protected as fair use.

    The mass judge is clearly an idiot who ignored YEARS of precidents protecting fair use rights. Or perhaps he's a militant PETA zealot. Or perhaps he's one of those RIAA/MPAA/metallica/DMCA types who beleives that fair use should be abolished.

    Which are you?

    In any event, you, and that judge, are wrong.

    john

    Resistance is NOT futile!!!

    Haiku:
    I am not a drone.
    Remove the collective if

  • by jacobm ( 68967 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @05:45PM (#985834) Homepage
    I am getting extremely sick of this, but since ignorance persists unchecked, I must push ever onward. I will say this slowly and clearly.

    PETA did not sue peta.org over being an unflattering parody. They did not try to take away the peta.org maintainer's right to post to the Internet a parody of them. The idea that the maintainer of the peta.org web site has a Constitutional right to parody PETA was never questioned by anyone. He still has that right. He has not lost it. It is completely intact. If there's one thing that the peta.org maintainer has, it's the right to parody PETA.

    Got it?

    Now here's the tricky part: the domain name "peta.org" is not a parody of PETA, the organization. The information that your browser displays when it accesses that site may be, but the domain name is not. If the domain name itself were a parody of PETA in some way- say, perhaps, he registered "PETAphile.org" or "PETArd.org" or something- that would be a parody, and ought to be protected speech. But the name "peta.org" is not a parody, any more than "ibm.com" is a parody of IBM the computer company. ("Ha ha ha! Ed, look at this! 'peta.org'! That's hilarious! Man, they got PETA good by saying 'peta.org!'")

    So---

    those of you who are all smugly saying that PETA is a bunch of hypocrites for making use of parody themselves, maybe you should consider that perhaps a legal scholar such as a judge might possibly have understood the law better than you. Consider further what you would be posting now had Microsoft registered linux.org in 1995 and put anti-linux materials on it, and the judge had now ruled that Microsoft had to turn it over to Linus. (Saw that analogy elsewhere on this message board- good job, whoever came up with it.) Consider that perhaps you just think that the site was funny (which it was, of course) and that you dislike PETA because you disagree with their political views.

    But even if you refuse to consider that, as I'm sure most of you will (this is Slashdot, after all) please please please for the love of God please stop confusing this case with a case that set some kind of precedent about whether you're allowed to parody something or not.

    Note that this post in no way says that PETA ought to or ought not to be able to appropriate the 'peta.org' domain name from its prior owner. I'm just trying to establish where the legal argument actually is.

    (By the way, to the author of the post I'm replying to- don't consider this a directed attack against you, but rather the result of me passing a critical threshold in reading what I saw as the same incorrect argument repeated one too many times just as I read your post. Nothing personal against you.)
    --
    -jacob
  • by dsplat ( 73054 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @10:06AM (#985835)
    I suggest .parody. No serious/legitimate organization can use it.
  • by scott@b ( 124781 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:49AM (#985836)
    Ah - but PETA is doing their actions For A Good Cause, that is they are promoting their belief system and we know that anyone with a differing believe system is a sexist racist murderous pervert and, like, totally wrong.

    Let's not forget their attempts to promote beer comsumption by youth. I'm wondering when MADD or someone else is going to toss lawyers at PETA over that on. But then, MADD seems to be a bit more rational than the PETA promoters that have come pounding at my door.

    I've been fairly vegetarian in the last few years, but PETA is being to change how I think. ...

  • by kurisuto ( 165784 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @09:10AM (#985837) Homepage
    I think you're confusing two things:

    1. Defending the First Amendment
    2. Attacking vegetarians in general by doing things to deliberately offend them

    You can do #1 without doing #2.

    I'm with you on #1, but as an ethical vegetarian, I'd find it hard to continue to stand with you if you're doing #2, since it's a deliberate attack on moral values which I cherish. #2 would be a good thing to do if your intent is to attack your own allies and to create fragmentation and infighting among the defenders of the First Amendment.

