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WIPO Rules Against Sting 161

FlyingSheep writes "British pop star Sting has lost a case at an international panel to evict the holder of the Internet address, becoming the first celebrity to suffer such a defeat" This is pretty good news... Words in the dictionary are totally different then, say, An interesting stat in the article is that 81% of the WIPO rulings have led to an eviction. Unfortunately the WIPO sided with Microsoft over the domain name: Typo sites should be allowed (and I even get flame mail because of the various Slashdot typo sites!)
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WIPO Rules Against Sting

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...belllll, sting my bell.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    After looking at [], I have to wonder why Sting didn't just try to buy him off. I mean, it doesn't look like there is much time spent on the site so perhaps offering a small amount of money would have been a better idea. Oh well. Sucks for Sting, I guess (the band, that is).
  • by Anonymous Coward

    As the story has played out, the person running apparently only started putting biblical content online after the dispute came about.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Like the people who meant to try the "" search engine after seeing commercials for it, but accidentally went to ""...
  • If I register, I should be automatically be given, for free, permenently,, because this is likely a typo, and the person obviously wanted to go to

    Typo sites are obviously all evil, pornography, which could never contribute anything to the internet, and we should allow corporations to requisition typo sites whenever they would like.
  • Your isolated selections have shown me the light, corporations should not only get their trademarks, but also any possible misspellings. In addition to this, they should also get any nicknames they've ever had, and any slanderous words likely to pertain to them. My .orgs should all be taken away immediately and given to the .coms because obviously i'm attempting to infringe on their trademarks in bad faith.
  • Corinthian's is in the dictionary... and I don't see a definition that talks about a soccer team. :o)

    Not only that, but the guy who owned had been using it legitimately for years - for something related to the book of Corinthians, which has obviously been around a lot longer than the soccer team.

    BTW, in case anyone's curious, the book of Corinthians is a letter written by Paul to the church in Corinth (the Corinthian church).


  • If *I* had Meta for a name, I'd change my middle name to Xavier or something, just so I could introduce myself as Meta X. at computer science conferences. Heh.
  • This one's kind of lame - it just wraps in its own frameset so that it can show an ad at the bottom. Whois says it's owned by IDIRECTIONS.COM. Anyway, if you feel like giving them a free ad banner hit see [].
  • I love the spike between Friday and Saturday... lots of drunk posting around that time I guess ;)
  • Odd...Misty Mountains isn't on there, which is a domain I have/had - I let it expire, tried to cancel it, but of course Network Solutions seems to have no clue.
  • Bitch bitch bitch. Well, why shouldn't he keep it for later use or sell it? I have a lot of ideas and don't have the resources to do them all today. That doesn't mean I won't someday, or couldn't tomorrow if I got some help in that area. If they got the name first, it's probably because they thought of it first (unless you couldn't afford the $70) so who are you to complain? What if you got it and we don't agree that your use is "serious" enough? I mean, maybe the other guy has good porn and you have lousy novels! Instead of bitching, if you're really good with words why not get creative and come up with a suitable variation like That's available - I just checked! Now, that wasn't so hard, was it? pfffffffftttt
  • IF you're selling a cola drink, and have the intent to deceive the public, it's illegal.

    If you're selling something unrelated (or not selling anything at all) and just happen to have a coincidentally close name, it isn't illegal under basic trademark law.

    The PayPaI people may be violating PayPal's trademark -- but not through the domain name alone.


  • Just because I say 'Yay for WIPO, they made the right decision on this case' doesn't mean that I am an avid supporter of WIPO. It just means that they are taking a step in the right direction.

    Most likely this was a mistake but we can all hope can't we?

  • This is stretching, but while we're on the topic of domain disputes, on that news page, note the one story on the left column : eToys posting a net loss of $45.36 million in Q1 [].

