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Is It OK To Sucks? 189

If you remember our Guiness Beer Really Sucks story, you'll recall that WIPO's rule has been "no sucks domains." There's a three-part test and if you pass any of the parts you're in the clear, but one of the silly gotchas about test number three is that Xsucks.com has repeatedly been ruled "identical or confusingly similar" to trademarkX. This makes no sense, of course. But the strange thing is that WIPO on Monday reversed itself. In one of the rare decisions awarded to the domain holder, the arbitration panel said that the owner of LockheedMartinSucks.com could keep his domain, because it was not confusingly similar to LockheedMartin.com. Um. What?

I have a problem with the whole notion of taking domains away to begin with. The only tune that corporate, capitalist American can sing is "the free market" -- except when it comes to the free market in domain names.

Real estate speculation? Great, it optimizes efficiency. Currency market speculation? Balances resources internationally and assures prosperity. But domain name speculation? You filthy cybersquatter!

Personally I could see this being useful in 1995, when companies were just waking up to the internet, but I think it's run its course. Any company in 2001 that hasn't registered its corporate name, and all its major products' names before making them public, is stupid and deserves to pay large sums of money to savvy entrepreneurs. In 2001, we're just seeing natural selection running its course. Bailing out stupidity is corporate welfare.

Anyway, the big picture is that the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in adjudicating the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Protocol (UDRP), is trying to find a way to apply trademark law to the internet. The rules put in place ensured that there was to be no free market on "LockheedMartin.com" -- the company that owns the trademark on "LOCKHEED MARTIN" gets it, and others are only allowed to have it if they are doing something appropriate with it (not using it in "bad faith," to be precise).

WIPO makes its decisions based on the UDRP, but has a wide latitude in interpreting it. This is one of its problems, of course. The UDRP has a handful of fuzzy two-word clauses like "bad faith" and "legitimate interests"; WIPO's panelists can interpret them almost any way they want. Consistency is a prerequisite of justice, and randomly-administered justice is no justice at all.

But Monday, the two fuzzy words were "confusingly similar," namely, whether LockheedMartinSucks.com is confusingly similar to LockheedMartin.com. The decisions came down, and they may be the most startling display of WIPO's arbitrary arbitration.

As the decision states, Lockheed-Martin "relie[d] primarily on previous ICANN decisions that have found domain names that combine a trademark with the word 'sucks' to be confusingly similar to the trademark."

Lockheed probably thought it was on safe ground by doing so. The list of domains taken away for that reason was long: guinness-sucks.com, guinness-really-sucks.com, etc., wal-martsucks.com, cabelassucks.com, directlinesucks.com, dixonssucks.com, freeservesucks.com, natwestsucks.com, standardcharteredsucks.com, and wal-martcanadasucks.com, etc.

But Monday's decision, for once, told the truth:

"The disputed domain names are neither identical nor confusingly similar to Complainant's trademarks, since no one would reasonably believe that Complainant operates a website that appends the word 'sucks' to its name and then uses it to criticize corporate America."

What took Captain Obvious so long to arrive?

The decision also notes that in the WalmartCanadaSucks.com decision, the only other case where the trademark-holder was told to take a hike, the sole panelist "expressed skepticism" about the confusing similarity of sucks, "but stopped just short of advocating a per se privilege exempting all 'sucks' domain names."

Likewise here; they make it clear that "no one could reasonably believe" sucks is confusing. And more interestingly -- they do not bother even to consider the other two parts of the three-part test. As soon as they decided that LockheedSucks was not Lockheed, that was it, the case was over.

But, unfortunately, I don't see any language that encourages future panelists to reach the same decision. This is an international body and they don't have to follow the almost-uniquely-American tradition of following precedent and being, you know, predictable. The next ten sucks sites might be taken away, for all anyone can tell. Or they might not. Sucks-sters will just have to hope they get the right panelist.

There were some good lines in this decision, by the way, that tell me that the panelists know what's what. "A website that functions for the exercise of free speech by its nature can not operate with bad faith intent." I like that. Kudos to panelists Foster and Sorkin.

And shame on panelist Wagoner, who was the dissenting voice.

Wagoner was embarrassingly honest in his outrage that the UDRP was being followed, for once. The implication of the majority decision, he complained, is that "the lack of 'confusing similarity' would prevent a finding that the Policy had been violated."

Well, yes: that's exactly how the Policy demands that WIPO rule. When your personal beliefs about what the UDRP should say, Mr. Wagoner, differ from what it actually does say, we'd hope you can figure out which to follow.

And among his reasons why "sucks" should be swallowed up by corporate America is that consumer eyeballs belong to corporate America. If you the consumer do a search for Lockheed, happen to notice that someone is criticizing it at a sucks domain, and then of your own free will and volition decide you want to click and see what the criticism is all about, your reckless websurfing has made you party to a filching of Lockheed's intellectual property:

"...it is likely (given the relative ease by which websites can be entered) that such users will choose to visit the sites, if only to satisfy their curiosity. Respondent will have accomplished his objective of diverting potential customers of Complainant to his websites by the use of domain names that are similar to Complainant's trademark."

The other two panelists smacked down that insipid argument explicitly, too, by the way, saying that once the searcher sees the sucks and nonsucks alternatives, he or she will exhibit a discernment and intelligence measurably higher than the average garden slug.