  • by theseum ( 165950 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:12AM (#985838) Homepage
    Didn't the Matell suits already establish a precendent in this sort of thing? It really sucks, though. When domain names become subject to trademark laws, then we know that the Internet is becoming owned by companies. (What, you say you want yourname.com? Sorry, yourname is also the name of our company. We're suing.) I think that this illustrates the need for domain name decetralization. Maybe the .com TLD should be subject to trademark infringment, whereas .org and whatever other TLD's get created should be given to whomever wants them.
  • by LaNMaN2000 ( 173615 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:16AM (#985839) Homepage
    Parody is considered one of the fair use exemption to copyright law and I see no reason why trademark parodies should not be subject to the same protection. Trademark protections exist for a couple of reasons: to prevent consumer confusion, and to protect the value of the company's trademark. In the case of this parody, there is no confusion, and the PETA trademark is not diminished. I think there is a decent chance that peta.org would win on appeal.
  • by melstav ( 174456 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:30AM (#985840)
    Dude! Here's a few URLs that look very similar but have different content:

    www.whitehouse.gov [whitehouse.gov]
    www.whitehouse.net [whitehouse.net]
    www.whitehouse.com [whitehouse.com]
    www.whitehouse.org [whitehouse.org]

    Wonder what that judge would have to say about these.
  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @08:48AM (#985841)
    Perhaps we should start our own DNS registry. We could even enable mozilla to pick which registry it wants to look at.

    Count me in on that project! I think it would be cool to have a competing registry... maybe we could set up one that sticks to standards.

  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @10:46AM (#985842)
    Were this only about free speech, I would agree with you... but I also like eating meat, and thought the peta.org parody was funny. I happen to support both the right to deliver the message and the message itself.

    As for your Nazi argument (must... resist... temptation... to recite... Godwin's Law...), I would not attend such a rally, because their ideology is evil. If you think eating meat is evil, you should not attend our rally either.

    I don't think a barbeque is evil. I think it is fun. Obviously, judging by all these responses, I am not alone.

    I applaud your desire to promote free speech, and support your right to oppose a rally where meat is served... but I want to do it anyway.

  • by Langley ( 1015 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:28AM (#985843) Homepage

    It is interesting that a groups can claim they have won a "landmark case" against a site that parodies them and then on the same page go and parody another company [meatstinks.com] (McDonalds) to further their political views.

  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @09:08AM (#985844)
    PS: Being originally from a third world country, it is very distressing to see organizations like PETA squander time, energy and money to save rats, cats and monkeys when hundreds of millions of people on this planet are being ravaged by war, hunger, famine, drought, poverty and repressive government.

    Even my vegitarian friends (if I have any left after this comment) would agree with you there.

    The simple truth is that the notion that being wantonly cruel to animals is wrong, which most of us can agree with, has been perverted into the absurd notion that the life of a chicken holds the same value as the life of a human being. PETA propoganda literature goes so far as to equate the consumption of poultry in this country with the Nazi holocaus ("six million Jews were killed in Germany but a hundred million chickens will parish in the US this year!" or some such) I won't get started on the quality of people I have seen speeking out on behalf of PETA, except to say my opinion of them, and their movement, has gone from an initially high level to very, very low indeed. As you correctly point out, if people are so desperate for a cause to give their empty lives meanings, there are far more urgent problems deserving of attention than the living conditions of pork prior to its harvest.

    Hitler was a vegitarian and animal rights activist. Perhaps his ability to equate human life with animal life explains some of the atrocities his regime was responsible for.
  • by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @09:28AM (#985845) Homepage
    As an ethical vegetarian, how do you feel about PETA's attempt to steal ringlingbrothers.com and put up an anti circus site. Or their "unhappy meal" thing that looks just like a McDonalds meal including the Ronald mascot holding a bloddy knife?

    PETA is a joke, they are a bunch of irresponsible, childish hate-mongers who tolerate no other view than their own. They deserve to be attacked and ridiculed at every opportunity by those who support free speach. Not due to their beliefs, but due to their actions.

    Hey, I'm a strong support of the 2nd amendment and the right to bear arms, but I don't like the NRA. Just because you share their beliefs doesn't mean you have to like them. Look into some of the crazy things PETA has done, like initiating terror campaigns against their enemies. The recently cross-posted a message on newsgroups encouraging people to mail bomb and threaten this guy for his peta.org site.