    Kinda makes you all warm and fuzzy inside, eh? =)
  • You're against the idea of companies taking advantage of the weak and stupid? If I'm not mistaken, that's the very definition of capitalism.
  • Wired have an story under the title "ICANN't Believe That Domain Name", but it is linked to from here [] as "ICAAN't Believe That Domain Name"! They can't even get their puns right.
  • Well, yes, that is perfectly legal. I could market a brand of black-looking drink and call it Coka Cola. Just as long as I didn't use a red can that looked alot like Coca Cola's drink. It's like how you can trademark "12th street photo shop" but another guy can open up next door and call himself "13th street photo shop".. even though the names are similar and doing similar business.. it's held as legal.

    Also, keep in mind that you can have multiple businesses under the same name if they do substantially different business. For example, I could create a business that specializes in small-scale manufacturing called "Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)" and the AMD that manufactures CPUs could do nothing about it.. we're not in the same market.

    Just some food for thought.

  • You miss my point. I'm arguing that it is a Bad Thing(tm) if something like this were protected by the constitution.

    You do realize that any attempts to shut down a site like would be met with cries of "FREE SPEECH! FREE SPEECH!"

    I don't see any reason why they ought to be constitutionally protected in doing so.

    I agree, and I hope they WON'T be protected. And typo sites do exactly what you state: They're deliberately trying to mislead people.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • by Accipiter ( 8228 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @12:19PM (#899541)
    Typo sites should be allowed...

    Um....must I bring up the issue of Paypai?

    A typo-based domain serves absolutely NO purpose other than to snag traffic intended for other pages.

    Obviously, this would (in theory) be protected by free speech, it still presents a problem in that, less technical users who decide they want to visit a certain webpage either misspell it, or enter the wrong TLD - bringing them to content that is almost certainly not what they were looking for. (Read: over

    Basically, if the only way these sites have to generate traffic is by using similar domain names to popular sites, one has to wonder if these rip-offs should even exist in the first place.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • That shouldn't make you warm and fuzzy at all. eToys is the largest e-commerce retailer running their site on Linux, Apache, and other open source softwarem as well as a major support of VA and therefore Slashdot. When you assume that one mistake by one lawyer means they are evil and shouldn't succeed you are vastly oversimplifying things and being totally unfair to the vast majority of employees and stakeholders in the company. And in case you didn't notice, they dropped that case and paid the other site's legal fees.

    The world is not as simple as some Slashdot articles make it sound.
  • Yes, their web server is built on Apache.
  • Try [].

    Seems like almost any simple transposition gets you something: [] []

    But [] is still available!

  • Words in the dictionary are totally different then, say,

    'cept if your name is Julia Roberts.... Is there any reason why Julia Roberts (the actor) has any greater/lesser claim to than any other Julia Roberts? (.com tld being as defining as it is these days...)


  • True... but the question was why Rob determined that Julia Roberts was somehow a different case just because 'sting' was a dictionary word whereas Julia Roberts is not...
  • Are you claiming it is OK for me to sell a cola dirnk in a red bottle, but call it Coka Cola?

    No, I don't. But I think it is ok for you to sell shoes or computers and call them Coka Cola. (Kinda a weird name for a computer, but whatever..) I also think you should be able to use "" as your domain. And if you want to put a web site in that domain, that's fine too. There really isn't any problem unless you start using the domain in such a way as to trick people into thinking that you are Coca Cola.

  • Hmm.. I wonder what the chances are that someone might mistake that for Microsoft's web site. Let's call that probability P. I assert that the probability of it infringing upon someone's trademark to be exactly equal to P.

  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @02:12PM (#899549) Homepage Journal

    Um....must I bring up the issue of Paypai?

    What they were doing was fraud. The domain name could have been and what they did would have still been wrong.

    A typo-based domain serves absolutely NO purpose other than to snag traffic intended for other pages.