Someone needs to ask WIPO: what the hell is going on?

Trademark law (in the United States at least) exists for the citizen's protection, not the corporation's. The laws against dilution of trademarks exist so that you and I will not be confused. When the law, or in this case the arbitration rules, start to protect corporations' trademark interests over ours, something has gone wrong.

And domain names are the real estate of the internet. Obviously a sucks domain name is parody, and will not be confused with its target -- obviously. People who would criticize corporations have enough problems to worry about already with libel suits they can't afford to defend (win or lose). The last thing they need is a governing body that can take away their website on absurd charges of trademark violation.

And the second-to-last thing they need is a governing body that can't make up its damn mind.

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Is It OK To Sucks? (hold)

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Outraged! Outraged! Our glorious revolution nearly failed this harvest season when a C-130 Hercules transport [lockheedmartin.com] cracked an engine mount. This shit-eating miserable plane had THREE STOPS for unscheduled repairs last month alone. THREE! Meanwhile the insurgent peasants are rearming and power is slipping through my fingers like rice bobbing down a spring stream.

    So of course I try to return the plane but the ignorant swine at Lockheed-Martin will not accept it without a receipt! A RECEIPT! They say I could have bought it from some OTHER aircraft and aerospace manufacturing concern! Absurd! They will not even give me in-store credit!

    If the ignorant revolutionaries gain control of our southwest border because my LOCKHEED CRAP could not deliver supplies, may the stinking, rotting carcasses from this company swell and burst, soiling the earth of their foul campus with their necrotic entrails for seven generations to come!"

  • I work as a computer consultant in the real estate industry. A client of mine (a mortgage broker) with a company name of Bayshore Mortgage jumped on the dot-com bandwagon and registered ebayshore.com. eBay accused him of "diluting their trademark". They were going to take him to WIPO, but since they probably knew that they didn't have much of a chance since he passed two of the three criteria (and the "confusingly similar" was a stretch at best) they instead filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in a federal court. My client was just a one-man operation and was forced to surrender the domain because he couldn't afford to pay a lawyer to get into a long drawn-out battle with eBay. Ain't justice grand?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    YUO = FAGOT
    [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I registered microsoft.usuck.com many months ago, it redirects to slashdot :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And before you ask, yes, this is real

    -----Original Message-----
    > WIPO LAUNCHES ESSAY COMPETION
    > The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has launched an
    > international essay competition as part of a series of events to mark the
    > first ever World Intellectual Property Day on April 26, the date on which
    > the Convention establishing WIPO entered into force in 1970. WIPO member
    > states decided at their annual meetings in September 2000 to designate this
    > date for special activities to highlight the importance and practical use of
    > intellectual property in people's lives.
    >
    > The competition, conducted by WIPO's Worldwide Academy (WWA), is open to
    > university students. The 2000-word essay must address the question "What
    > does intellectual property mean to you in your daily life" and must be
    > submitted in English. The two best essays will each be awarded a scholarship
    > for the 2001 session of the WWA Summer School in Geneva for a period of six
    > weeks, including accommodation and return flights.
    >
    > Entries must be sent to the WWA by March 15, 2001. The winners will be
    > announced on April 26, 2001. For further information, please consult
    > www.wipo.int. Questions can be addressed to dl101.academy@wipo.int.
    >
    > Essays and university details must be sent to:
    >
    > Mrs. Francesca Toso Dunant
    > World Intellectual Property Day International Essay Competition
    > WIPO Worldwide Academy (WWA)
    > PO Box 18, CH-1211, Geneva
    > Switzerland
  • "The Panel does not infer that "-sucks" domain names are immune from scrutiny as being confusingly similar to trademarks to which they are appended. Each case must be considered in light of the facts presented."

    And which facts are relevant? How am I to know whether I'm breaking the law or not?

  • That is a different case, the phrase "primus sucks" has been used by fans and encouraged by the band for many years. I doubt that the band would sue itself for having the primussucks.com domain.

    Now, the band might not like it if the people who own primus.com decided to tell everyone how good the band is.... ;P
  • Absurd cases are routinely tossed out by courts. This one should have been among those.

  • The Guinness case should have been tossed out without ever bothering the domain owner. The case was ridiculous. If guinness wanted the domain they should have bought it. If not, then they should have just left it alone.

  • Those that lost verizonsucks and guinesssucks should be furious at the inconsistancy of WIPO and trademark law for domain names that are obviously (to us) not trying to impede a commercial domain, and they they should be looking for lawyers to help proceed with a lawsuit against WIPO. I bet they can get the help of the ACLU, since free speech has also entered this (eg, the allowing of Xsucks for critique of X without going to the point of slander or libel). If a new company is going to be worried about critism, then they better be ready to grab those Xsucks sites as well; if they forget this step, that's too bad for them.

    If anything, we need a way to challenge WIPO rulings; as such, they are considered final and thus one cannot appeal them. Or even better, reinstate the initial policy: first come, first served, whiners can show their own way to the door.

  • But this case is based entirely in the US. The US govt. can't delegate authority to violate the first amendment to international bodies or treaty organizations that it's a party to, because it never had that authority anyway.

    Treaties are great - but they shouldn't really have any effect until there's a federal law passed to comply with the treaty (otherwise you have impermissable situations like the President and a majority of the Senate taxing people through treaties w/o any involvement by the House) and that law has to be constitutional or it'll get overturned.
  • Ok. Lockheed and the lockheedsucks guy are both in the US, making it a domestic matter.