    Finkployd
  • by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:57AM (#985846) Homepage Journal
    That's nothing. PETA has also registered:

    EatDifferent.com (Apple-like look)
    MeatStinks.com (only if you leave it out too long)
    cowsarecool.com
    helppuppies.com
    milksucks.com
    dolphinfreedom.com
    furisdead.com
    circuses.com
    collegeactivist.com (if they start demonstrating on MY campus, I can't be held responsible for my actions)
    nofishing.net
    furshame.com (fur shame, get it?)
    jesusveg.com (Jesus was a vegetarian, and we're just like Jesus apparently)
    helpinganimals.com
    menopauseonline.com (I'm surprised they haven't been sued to give up this one yet)
    lettuceladies.com
    islamveg.com (Wow, Jesus _and_ Islam vegetarians?)
    taxmeat.com
    pginfo.net (anti-Procter-and-Gamble)
    voguesucks.com

    If you go to their "Other PETA sites" link way in the bottom-right corner of their home page, you'll be treated to a grand total of 17 animated buttons, suitable for use on YOUR activism home page! Visit today!
  • by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:25AM (#985847) Homepage Journal
    A simple search for "People Eating Tasty Animals" turns up several useful and still functional sites, including petasucks.cc [petasucks.cc]. There's even a rather old version of the here-disputed site, with various updates on the status of them geting peta.org in the first place.
  • by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs&ajs,com> on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @12:48PM (#985848) Homepage Journal
    But in this case, the owner of peta.org was doing two things wrong: Using a trademark in a derrogatory manner [and] profiting on that.


    To the first point: it's called parody. A protected activity. People Eating Tasty Animals was clearly the name of the site. No attempt was made to convince others that the site was Peope for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sponsored.

    Second, profit is good, OK (said in a South Park guidance counselor voice). Profitting from someone else's work is perfectly legal, in conjunction with works of parody. Take for example Weird Al, Political Satirists, Segfault.org, etc, etc, etc.

    This precident will haunt the Internet for years, and quite honestly I've begun to question the wisdom of continuing to support the Net in it's current form. There has to be a better way that doesn't create evil empires like AOL/Time/Warner and Network Solutions/Verisign. There must be a way to give total control to those who make up the Net. When I figure it out, I will work toward it because the current situation is insane.
  • by timon ( 46050 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @10:34AM (#985849) Homepage
    To whom it may concern,

    I am a vegetarian, and I am disturbed and offended by your organization's legal activities concerning PETA.ORG.

    When your protest activities go awry, you quickly shield yourself with the First Amendment. Your organization produces parody sites using trademarked properties, but when you yourself are the target, you hide behind claims of fraudulent representation, trademark dilution and commerical exploitation.

    Even though I share some of your beliefs, I am sickened by your hypocritical behavior and will neither donate to your organization nor will I encourage others to do, ever. There are far more reasonable and honorable vegetarian/animal rights organizations with whom I would rather be associated.

    Sincerely,
    Tim Elkins
    --
  • by eshaft ( 82430 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:25AM (#985850) Homepage

    Who says that web addresses are a protected form of speech? Is the address of your house a protected form of speech? If you make a parody using the exact same name as an organization, that breeds incredible confusion because people will just go there thinking it is the organization's site. Of course, when they get there, they will know that they've been misdirected, but the point is that there's no way of telling from just the url that it will not be the organization you are looking for.

    There is no real clear definition of what is and what isn't a form of expression in this country. I would argue that almost everything we do is basically some form of communicating, and thus even the places we choose to live in should be protected. Some people would argue that protecting all speech would be complete anarchy, but I think it would force us to develop more sophistaicated (and necessary) methods of filtering information.

    <rant/>

  • by nuntius ( 92696 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:40AM (#985851)
    Dougheny's statements imply no intention to sell or profit from the site.

    What's wrong with parodies? If they're bad, then why does PETA have this link [meatstinks.com] on their homepage [peta.com]?
  • by briancarnell ( 94247 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @08:21AM (#985852) Homepage
    See: http://www.animalrights.net/16 In 1998, while it was whining about how wrong it was for someone else to register peta.org, PETA went out and registered ringlingbrothers.com and put up a site ripping on the circus. Ringling Brothers filed suit against PETA and PETA reached an agreement to give back the domain name. Complete hypocrisy on PETA's part.
  • by jspectre ( 102549 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:11AM (#985853) Journal
    just for that i'm going to eat twice as many Perfectly Edible Tasty Animals in the following year. I hope you PETA people are happy, their blood is on your hands!
  • by 575 ( 195442 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:34AM (#985855) Journal
    Hypocritical...
    Deriding the parody
    When they do the same [meatstinks.com]
  • by YASD ( 199639 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @08:41AM (#985856)

    A novice told the master: "I have great news! Today we have obtained an injunction against a parody website. Now they can no longer mock us."