    So? Provided that there isn't any misrepresentation, I don't see a problem. If I go to and find a "Microsoft sucks and you shouldn't ever buy their crap" page, I would have to be pretty darn stupid to believe that I was looking at Microsoft's page.

    Note: I'm not defending sites that do misrepresent or attempt to deceive, like the aforementioned paypai.

  • Damn, I remember someone in here saying that they did it as a service a while back... Maybe it was attached to that namezero article?
  • Forgot to log in.. thought I'd try again. :) After looking at [], I have to wonder why Sting didn't just try to buy him off. I mean, it doesn't look like there is much time spent on the site so perhaps offering a small amount of money would have been a better idea. Oh well. Sucks for Sting, I guess (the band, that is).
  • Does this mean that I'm gonna lose my rights to

    Bummer, man...

    So who owns participles? "" would be nice...

  • I just got back from Bath, England, and there was a hamburger joint there (don't know if this is a chain) called "Mr.D's", which was written in a script such that it looked a WHOLE lot like "McD's", and it was also written in the yellow and red of McDonald's. Are people actually going to be confused by that?! I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but it seems almost ridiculous to try to get away with a variation on as well-established brands as CocaCola and McDonalds!
  • Wouldn't entering into negotiations have been taken
    by the WIPO as evidence he was a cyber squatter?
  • Don't forget []. At least they got George-dubya to say "there ought to be limits to freedom."

  • Actually, they did better than the street expected.

    "The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company reported a net loss of $45.36 million, or a 37-cent loss per a share for the first quarter, excluding compensation and goodwill amortization costs. For the same quarter a year ago, the comparable net loss was $16.92 million, or a 17-cent loss.

    Wall Street analysts on average had expected the company to post a loss of 39 cents a share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial, which tracks earnings data. "

    Of course, the NASDAQ has been ass this week and it's dropping today, even though they performed better than can be expected. Ohwell.. I'm a minor stockholder in this, and am just hoping they do one last advertising blitz before x-mas, and then I'll just sell.. should be easy $ for anyone who wants to get in, it's just a game of who's caught holding the bag last in this one.

    -1 offtopic

  • Are you implying Yahoo Serious isn't a brand name???

    Seriously, considering today's haphazard WIPO rulings, I bet Yahoo would give Mr. Serious 5 million dollars just to go away.

    Kevin Fox
  • So to play devil's advocate:

    If I buy a domain, build a brand, and years later someone else comes along, gets VC funding, build a bigger brand (or say, Nike launches the 'Fury' sub-brand of shoe and pours millions into marketing) then is my name forfeit because they got more popular faster?

    I realize this isn't the issue in the Sting case because Sting predated the web, but where is the line drawn?

    People shouldn't confuse these things with trademark disputes. the trademark namespace allows for identical trademarks in non-competing industries. To say that Sting should have because of a trademark issue is saying that Sting in an Internet Company, and has a trademark related to that internet company.

    for example, I could market a brand of skateboards called Trix, but I couldn't market a cereal called Trix, because that would conflict. Similarly, it isn't right to say that marketing a web site called is conflicting with an artist called Sting.

    Kevin Fox
  • by KFury ( 19522 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @12:17PM (#899559) Homepage
    'Sting' isn't even his given name. It's a nickname he picked up as a young upstart musician. It'd hardly be fair (as if anything in the WIPO is fair) for them to take away one person's domain because it's the same as a word someone else decided to call themselves.

    Next you'd have people changing their legal names just so they could get coveted domain names. Maybe that was Yahoo Serious's plan all along!

    Kevin Fox
  • by KFury ( 19522 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @12:48PM (#899560) Homepage
    After all, someone's already registered [] specifically for the artist currently known as Sting. All he has to do is ask for it. (And, considering the bathtub pic on the sites' splash page, I'd suggest he do it now.)

    Kevin Fox
  • Depends how close you come.

    There are lots of places which call themselves the 'Rock Hard Cafe', with a very similar logo.
  • Bzzt! look again. :)

    There's the 'Hard Rock Cafe', which is a chain.