    Obviously if anyone for any reason wishes to change their name servers, they can anyway. If some heathen country (why yes, I'm an American ;) wishes to, or was foolish enough to give WIPO the power to compel them, that's fine too.

    But just because WIPO says jump, doesn't mean that the US has to ask how high.

    Imagine if they had requested that he be thrown in jail without a trial, tortured, and his property siezed without due compensation. The US hasn't got the power to do any of that, and aren't allowed to follow the orders of anyone who tells them to do it anyway. It's no different in this case.
  • so if algoresucks.com is bad then how about my domain algoreisapigfucker.com? ya think i'll get in trouble?

    *smirk*

    IRNI
  • www.WIPOsux0rs.com


    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
  • (and when you buy Murphy's you're not supporting the IRA).
    Oh. And which stouts DO support the IRA? 'caus, after all, those limeys ain't got no friggin' business in Eire.

    --

  • Last year they gave us money to buy a $5000 server... It's great fun, so I think Lockheed is cool.

    It's good that they're helping educate people about technology...

    Just don't try to register the $5000 server as "lockheedmartindoesntsuck.net", or you may find yourself in trouble....


    ---
    "They have strategic air commands, nuclear submarines, and John Wayne. We have this"
  • Actually verizonsucks.com was registered by verizon[...]

    So...what you're saying is that Verizon is a cybersquatter (as they obviously have no intention of ridiculing themselves with a "...sucks" site, their purpose in registering it is obviously to prevent someone else from using it)?


    ---
    "They have strategic air commands, nuclear submarines, and John Wayne. We have this"
  • And how about the Supreme Court? You didn't vote for any of them. Nor the Secretary of State. Nor the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Nor the Attorney General. Not any federal judge. Not the head of the FDA. None of those are elected positions.

    It's exactly the same deal. You may not have directly elected the rulers of WIPO but you DID vote for the people who voted to join WIPO and agreed to its rules and regulations. And if you don't like it you can vote other people in to have us leave.
  • Ok, so maybe I'm a cynical bastard, but this couldn't *possibly* have anything to do with the upcoming anal probe that the US Congress is planning for ICANN, would it?

    Nah... Silly me.

    - Sig me baby, eight to the bar!...
  • you also probably meant to write '#undef', too. :P
    </pedantic>

    "If ignorance is bliss, may I never be happy.
  • As others have pointed out, it's already registered, but "wiporeallysucks.com" isn't. Nor is "wipo-really-sucks.com", "guinessreallysucks.com", or "guiness-really-sucks.com." It's probably a safe bet that Wal-Mart, Lockheed-Martin, etc. haven't registered all the permutations of mixing their name and the word "sucks" in with various adjectives and/or body parts/other disgusting items. Hell, you can probably get "wiposucksthegoatsexman.com."

    --
  • I always thought that large disclaimers would do the trick.

    If I ran a site (Xsucks.com) and put a large disclaimer at the top, saying something on the lines of "This site is not affiliated with X, please visit X.com if you wish to see the real site", then any argument that the site would be confused with the real thing would surely fall over, as long as your disclaimer wouldn't be missed (after all, "read this before installing" type agreements have been enforced before, so a "read this before viewing the webpage" would certainly hold water).

    Likewise, I've always thought that companies with like names, but totally different businesses, should offer links to each other's sites. If you remember Prince vs Prince, where a British computer consultancy was sued by the American sportswear manufacturer for Prince.com (and you can see who won by visiting). The current prince.com would not lose any business by pointing visitors to the site they might really be wanting.

    I think I'm just saying, "be nice".
  • wipo.reallyfuckingsucks.net
  • Ooops.

    That should read
    wipo.really.fuckingsucks.net [fuckingsucks.net]

    There used to be more, but Laurence Godfrey [google.com] got pissed at my site and threatened to sue, call the FBI, etc.

    Well the FBI called, and I was forced by them to take down half of the content.

    Append the url with old_index.php3 and you can see the origial content. I submitted the story to Slashdot under YRO but it was rejected as usual. I have a very funny log of emails from Prof. G.
  • In any case, what about Primus' website? www.primussucks.com ? It's the official band site, which makes it pretty flack-proof, and a good case in favor of how stupid legal maneuvers like this really are.
    Does not really apply here ...Primus did not make Primussucks.com to protect themselves ... they did it because a) Primus has always introduced themselves by saying "Hi. We're Primus, and we suck!" and b) some other company already had the Primus.com domain On the other hand, the band Primus might actually have a case if they claimed that only they owned the phrase "Primus Sucks"..
  • [root@ranger /proc]# whois wiposucks.com [whois.crsnic.net]

    Whois Server Version 1.3

    Domain names in the .com, .net, and .org domains can now be registered
    with many different competing registrars. Go to http://www.internic.net
    for detailed information.

    Domain Name: WIPOSUCKS.COM
    Registrar: NETWORK SOLUTIONS, INC.
    Whois Server: whois.networksolutions.com
    Referral URL: www.networksolutions.com
    Name Server: GATE.TELLURIAN.NET
    Name Server: NS1.INFOLOOK.COM
    Updated Date: 05-aug-1999

    >>> Last update of whois database: Wed, 7 Feb 2001 11:19:21 EST

    The Registry database contains ONLY .COM, .NET, .ORG, .EDU domains and
    Registrars.
  • Its an alternative. ... do use blows vs sucks. Or maybe bites....

