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Utube Sues YouTube 438

An anonymous reader writes "From The Age article: Universal Tube, which sells used machines that make tubes, has said it has lost business because customers have had trouble accessing its site." So now Utube is suing YouTube seeking a cease and desist on the youtube domain. (I wonder if they think Google's pockets might be deeper that the previous owners'.) This again raises the problems of domain names colliding across different industries and countries, and reminds me of the etoys/etoy tussle a few years back. Should domain name simply be exempt from trademark legislation in all countries or is it a legit thing to fight for?"
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Utube Sues YouTube

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  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by RichPowers ( 998637 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @05:48AM (#16686097)
    "Universal Tube, which sells used machines that make tubes..." Well now we know who built the backbone of the Internets
  • this sounds like a simple case of getting publicity by suing a big name!

    meanwhile, on the other news channel, I am suing google for US$1M for no other reason than that Google have more money than me, and thus Google are causing me to feel anxiety about my relative poverty.

    • they should have bought the different incarnations of their domain name a long time ago. People have been buying spelling mistake and phonetic combinations of their domain name like everyone else if they were worried about this years ago like other responsible companies have been doing for a long time. Tough titties.
  • by SnowZero ( 92219 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @05:50AM (#16686113)
    How long before they go after ewetube []?

    I know, that was baaaaad.
  • You have to ask yourself. Whose fame came first? YouTube or Utube?

    If Utube came first, then yes, this is valid if YouTube is exploiting their fame. However, this isn't the case, if I'm not mistaken. YouTube is the one that is famous. Utube is the one that is trying to extort money from YouTube.

    To give another example, imagine if I created a site with a name similar to Microsoft, and whenever someone Googled Microsoft, my domain would come up, and a significant number of people came to me first.
    • To give another example, imagine if I created a site with a name similar to Microsoft, and whenever someone Googled Microsoft, my domain would come up, and a significant number of people came to me first. No, it would be more like if you had a company named Microsort which was founded in 1975 and offered paper sorting services and after the sudden appearence of a software maker named Microsoft your paper sorting company's website got swamped my misdirected traffic. In my view, neither your Microsort nor U
  • The Amazon tribe of Brazil has sued for $1,000,000,000, complaining that they have potentially lost hundreds of dollars in sales of beads and feminine hygiene products while having to deal with dozens of accidental hits to their website.

  • I'd suggest Utube to also sue ntube [], mtube [], cuetube and so on. []
    Because they have customers so deeply confused by mistyping and misreading, they need to get as much cash as possible out of anything in order to remain alive in the market.
  • Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <slashdot AT spad DOT co DOT uk> on Thursday November 02, 2006 @05:58AM (#16686179) Homepage
    Remind me to sue my neighbours for their house being #41. People are always knocking on my door (#41a) instead, wasting my time and causing a loss of earnings.

    After all, it's clearly their fault that people are idiots.
    • Remind me to sue my neighbours for their house being #41.

      I take the fact your neighbours are wealthy and that you're not to be a mere coincidence.
    • Remind me to sue my neighbours for their house being #41. People are always knocking on my door (#41a) instead, wasting my time and causing a loss of earnings.

      Your address numbers are not chosen by you.

      Even if they are, the address has to be something in sequence. I assume that 42 was already taken when your lot was carved out.
  • by Psychotext ( 262644 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @06:01AM (#16686189)
    I can't help thinking that the best thing Google could do on this is provide the server needs for to function whilst being hammered by the people incorrectly hitting the site. I don't think they would have much to complain about after that... though I'm sure that probably wouldn't stop them.
    • Except Google is not in the business of hosting arbitrary vertical ecommerce sites. Properly building such a business unit and entering into open-ended agreements with arbitrary businesses would likely cost more than establishing a legal precedent here.
    • I can't help thinking that the best thing Google could do on this is provide the server needs for to function whilst being hammered by the people incorrectly hitting the site.

      That's a nice gesture, but it isn't what utube really wants.
      "Girkins [Universal Tube's president] has said the company was looking to sell the web address and find a new home for its website."