    There are also 'Rock Hard Cafe's, which are trying to ... mislead ... their customers.

    This is the 'Wrong spelling, moron!' one...
  • look genius, (and i use this term lightly), NWA == National Wrestling Association, which was where sting got his start in the fsking 80's . Old school stuff. Get your facts straight.

  • agreed that there was a group called NWA. i have straight outta compton, niggas4life, and the 100 miles and running single. no argument there. but what i am saying is that there existed a wrestling organization called the NWA in the mid to late 80's . Thats all.

  • here's [] a url about sting's history. and yes, i was wrong. he was in the WCW, not the WWF. But i was right about the NWA thing.
  • by BlueLines ( 24753 ) <slashdot&divisionbyzero,com> on Thursday July 27, 2000 @01:31PM (#899567) Homepage
    I think sting was done wrong by the WIPO. Afterall, a celeberty's name is very important, and misuse of such a thing can be very confusing. I mean, doesn't the WIPO respect Sting's early work in the NWA with the Four Horsemen? This was long before he switched to the WWF due to it's growing popularity. And think about his gothic makeup now. I think he should body slam every arbitrator invloved in this scam. And that whiney guy in that Police band too.
  • Ha! Looks like this was Taco's plan all along - tomorrow we'll see a story on the front page with the links to /. typo sites so they all get /.'ed into oblivion. Hee hee - gotta love guerrila web tactics.
  • When I was in grad school, my office number was similar to the library number. After numerous wrong numbers, we (several students/office) started to play along. For any book or piece of material requested, we told the caller it had been banned or burned due to its corrupting influence on impressionable minds. The only thing funnier than the outraged indignation reactions were the sheepish acceptance ones.
  • The funniest thing about the Microsof article [] is that it mentions the Julia Roberts domain grab WIPO case. Take a look at When WIPO said hand it over the fan responsible for it, Russell Boyd, didn't cower before this useless international organization. Instead he filed suit [] based on his 5th and 14th amendmant rights regarding ownership of property. He still controls the site and is using it to make a stink about it. Pretty damn cool.
  • Why should having a domain oblige you to have a web site? There's more to ip than the web.
  • by sela ( 32566 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @01:23PM (#899572) Homepage

    About three years ago I used to work at a local Israeli ISP, doing customer support. Being a shift supervisor, I had to deal with all the complaints from the customers.

    Ones I got a really furious lady. Before I got to say a single word, she started shouting at me: "you should all be ashame of yourself! This is unexceptable! I got little kids here ... you are supposed to be a responsible company! I'm going to write a letter about this to your CEO ... I can sue your company for this ...".

    I tried to calm her down and find out what was the problem, but she kept saying something about email account and mentioning she have little kids there.

    After a lot time (working at customer support requires lots of patience, after all ...) I realized what was the problem. She was asking about an extra-email account, and one of the support guys gave her hotmail address. The problem was, she was typing ... which is, well ... you know ...

    After all, english wasn't her native language ...
  • Yes, I can see what you mean. After all, email is a stupid use of a domain name. So is FTP. So is gopher. So is.....

    Aside from the obvious stupidity of assuming that the only valid use of a domain is for HTTP, there is the additional presumption that a person who registers a domain has to hurry up and use it now. Then they have to prove they mean it by having "regular" updates. How about an annual update? is that sufficient?

    In short: dumb ideas!
  • So if I register, does that prohibit anyone from registering any of the following... (right now a XXX site, but could be a baseball site next year or something) (a site that could be made as a tribute to hunter-killer robots) (an oddly empty site now, but could someday be an online notepad or something)

    The list could go on and on but comes down to this: just because you think something's a typo doesn't mean it's bad or illegit!
  • ...and I even get flame mail because of the various Slashdot typo sites!
    Ok, this is the second time this week that you've mentioned the typo sites.