    ---
  • So...what you're saying is that Verizon is a cybersquatter (as they obviously have no intention of ridiculing themselves with a "...sucks" site, their purpose in registering it is obviously to prevent someone else from using it)?

    Several companies have already done this. After a particularly nasty episode with non-functioning ATMs, branches that closed way too early, and a paycheck what Needed Depositing, I found out that citizensbanksucks.com had already been taken by, you guessed it, Citizens Bank. Guess they feel that acquiring the name instead of playing Rock'em Sock'em Lawyers makes them look better or something.

    Funny, though -- in their haste to get that .com registered, they missed .net and .org... (have at 'em!)

    Personally, I think that the trend will move towards "-blows" as the Suffix of Choice for naysayers. If we can change trendy prefixes at the drop of a hat (i-, e-, x- ...) why not angry suffixes? -blows, -bites, -chews... and all with the same great oral fixation we've come to know and love from -sucks. Grab those domains now, kids!

  • In my opinion, the biggest contrast that I see between this decision and the decision regarding guinness-sucks.com is that in this case, the person holding the potentially infringing domain name actually responded to the WIPO panel and the Complainants contentions. Unfortunately, I don't see much chance of winning a dispute if one doesn't respond to it.
  • I guess my point is that email providers have been blocking their trademarks from use for years, and some even block potentially offensive words altogether. I wouldn't have even gotten "sucks" past some webmail providers. No one seems to have gotten upset over intellectual freedom in these cases, at least not enough to post a story on /. Considering email usernames constitute a large part of people's identities on the net, why shouldn't we be able to use any username we please so long as it's not already in use? I've heard all the arguments for potential abuse (I work for a webmail provider) but I'm still not convinced.

    The reason why no one cares is that no one has to use Hotmail, or any other webmail shite. You can easily register your own domains and give yourself any email addr you want.

    DNS, though, is a different beast alltogether. While it is possible to set up your own root DNS servers, it's kind of pointless since no one will use them. Thus, we are stuck using the current DNS system, which means that domain dispute resolution policies affect us all.

  • How about adding .sucks to the top level domains. Surely that'd clear up any confusion. Wouldn't it?
  • Small correction: That was *not* Nelson Mandela. Mandela has a very solid head on his sholders. Rather, it was current South African president Thabo Mbeki. He did indeed get the idea that HIV does not cause AIDS from the web and unscrupulous doctors therein.

    - Rev.
  • Ok, now should slashdot go after www.slashdotsucks.net [slashdotsucks.net], or [slashdotsucks.org]www.slashdotsucks.com [slashdotsucks.com]?

    Think about it.
  • Too bad I didnt use the "preview" button. Forgot to close that </a> html tag
  • Is that they are Getting It (TM). It just takes some longer than others. Of course, now that they are being flamed for changing their minds on this, they will have no incentive to do so in other areas.

    How did this troll get published, anyway?

  • Honestly, I have not seen few situations in which a domain name holder should have one. [...] the domain holder did not even bother to challenge the complain.

    I take your point about people not challenging complaints, but surely you don't think that a www.guinnesssucks.com is cybersquatting if it complains about guinness? I'd've thought that was a legitimate use for that name.
  • the fact that it could be supporting the IRA is a point in its favor.

    I don't think Guinness does support the IRA. However, I don't think it would be a point in their favour if they did. The IRA isn't about republicanism any more, it's just about terrorism and gang warfare. If you wish to support the Irish republican cause, may I suggest donating to the SDLP [www.sdlp.ie] instead, as they won't ever blow innocent civilians up. As far as the Northern Ireland question, I don't think the British government could care less, it would happily hand NI to the Republic of Ireland if it would solve the problem (which it wouldn't - a majority of NI residents are unionist).


    [This may be slightly OT: moderate me down then. I'm on 100 Karma, but dropping below that will be no big deal. The real big deal will be when I drop below 0x40]

  • those limeys ain't got no friggin' business in Eire.

    sigh. Another person who thinks the troubles would be solved by a united Ireland. There are very few English people living in Northern Ireland; however, 60% of the NI population are unionists and want NI to remain part of Britain. So if the Republic of Ireland owned Northern Ireland, the problem would still be just as bad.


    Hopefully one day people will be past caring and the two communities can integrate. Tiocfaidh an là, to steal a phrase.

  • Is "Póg mo th-On" a standard phrase, or a translation of the French?
  • But this case is based entirely in the US.

    Not quite. Anyone running a DNS in any country can make www.lockheedmartinsucks.com point to whatever IP address they like. The US Govt only has the power to regulate this if foreigners choose to point their DNS servers at a root server in the US.


    Hence WIPO can disagree with the US government. If it wants to, WIPO can say that a.root-servers.net violates international treaties. If it wants to, WIPO can rule that member countries should block traffic to a.root-servers.net. So a significant number of people would be able to see 216.182.45.14 at "www.lockheedmartinsucks.com", no matter what the US government wanted.

  • The comment about being a French speaker in your bio is extremely funny.
  • A Guinness buyer is usually an impluse buyer, who buys this overpriced luxury beer to be perceived as a snob, an Irish fanatic or to piss off his friends.

