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The Internet Your Rights Online

Guinness Beer Really Sucks 465

I'm working on a story about WIPO and how it takes domains away from their owners. But today's example is egregious enough that I'm just going ahead and telling you about it now. Some guy who was annoyed with Guinness beer registered a slew of domain names like guinness-really-sucks.com. Guinness paid WIPO their $2000 and took them all away. Why? Because "guinness-really-sucks" is "identical or confusingly similar to" their trademark on the word "Guinness." Excuse me?

Originally, the domain name system was first-come-first-served, and that worked pretty well. But corporations got trademark powers extended by having them formally built into the domain name arbitration process. Now, trademarks are a minefield.

And the mines are getting more powerful. If you're wondering how anyone but a blithering idiot could possibly confuse "Guinness Really Sucks" with Guinness itself, you're not alone.

The precedent here is the case of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. vs. "Walsucks." In that case, there were two things that led WIPO to determine that there was a likelihood of confusion. First, "the strength of the WALMART trademark."

And second -- interestingly -- the "intent in selecting the domain names."

Proving trademark strength is simple, a corporation just trots out its list of how many millions of dollars it's spent on ad campaigns, and how many devoted customers it has.

And in this case, proving the owner's intent was easy too. He made the mistake of getting mad at Guinness (ironically, about a previous domain case) and being foolish enough to say so. He posted on an old website:

I tell you, I was so upset when I got this STUPID ASS LETTER from the GOOFBALL JACKASS LAWYERS at guinness beer, that I went to register the domain name, GUINNESSSUCKS.COM, but guess what, that domain name is already owned by someone. Guess who. That's right. Guinness beer owns it themselves. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks they suck. THEY THINK THEY SUCK THEMSELVES!! ... So anyway I did go and register a few names about guinness beer and pillsbury. Tell me what you think....Coming Soon to a website near you!!

You may be saying, so what? Who cares whether he was angry or not? Doesn't he have a right to protest a corporation regardless of his emotional state?

You might think so, but you'd be wrong. His thoughtcrime is a big part of why these domains were taken away. The argument that Guiness put before WIPO was that "the Respondent admitted ... that he registered the [domain names] because he was angered."

Therefore, said Guinness, "the registration of the [domain names] was done in bad faith" -- which is the main thing needed to take a domain away from someone -- "and not for a legitimate purpose, rather Respondent's intent is to harass the Complainant."

I wish I could tell you that WIPO told Guinness to shove this attitude where the sun doesn't shine, and that even ordinary citizens have the right to say that some precious corporation sucks.

They didn't, of course. In their decision, they reference the owner's anger and then simply say that they "accept that the Complainant has made out a prima facie case that the Respondent registered said domain names with the intention of harassing the Complainant."

To them, anger means bad faith and no legitimate purpose, which are the key phrases that WIPO needs to assert before they take a domain away.

There are some kinds of speech corporations don't want to allow on this little thing we call the internet. In the new domain name system, it's not a "legitimate purpose" to say that a company sucks. Especially if you are one of those angry people who doesn't understand how great Guinness beer is. Sorry. Go find another domain, loser.

WIPO went on to point out was that there may be some non-English-speaking readers who may not be familiar with the word "sucks." These people might be confused as to whether they were looking at the Guinness homepage or not. Therefore the test of trademark confusion was met. I am not kidding.

Although Guinness "has not submitted any evidence of such confusion," they don't even need to: "it is unrealistic to require such evidence."

Here's the list of really confusing domains. Someone tell me how these URLs could be mistaken for the Guinness beer website:

guinness-really-sucks.com
guinness-really-really-sucks.com
guinness-beer-really-sucks.com
guinness-beer-really-really-sucks.com
guinness-sucks.com
guinnessreallysucks.com
guinnessreallyreallysucks.com
guinnessbeerreallysucks.com
guinnessbeerreallyreallysucks.com
guinness-beer-sucks.com
guinnessbeersucks.com

It gets worse. I might search on Guinness and turn up a "-sucks" website, and then I might actually be curious and click on it, thereby depriving the real Guinness of my eyeballs. Again, I am not kidding. This is actually part of the reason the domains were taken away from their owner.

I'll write some more about this later, maybe next month. If you know anyone who feels like their domain name was unfairly taken away, please have them contact me.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Guinness Beer Really Sucks

Comments Filter:
  • by Zalgon 26 McGee ( 101431 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:34AM (#659593)
    Painful as it is for me (I'm a stout fan), the best way is to hit them in the pocketbook. Let them know why you're rejecting their products as well - in a calm, inteligent and intelligible manner.

    No more Guiness... sigh...

  • by jms ( 11418 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:36AM (#659595)
    Of course, the fact that he never even bothered to reply to ICANN might have had something to do with this. Generally, if you want to preserve your rights, you should make a minimal effort to do so.

  • By the risk of getting Irish moderators on my back....honestly! It is *not* confusing, it is just *true*: Guinness Beer Really Sucks!
  • by n3rd ( 111397 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:36AM (#659597)
    I've been wondering about this issue since 2600 brought it up with the whole verizonsucks.com thing. For those of you who don't know, 2600 found it entertaining that Verizon purchased loads of "anti-Verizon" domains such as verizonsucks.com. So, 2600 purchased verizonreallysucks.com and got hit with a cease and disist.

    Anyway, with these kinds of things going on, how can consumers and activists make use of the .sucks top level domain that was proposed by ICANN? I don't enjoy Microsoft, so I scoop up microsoft.sucks when the new domains come out, and what happens? More than likely, Microsoft will sue me for trademake infringment.

    I guess my question is how can we (consumers) make use of the .sucks domain (and domain names like the ones in this article) without getting in trouble?
  • Actually, Guiness has been rather protective of their trademarks for a very long time. Useless factoid: Ireland had to reverse (horizontal flip) the harp on their flag because Guiness already used a harp as their logo(*).

    They suck, but damn, their beer is really good.

    (*)"Marks of Excellence", Per Mollerup, Phaidon press.
  • So I'm here trying to figure out how the "Guinness Sucks" phrase could possibly be confused as an actual Guinness trademark by any reasonable person. At first I thought it was because the Guinness people were drinking too much of their fine product, when it suddenly struck me....."Guinness sucks" is going to be their new advertising slogan. Maybe they're looking to produce a line of beer that sucks? Could they possibly be in the market for one of the American brewers, such as Miller or Budweiser?

    Any way you slice it, this complaint and subsequent decision belong in the Guinness company's own Book of World Records for Stupidest Legal Complaint Lobbied by a Multinational Corporation.

    fearbush.com [fearbush.com]

  • by jms ( 11418 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:37AM (#659602)
    Ok, I'm an idiot. WIPO, not ICANN.
  • by BigEd ( 6405 ) <togdon@thanatoid.net> on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:38AM (#659604) Homepage
    As much as I despise censorship on the Internet, I find it blasphemous that anyone would even suggest that Guinness could suck. Guinness is the nectar of the gods. In fact, I think I'll go register guinness-is-the-best-god-damn-beer-ever.com [guinness.com], oh wait, that'd probably be "identical or confusingly similar to" their trademark on the word "Guinness." Oh well. :)
  • by Fat Rat Bastard ( 170520 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:39AM (#659605) Homepage
    Better yet, each person registers one domain name. I may be wrong here (and please correct me if I am) but they'd have to pony up their $2000 for each person, correct? Hell, make 'em spend a few hundred thousand to get "thier" sites back

    Sigh... and I do so love Guinness Beer.

    Nathan

  • by JoeShmoe ( 90109 ) <askjoeshmoe@hotmail.com> on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:39AM (#659607)
    guinness-really-sucks-and-this-isnt-their-website. com?

    or...

    guinness-really-sucks-and-i-am-not-angry-about-t his.com?

    or...

    guinness-never-learned-sticks-and-stones-may-bre ak-my-bones-but-words-will-never-hurt-me.c om

    Feh. I'm going out right now and registering guinness-tastes-like-sh*t.com but then again, it might already be taken.

    Might I suggest a massive registration rally in protest followed by massive search engine submissions?

    - JoeShmoe

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= -
  • by Brian See ( 11276 ) <bsee@@@spelloutmyrealname...com> on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:39AM (#659608)
    If you read the decision, you'll notice that the domain owner never filed a response to Guinness. This is the legal equivalent of rolling over and playing dead. If you don't even bother to put up a fight, you'll lose.

    Because the domain owner never responded, the panel had nothing to go on but what Guinness told them. So, for instance, according to the panel:

    There is no evidence before this Administrative Panel that the Respondent intends to use the said domain names as the addresses or links to any sites which could be described as "complaint sites". For this reason the issues canvassed in any of the decisions relating to free speech are not relevant in this case.