      Translation: For a lot of money, YouTube can have our domain & we'll pack it up somewhere else.

      utube has a ligitimate problem

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dolly_Llama ( 267016 ) *
      As the market matures, it makes sense to me that business insurance should cover unexpected things like this that impact business.
  • Next they'll come for my site about ovine obstetrics,
    • by Dunbal ( 464142 )
      Next they'll come for my site about ovine obstetrics,

            I am warning ALL of you. Stop. Now!

            Owner of,
            Inquire about our genuine wooden tubular products today!
  • simply adding Google ads to their homepage [].

    Most sites would kill to get this level of traffic, and all these guys [] can think of is getting it stopped.
  • Google should now buy out utube. Certainly a good deal, after all they've been buying out all the dark fiber, now they'd have even more pipes for the intarnets.
  • They're mad because their servers couldn't stand against traffic?
    • They're mad because their servers couldn't stand against traffic?

      If you had a site designed for quick service to 1000 visitors/day that cost perhaps $1000/month, and it ran fine for 10 years, would you be a little pissed when it suddenly got 1,000,000 visitors every hour and fell over?

      What if Slashdot, Digg, Furl, Reddit, Clipmarks, and a few others decided between themselves that they would always refer to your site every other day such that you never get it back online? That is in essence what
  • If I were Google, I'd simply settle the case by purchasing them two DL360's. All they have to do is serve the single homepage 2.2 million times a day (68 mil hits month /30 days a month. As long as the homepage is static content (looks like a bajillion gif images), they'll be fine.

  • Rather than sueing YouTube, why don't they sue the marketing morons who decided that "u" made a good abbreviation for "you" in product names and marketing campaigns? If people didn't automatically skip the y and o then this wouldn't be an issue.
  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @06:49AM (#16686411)
    Hence stuff like .bank, .retail, .energy, .telecom etc etc.

    ooh, the wayback machine is fabulous, here's a rant I wrote years ago about ICANN and the flatness of the current DNS system.

    ICANN fuck up the worlds DNS

    Well, Ok, but if you're going to call yourself ICANN then what do you expect?
    Here's my DNS heirarchy diatribe.

    The DNS is not being used appropriately.

    It's a heirarchical system that has been abused by the registrars to the point where it's effectively a flat naming system; *.com.

    End users should not have access to domains above 3rd or 4th level. First, second and maybe even the third level domains should be reserved exclusively for domain administration purposes.
    Think of it as a filing system. Would you allow users to randomly create directories off root or /usr or even /home? No, only a fuckwit would do that but this is essentially what ICANN are doing. As a responsible administrator you should administer that heirarchy and create areas where users can create and access information in a consistent fashion.

    An example of a managed heirarchy

    You see the kind of thing I mean? Web browser and other software could then make use of the structure of the heirarchy.

    The DNS needs to be re-organised or even just organised. ICANN and the registrars should get off their fat arses and design the heirarchy rather than completely abdicating responsibility and allowing chaos to ensue the way they have done so far.

    A properly designed heirarchy would allow everyone to have their place without all this domain squatting and trademark infringement bullshit.

    The new TLDs that ICANN are proposing will simply cause more chaos. They will not solve anything. ICANN are just abdicating their responsibilities again. Do you really think that the IBMs, Microsofts and Apples of this world will not simply register their names and trademarks in every existing TLD?

    They can, they will and things will only get worse.

    And of course we now have phishing problems as well. Oh happy days.

    • by TorKlingberg ( 599697 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @07:55AM (#16686737)
      I'd just love to type those long addresses all the time.
      • Do you type all of your friends phone numbers into the phone when you're calling them? No, you use directories and searches. So "all the time" is hyperbole.
        • Yes I do, entering 7 digits from memory is faster than popping up contacts typing in the first few letters, selecting the right phone (mobile or home or work etc) I can dial numbers of a phone without looking or much thought, my contact list is solely in the phone for caller ID and voice dialing while driving with a headset.
      • I understand the most recent versions of browsers have this new "bookmarking" features.

        In a few years, there may even be a way to "search" the web.

        So yes I'm being unnecessarily snarky (shut up firefox spellchecker, it IS a real word), but my point is that the minor inconvenience people may have typing a few extra keys (the horror) would be far outweighed by having a logical naming system that is not begging for abuse like the current one does.