    That is probably why you bought it that one time in your life, but some people actually buy it because they enjoy it.

    Really, there are many other, better, cheaper stouts out there, if you don't want to make your own.

    There are many different stouts out there, and if you really knew anything about beer, you'd know (good) beers are pretty unique, and there's more that just 'stouts' and 'Bud'. Murphys is good also, but is not a "cheaper stout", it's a different beer.
  • by WinDoze ( 52234 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @10:42AM (#448541)
    "...it is likely (given the relative ease by which websites can be entered) that such users will choose to visit the sites, if only to satisfy their curiosity. Respondent will have accomplished his objective of diverting potential customers of Complainant to his websites by the use of domain names that are similar to Complainant's trademark."

    I can accomplish the same thing by registering www.pinkelephants.com and sprinkling the HTML with the phrase "Lockheed Martin Sucks!". Search engines do not search only URL's. THey'd be pretty damn useless if that were the case.
  • Mmmm... unelected, unaccountable UN bureaucracies are exactly what I want running my life. Not. Why are we part of the UN again?

    - - - - -
  • Like I said, why are we a part of it again? :)

    - - - - -
  • First, it generally takes adding the word "sucks" before the dot com to get to the offending web page in question, so the odds of accidentally coming across it are slim.

    Second, your over-generalization is disgusting. May as well say that "only the mentally retarded use Windows". - forgetting about and offending the millions of people that use the OS of Doom to play video games [does Linux have Halflife or Baldur's Gate?], office work and so forth. People who drink Guiness, unlike people who use M$ products, are usually doing so for a reason. These are mine:

    Yeungling sucks ass in any flavor. It fills the gap between real beer and the beer you see on TV. Guiness is opaque and thick. It's like bread, only better. The taste is decent, and the availability over a comparable beer [Murphy's] is much greater in Pittsburgh- and Guiness is *cheaper* here. It's one of the few beers I can actually finish without feeling sick- I drink it because I like it, not because I'm an Irish fanatic [I'm not- I'm of German decent], or to piss of my friends [when I want to do that, I drink Zima], and the fact that it could be supporting the IRA is a point in its favor.

    In any case, what about Primus' website? www.primussucks.com ? It's the official band site, which makes it pretty flack-proof, and a good case in favor of how stupid legal maneuvers like this really are.
  • by glitch! ( 57276 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @10:57AM (#448545)
    Unfortunately, microsoftsucks.com *would* be "confusingly similar"...
  • Maybe a better thought would be -


    "How many DNS (the word 'server' is implicit in the use of DNS here, FYI) are on U.S. soil, and are therefore subject to US judiciary control?"


    It is not beyond imagining that some DNS operators might choose a different set of servers as "root". There's nothing to prevent this. You should try setting up BIND some time, this might help you understand.

  • Lost, I think, in the complaints about WIPO is the fact that none of this will matter very much until it is fully tested in the court of international (or, at least, U.S.) law.


    As has been proven time and time again, baseball free-agency being a good example, no matter how consistent or inconsistent your system is, it is still subject to revocation through the lengthy court process.


    Eventually, there probably will be a ban on 'sucks' domains (because of corporate-funded decision-makers) or there will not be (because the free-speech issue is held to be prominent). And if some bodies don't like it, perhaps there will be country-specific '.sucks' registrars...

  • IANAL, and I'd really like to say that neither WIPO nor MS could touch your hypothetical sucks.com for selling the "microsoft" subdomain. But I have a suspicion that MS could argue "bad faith" against you, and win. Saying Microsoft Sucks is free speech (not to mention accurate, and on Slashdot pretty redundant). Registering such a domain would also be free speech. But, by attempting to sell a domain (or subdomain) which contains the name "Microsoft", you are trying to make money off the name of someone else's company. In other words, you have appropriated their trademark in an attempt to commercialize your own product. So that's bad faith.

    What will be interesting is, given a company FOO, if Register.com [register.com] receives money by selling the domain foosucks.com, are they acting in bad faith? Probably not, given they are an objective, flat-fee service, neither judging nor upcharging particular domain names based on the commercial desirability thereof. But if enough companies threaten and pressure them, and force them into legal expenditures, they just might cave and start filtering against *sucks" and so forth, just to stay unharassed.

    --

  • the domain holders, a fan club, won their arbitration. http://www.cnn.com/2001/TECH/internet/02/07/spring steen.net/index.html
  • where one can look up trademarks (federal/state)?

  • You can't renamed pets that contain the words "osi" in them.

    I was trying to rename something "Rosie" and it wasn't taking it.

    >since I couldn't have my "hotmail_sucks_ass" username.

    Why didn't you just pick "hotmale_sucks_ass@hotmail.com" ? ;-) (PROBABLY not the imagry you want to connotate, but it would of worked)
  • What's wrong with "osi" by the way?

    Origin Systems, Inc. [uo.com], is the company that produces Ultima Online [uo.com]
  • A good point. Or it would be if you'd bothered to check if anyone had registered slashdotsucks.org.