    While this seems to go against common sense, that's what happens when the panel only hears one side of the argument. Just another result of the adversarial legal system, I suppose...
  • He registered a slew of domain names just to annoy Guiness.

    What he *should* have done is created an anti-guiness site, and directed URLs to it. *then* he'd have a case.

    Apparantly, he didn't. He didn't "make a web site to say that Guiness sucks", he "registered a bunch of domian names just to needle Guiness."
  • I'm sure you can find a pub somewhere that will serve you a glass of Murphy's. A fine alternative if you want to stick it to Guiness.
  • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:42AM (#659618) Homepage
    I might search on Guinness and turn up a "-sucks" website, and then I might actually be curious and click on it, thereby depriving the real Guinness of my eyeballs. Again, I am not kidding. This is actually part of the reason the domains were taken away from their owner.

    If this argument were taken just a teeny bit further, they could argue that when a user searches for "Guinness", the only pages that should show up are Guinness's own pages. No Guinness fan pages should show up. No parody sites. No fair use.
    --

  • You know, the arbiters are not faceless people.

    You want to see who they are?
    You want to contact them?

    http://arbiter.wipo.int/contact/index .ht ml [wipo.int]

    cheers,
    .j

  • Someone tell me how these URLs could be mistaken for the Guinness beer website

    As was stated in the original rant by the owner of the questionable domains, Guiness owns guinesssucks.com. guinesssucks.com and guiness-really-sucks.com are quite alike, so there's definitely confusion. If I were trying to go to guinnesssucks.com, it's quite likely that I'd go to guinness-sucks.com by accident.

    But I doubt Guiness has a trademark on "guinesssucks[.com]"
  • by Accipiter ( 8228 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:43AM (#659626)
    This reminds me of the Veronica.Org dispute.

    A proud daddy registered a domain for his 2 year old daughter, Veronica. It was a website where he had some pics of his little girl online. Pretty simple.

    Then Archie Comics deciced it was rightfully theirs, because one of their characters is named "Veronica".

    "We had Veronica.com registered, and these people didn't want to give up the [Veronica.org] name for some reason," said Michael Silberkleit, publisher of Archie Comics.

    Well Gee! Maybe he wants to keep the domain "for some reason", perhaps for his DAUGHTER?!

    Interestingly enough, Veronica.Org doesn't exist, however the whois entry still shows the father owns it. Good.

    If you're interested in the details regarding this specific incident, head here:

    http://news.cnet.com/news/0-100 5-2 00-337433.html [cnet.com]

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • They're not claiming that people will be confused and think that his site is a Guinness site, they're worried about people thinking his site is a "Guinness sucks" site, which they are obviously working on, since they registered the domain.
  • This makes for a sad sad day, as Guinness(doesn't suck) is the only beer that I actually buy. Oh well, they aren't getting my dollar anymore.

    Fight for what you believe in... don't give money to corporations whom do things you disapprove of...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    find a pub somewhere that will serve you a glass of Murphy's

    good idea, but i'm boycotting murphy's too because i'm angry that transmeta doesn't release an assembler with their code-murphing chip

  • by JoeShmoe ( 90109 ) <askjoeshmoe@hotmail.com> on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:47AM (#659643)
    Secaucus Group (WIPOSUCKS-DOM)
    295 Greewich Street Suite 184
    New York, New York 10007
    USA

    Domain Name: WIPOSUCKS.COM

    Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Zone Contact, Billing Contact:
    Parisi, Dan (DP996) dparisi@GARDEN.NET
    Dan Parisi
    Post Office Box 1009
    Secaucus, NJ 07094
    973-503-1785

    ...how about wipo-really-sucks.com, anyone?

    - JoeShmoe

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= -
  • by markhb ( 11721 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:47AM (#659646) Journal
    Yes, reverse-hijacking the domains if they were legit protest sites would be abhorrent. However, those who read the original decision will find the following:
    1. The previous domain dispute the guy was upset about was over guinnes.com, a typo domain;
    2. He never had any sites up on the guinness-sucks domains he registered;
    3. The Respondent (aka defendant) did not respond to the action he was served with;
    4. Quoting the decision (Complainant is Guinness, the Registrar is CORE):
      The Complainant submits that the Respondent is a wholesaler of Internet domain names (defined as someone who acquires multiple domain names with the intent to profit from them). The Respondent has registered approximately 3000 domain names, approximately 1400 of which are registered with the Registrar. In support of this statement, the Complainant has submitted a print-out, running to thirty one pages, of the results of a search which the Complainant caused to be carried out on the Registrar's WHOIS database for domain names with NIC handles allegedly associated with the Respondent.
    5. Again quoting the decision:
      The Complainant submits that there have been at least five ICANN decisions against the Respondent in which it has been found that he registered and used domain names that are identical or confusingly similar to famous trademarks in bad faith and without a legitimate business purpose viz. Hewlett-Packard Company v. Cupcake City, NAF Case No. FA0002000093562; Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. v. John Zuccarini et al., WIPO Case No. D2000-0330; Hewlett-Packard Company v. John Zuccarini, NAF Case No. FA00040000994454; Bama Rags, Inc. v. John Zuccarini d/b/a Cupcake Confidential, NAF Case No. 0003000094380 and Bama Rags, Inc. v. John Zuccarini, NAF Case No. 0003000094381.
    This guy is a squatter who didn't even bother to contest the charges. Why should we cry for him?
  • There are lots of comments -- and there will be lots more -- talking about how guinness sucks and they'll never drink another. The problem is that you are all confusing the actions of a person with the actions of a corporation.

    If a person did this, maybe then they would be guilty of a serious lack of humor. But businesses aren't people! They have to act in certain ways because they are required to by law.

    1. If Guinness isn't anal about the use of the word "Guinness" with reference to beer, they will lose their trademark and it will be gone! Arguably, if they allow these Joe Schmoe domains, then every two-bit brewer in the world will be able to put "Guinness" on their beer too -- killing off one of the better-known brand names in beer.
    2. Corporations must act to protect the interests of their owners! If you or I had this problem, we could forgive and forget. A corporation cannot! The directors of a business must do all they can to protect its assets and profit flows or they will be sued for a breach of feduciary duty.
    3. Yes, free speech and all that. Parody, etc. But even if it isn't cool, it is perfectly understandable that the Guinness corp wouldn't want these domains out there.
    Stop bellyaching about Guinness. This is merely a sympton of a more generally screwed up system.

  • For those tuning in late, like myself, would some mind making a brief post explaining what WIPO stands and what they do, or at least claim to do? Thanks. I feel like I'm tuning into an interesting TV show half way through.

  • Ironically, wiposucks.(com|net|org) are all taken.

    Mike

    "I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer."
  • Personally, I think the situation is a pathetic display from both sides. Registering various domain names, just to annoy Guiness is pretty childish, but I don't believe that Guiness have the right to remove every .com with the word 'guiness' in it.

    If he wanted to slag off Guiness, he could have just made an amusing website on geocities or whatever.

    This sort of behaviour is really starting to screw up the internet.

  • I'm going against the grain here.. I know..
    What the hell is this guys problem? Registering a slew of domain names against a beer company? Not only does this ring of some weird anger management problems but he is using their trademark, their name - and that should be protected to an extent.
    I don't think either party is in the right here, but Guiness is protecting their name.. and c'mon - guinness-really-sucks.com could show up on a Guinness receipe search hit or something, and that is misleading.. so I really have no qualms against people losing their maliciously created domain names. Domain names should not be used to get even at a company you feel has wronged you..
    Open up your mind a bit, understand that Guinness is not a big hungry evil corporation bent on screwing the little guy but a corporation trying to make money and protecting their trademark. Granted, I would have a different view if it was say.. Colgate or something - but two separate companies..
  • blah blah blah blah blah blah WIPO takes away name because guy is angry when registering blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

    Whoa! Takes away a registered domain because a guy is angry, imagine that. Ok, that's lame. But, how is this guy expecting to trap people into visiting any of his websites, without generating lots of publicity?

    Gosh, I sure do like Guinness! I should look them up on the web and see where they are and if I can get a tour of the St. James Gate Brewery! Golly jeekers, what could their URL be... uh.. www.guinnesssucks.com, sure that's got to be it! Duh! Drool. Drool.

    Gimme a break. This is a pissing contest and nothing else. Now if he created a site like: www.BoycottGuinness.com and had a thoughtful editorial on his grievance and Guinness and WIPO took it away, I think he would have a pretty strong case. As it is he's nothing better than the cybersquatters who take a celeb name and put some mindless hateful rant on there. What he is deprived of should have some value, merely a domain name of guinnesssucks.com is pathetic.

    OTOH, if WIPO takes away his domain names, WIPO or Guinness should reimburse him his fees.