    The master replied: "You do not understand Tao. Free speech is for all or for none."

    The novice went away to contemplate the words of the master.


    The next day, the novice came to the master in great distress and said: "I have terrible news! The fashion show organizers have obtained an injunction against our demonstration next week. Now we cannot shame them with fake blood and pictures of dead animals."

    Upon hearing this, the master fell silent.

    ------

  • by Benwick ( 203287 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @10:17AM (#985857) Journal
    After doing a lot of research (just for curiosity) on Lexis-Nexis and so forth, I've come to the conclusion that any parody-related court decisions, are, in effect, arbitrary. It comes down to the mood of the judge and how they appreciate the humor involved. There are standards, but they're not clear-cut. I think there is a lot of room for comparison to the following court case synopsis I came across. It's also funny (although it helps if you can read Legalese). Affirming a judgment in favor of a small company that manufactured blue jeans especially designed for large women, and against a corporation that alleged infringement of its "Jordache" trademark, the court, in Jordache Enterprises, Inc. v Hogg Wyld, Ltd. (1987, CA10 NM) 828 F2d 1482, 4 USPQ2d 1216, 92 ALR Fed 1, held that there was no likelihood of confusion of the trademark with the small company's "Lardashe" jeans, where that company intended only to parody the corporation's mark. The corporation, the fourth largest blue jeans manufacturer in the United States, had as its principal product designer blue jeans bearing the trademark "Jordache" superimposed over a drawing of a horse's head. It licensed another company to manufacture and market "Jordache" jeans for larger women. The defendant, a small company formed for the purpose of marketing designer blue jeans for larger women, limited its sales to specialty shops in several southwestern states and to acquaintances of the owners or others who had heard of its product. The two women who had formed the company conducted the business out of their homes in New Mexico. The "Lardashe" trademark on their jeans was accompanied by a drawing of a pig's head. Finding that the two women did not intend to "palm off" their jeans as "Jordache" jeans or confuse members of the public to believe that they were buying "Jordache" products, the court observed that where a party chooses a mark as a parody of an existing mark, the intent is not necessarily to confuse the public, but rather to amuse. The purpose of a parody, noted the court, is to create a comic or satiric contrast to a serious work. While observing that, in one sense, a parody is an attempt to derive benefit from the reputation of the owner of a trademark (if only because no parody could be made without the initial mark), the court pointed out that the benefit to one making the parody, however, arises from the humorous association, not from public confusion as to the source of the marks. A parody, said the court, relies on the difference from the original mark, presumably a humorous difference, in order to produce the desired effect. The court remarked that the requirement of trademark law is that a likelihood of source, sponsorship, or affiliation must be proved and that this did not involve any "right" not to be made fun of. While it observed that a parody of an existing trademark can cause a likelihood of confusion under certain circumstances, the court stated that an intent to parody is not an intent to confuse the public. The court also held that because of the parody aspect of "Lardashe," it was not likely that public identification of the "Jordache" trademark with the corporation would be eroded. Parody, noted the court, tends to increase public identification of a plaintiff's mark with the plaintiff. While recognizing that "Lardashe" might be considered by some consumers to be in poor taste, the court reasoned that the mark was not likely to create in the minds of consumers a particularly unwholesome, unsavory, or degrading association with the corporation's name and trademark. The court found it unlikely that the public would assume that the same manufacturer would use quite different marks on substantially the same product.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:20AM (#985858)
    I find it funny that PETA can shut down a parody site at the same tim ethat is is running it's own parody of another well known company. Peta is launching an "Unhappy Meal" campaign... hmm, and the mascot sure looks a lot like Ole' Ronny.
  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:25AM (#985859)
    Yes, there is something about domain names and trademarks that we all need to be worried about. If this was PETA vs "Portland Entertainment Teamsters Associates" who had registered peta.org for their own legitamate purpose, I would expect that PETA would lose the case, as there's no bad intent on that.