    Nice try anyway ;)
  • ICQ does the same thing. You cannot set your email address associated with your ICQ account to anything that has "icq" in it. It fails silently. I usually give out email addresses that reflect the source in them and it took me a long time to figure out why ICQ was not letting me set my email address.
  • So, why doesn't somebody create a .sucks.[something] second level domain (e.g sucks.cx or something), and then allow the myriad $(foo)sucks.com wannabes registers $(foo).sucks.cx

    sucks.com is unfortunately already registered, but...
  • Neither of these gov't sanctioned monopolies are entitlements. Read the fucking law. It says it is intended to encourege publication of works, ideas, and services. Not an entitlement. Not something one is born with but a conditional grant given to those who work to build a reputation that they can later trademark, those who invent not only whatever crosses their mind but something further along from what has been invented, and those who produce a document of sorts as it is clear by having produced it that work has occured.

    As for your apathy toward abuses, well thanks for nothing...
  • It is not my job or anyone else's to make sure you get your ad revenue or your customers don't stumble upon me in a drunken stupor.

    Maybe they stumbled upon the vatican's site while searching for authentic Irish beer mugs. Do yoou sue the vatican? (I would just for good measure, payback for Inquisitional Tendencies and all0

    However, if I went and poisoned the DNS cache the way Alternic.com took over InterNIC way back when, that would be grounds for a trademark suit. How far it would get who knows, but there's something clearly amiss there. Granted I agree with the Alternic guy, protest and all.
  • by smoondog ( 85133 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @10:42AM (#448558)
    Trademark law (in the United States at least) exists for the citizen's protection, not the corporation's.

    Companies use trademarks to defend thier interests. Saying trademarks are for the citizens protection is a little like saying patents are consumer protection. Even if the laws are written such that trademark law is as above, that is certainly *not* the case in the real world. Trademarks protect identity, product names and differentiate companies and they are viciously defended to increase revenue. They don't give a hoot about citizen protection as long as the citizens are shopping with them.


    -Moondog

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @10:38AM (#448559) Homepage Journal
    And can blow me. I didn't vote for any of those fuckers.

    I'm wondering... if the guy with the .sucks.com domain started selling names like microsoft.sucks.com and apple.sucks.com, could the WIPO do anything about it?

    Just curious.

  • Assuming that,
    • www.suckssucks.com was a site dedicated to complaints about how www.sucks.com operated, and that
    • Dan Parisi chose to contact the WIPO to shut down the service.

    Of course, Dan would laugh at the humor ...

  • How can you truely tell me that these WIPO rules aren't a direct violation of the first amendment??

    The WIPO is not an organization of the government of the United States, and is therefore not bound by the Constitution of the United States. If the WIPO were a U.S. government agency, you'd have a point. The first amendment doesn't really apply here.

  • We'll you shouldn't be - you still haven't paid your back membership. Oh and you might remember that the majority of corporate interests that WIPO backs are American corporate interests.

    bye bye karma
  • There may be a surface similarity, but ultimately we're talking about two different things here. Hotmail, and other providers of free web-based mail, own their systems. They are under no obligation to provide services to anyone, no matter how much we may think we have a God-given right to digital communications. If some email provider decided to restrict use of their systems to people whose favourite colour was pink, they'd be perfectly within their rights to do so. Webmail is ultimately a private resource.

    The Domain Name System, on the other hand, belongs to the net population at large. It is therefore a public resource. Public resources are administered by public organizations, and they must respect the rights of their users, because it is the users as a body who have an inherent right to control the resources. With webmail, it's the organization who is actually providing the service that has the rights to control the resources.

    The difference is subtle, but vast.

  • Contrary to popular belief, that was Stalin, not Hitler. Upon hearing "How many legions does the Pope have?", Pius XII answered: "Please inform my son Josef that he will meet my armies in eternity."

    OK, so mark me off-topic ...

    -Martin

  • Too lazy to hop over to Google, eh?

    http://www.uspto.gov/

    -Martin

  • Actually, since Slashdot is at slashdot.ORG, and not .com or .net, it is not "confusingly similar".
    Now if you registered slashdotsucks.org, Cmdr Taco would be all over you with his crack suicide legal team.
  • From their homepage:

    About WIPO

    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.



    My understanding is that basically it's a UN deal and works like the UN. Members are appointed to a panel who votes. I'm assuming the Super-7 or whatever they're called control the majority of what goes on in WIPO.

    Mordred

  • That's why I registered trulysucks.net [trulysucks.net]. I can run my Warner Brothers sucks site as warnerbrothers.trulysucks.net [trulysucks.net] and there's nothing ICANN or the WIPO can do about it, since the "trademark" bit is in the third-level (and their policies only apply to the second-level domain, not what you put in it).

    Anyone who wants to slag off a trademark holder is welcome to a DNS delegation in the domain (just send me an email); it's not a commercial thing at all.

    -robin

  • "A Guinness buyer is usually an impluse buyer, who buys this overpriced luxury beer to be perceived as a snob, an Irish fanatic or to piss off his friends. "

    Hang on a mo, this might be true in America, but Guinness isn't aimed at America. It's neither overpriced or a luxury in Britain/Ireland where most of the sales are, it's just an everyday pub drink.

    Over here, Mexican Sol and American Budweiser (not the proper Czech stuff) fall into the category of "overpriced luxury beer", but I'm not xenophobic enough to believe that applies eveywhere.
  • Honestly, I have not seen few situations in which a domain name holder should have one. The reason the WIPO rules this way is because the domain name holder is almost ALWAYS a cybersquatter--someone just holding the domain name so they can sell it at an absurd rate. The problem is that /. proclaims headlines like GUINESS TAKES AWAY GUINESSSUCKS.COM, ETC FROM INDIVIDUAL and no one here bothers to read the fine print that the domain holder did not even bother to challenge the complain.
  • People should have a forum for disputing issues. If the disputes are not refuted, then the dispute is won.
  • I take your point about people not challenging complaints, but surely you don't think that a www.guinnesssucks.com is cybersquatting if it complains about guinness?