    Now I'm curious. Can anyone post a list of some of the typo sites (preferably with links)?

  • Contrary to popular opinion, Sting was never in the Whiff. You might be confusing him with his ex-tag-team partner, the Dingo Warrior, who has been in both.


  • Well, sometimes typos develop into real words. That can't be considered trying to dupe people unless the sole purpose of your site is to trap people who wanted to go to another site (,,,

    One time at work I made the mistake of typing "" as "" Was I ever thankful that the only thing the proxy retrieved was a text page that said "Please wait 5 seconds to be redirected to" I didn't even need one second to SLAM on the close button in my browser.
  • by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @12:27PM (#899578) Homepage Journal
    Typo sites just prey on newbies, people who have a hard time spelling, and people who just make honest mistakes. I can just imagine the horrified look on parents' faces when their child gets an educational web site's domain name off by one character and is redirected to a porn site. This type of thing has even been used by competitors: for example, for some time "" pointed to a direct competitor to Amazon. And let's not forget all the ways children (and adults) can misspell names like "Pokémon."

    Don't penalize people for their inability to spell by giving them a flood of banners, porn, and malicious Javascript. Try misspelling some popular sites' names. You'd be surprised.
  • by / ( 33804 )
    I suppose he'll just have to go back to dreaming about sports cars []. I have to pity anyone whose artistic achievement can be summed up by an ad executive [] as: "Jaguar today exudes a real sense of passion and excitement and Sting captures this very well in his music." That, and not being allowed to say anything in the commercial for fear of sounding stupid.
  • I have a cousin named Meta. I always thought it was a cool name.
  • Like I said, there are three different sections. Place names are on another page, here: []

    Misty Mountains is listed. Not like they would come after you (I've never heard of Tolkien-ent being like Fox or Paramount) most likely...
  • by drivers ( 45076 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @12:46PM (#899582)
    According to Tolkien Enterprises []:

    Anyone desiring to use one or more of the Tolkien fanciful names and/or characters in connection with merchandise, stage adaptations, or services offered to the public is requested to submit a written proposal to Laurie Battle, Director of Licensing, 2600 Tenth Street, Berkeley, California 94710.

    list of things and events [] (there are also other lists, one for characters, and one for places).

    Stone of Erech
  • No, NWA stands for Niggers With Attitude []. Sheesh.

    ---- ----
  • But which is taking advantage of which?
  • If *I had meta for a name, I'd change my middle name for Control and my last name to Alt.
  • Now I know its time for Sting to change his name so that he can register the site...

    hehe... kiss my arse Sting you were too late on the domain. You and your corporate wheezebags should have jumped on the Internet before the 21st century. Anyway, maybe if you're nice and you cough up enough cash then you can get the site. I can see or (aghh), but trying to sue for whatever, thank you try another word.

  • Microsof in itself isn't just a typo, in dutch a 'sof' means a 'failure', making Microsof not only a typo, but a parody in itself.

  • Not only does this affect Sting, it also affects julia roberts. I can't put up an julia roberts anti-fan site on
  • !

    No court will turn him down now!
  • Wow, how fickle Slashdot it. So now, because of one instance of standing up for the little guy, we say yay for WIPO?

    Wasn't it just last week that they evicted ?


  • Ah. I didn't realize that he was actually squatting. From the article on Slashdot, it sounded like he was using it for legitimate purposes.

    I didn't read the link behind that one because it sounded like yet another case where the little guy got stepped on.

    And as far as "It's a step in the right direction for WIPO" goes, sure... I agree with that. However, given WIPO's track record, I think it's gonna take a lot more than one case before we could truly say that they changed their tune.


  • That's the point, though. Sting, is for all intents and purposes, a brand name.

    But it's not trademarked. Furthermore, has nothing to do with Sting the musician.