    --

  • A good Caffrey's will do me instead of Guinness.

  • Well, I guess THESE& lt;/a> guys are next. [internic.net]
  • by Cardinal ( 311 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:53AM (#659670)
    Well, there's this flag [ireland-now.com], but it isn't the Irish flag [ireland-now.com].
  • by sachmet ( 10423 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:56AM (#659676)
    I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous. No, not the decision. The 4k article on the front of slashdot decrying the WIPO for taking away some domain names.

    Let's look at the facts:
    • The guy got pissed at Guinness and registered a bunch of domain names that, in effect, stated Guinness sucks.
    • Guinness got pissed and played hardball to have the domains removed.
    • The guy never responded to the WIPO inquiry - and he had A MONTH to do so!
    • The guy has registered (and had taken away) numerous other domain names he registered in bad faith - the docket lists 5 other cases he's been involved in
    • Finally, instead of doing something - ANYTHING - with the domain names, he posts that he took them from Guinness becasue he was pissed they took his original domain to another site.
    I'm sorry, but he DESERVED to have those domains taken away. I've been working to get a domain for a group that I'm friends with, and they can't get it because some squatter claims to be 'opening an email service with 3 letter domains' but all he does is sell domains on it. And, it doesn't even point to itself! Plus the DNS entries contain 'THIS-DOMAIN-FOR-SALE' in whois...

    Slashdot needs to look a bit more carefully at the stories they run and select, lest too many more things like this pop up that ruin their credibility further.

    Score: -1, Flamebait
  • I guess my question is how can we (consumers) make use of the .sucks domain (and domain names like the ones in this article) without getting in trouble?
    I can only think of one way to do this, and that is to make any attempt to harass critics, parodists, and other persons exercising free speech have a cost that no company is willing to pay.

    There is something like this in the public-participation arena, called SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). Because of the abuses of SLAPPs by companies trying to silence their opponents, many US states now have anti-SLAPP laws. Not only are SLAPPs tossed out of court, but the damages one can recover in the counter-suit against a SLAPP is enough to really hurt. Bottom line: SLAPPs have essentially stopped where these laws are in effect.

    We need something like the SLAPP law to defend opinion and parody, including and especially in all parts of the Internet. If Guinness wound up being on the hook for some millions of dollars (and had to give the domains back), they wouldn't be pulling this crap in front of the WIPO. They'd have to grin and bear it. Somehow I don't see them suffering; of all the Guinness drinkers in the world, how many of them are going to care that one person with a domain thinks that they suck? Instead, they felt they had to be the bully. They've lost my sympathy, totally. I shall never again buy any Guinness product.

    The real problem is implementation. Getting something like a SLAPP law recognized by the [bought and paid for corporate lackies of the] WIPO is going to take a lot of doing. It might be easier to declare geekdom a religion and issue a fatwa against the execs of Guinness, Digital Convergence, the RIAA, DVD-CCA and all the rest. Not necessarily more productive, but easier (and certainly quicker).
    --

  • by Mr. Flibble ( 12943 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:57AM (#659682) Homepage
    Linus Torvalds has spurred a love of beer amongst Linux users according to Jargon.org [tuxedo.org], he really loves Guiness. Wierd, really given the Guiness used to flavour their beer with dead horses in the early years IIRC.

    Oh what is a Linux geek to do? Boycott Guinness? Offend the founding father, Oh! Agony!

    That's it. Im switching to BSD, Penguins like beer but Demons drink a mixture of sulpur and brimstone, as far as I know no one has tried to register sulphur-and-brimstone-really-sucks.com!
  • I won't drink Guinness, but not because of some altruistic boycott. I'm not drinking it on the grounds that it sucks. The widget only does so much, and Guinness refuses to put the Stout in straight-up brown bottles. Don't confuse the Stout (cans) with the "Extra" Stout, which does come in bottles, and sucks even more.

    Then again, no export Guinness is going to taste the same as the Irish brew -- my experience from local brewpubs tells me that stouts from hand pumped casks with natural carbonation are MUCH better than the same beer from force-carbonated kegs. It is just as much different as canned beer vs. bottled beer of the same breed.

    Unless you are Irish, at least one of these things is true:
    1. You drink Guinness because of the name.
    2. You drink Guinness because of the head.
    3. You drink Guinness because of the can (see Foster's Lager).
    4. You drink Guinness because it comes in a Black and Tan.
    5. You drink Guinness because it's imported (see Heineken)
    a. EXTENSION: you drink it because it is imported and NOT skunky.

    There is nothing special about this beer, and I strongly recommend that you try the stouts and porters from Sierra Nevada (pretty much US-wide) or your local craft brweries. If you don't like them, you are guilty of several of the charges above, and if you do like them, at least one of them will taste better than export Guinness.

    Thank you, and please mod me as flamebait if you are guilty as charged above.

    --

  • http://wipo.really.fuckingsucks.net/ [fuckingsucks.net]

    ... and of course, so I stay on topic,

    http://guiness.really.fuckingsucks.net [fuckingsucks.net]


    ________________________________________
  • by Greg@RageNet ( 39860 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @11:59AM (#659688) Homepage
    The WIPO made the right decision in this case, given the evidence they had. The domain holder chose not to send a response to the dispute arbitrators and so they only had evidence provided by the complaintants (guiness).

    If you are sued and you choose not to show up in court and defend yourself, the judge will decide the case based only on the evidence presented by the complaintant and likely judge against you. If you get a sommons to appear in court for trial and decide not to show up you will likely be hauled off to jail. Likewise if you recieve a notice from a domain dispute arbitration board requesting a response to a domain being disputed you had best defend yourself or accept the fact that you will lose your domain.

    The WIPO board had no evidence to go on except that presented by guiness and ruled accordingly because the domain holder chose not to respond. Guiness could have gone on to accuse the domain holder of serving the guiness laywers scalding hot coffee which the laywers spilled into their laps causing second degree burns and if the domain holder chooses not to defend themselves against these accusations than the WIPO has no option but to accept them as fact.

    So, its a bummer that this dude loses his domains but thats what will happen if you don't bother responding to defend yourself.

    -- Greg

  • The Apple in 'American Apple Pie' is now a computer, not a fruit.

    The authorities restrict our language on the Internet. They have taken all words away from us and make them fit for only one use - only as trademark system. It is a very bad trademark system at that, used by only one supplier of each name, out of thousands worldwide.

    WIPO is big part of this. I have protest sites, WIPO.org.uk [wipo.org.uk] and SWIPO.org [swipo.org].

    I have been communicating with the United States Patent and Trademark Organization and the Department of Commerce. I make the main problem clear to them. This is extract of latest email:

    "Here is an analogy, just for a moment imagine, if you will:

    You go to your dictionary and look up definition for the word 'apple'. It says the following:

    Apple - a maker of computers. This is the sole meaning; any other use will be a criminal offence.

    Nothing at all about them being a fruit used in the world famous 'American Apple Pie'. All words have had their description changed. You find dictionaries have been bastardised, for use as a trademark system. Would you not be outraged that all the words in your vocabulary for everyday speech have been perverted this way?"

    Perhaps you have more sense - do you understand? Can you see - words belonging to everybody, have been given to big business? As I say, the Apple in the world famous 'American Apple Pie' is now a computer, not a fruit.

    I have solution to trademark problems at www.WIPO.org.uk, which authorities already knew.

    WIPO.org.uk and SWIPO.org have no connection with, and wishes to be totally disassociated from, the World Intellectual Property Organization. The above is my considered and informed opinion.
  • Let's see, domain names have, what, 27 significant characters? If so, then names of form guinness*.com have 19 characters available. Just using the alphabetic and numeric ones, that would yield 10^46 combinations (and that's even ignoring names shorter than 27 chars). At $35 a crack, I think Guinness would run out of money before it could stomp all of them out. Might be fun if a bunch of SlashDotters got together and tried this.

    (Anyone know if the original registrant gets his/her money back if the WIPO rules against them?)

  • by L-Train8 ( 70991 ) <Matthew_HawkNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:04PM (#659706) Homepage Journal
    I heartily agree. We cant have customers of companies getting pissed off and expressing their opinion. Especially if the company in question has spent a lot of money on advertising that says the company is great. A website saying that the company's product sucked would contradict all that advertising, and the end result would be customer confusion. Fortunately, we don't live in that kind of world. We have the WIPO to protect us from the evils of non-corporate entities expressing opinions on websites.
  • Well.. you have to understand. As another poster said.. if this was against a person, not a corporation, that person could simply decide to 'forgive & forget', or perhaps nto get worked up in the first place.

    Now... consider that the directors of a public company have a LEGAL DUTY to protect the assetts of the company. They *MUST* or THEY can get sued, by the shareholders, for not doing their job. They don't have the choice of simply saying 'do we care'. The question for them is 'Do our shareholders care, and will they take it out on us if we don't act'.