    No, it is not. That's why Lockheed lost its complaint. But the guinesssucks site was not a site for complaining about guiness. It was purchased by someone for the sole purpose of selling it to guiness at a higher rate. That is cybersquatting.

  • by smack.addict ( 116174 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @11:24AM (#448576)
    Whine, bitch and moan left and right about the WIPO without even considering the arguments... So fucking typical.

    READ THE FUCKING DECISIONS!!!!!!!!

    In the Guiness case, the Responded was someone blatently trying to make money off of selling the domains to Guiness! HE DID NOT EVEN BOTHER TO FILE A RESPONSE!!!!!!!!!!

    In the Lockheed-Martin case, there was a very well-reasoned response and the decision on the part of the WIPO itself was very well written and very well reasoned.

    Different situations, different results.

  • It is relatively simple to have a federal claim dismissed based on the fact that they contractually agreed to arbitration.

    If you just give up, you lose. If you fought, you probably could have won very easily.

  • You mention jurist shopping. That issue came up at the ICANN board meeting in November. But, in court, the plaintiff gets to choose the forum. It's nothing new.

    You say that 80% of the disputes are ruled in favor of the trademark holder. But, what percentage of that are defendants that never respond?

  • by www.sorehands.com ( 142825 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @12:08PM (#448588) Homepage
    A sucksite does not infringe on trademark, it properly uses it.

    A trademark is to properly identify a company, product, or service.

    If you use Xsucks.com, where X is a trademark, you are properly identifying what sucks. If you have mattelsucks.com [mattelabuse.com], you are properly identifying the trademark Mattel, a company identification mark, sucks. It can also come under fair use.

    Now under the anti-SLAPP statutes [casp.net] available in many states, the case can dismissed fairly quickly. Also, it has been ruled that trademark cannot be used to silence critism or commentary. See Mattel v. MCA. (the Barbiegirl case).

  • Amazing! I had never thought about it, about this *sucks.com, but just after reading this article I started trying:
    www.boeingsucks.com
    www.airbussucks.com
    www.intelsucks.com
    www.amdsucks.com
    www.microsoftsucks.com
    All of them are registered, altought none of the above have any content at all.
    I was happy to see that even a www.linuxsucks.com exists!

    Disclaimer to the moderators: I am not saying that Linux sucks, I like Linux, only that I am happy to see that a linuxsucks.com exists because it means that to someone it is important enough to start battling against it; I hope you get my point.
  • by Pinball Wizard ( 161942 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @12:39PM (#448596) Homepage Journal
    however we would be happy to sell you...

    slashdotsucks.tv
    myslashdotsucks.org
    e-slashdotsucks.org
    aboutslashdotsucks.org
    slashdotsucksonline.org
    slashdotsuckscentral.org

    Bugger off, Richard.

  • Citizens in the United States have freedom of speech, religion, and press only if it complies with the following subclauses:
    There are 456,326,563,743,445 subclauses, do you want me to list them all?
    Seriously, though... How can you truely tell me that these WIPO rules aren't a direct violation of the first amendment??

    --
  • by InfinityWpi ( 175421 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @10:38AM (#448605)
    WIPOsucks.com, and see how they react to it...
  • by Wavicle ( 181176 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @11:21AM (#448609)
    Is this guy just registering a lot of sucks domains? The owner of wiposucks.com was the defendant who won the case here.
  • What do other slashdotters think?

    I think this is more likely so that stupid people don't get email from "hotmail_support@hotmail.com" saying "Please send us your password, we need to fix our database," rather than from any motive of squashing your right to say that they suck.

  • by Daveamadid ( 200369 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @10:45AM (#448622) Homepage
    Yer a lil late, sorry...

    Registrant:
    Secaucus Group (WIPOSUCKS-DOM)
    295 Greewich Street Suite 184
    New York, New York 10007
    USA

    Domain Name: WIPOSUCKS.COM

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

    Record last updated on 30-Aug-2000.
    Record expires on 19-Apr-2001.
    Record created on 19-Apr-1999.
    Database last updated on 7-Feb-2001 00:54:09 EST.

    Domain servers in listed order:

    NS1.INFOLOOK.COM 216.182.45.2
    GATE.TELLURIAN.NET 216.182.1.1


  • by Paladin128 ( 203968 ) <aaron AT traas DOT org> on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @11:23AM (#448627) Homepage
    They realistically couldn't do anything about it... the 'microsoft' in 'microsoft.sucks.com' is a sub-domain. The owner of the domain name, 'sucks.com', can make any number of sub-domains, and do not have to buy or register them, but just make proper DNS entries. In order to give 'microsoft.sucks.com' to Microsoft, they would have to give 'sucks.com' to microsoft as well.

    Unfortunately, the WIPO is almost stupid enough to do it.

    "Evil beware: I'm armed to the teeth and packing a hampster!"