    But in this case, the owner of peta.org was doing two things wrong:

    • Using a trademark in a derrogatory manner
    • Profiting on that.
    Combined, these both give the impression that peta.org was being used maliciously againsts the lawful trademark owners, PETA, and PETA had every right to sue and reclaim their name.

    If instead they had used petasucks.org, I doubt that the case would have turned out the same way. Parody would be protected, and it's hard to claim trademark disputes since the whole domain name is not trademarked. However, the fact that peta.org is probably the first place that people will look when finding info on PETA, and such parody would hurt PETA's image.

    Trademark disputes are not all cut and dried. Etoys vs Etoy, Mattle's and Archie Comic's attempts to swap trademarks have failed or are still in the works, but in those cases, the conflicting site is legit and does not dilute or harm the image of the company that questions the trademark. But here is a different case, and I believe I agree with the decision.

    I do want to see this appealed however, up to the Supreme Court, such that some national precident is set; hopefully not in the judges words, but to the point that the cybersquatting/trademark laws are more strongly set. Why this case? Neither side is a large company with lots of money to blow, so this won't be a battle of resources, but of true intent.

  • by SteveM ( 11242 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:25AM (#985860)

    I submitted this story yesterday, but with an added bit.

    I read about the court decision in yesterday's USA Today. There was another story about PETA in the paper. It seems they introduced their "UnHappy Meals" McDonalds parody, complete with a stuffed Ronald McDonald doll holding a bloody butcher knife.

    The UnHappy Meal comes in the same kind of box as a Happy Meal and is aimed at children. Intentionally trying to confuse and frighten children using McDonalds trade dress.

    Why is it that 'real world' parody is ok but web parody is not? Why does PETA think that they have the right to use anothers name and look and feel but is exempt from the same treatment?

    And more importantly, how do we get the judicial system to have a clue?

    Steve M

  • by BeBoxer ( 14448 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @10:10AM (#985861)
    There's nothing wrong with being vegetarian. I don't happen to be, but there are valid reasons for it. Peta, however, is a pretty radical organization in my opinion. I can see not wanting to harm mammals, which do a pretty good job of acting like sentient beings. But, they go far beyond wanting to help cute bunnies and friendly cows.

    Take a look here [peta-online.org] for example. Not only should you give up beef to save the cows, but you should give up honey to save bees and give up silk to save worms! This is what lost the last shred of credibility I had for PETA. I mean, insects? By this logic it's immoral for me to rid my house of termites because I would be cruelly murdering thousands or millions of innocent, sentient, insects for my own financial well-being. Whatever. By this definition of moral behavior, it is virtually impossible to live your life at all. My recommendation for all PETA members is to save the planet: kill yourself [enviroweb.org]. Except that that would deprive all the innocent E. Coli in your guts a home. Oh well. At least the rest of us will be rid or your misguided guilt about your own existence.
  • by seizer ( 16950 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:19AM (#985862) Homepage
    The PETA parody is currently at http://mtd.com/tasty [mtd.com]

    --Remove SPAM from my address to mail me
  • by turne10 ( 30645 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:47AM (#985863) Homepage
    ...a couple of years ago, when it registered ringlingbrothers.com [techserver.com]

  • by taniwha ( 70410 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:53AM (#985864) Homepage Journal
    I live in Berkeley and every year it has a parade in which people poke fun at Berkeley's (and other people's) stereotypes of itself. My favorite float (and always a crowd pleaser) is the PETA one (People Eating Tasty Animals - I assume it's the same crowd). It's covered with people dressed in meat on top there's a BBQ or two throwing sausages to the crowd.

    Of course it's always followed by the goose-stepping 'greenshirts' of the vegan-reich ....

  • by Miou ( 115025 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:15AM (#985865)
    "In a court ruling yesterday, Mr. Jones was ordered to give up control the domain mrjones.com to online strawberry-polisher, MRJ-ones. Though Mr. Jones has has operated this website since 1997, and despite the fact that name "Jones" has been in Mr. Jones' family for centuries, the court ruled that the domain name was a violation of the trademark held by MRJ-ones. When asked why the company did't simply register the domain "mrj-ones.com," the spokesman for MRJ-ones replied "We should not have to settle for a lesser domain simply because someone wanted to violate our trademark."