  • by fcd ( 89027 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:05PM (#659709)
    For more detail see from the article:

    No Response was received by the Center from the Respondent and on September 25, 2000, the Center sent a Notification of Respondent Default to the Respondent by post/courier and by e-mail.(emphais added)

    and from the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy [domainmagistrate.com]:

    This Paragraph sets forth the type of disputes for which you are required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding. (emphais added)
    Included in this paragraph is:
    iii. your domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

    I think the point here is that we don't know how the rulling would have went if the Respondent had done what is required of him as part of the contract he enters apon buying a domain. We cannot claim his rights were trappled when he himself will not assert them.

  • I guess when it comes down to it the whole point of the matter is whether or not one can draw these parallels between conventional media equivalents.

    I totally agree that your examples would draw this type of response, however one of the key things is that this is the internet - and with the internet we have a situation where there are many different groups attempting to gain control of how it evolves.

    The true importance of this current debate is really in determining whether or not the internet will soon succumb to corporations (kind of like t.v... I have pity for the public access stations) or whether it will still remain by and large under public governing.

    I guess if you view the internet as being the same as any other kind of media then you will definately have to side with the corporations, but for many people it means quite a bit more than an advertising and ecommerce tool - in which case the property of the internet shouldn't be distributed based on old conventions but rather on a level basis.

  • How about giving then money for many more things that are beneficial.
    Take a look at the Ireland economy, where apartheid is still in existence (yes, think South Africa)
    Jobs are hard to come by, but Guiness is one more company that supplies them.. but hey boycott them for protecting their trademark - maybe because of your actions you can even lay off a few dozen workers that go back to poverty.
    Why don't you send them a letter saying, "I don't approve of this" and explain why instead of trying to damage their revenue. It's not like they didn't have a good leg to stand on here, it is a clear-cut case here.. I support the decision, try not to be a slashdot sheep and realize the little guy was just being a prick in this case.
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:07PM (#659715) Homepage Journal
    It seems like the sucks.com guys could clean up with a whole slew of second level domains like:

    guiness.sucks.com
    microsoft.sucks.com
    verision.sucks.com
    digitalconvergence.sucks.com
    wipo.sucks.com
    icann.sucks.com

    To name a few.

    Personally, I think we just need a DNS revolt. Or better yet, an entire network revolt. It wouldn't be too hard to put an infrastructure on top of the current net and wall off the corporate world from it. As I've suggested in the past, an invitation only VPN would work great. Couple that with a distributed naming system of some sort, and leave the current corporations out to rot. We built this network and we don't want them and we don't need them.

    Hell reverting back to store and forward would be better than what they've given us.

  • If you are going to bother paying money for registered domain names, because you are angry, you should be a bit more creative like this is [internic.net]. At least then, when they get the domain names back, their InterNIC lookup still looks funny.
  • This discussion leads to the question, how best to defend a domain name against hijack attempts.

    I have a domain name in mind. It is currently unregistered. It's a coined word, and I don't think anyone else is going to think of it anytime soon. My proposed course of action is:

    1) Register the domain name.
    2) Register a service mark on the domain name, listing the service as "providing information, products, and services via the internet." (cribbed from the slashdot trademark entry) That should cover just about anything I can imagine doing on a web site. "Using the trademark in commerce" would involve putting up the site and maybe a banner ad.

    Registering a trademark is fairly expensive -- there is a $325.00 filing fee and a ten year renewal fee of $400.00.

    I can't decide if this is overkill, or if extraordinary measures are now required to protect a web site against WIPO-based attack. I know that one must take measures to defend trademarks, which I doubt I could afford to do.

    Has anyone gone this route?
  • Guiness used WIPO to protect their trademarked name, Guiness, which is within their right. Clearly, they have owned that name for centuries. Is anyone here going to dispute the fact that when you hear the word Guiness, you don't think of a dark lager?

    By using the word Guiness in those URLs, they were in essence using the trademark name without the permission of Guiness. That is illegal.

    I agree, I don't like the situation. But at the same time, while the logic of the lawsuit was convoluted, it was unsanctioned use of a trademark which is within the rights of the owner to protect. And protect it they did by what they thought would be the easiest way and they were rewarded. Not like any of us will boycott the frosty beverage any time soon. Atleast "Sting" wasn't given the ability to claim his nickname is a true trademark. But Guiness? Come on people. You can't use a trademark without their permission. Just like you can't use someone's logo without their permission.
  • by L-Train8 ( 70991 ) <Matthew_HawkNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:12PM (#659726) Homepage Journal
    from the wipo website [wipo.org]:

    The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is an international organization dedicated to promoting the use and protection of works of the human spirit. These works - intellectual property - are expanding the bounds of science and technology and enriching the world of the arts. Through its work, WIPO plays an important role in enhancing the quality and enjoyment of life, as well as creating real wealth for nations.

    With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, WIPO is one of the 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations system of organizations. It administers 21 international treaties dealing with different aspects of intellectual property protection. The Organization counts 175 nations as member states. Please visit the links below for more information - both general and specific - on WIPO.

  • by humanasset ( 206242 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:12PM (#659728)
    Make your own. It's so easy even an MCSE can do it!
    Cat's Meow III [brewery.org]
    The New Complete Joy of Home Brewing, by Papazian [amazon.com]
  • Then they start a rally against your company, but because of your devotion you cannot protect your trademark from unauthorized use that you don't agree with.
    Bullshit. You don't get to protect your trademark agaist use you don't agree with, you only get to protect it against confusing commercial use.

    I can, for example, say that Guinness® is a fine brew made by a bunch of corporate bastards who suck Satan's cock. That's a fine exercise of my right of free speech, and no trademark law can oppose it.

    I could even say that, in light of that, I will be foregoing Guinness® and Harp®, in favor of the Blue Ridge® and Wild Goose® lines from the Frederick Brewing Company (of which I happen to own a few shares), and recommend that you do the same. That's commerical speech, using Guinness trademarks in a way that Guinness certainly doesn't like, but it's not in any way an attempt to engage in fraud, so it too is perfectly valid.

  • Because it must take a lot of lawyer dollars to go and file with WIPO and get the domains. And there are nearly endless variations on the suckiness experienced.

    Someone mentioned a boycott. Never mind a boycott -- how about a protest. Everyone go spend $12 on registering a related suck domain, make it its own authoritative name server, and point it at the original IP for the domain. They'll have to file hundreds and hundreds of WIPO complaints, since each domain with have a separate Respondent. Heck, you could do it yourself just by inventing aliases the WIPO would have to 'contact' for a response.

    On a related note, there's another way to handle this entirely -- alternate domain name systems. No one ever said you had to use ICANN/internic/etc's infrastructure. It would be fairly easy to put some alternate servers first in root zone files, and only let stuff fall back to icann servers after failing. Owners of appropriated domains could register with the alternate service, and people who wanted to see alternate non-corrupted registrations could view them.

  • This tragedy could have been averted if only Congress would pass a seven-day waiting period for registering domains.
  • Respondent took Complaint?s famous trademark and tacked on other words, such as "beer," "really," and "sucks" to form the said domain names.

    In other news, x.com is suing multiple domain owners over the abuse of "X", a registered trademark.

    "Companies are obviously trying to steal our customers from us by adding such words as "se", "hotse", "hotdonkeyse", and "youngvirginwithagoatse" before our "x.com". We've already filed our complaint, and expect to recieve all domains ending with a "x" by the end of the week."
  • I'm not Irish and I drink Guinness on tap by the pint, particularly on cold or rainy days, the best days, IMHO, for a stout. Other good stouts are Anderson Valley - Barney Flats Oatmeal, Young's Double Chocolate and in the bottle Samuel Smith's.

    Can't get into that elitist thing, particularly when all I have so far is that some guy is pissed and trying to harm the image of a company. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty, eh? Just because Guinness is a large company doesn't automatically mean they are evil. How about writing to their customer relations and giving equal time.

    If they have done something evil, then at the very least include a bibliographical reference or URL.


    --

  • by Delirium Tremens ( 214596 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:17PM (#659738) Journal
    I don't enjoy Microsoft, so I scoop up microsoft.sucks when the new domains come out, and what happens? More than likely, Microsoft will sue me for trademake infringment.

    Just buy really.sucks, and you're done.
    Then you can play with microsoft.really.sucks, guiness.really.sucks, ... and of course WIPO.really.sucks!