  • #define tongue_in_cheek

    There goes my plan for my vacuum cleaner promotional fansites:

    http://-really-sucks.net

    #udefine tongue_in_cheek

  • Or, I should say that I visit:

    http://people-who-don't-preview-html-tags.sucks. co m

    D'oh

    I meant to write:

    http://insert-vacuum-vendor>-really-sucks.n et

  • If these parody sites were just a little more creative, they wouldn't need to deal with this kind of BS. Check out indenture.ac [indenture.ac] (formerly known as bigtimeconsulting.com) for a great example.
  • Yow! I got blocked by my companies filtering software - apparently microsoftsucks.com is "tasteless". Maybe, but probably only to Bill and Steve.

    Web proxy, here I come!


    -------

  • Once again, the morons over at butt-WIPO never cease to amaze me. At least they won't confuse my favorite Verizon sucks site [verizoneatspoop.com] with Verizon themselves.
  • I cannot imagine what manner of confusion could lead someone to write that headline for this story.


    "Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto"
    (I am a man: nothing human is alien to me)

  • Major Premise: ICANN is incorporated in the United States and as such its decisions are to U.S. law

    Minor Premise: The UDRP is an ICANN-issued policy.

    Conclusion: The UDRP is subject to U.S. law

    Major Premise: The Network Solutions root DNS servers are in the U.S.

    Minor Premise: Items within the U.S. are subject to U.S. law.

    Conclusion: The current DNS root servers for .com, .org, and .net are subject to U.S. law.

    Now, if you want to build overseas root servers to replace the NSI ones, fine. Nobody's stopping you (although you might ask AlterNIC about your odds of getting people to use your servers). In the meantime, the U.S. Supreme Court has final jurisdiction over the core DNS root servers in operation today.
  • The reason that WIPO is the center of all these cases and the root of so much bad fortune is that they are blatantly unfair to individuals. WIPO rules against domain name defendants 80% of the time. This makes it an easy for any company or corporation with a domain dispute to take it to WIPO with the expecation of getting any and everything they ask for. This is not nearly such a problem with the other domain arbitrator organizations
  • I thought LockheedMartinsucks.com was their division that created the intake for their jet engines. If ever I would have agreed with WIPO . . . :)
  • What about 'WipoMyAss.com'?

  • by jetgirl25 ( 261741 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @11:15AM (#448664)
    This may only be slightly related to the trademark protection story, so feel free to moderate me off-topic. :-)

    I encountered a similar situation to the "sucks" domains, when trying to get a Hotmail account username. (Yes, Hotmail/MSN is evil, but this was years ago when I was a newbie). After trying a bunch of usernames and finding them all taken, I started to express my ire and frustration by trying variations of "hotmailsucks". They had taken steps to protect their trademarked name against such usage, by not allowing any username to have the word "Hotmail" in it. Pretty smart on their part I suppose, since I couldn't have my "hotmail_sucks_ass" username. (I eventually had to drop the hotmail to end up with a lovely email address that I was embarrassed to share with my relatives. :-) ). They have even made any variation of "hotmail" a reserved or ineligible word that you cannot use in your account's personal information, so you can't have it appear on your outgoing messages. Their terms of use [msn.com] say you can't use their services in an attempt to be defamatory etc.

    I guess my point is that email providers have been blocking their trademarks from use for years, and some even block potentially offensive words altogether. I wouldn't have even gotten "sucks" past some webmail providers. No one seems to have gotten upset over intellectual freedom in these cases, at least not enough to post a story on /. Considering email usernames constitute a large part of people's identities on the net, why shouldn't we be able to use any username we please so long as it's not already in use? I've heard all the arguments for potential abuse (I work for a webmail provider) but I'm still not convinced.

    What do other slashdotters think?

    Jetgirl
  • To paraphrase Hitler talking about the Pope

    "Just how many root DNS server's does the US Supreme Court have?"

    And I suppose the US Supreme Court is going to tell root DNS servers hosted overseas how to run them? Maybe in your USian-centric wet dream.
  • I can see why the two decisions are obviously different; your average Guinness buyer is a very different sort than your average LockheedMArtin buyer.

    A Guinness buyer is usually an impluse buyer, who buys this overpriced luxury beer to be perceived as a snob, an Irish fanatic or to piss off his friends. Really, there are many other, better, cheaper stouts out there, if you don't want to make your own. Might I suggest Youngling, or even Murphys (and when you buy Murphy's you're not supporting the IRA).

    A LockheedMartin uyer is usually acting as an agent of government, with millions to spend on expensive airplanes, and they won't be swayed by a false web page, unlike the drunken sot of a Guinness buyer.

    Pretty simple, when you think about it.
  • by joecool12321 ( 313452 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @11:38AM (#448684)

    This outcome isn't necessarily breaking with the tradition of WIPO. In the case of Guinness [wipo.int] it is stated that: "The Panel does not infer that "-sucks" domain names are immune from scrutiny as being confusingly similar to trademarks to which they are appended. Each case must be considered in light of the facts presented. "

    In the Guinness case, the Respondent never responded, and was so unable to present facts affecting the outcome of the decision. Time and again, the panel says, "In the absence of a Response..."

    In the Wal-Mart [wipo.int] case, again the Respondent never Responed. And he also was attempting to sell the domain name, which constitutes bad faith. This is not the case in the Lockheed decision.

    In the Lockheed decision, the Respondent responded in a timely manner and argued in a well-thought out manner.

    It's nice to see some people still listen to logic.

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