  • :) Ah, thanks for clarifying.
  • by jacobm ( 68967 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @12:33PM (#899594) Homepage
    A typo-based domain serves absolutely NO purpose other than to snag traffic intended for other pages.

    Obviously, this would (in theory) be protected by free speech...

    Why? Just because you have a right to free speech doesn't mean that everything that you do by talking is legal. After all, con artists and social engineers are just talking, but they are talking with intent to deceive someone else into doing something that they wouldn't otherwise do (give them money, sensitive data, etc). If one could prove that a particular typo site (such as was deliberately trying to mislead people, I don't see any reason why they ought to be constitutionally protected in doing so.
  • They also nabbed [] for him.
  • Let's hope they never download Nethack, then...
    Hell hath no fury like a pissed-off Glaswegian.

  • This kind of stuff could quickly lead to popularity contests - who's the better known Sting?
    I mean, who's going to be looking for the WCW wrestler Sting []?

  • I'm sure I can find prior art for the use of the word sting..
  • While the fact that Sting is a common english word was mentioned, it apparently was not the rationale for the decision. Rather, it was found that the current holder of the domain had not registered it in bad faith. One of the several requirements to evict someone from a domain is indeed the bad faith element.

    While, on the face, that looks like a very sound reason (the current owner is known as sting in his online community, and has a real, if cluelessly constructed, site occupying it,) it makes me very suspicious. I've read through reams of prior cases, and this is the first time I've seen WIPO dismiss a case brought by anyone "important" on these grounds. The bad faith clause normally gets a rubberstamp, even when the evidence presented for it seems quite weak.

    I've gotta be a little cynical at this point and wonder who in Sting pissed off.

  • by Ikari Gendou ( 93109 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @12:22PM (#899603)
    Sting Stung By Stinging ruling On
    Or Stings Sting Over Sting Name

    "He named himself a verb, present tense! He's not stinging, he's not stung, he's STING!" -Dana Carvey

  • by miracles ( 93948 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @01:13PM (#899604)
    Quite right, if you didn't buy it then tough

    I was recently in a situation where one of my client's domains was being disputed by a rather large company in New York. The domain was actually their company name but spelled incorrectly (while it correctly spelled my client's company name, it's a situation with using one or two x's). What got me was the attitude on the part of this large company stating "since we have the trademark then we own the domain regardless of whether we, you or anybody has registered it". I find this hard to believe.

    my client ended up giving the domain to the large company under threat of lawsuits for over $10,000,000. he basically figured that although he wouldn't lose the case, the hassle involved with getting an attorney and flying to new york would be too much.
    I was hoping to see him fight it out for many reasons, the ethics of it and to stick it to big business, but that didn't work out.

  • Let's say someone set up, and it was a fan site, and they registered it in good faith. Should she be able to take it away? I'd say not. Obviously the guy was abusing microsofts trademark on their name, because he was posting a page related to the software industry. But this has come up before, for example, when the people who produce Archie Comics [] went and sued a parent [] who registered (which is a dead site now), after his daughter Veronica was born.

    Incidentally, you can find a nice collection of these blurbs here [].

    All in all, its most people with money for lawyers trampling on people without, and it is generally just disgusting abuse of IP law. The guy who once owned [] doesn't have it any more. And there's not even a web page there.

    One obvious indication of squatting is people mass-registering domain names. But I'd say unless squatting is clear, first come, first serve. And even with a squatter, they should be reimbursed for all domain fees paid.

    I'm just thankful we have 2600 to push some buttons [] and stand up for people.
  • by haystor ( 102186 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @01:07PM (#899609)
    In college, my best friends (we'd hang out in their room) would receive phone calls for the local cable company. The big problem was that we were in a small town with only two prefixes: 863, and 869. 863 was the main one, but the cable company had 869.

    Needless to say, anything that went wrong with cable would end up with us getting calls about it. The best part was that the phone had a different ring for off campus calls, so we always knew when it was about cable.