  • Great, so now the MPAA can sick the WIPO on phuck.the.mpaa.org.lu [mpaa.org.lu] too!
  • Let's see, we have a tough choice here. We can either read the inaccurate, ill-reasoned synopsis of the decision posted by jamie (who at the outset mentions that he has an axe to grind with WIPO) or we can read the decision itself and decide whether it is well founded. Since I can't drag you to the WIPO site itself and make you read the decision, let me just point out a few of the facts jamie conviently glosses over:

    The guy Guinness filed the complaint against did not respond. If you're not going to bother to argue your case, you shouldn't be surprised when the other side wins the argument. It is apparent from the decision that he has the financial means to respond (i.e., he's not some poor slob, see below).

    The guy is not simply some little guy who got a bad pint from some mega-corp and is trying to let the world know about it. He registered these domains because Guinness originally won "guinnes.com" from him through earlier WIPO proceedings. That's right, he's a cybersquatter in the worst sense: 3000+ domains registered to himself, many making use of other people's trademarks.

    His sites didn't even voice complaints (so no free-speech issues), except in one case where he put up some protest text hours after served with a complaint. He uses them for commerce by filling them with ads (for other sites and credit cards) to generate himself almost $1 million in revenue per year.

    This is not his first time around the block. He has lost at least five other ICANN proceedings (vs HP and Encyclopedia Britannica, among others) and one US civil suit under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. All found that he had registered the names in question in bad faith and without legitimate business purpose.

    Look, I get as pissed off as the next guy about situations like gumby.org and etoy.com, but this case in particular is an example of the system working like it should.

  • by Eric Seppanen ( 79060 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:22PM (#659750)
    Hey, doesn't anybody value parody anymore? I bet you could go and poll all of the bureaucrats that make and support overbroad trademark protection and you'd find a significant percentage that once read and enjoyed Mad Magazine [madmag.com].

    I mean, at one point in time, it was actually funny when a comic spoofed movies and gave the spoofs confusingly similar names to the real, (trademarked) thing.

    Oh, wait a minute! Mad Magazine is now owned by none other than our friends at Time Warner! Guess for them it's OK!


    --

  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:25PM (#659758)
    ARE the Guiness beer people. The whole Guiness Book of World Records was started as a reference to settle * bar bets * and the Guiness beer people thought it was a natural promotional item as well.
  • by double_h ( 21284 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:25PM (#659760) Homepage

    I have no idea what Zuccarini's complaint was with Guinness but it is more than apparent that he registered these domains with the intent to harrass them. Why would I want to support this kind of childish behavior?

    Because free speech (espescially critical speech) is an important principle, and is one of the few effective tactics individual people have in counterbalancing the vast amounts of money and lawyers that corporations use to gain more and more power.

    What's next? Will "Consumer Reports" magazine get shut down for publishing critical reviews of (trademarked) products? Plenty of software licenses already stipulate that one can't publish benchmarks without explicit permission -- it's not hard to imagine this trend extending to other products.

  • by Timmy1138 ( 247577 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:32PM (#659768)

    First, they are a international corporation. You can say anything to them. You can insult their mothers and their religion. It won't matter if you still give them your money.

    Second, yes, the guy was being a prick. But he has the right to be a prick. He has the right to tell the world his problems with Guinness Stout and the company that makes it. He doesn't have the right to tell people that he makes Guinness and you should give him money in exchange for beer; but he wasn't.

  • So, the respondent is a contact of some kind on lots of domains. So am I. So there have been other decisions against him. I really don't see that as any kind of supporting evidence for Guinesses claims and the ruling that the registrations met the 3 infrigment rules.

    As for him being a squatter, he may well be, but so is most everybody with a purely net presence as far as the brick and mortars are concerned. But, I really don't think Guiness is the bad guy here either. So OK, Guiness is acting like a corporation. Big suprise. That is the nature of the beast. It is not too much different in that respect from most other corporations. Most of them could care less about the what is right or the rights of human beings. The real problem here is ICANN and their hired henchmen the WIPO. It's their house - their rules - their aribitrators. These people have virtually no oversight, and they probably are operating way outside of their legal authority. The also seem to be completely biased towards corporations. Are there any recent cases brought to arbitration where the little guy won?

    JB
    never had a sig, never will

  • by Elminst ( 53259 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:32PM (#659770) Homepage
    6. He misdirects potential Guinness customers. Quote:
    The Complainant further submits that it would be likely that such consumers would choose to visit the such sites established by the Respondent, if only to satisfy their curiosity as to the content of such sites. Respondent would thus divert potential consumers of Complainant to his www sites by the use of said domain names.
    7. But worse than that, he TRAPS THEM in endless clickloops, thereby generating money for himself and preventing the consumer from getting to any legitimate site. Quote:
    many of his sites featured advertisements for other sites and credit card companies where "visitors were trapped or 'mousetrapped' in the sites, unable to exit without clicking on a succession of ads. Zuccarini received between ten and twenty-five cents from the advertisers for every click." Id. at 635, 641. The Respondent's "click-based revenue now approaches $1 million per year." Id. at 640 n.7.
    8. And further on that topic, he WILFULLY ADMITTED that he registers the domains BECAUSE THEY ARE SIMILAR. Quote:
    that the Respondent "admitted that he registered [the domain names] because they are confusingly similar to others' famous marks or personal names -- and thus are likely misspellings of those names -- in an effort to divert Internet traffic to his sites." Id. at 639-640.
    I have no sympathy for this guy. The ONLY way he could have venerated himself was to actually publish a website that contained LEGITIMATE complaints against the company. He didn't.
    And then when confronted with it, he could have responded with evidence or argument in his favor, thus using the system. He didn't.
    Looks like he dug his own grave to me.
  • I strongly recommend that you try some other US beers than Sam Adams (their stuff is alright (much better than Bud), but they do have some better seasonal beers)

    Try:
    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale [sierranevada.com] It's a dark golden color that has a great bitter taste to it. (In fact, most beers from the Sierra Nevada brewing company are really good, and can be found across the USA.

    Portland Brewing Company [portlandbrew.com] has two great beers...McTarnahan Ale (a lighter ale that's much better than Sam) or Haystack Black [portlandbrew.com], which is one of the greatest dark beers on Earth. The flavor and aroma of Haystack Black is amazing!

    Also, you should give Anchor Steam a try, as it's very good too, and is made with a very unique brewing style...
  • At the World Beer Championship in 1994, St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout [mcauslan.com] received the second highest rating of the over 200 beers in the competition and won one of only nine platinum medals awarded.
    In that same competition, Guinness Stout got the 57th place.

    'Nuff said.

    --
    Americans are bred for stupidity.

  • Don't forget Haystack Black [portlandbrew.com] as a list of the best stouts...
  • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:37PM (#659778)
    "my experience from local brewpubs tells me that stouts from hand pumped casks with natural carbonation are MUCH better than the same beer from force-carbonated kegs. "

    Errr, Guinness has below normal carbonation, whether on tap or from a can. A small amount of liquid N2 is inserted into Guinness cans before they are sealed. When it boils, the pressure in the can is increased forcing Guinness into the widget. When the can is opened, the release in pressure results in the Guinness squirting through small hole(s) in the widget creating the head. It's nothing to do with carbonation.

    I grew up in England. Most of the local brews have below "normal" CO2 levels. I hate carbonated drinks. Disgusting things. That's one of the reasons why you won't catch me drinking the bad (IMNHO) brews from Sierra Nevada (besides the bad taste).

    "There is nothing special about this beer, and I strongly recommend that you try the stouts and porters from Sierra Nevada (pretty much US-wide) or your local craft brweries. If you don't like them, you are guilty of several of the charges above, and if you do like them, at least one of them will taste better than export Guinness. "

    I think you're guilty of the stereotypical traditional American isolationism. (I known the stereotype doesn't hold true for the majority of intelligent Americans as I lived there for a while, and have a number of good friends there.)

    The racial implications of your other statements are just utter bollocks. I'm not Irish (far from it!), I don't drink Guinness for any of the reasons you state... I drink because it *IS* the tastiest of all beers.
  • True. And the Internet is supposed to be (last I heard, anyway) a network for expressing ideas of all kinds, not just advertising. Are we going to let the WWW become the next Television, a slave to the major corporations?

    This whole story is almost more frightening than it is absurd.

    ---------///----------
    All generalizations are false.

  • From the decision:

    The Complainant has furnished details of a sample number of these registrations in Europe and North America and in each case the trademarks are registered for use in connection with "Light beverages including stout, porter, ale and lager beer".

    It would appear that providing a "sample" of "Light beverages including stout, porter, ale and lager beer" is beneficial to your case, especially if you happen to be Guiness.

    Can you blame the WIPO? I can't think of too much I wouldn't do if you put a case of Guiness in front of me... (Of course, there wouldn't be much I could do by the time I got done.)

  • Quick solution : Buy a truckload of Guinness (everyone stockpile it for years ahead), then quit buying for a few years. They'll stop acting so cocky after they realize the plunge they've taken..