    MRJ-Ones has held the trademark for 3 months as of next friday.
  • by softsign ( 120322 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:17AM (#985866)
    Man, Slashdot has got to do more researching of the stories they post.

    At the very least, offer PETA's press release [peta.com]. They claim that Michael Doughney (peta.org) fraudulently claimed that People Eating Tasty Animals was a non-profit organization, was clearly diluting the PETA trademark and was gaining commercial benefit from such dilution. Not only that, but he also holds many other "parody" websites.

    It's one thing to make light of these guys, but it's another thing to profit from their names - that is very clearly infringement.

    --

  • by ColonelPanic ( 138077 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:20AM (#985867)
    Pricks Employing Terrorist Attorneys

    Parody? Entertainment's Too Amusing

    Prefer Elephants To Anarchists

    Please Establish Trademark, Assholes

    Perhaps Everyone's Too Anal

    PETA Excised Their Assailant

  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:54AM (#985868)
    You might have been kidding around, but I think you are on to something.

    Why don't we (by which I mean /.ers and other concerned citizens) get together once a year for a "First Amendment Defense Barbeque"?

    Kansas City seems like the ideal spot, since it is pretty much half-way between the coasts and known for its BBQ. We could make it a huge event, let the caterers pocket half the profits and donate the rest to the EFF. We could put out a press statement, mentioning that it was PETA's crushing blow against Free Speech that inspired us to gather annually, kill a lot of animals, and eat them.

    That oughta raise a few eyebrows. :)

  • by SlushDot ( 182874 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:48AM (#985869)
    It is because of fiascos like this that there needs to be a Black Flag of sorts within DNS. An anarchistic wastland where all domains are first come, first served, all registrations final, and over which all lawsuits are prohibited.

    DNS needs an ".alt" top level domain.

    When the Big 7 newsgroups were being drafted on USENET just prior to the great flag day, this simple need was recognized practically from day one and .alt was born (and is today bigger than all the Big 7 groups combined).

    Flame all you want, but without a dumping ground where anything goes without restrictions, the trash will not go away. It will seep into all areas of the "approved TLDs".

    If an .alt TLD is set up, it will make rule violations in the remaining TLDs much easier to enforce because there will always be an alternative. "You didn't have to create [domain] here".

    Trap the rats with no way to register their profane, controversial, questionable, or whatever-offends-whoever domains and they'll start clawing at the walls of whatever other heirarchy they can get at.

    Remember, in the Big 7 newsgroups, there was no room for sex or drugs, so these because the very first two alt groups.

    Even the cleanest, most orderly city still has a garbage dump.

    And how will the "lawsuits prohibited against anyone in the .alt TLD" be agreed to and given teeth? Simple. Make that an agreed to condition for everyone registering OR RENEWING a domain AND for registrars renewing their registrar status, just like ICANN did with its current domain name dispute policy. After 2 years or so, the policy will trickle down to all registrants and be in full force. Anyone who disagreed will be gone from DNS. Then open up .alt to accept anything-goes registrations.

    .

  • The real issue at stake here is whether you can use (as a domain name, primarily, but who knows how this will translate-- perhaps as the title of a site, or just ON your site) a trademark that doesn't belong to you. So many common names and acronyms and phrases are trademarked that this could have tremendous implications.
    I don't know why they were accused of cybersquatting, unless someone doesn't understand what cybersquatting is. "It's not a cybersquatting case at all," Davis said. "It simply presents a question: Can you use a trademark as a domain name for the purpose of creating a parody?" The "for the purpose of creating a parody" part is kind of irrelevant, unless we're talking slander-- and that's an entirely separate issue, especially since parody is a fair use exemption to copyright law, as has been pointed out here already.
    And another issue-- what happens when more than one organization has a similar or identical name (NASA and NASA, or the space people and the Native American Student Association, for instance) and one wants a domain that the other has (the space people now decide that they want all domains incorporating NASA into them, but find that the students already use one or two of them, for instance). They're equally entitled, despite the fact that one owns the trademark and the other doesn't. Does that mean that the students aren't entitled to a domain with their name in it? That they should change the name of their organization? I know that there was a case recently where a kid nicknamed Pokey was being sued for his domain by the Gumby people... this is the same bad idea.
    This trademark/domain name stuff was discussed in part earlier in an article [slashdot.org] on Slashdot.

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