    We would answer it "Cable Customer Service", and tell people we would send a truck right out. Nobody ever caught the fact that we didn't ask them where they lived first.

    Sometimes we would ask them where they lived, they would tell us, and we would tell them cable was out in that area, and should be back up in under 48 hours. We would then tell them that we wouldn't be charging them anything for their cable service that month.

    We never did bill them, so I suppose its all true enough, but we started getting calls from lawyers anyway. We did show the proper respect for the situation, and told them we would stop, while we proceded to give phony help. Being well in debt from student loans can give you an inordinate amount of confidence of your chances in a civil suit.

  • I am sure the WIPO would have given it to him!
  • Nowadays, [] redirects properly to [].
    ( \
    XGNOME vs. KDE: the game! []
  • And it belongs to Turkmenistan.
    ( \
    XGNOME vs. KDE: the game! []
  • I think Typo names should be allowed. If we disallow that, then what about paradies? parady, by definition, is making a reference to someone else besided the original person.
    If I own Macrosoft, and parody MicroSoft, I dn't feel I should have to use it.
    Of course legal action should be taking against people who misrepresent them selfs, or take money and not provide reasonable sereves expected by the customer.
    say I own a domain called
    And I use this site to parady, on this site I talk about you sending us your creditcard number by thinking real loud. obviosly a parady. but if I imply that I am paypal, so I can get money from you, wipo should step in.
    as far as famous people trying to get there domain name, espcially one thats a verb, I don't feel they have the right to do so. I should have every right to talk about a famous person if I want to, and start a group of people who wish to do the same.
  • is still up. []

    since people are speaking of typo sites. (as you probably know, it's a site linking to anti-microsoft products.


  • by Bad_CRC ( 137146 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @12:21PM (#899625)
    this [] is one good reason sites should be able to shut down obvious typo sites.

    A close-sounding name with a real, legitimate purpose is one thing, but purposely deceiving people is bad. and if they think they are at a site they are not, it can harm the company who is being "typoed"

    I had a phone number 1 digit off from USWest when I was in college, and we'd get at least 20 wrong numbers a day. I started answering the phone "hello, this is uswest, how can I assist you" and usually they would buy it. Anyone they asked for, I'd say that they were fired. Not really my fault (I swear) but if I intentionally set up a phone company number for a competing company just 1 digit away so I could take their business, it would be wrong. And it's happened.


  • anazon [] is not Amazon
    dosney [] is not Disney
    disny [] is not Disney
    yehoo [] is not yahoo
    yaoo [] is not Yahoo
    suckdot [] used to be a parody site
    bigfot [] is not bigfoot

    Many of these sites have gotten legal letters of late, as they used to link direclty to porn sites (eg. dosney).
  • by tylerh ( 137246 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @12:23PM (#899627)
    Are you claiming it is OK for me to sell a cola dirnk in a red bottle, but call it Coka Cola?

    This is basic trademark law, and it is (and should be) illegal.

  • Blockquoth the poster:
    Wow, how fickle Slashdot it[sic]. So now, because of one instance of standing up for the little guy, we say yay for WIPO
    Ya gotta love this. If a big bad entity is doing a Bad Thing and then does something smacking of reversal, either:
    • slashdot can praise them for doing this little Good Thing, and thus get flamed for supporting a big bad entity (and also for being "inconsistent"); or
    • slashdot can note the good thing but remind people that in general the big bad entity does Bad Things, and get flamed for being fanatical and rigid.
    What can't happen, apparently, is that slashdot can side with whomeever is doing a Good Thing when they do it, thus being consistent in view as opposed to target. Apparently, that is just a shade too complicated for some of the readers...
  • That's the point, though. Sting, is for all intents and purposes, a brand name. Sting has build this name up for 20 years or so, and has a right (and some would say obligation) to preserve it.

    That said, I'm glad he lost the suit.

    (If I hear that "Desert Rose" song one more time...)