  • B. Respondent

    The Respondent did not file any Response

    Taken directly from the proceedings.
    Hmm, big nasty corporation wants you to bend over. You keep your mouth shut, don't tell the arbiter why you should be allowed to remain vertical, and don't tell the arbiter how making you bend over is 'a bad thing'. Next thing you know, you're bending over. Shouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone.
  • when the Web first came out, it was seen as an exciting new medium, because hey, you didn't need a multimillion dollars and you didn't have regulations awarding the bandwidth to the same conglomerates over and over again. There's no reason why http://www.myvanitysite.com (just made that up, if it's a real site, I'm sorry) wouldn't get as much traffic as http://www.monolithic-bastard-corporation.com.

    I guess the corporations didn't like being in control, and given that they couldn't take over TCP/IP to make it centrally managed and therefore all content on the Web would come from/be controlled by them, just hijacked ICANN.

    Whoever told these people the way to make free speech a corporate right only has some serious negative karma coming. Ditto whatever moron told a certain set of CEOs that clicking on an item to buy it can and should be patented.
  • Yeah, and this loser [salemwitchtrials.com] didn't plead not guilty either, so he deserved what he got? There is something to be said for "not dignifying the charges with a response".
  • by Andrew Dvorak ( 95538 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:54PM (#659802)
    Some people might be interested in reading WIPO [wipo.org]'s WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center [wipo.int] page. I won't go too in depth, because then I'd be reciting their page, but it's worth looking at because it does pertain to Internet Domain Names.
  • by kootch ( 81702 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @12:54PM (#659804) Homepage
    for the record, right from the USPTO.
    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/tac/tmlaw2.html

    (d)(1)(A) A person shall be liable in a civil action by the owner of a mark, including a personal name which is protected as a mark under this section, if, without regard to the goods or services of the parties, that person--

    (i) has a bad faith intent to profit from that mark, including a personal name which is protected as a mark under this section; and
    (ii) registers, traffics in, or uses a domain name that--

    (I) in the case of a mark that is distinctive at the time of registration of the domain name, is identical or confusingly similar to that mark;
    (II) in the case of a famous mark that is famous at the time of registration of the domain name, is identical or confusingly similar to or dilutive of that mark; or

    (III) is a trademark, word, or name protected by reason of section 706 of title 18, United States Code, or section 220506 of title 36, United States Code.

    (B)(i) In determining whether a person has a bad faith intent described under subparagraph (A), a court may consider factors such as, but not limited to--

    (I) the trademark or other intellectual property rights of the person, if any, in the domain name;
    (II) the extent to which the domain name consists of the legal name of the person or a name that is otherwise commonly used to identify that person;

    (III) the person's prior use, if any, of the domain name in connection with the bona fide offering of any goods or services;

    (IV) the person's bona fide noncommercial or fair use of the mark in a site accessible under the domain name;

    (V) the person's intent to divert consumers from the mark owner's online location to a site accessible under the domain name that could harm the goodwill represented by the mark, either for commercial gain or with the intent to tarnish or disparage the mark, by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the site;

    (VI) the person's offer to transfer, sell, or otherwise assign the domain name to the mark owner or any third party for financial gain without having used, or having an intent to use, the domain name in the bona fide offering of any goods or services, or the person's prior conduct indicating a pattern of such conduct;

    (VII) the person's provision of material and misleading false contact information when applying for the registration of the domain name, the person's intentional failure to maintain accurate contact information, or the person's prior conduct indicating a pattern of such conduct;

    (VIII) the person's registration or acquisition of multiple domain names which the person knows are identical or confusingly similar to marks of others that are distinctive at the time of registration of such domain names, or dilutive of famous marks of others that are famous at the time of registration of such domain names, without regard to the goods or services of the parties; and

    (IX) the extent to which the mark incorporated in the person's domain name registration is or is not distinctive and famous within the meaning of subsection (c)(1) of section 43.

    (ii) Bad faith intent described under subparagraph (A) shall not be found in any case in which the court determines that the person believed and had reasonable grounds to believe that the use of the domain name was a fair use or otherwise lawful.
    (C) In any civil action involving the registration, trafficking, or use of a domain name under this paragraph, a court may order the forfeiture or cancellation of the domain name or the transfer of the domain name to the owner of the mark.
    (D) A person shall be liable for using a domain name under subparagraph (A) only if that person is the domain name registrant or that registrant's authorized licensee.

    (E) As used in this paragraph, the term "traffics in" refers to transactions that include, but are not limited to, sales, purchases, loans, pledges, licenses, exchanges of currency, and any other transfer for consideration or receipt in exchange for consideration.

    (2)(A) The owner of a mark may file an in rem civil action against a domain name in the judicial district in which the domain name registrar, domain name registry, or other domain name authority that registered or assigned the domain name is located if--

    (i) the domain name violates any right of the owner of a mark registered in the Patent and Trademark Office, or protected under subsection (a) or (c); and
    (ii) the court finds that the owner--

    (I) is not able to obtain in personam jurisdiction over a person who would have been a defendant in a civil action under paragraph (1); or
    (II) through due diligence was not able to find a person who would have been a defendant in a civil action under paragraph (1) by--

    (aa) sending a notice of the alleged violation and intent to proceed under this paragraph to the registrant of the domain name at the postal and e-mail address provided by the registrant to the registrar; and
    (bb) publishing notice of the action as the court may direct promptly after filing the action.

    (B) The actions under subparagraph (A)(ii) shall constitute service of process.
    (C) In an in rem action under this paragraph, a domain name shall be deemed to have its situs in the judicial district in which--

    (i) the domain name registrar, registry, or other domain name authority that registered or assigned the domain name is located; or
    (ii) documents sufficient to establish control and authority regarding the disposition of the registration and use of the domain name are deposited with the court.

    (D)(i) The remedies in an in rem action under this paragraph shall be limited to a court order for the forfeiture or cancellation of the domain name or the transfer of the domain name to the owner of the mark. Upon receipt of written notification of a filed, stamped copy of a complaint filed by the owner of a mark in a United States district court under this paragraph, the domain name registrar, domain name registry, or other domain name authority shall--

    (I) expeditiously deposit with the court documents sufficient to establish the court's control and authority regarding the disposition of the registration and use of the domain name to the court; and
    (II) not transfer, suspend, or otherwise modify the domain name during the pendency of the action, except upon order of the court.

    (ii) The domain name registrar or registry or other domain name authority shall not be liable for injunctive or monetary relief under this paragraph except in the case of bad faith or reckless disregard, which includes a willful failure to comply with any such court order.
    (3) The civil action established under paragraph (1) and the in rem action established under paragraph (2), and any remedy available under either such action, shall be in addition to any other civil action or remedy otherwise applicable.
    (4) The in rem jurisdiction established under paragraph (2) shall be in addition to any other jurisdiction that otherwise exists, whether in rem or in personam.

  • I agree. I'm exhausted just trying to separate the real injustices from the whining. This guy didn't defend himself. I still don't have a clue what his problem with Guiness was in the first place. And the whole fiasco says more about the nonsense that is the domain name system (not just the arbitrary arbitration-- witness the Sting and Madonna cases-- the fact is this whole TLD notion is broken, not just the decisioning process), than it does about trademark law and its use or abuse.
  • My worry is that this case will become a precedent cited in the next xyz-really-sucks.com dispute. The fact that the guy made no response may have been the deciding factor, but I wonder if that detail will be overlooked in the future? That is, I wonder if this guy's failure to defend himself cause the screws to tighten on us all.

  • by jamiemccarthy ( 4847 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @01:13PM (#659819) Homepage Journal
    In email, the guy told me that he didn't bother replying to WIPO because he knew that, whatever he said, he was going to lose anyway. He'd guessed that WIPO would decide his case before the facts were presented, and that, because he had lost some cybersquatting cases before, he was going to lose this one regardless of its merits.

    And he was right. This was clearly a case of criticism of a corporation, whether he'd gotten around to putting critical content on the domains' website or not. You can't get more fairly critical than "-sucks.com". But they threw the book at him.

    And in the decision (read it [wipo.int]!) a large part of their reason for taking away his domain was that he had squatted on other domains before. They talked about a lot of those other cases.

    In other words, it was something like:

    Prosecutor: "Your Honor, we can't find any proof that the defendant actually stole the case of beer. But he admits to being an angry young man, and he was convicted last year of stealing two magazines, a toothbrush and a pit bull."

    Judge: "Lock him up!"

    I find this just as offensive as their other specious reasons (anger, eyeball-stealing) but didn't get into it in the story because it's a lot of background that would take a while to explain and this was just supposed to be a short story. The long versions are coming sometime in November (I hope) and will go into detail about more cases.

    The fundamental issue is, was this guy treated fairly in this case? And it seems clear to me that the answer is no.

    Frankly, I can't think of any good reason why any individual should under any circumstances have their "XYZsucks.com" domain taken away and given to corporation XYZ, ever.

    Jamie McCarthy

  • by _xen ( 79742 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @01:16PM (#659821)

    Because the domain owner never responded, the panel had nothing to go on but what Guinness told them.

    Nonetheless, the complaint still has to satisfy the requirement that the said domain name in dispute is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights, and this is what is unsatisfactory about the decision.

    Look, Guinness could probably have succeeded under business defamation in any number of jurisdictions (including the one in which Guinness plc is registered), though perhaps not in the US. Arguably this is not a bad thing. Remember the name Guinness is valuable property, into which a lot has been invested, the creation of these domain names is equivalent to someone coming along and scratching EAT THE RICH along the side of your new BMW (though this arguably is not a bad thing either).

    That the Panel should hold that a different standard applies to the deceptively similar test, merely because such a site might be discovered by a search engine is disturbing. It reflects a growing tendency for the Law (both at curial and legislative levels) to wet its pants whenever a matter in some way involves the internet. The argument is often put that the Law cannot keep pace with technological change, IMHO the opposite is the case. While some adjustment is doubtless necessary (such as recognising that domain names do have to be brought into step with trade mark law), the Law is particularly adapted to dealing with novel situations. Thus cybersquatting, which the US legislature felt it necessary to criminalise by statute, was simply dealt with under equity in Australia (in the Melbourne-IT case). If established legal principles were applied fairly, irrespective of whether the issue was one involving the net (ooh, it cyberspace ... better be really draconian here!), I believe we would not be seeing findings as aburd as 'guinnessbeerreallysucks' being confusingly similar to 'guinness' (in a way which 'guiness' clearly is btw.)

  • by Hacker Cracker ( 204131 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @01:16PM (#659822)
    Quoth the poster:
    The problem is that you are all confusing the actions of a person with the actions of a corporation. If a person did this, maybe then they would be guilty of a serious lack of humor. But businesses aren't people! They have to act in certain ways because they are required to by law.
    Err, sorry, but you're wrong--in the eyes of the law, corporations are persons. As such, they have a disproportionate amount of power [adbusters.org] compared to ordinary folks like you and me. As such, I won't be shedding a tear for any of 'em.

    The guy may have screwed up, but apologizing for the corporations (by way of saying he deserved this treatment) is sickening.

    -- Shamus

    This space for rent
  • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @01:45PM (#659840) Homepage Journal
    OpenNIC [unrated.net] has the .parody TLD:
    The important piece of this domain is that a dedicated parody TLD will remove any legitimacy from parody targets' to claims that a parody site could be mistaken for the business site and thus be an infringement on their trademarks.
    But the guinness-beer-sucks owner was a typosquatter [slashdot.org].
  • He was assaulting Guinness - sticks and stones yes, but he was doing damage.
    Granted, maybe it was hypothetical damage that hadn't surfaced, maybe there was already damage. You have the right of free speech, that is fine.. but there is a line where freedom of speech shackles who you are speaking against. This is that case. Guiness has a right to do what they are doing. Both legally, and morally I think. Boycotting them for protecting their business is stupid. Why don't they just start giving their beer away for free then?
    Think about the poor employee's this will trickle down too..Think about their children. If you are American, chances are you wouldn't understand what it's like to see 6 year olds starving and begging for food because you are American and are rich. Ireland has a lot of economic problems and Guiness gives them jobs. You boycotting Guiness isn't going to hurt the company. It's going to hurt those people. Guinness is a company.. don't get mad at a company for being a company. If you've ever seen Natural Born Killers.. remember the story..

    A woman found a wounded rattle snake, and took it in and nursed it back to health. When the snake was healthy it bit the lady. As she died of the poison she asked the snake why. The snake replied, "Look bitch, you knew I was a snake."
    A company is a company, they have obligations in business. In a perfect world they wouldn't have them - but if people are going to be pricks and they can stop it, it seems pretty stupid to not stop it?

  • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @01:54PM (#659846) Homepage Journal
    OpenNIC [unrated.net] proudly lists .parody as one of its approved TLDs. Once you add a Tier 2 OpenNIC nameserver [unrated.net] to your DNS configuration (in /etc/resolv.conf on Linux), you can access the .parody registration page [www.parody].
  • By your logic, if I'm innocent of murdering a child, I shouldn't have to show up in court because I didn't do it.

    Thankfully, most legal systems do not work that way. You must be able to prove that you are in fact innocent, or someone else has to prove that you are in fact guilty. And while it can be a hassle, indeed, the alternative of just letting people go because 'hey, they're innocent' is too great of a risk to just banter about.

    If you sue me and send me a letter, and I say 'oh well' and throw it away, you *should* win and be able to collect damages. Otherwise, people could just throw away lawsuits they didn't like and only God knows what would happen then...
  • is to register:

    wipo-really-sucks.com
    wipo-really-really-sucks.com
    wipo-can-wipe-my-.com

    and so on. I definately think this guy should have had his domain taken away (using it for ads, didn't represent himself, etc etc) but this needs to be decided once and for all. These domains would be registered and web pages would be put up decrying wipo's unfair "arbitration" processes.

    I find it interesting that http://wipo-sucks.com [wipo-sucks.com] hasn't been disputed.

  • How long until everybody starts running off and registering slashdotsucks.org, slashdotreallysucks.org, etc. Will Slashdot go out of their way to protect their name?

    Hell no. Go ahead and register them. I think I can safely say that none of us is going to sue you over "slashdotsucks."

    We're not even suing this guy [ebay.com], and frankly if we wanted to take those domains, under the existing WIPO rules it'd take us about 2 seconds. (If our legal dept. ever does decide to go after him, I'll (a) try to talk them out of it, (b) post a story about how lame they're being and encourage you all to send them persuasive email.)

    Jamie McCarthy

  • My "real" name is Matt. Sounds kinda like Microsoft, doesn't it? I'm worried that people will think I'm Microsoft and try to sabotage my house. Maybe I can shut down Microsoft.com, net, and org?

    ...............
    SUWAIN: Slashdot User Without An Interesting Name

  • >That is confusion

    Based on not understanding something (there must be a better, non-insulting, way to say this). If, for example, I have no clue about electrical installations, and I wire a power plug with two male ends, and electrocute myself by using it, my "confusion" is my own and is not legally binding against the company, even though labelling said "power plugs", which could be confusing (if you don't know English).

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying non-English speakers are under educated. I'm just saying that the lack of understanding about something doesn't give you an automatic legal right to change it. If I don't understand English, I have _no right_ to pass judgement on an English webpage; Most especially no right to pass judgement based on a title.

    If I were to beleive that, I would have equated your post with Swahili information about Urethane Sealant and would have contacted Thompson's to make the necessary lawsuits immediately. But I think that the name/titling of a post doesn't mean its contents are the same.

    In other words, you can't sue a book by its cover. It's what's inside that counts. And if I saw a webpage titled "Sucking Guinness" written in Swahili, I wouldn't assume they mean anything about beer, or sucking.

    If I were to follow your logic, for example, this would happen: I don't speak Swedish. But hey, this site should be shut down: kändis-Guinness 2000, http://stockholm-just.nu/skvaller/guinness.htm because they use the word Guinness in their title. The rest of the title, and page, as a non-Swedish speaking person, leads me to believe that Guinness sells Candies, only started business in the year 2000, and likes to put supermodels on TV.

    But I don't think like that because I know that I don't speak Swedish and therefore should assume nothing.

    And I hope to God no one in Sweden sells a product "shepd" that automatically deletes slashdot posts. Because in that case the WIPO would toast me too.

    But hey, no one says anyone has to agree with me... Unless I was international organization. :-)
  • I'm an American, and have been drinking Guinness since long before the buy-out that led to it being a "trendy" beer. I drink it because:

    6. I tried it and found that it tastes better than most beers, and is more readilly available than other stouts (like Schmalt's Alt).

    As for the "forced carbonation" issue, any pub worthy of their liquer license knows that Guiness taps use Nitrogen taps, not the CO2 taps used by other beers. Maybe where you live they draft it from the same taps is all the other beers... if so, all I can say is that you need to move.

    Also, many american pubs serve Guiness at the wrong temperature. German beers (and the American beers, most of which use German-derived formulae) are brewed and drafted from the bottom of the keg, and are best served cold... the colder it is, the better it tastes. Irish beers like Guinness (and many English beers) are traditionally drawn from the top of the keg, and should be no colder than wine-cellar temperature in order to get the best possible flavor. If a bar serves you an ice-cold Guiness, complain.