  • heh, gives you this:

    This site is dedicated to my great uncle, Mr. Yul Laag Dosney, who swore on his deathbed he wanted to be remembered forever.

    Then it proceeds to display pop-up ads and porn. Just what Great Unle Dosney loved the most.
  • I agree. I think it would be very interesting to see what sort of purpose people who take advantage of typos use. Are most of them scams ( or porn (, or do they simply have a similar interest that they want the site to be about? Dave
  • There's a checkout girl at my local supermarket named "Meta". Her boomer partents gave her a prefix for a name. They didn't even let her have a whole word!

    Fortunately, she has a good sense of humor about it.

  • by mickwd ( 196449 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @12:17PM (#899659)
    Did he really think he had the sole world-wide rights to this word ?

    Serves him right for using such a pretentious name.
  • As I understand it, cybersquatting laws in the US are not applicable to individuals, only to companies. This is, AFAIK, technically the case in the UK too. However, I know one author won her name back recently in court.

    No, Cybersquatting applies to anyone with a trading use of the name. The tort is called "passing-off" (it's called something different in the states) and the essence of it is using someone else's commercially-valuable name. If it would mislead a consumer other than "a moron in a hurry" (the actual test under UK law!) then it's passing off, and punishable by damages and an injunction to restrain further use.

    At the moment, here in the UK, you can only get a remedy through the courts for .uk domains, until such time as we get WIPO recognition at our tld people, which should be soon.

  • by rockwall ( 213803 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @12:24PM (#899672)
    In one instance (specifically, case summary []) Microsoft won the case in large part because the domain holder failed to respond when contacted by the WIPO arbiters.

    People, if you think you've got a right to a domain, defend it! If the possessor of had sought to use it as a "Microsoft sucks" site or something along those lines, he might have had a fighting chance at keeping it! (Of course, it seems that he may have been squatting on the domain, though we don't know since he never answered for himself.)

    It's hard to complain about an 81% failure rate when the defendants are doing nothing.

  • Under UK law, you can't register your name as a Trademark. The test case, a few years back, was when the Presley Estate tried to sue a small memerobelia shop called "Elvisly Yours". They lost, on the grounds that "Elvis Presely" cannot be a trademark.

    OTOH, the estate of Princess Diana did manage to get her name registered, but I think they used some way round the standard law. Something to do with a "seal of approval" using her name.

    If you do want to protect your name, the best thing to do is to set up a company named after you. This should also protect the domain name better than just being called that name. Even this is frought(sp?) with difficulties. Harrods once sued a Mr Harood (I think) for trading under his own name. I don't remember the outcome, though.


  • by ariehk ( 215517 ) on Thursday July 27, 2000 @12:32PM (#899680) Homepage
    A lot of the fuss about cybersquatters seems to hinge around what is a 'legitimate use' for a domain name.

    For example, say I wanted to make a fan-pic site of Julia Roberts (not that i have the time or inclination). That would be a fair use of the name, and I doubt she'd be able to win it back. Things get a bit complicated if I'm only holding the domain for ransom, however.

    As I understand it, cybersquatting laws in the US are not applicable to individuals, only to companies. This is, AFAIK, technically the case in the UK too. However, I know one author won her name back recently in court.

    The company I work for (One of the biggest European online traders) has been cybersqatted like mad. We are sure that people have set up non-trading companies to stop us being able to get the domains back.

    The real issue is of the legal status of domain names. I don't see why they shouldn't be a commodity like, say, number plates. Just because I have a number plate on my car with J R0838TS doesn't mean that Julia Roberts has the right to sue me, or win my plate that I paid for. As long as I'm not pretending I'm Julia Roberts (pretty hard considering....) I'm not doing anything wrong.

    Now I know the legal status of domain names is contentious anyway, and the Law is effectivly being written by these rulings. It just seems to me that if you didn't buy it, you shouldn't get it.



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