    (The sad part is that many "Irish" and "English" pubs in the US still chill the hell out of their GB imports, even when the owner knows better, because so many Americans, weaned on pisswater like Budweiser, are conditioned to think that beer should be cold. If you complain in places like this, you often get a sympathetic shrug and little else, but some bar owners have their own unadvertised means of serving their more discriminating customers.)

  • the whole thing started over his typo-squating at guinnes.com. this is important, because of something that a certain mr malda said yesterday:
    so he got a letter from guinness about his typo site, freaked, and regestered a bunch more urls cause he was pissed off. then, when he got another letter from the wipo he did... nothing.
    (sorry about the inelegant links, i just dont want to be flamed by people thinking i made this up) the rest of the wipo link goes on to basically say that since he gave no evidence to the contrary, they had no choice but to find for guinness. I'm not saying that it's always right to take away someone's domain over a protest, but that there should be a standard, and if he doesn't even care enough to reply to the complaint, wtf? why shouldn't they take it away? i think that part of the problem is that big companies are used to dealing in a certain way, with other big companies. 10 years ago, there wasn't a way for a little guy to make a reall big, loud stink about something. he could stand out in front of their business with a sign, but that was about it. Now, if i don't like a beer company for some reason (why was he doing this, again?) i can buy a bunch of domain names and make a loud noise, audible to anyone with more that $1 a day and a computer. The response was strongly worded, by a lawyer. this is how companies are used to treating the only people they're used to dealing with like this... other big companies, who are used to getting threatening lawyer letters. I"m just confused as to why jamie would pick this particular example, when there are many much better ones out there...
  • Just like in real court, it doesn't look good if you don't show up...

    Said Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding inter alia advised the Respondent that the Administrative Proceeding had commenced on August 25, 2000 and that the Respondent was required to submit a Response to the Center on or before September 13, 2000.

    No Response was received by the Center from the Respondent and on September 25, 2000, the Center sent a Notification of Respondent Default to the Respondent by post/courier and by e-mail. A copy of said Notification of Respondent Default was on the same date sent to the authorised representative of the Complainant by e-mail. Said Notification inter alia advised the Respondent that the Respondent was in default and that in accordance with the Rules, and the Supplemental Rules, the Center would proceed to appoint a single member Administrative Panel as designated by the Complainant, that the said Administrative Panel would be informed of the said default, and that the Center would continue to send all case-related communications to the Respondent.


    If the guy had bothered to show up, or at least respond to the e-mails, he would have had a better chance. It's the very same as not showing up in court in the US... if you don't show, you're probably going to lose. (This happens in Small Claims Court all the time.)
  • Jamie: I did read it. That's why I made my comment. Because I read it and it said what I noted and that was that. If I *hadn't* read it, I would have made comments like the other 400 on this story relating to 'OH, GUINES SUCKS LETZ BOYCOTT' but the fact that I actually bothered to follow the link before replying should say something.

    Personally, I have a belief that domain squatters should be wiped off the face of the earth. That's just my belief. Perhaps he is in the right here. But past history (and if you don't respond, that's all they have to go on) indicates that he would just sell these domains, or use them for some 'bad-faith' purpose (god only knows what that is.)

    That said, if he *had* responded and they said, 'We're going to ignore you', then I would be up in arms over it. But if you don't say anything, you have no right to complain when things go south.

    In your example, that's the prosecutor speaking to the judge, I agree that situation would be outrageous -- if the defendant is sitting in the courtroom! But by waiving appearences, you waive all rights. Maybe, just maybe, if he had sent something in explaining 'I registered these and I'm going to be putting up a page with my claims on it, etc...' then I'd agree with him here.

    Last point: I agree that XYZsucks.whatever should be freely available. But the point where it should consider being taken away is when it gets slanderous and libelous. 'XYZ puts dead babies in their product!' That's the only time I see it's appropriate. If the claim can be substantiated, it is neither slanderous nor libelous.
  • Continuing on...

    As no Response has been filed, there is little information relating to the Respondent. The said domain names were registered in the name of Cupcake Patrol and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary this Administrative Panel accepts the Complainant's submission that this is a trading name of the Respondent.

    AND this guy is a cyber squatter too...

    The Complainant submits that there have been at least five ICANN decisions against the Respondent in which it has been found that he registered and used domain names that are identical or confusingly similar to famous trademarks in bad faith and without a legitimate business purpose viz. Hewlett-Packard Company v. Cupcake City, NAF Case No. FA0002000093562; Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. v. John Zuccarini et al., WIPO Case No. D2000-0330; Hewlett-Packard Company v. John Zuccarini, NAF Case No. FA00040000994454; Bama Rags, Inc. v. John Zuccarini d/b/a Cupcake Confidential, NAF Case No. 0003000094380 and Bama Rags, Inc. v. John Zuccarini, NAF Case No. 0003000094381.
  • by perky ( 106880 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @03:04PM (#659883)
    Has anyone here actually read the submission, which I acknowledge was written by Guiness Lawyers, but still tells the actual tale of this dispute.

    Was this guy a cybersquatter or did he actually have a dispute with Guiness?

    The Complainant submits that the Shields case is analogous to the facts at hand in that the Respondent changed the content of his www sites from commercial uses to purported "protest sites" after being served with a complaint by the owner of the trademark that he was infringing.

    Well that seems to say that he was using the perfectly correct argument that a protest site is a valid reason to use a trademark as an excuse. lets keep going.

    The Court found that "the vast majority of Zuccarini's many websites are not political fora but are merely vehicles for him to make money. . . .It strains credulity to believe that he uses 99.9% of his domain names for profit but reserves his Joe Cartoon domains for fair and lawful political speech."

    "...the Respondent admitted that he "put up the protest pages . . . just hours after being served with [the plaintiff's] complaint.""

    So again it seems like this might actually be a reasonable case unlike some of the shit that we have seen WIPO get away with.

    The Court found that the Respondent was a wholesaler of Internet domain names (defined as someone who acquires multiple domain names with the intent to profit from them), who owns approximately 3000 domain names, and that many of his sites featured advertisements for other sites and credit card companies where "visitors were trapped or 'mousetrapped' in the sites, unable to exit without clicking on a succession of ads."

    So where does the geek stand? Does [s]he go with the eminently sensible argument proposed by the defendant in this case, or do they listen to the other side and realise that perhaps this is actually reasonable and the possible cybersquatter is just hijacking a reasonable argument for nefarious ends.

    Have a look at the whole story before you post, and believe me, I don't think that this is open and shut either way.
    -Tom

  • by www.sorehands.com ( 142825 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @03:28PM (#659893) Homepage
    In general, if you don't respond to a complaint in a lawsuit, you lose by default.

    This is what happened here.

    You may or may not agree with the rights of Guiness to the domain name, but this person did not want to be heard on the facts.

    WIPO had actually looked beyond the complaint, and did at least a minimal analysis. In court, the judge would just issue a default and then just look at damages.

  • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <sjc@@@carpanet...net> on Tuesday October 31, 2000 @04:02PM (#659904) Homepage
    I disagree...

    He had a problem with guiness beer - he has EVERY RIGHT to tell other people what he thinks about it. If it hurts guiness - then too bad.

    Free Speech is a right - profit is not. If someone causes you to lose money because they are going around saying that your product sucks - then you should have 2 choices:

    1) make a better product
    2) lose money

    A consumer has every right (no matter what any law says) to tell other consumers about products. As long as they do not lie - they have every right to give their honest opinion.

    He wasn't diluting their trademark - he was using their trademark in a perfectly correct manner - he was using it to refer to THEIR PRODUCT.

    > You boycotting Guiness isn't going to hurt the
    > company

    Boycotts of popular beer makers in the US back in the 80s got them to stop funding the contras.

    ...and for the record... guiness DOES suck. I like my beers dark - almost bread like. However I can't stand guiness - it just has this nasty flavor to it - not that its bitter (I like bitter) its just nasty - I can't even describe it. Maybe its the type of hops they use for dry hopping (I am assuming it is dry hopped from the flavor)

    -Steve
  • by s390 ( 33540 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2000 @12:39AM (#659975) Homepage
    There's another story about this particular Internet-parasite here [wired.com].
  • by OneElement ( 137580 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2000 @02:50AM (#659979)
    I grant you that this is a sensitive case pitting freedom of speech against commercial interest (which is not always the bogie man). But c'mon...the respondent didn't even answer. He just wanted to throw a tantrum and get us all shouting epithets against the Big Bad Corporation. It would have been a far more difficult case, in my opinion, had he actually used a single "sucks" site to detail all of the failings and problems of Guinness, then fought it out on the grounds of freedom of thought and speech. But as it is, he just registered sites, made a few snide comments, then didn't bother to write anything for the record. Bad case, bad law. It's just too bad that this tar-covered case will be precedent now.

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