    • Ummmm. Who is going to maintain this ontology? And what happens when companies span industries? And what about when they shift industries? Your system is more complicated, more expensive and causes more typing. What's not to love? Let's shift the complexity from the well-established legal/trademark system to every single user of the Internet!
    • Besides the issues pointed out by others, there is another one - what if my company offers more than one type of product? I would be forced to register a zillion domains.
    • by threeturn ( 622824 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @09:39AM (#16687523)
      Let me guess, you sort your socks before putting them away - right?
  • This story (sans lawsuit) hit the big time October 12-ish []. It's amusing to note that while Universal Tube foolishly complained to the press before looking into other opportunities, there's at least one person out there who was paying a bit more attention:

    $ whois

    Donald Tang
    360 W 43rd St, S-8E
    New York, New York 10036
    United States

  • I wouldn't even know about utube if I hadn't accidentally typed it in once while trying to hit youtube. And yes, this was well before this story broke. Gootube should be bargaining for ad / referral fees :P

    I sure hope I don't get sued by someone someday... esp. since I occasionally get inquiries from engineering firms asking if I can build them a torque wrench, presumably after they stumble upon a web page for one of my college projects from the earlier days of the internet... []
  • How much would a link farm pay for the name?

    How much would a YouTube competitor pay to auto-redirect to their site?
  • by 19061969 ( 939279 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @07:32AM (#16686625)
    In a busy boardroom of a company that, well, uses industrial tubes.

    MD: "Ok folks! We need to buy 3 miles of indutrial tubing to complete this job, get paid, and then we can have our bonuses for working hard!"
    Lackey1: "Ok boss! I'll just go to U-Tube to buy the tubing."
    MD: "Good one lackey1. You make sure we place that order by 5.00pm tonight."
    Lackey1 goes off to his computer in his office.
    Lackey1: "Duh, ok! Let's type in and order them tubes."

    Watches screen.

    Lackey1: "Hey! There's a video of some fat guy miming to Shakira!"

    Later, in boardroom at 5.00pm.

    MD: "So did you order those tubes we need to make money and get bonuses?"
    Lackey1: "Duh, no boss! All I could find was videos of people! They didn't sell no tubing!"
    MD: "What the f___?!?!"
    Lackey1: "S'true I tells yah! I typed in and never realised that it was the wrong website. That honestly never occurred to me!"
    MD: "Gahh! We're going to go bust! If only we could have found u-tube's website, we'd have been rich! Wahhhhh! I want my mommy!"
    • by LS ( 57954 )
      We all realize this is a joke, but the problem is not that Universal Tube buyers are getting confused and going to instead. The problem is that's servers are being swamped.

      Sorry to be a party pooper.

  • I think google should just buy the domain from them (they're willing to sell). They gotta be willing to pay a little more than normal though :P Universal Tube is small fry too, making just about 15 million US$ per year.
    Anyway, utube is a better domain than youtube ;P
  • The lawsuit, filed this week in US District Court, asks that YouTube stop using the or pay Universal Tube's cost for creating a new domain. It did not specify damages.

    Creating a new domain? Yikes. I hope google can caught up the 15 bucks for a new one if they lose the suit ...
  • Trademarks are tied to the industry aren't they? So that a company named Sucky Car Parts could co-exist with a company named Sucky Cable Company because the two wouldn't be confused as they are in two different fields. Companies in different areas in different industries are going to collide online, but there is nothing they can do about it. There are limited domains. I think anyone who complains should have to put 'industry' in front of their domain so UTube can start going by and stop wh
    • by Pofy ( 471469 )
      >Trademarks are tied to the industry aren't they?

      Basically yes. They are also tied nationally so even in the same industry you can have two different companies in different countris with the same trademark.
  • Utube has a legitimate problem. What they do not have is a case.

    Although similar, the trademarks are for different types of business/endeavour. YouTube has made no attempt to profit from any confusion caused by the similarity in names.

    In fact, the vast majority of users go to Utube when they really want YouTube. If Utube were a little bit smarter, they could use this opportunity to firmly entrench their brand name and raise public awareness of their business around the world. All it would take would be a

  • What Utube is trying to do is, in my opinion, rubbish. But it brings to mind something regarding TLDs that I always thought was strange. TLDs, by definition, are worthless. All we need is .com. Whenever a new TLD is introduced, people who already own the .com or .org domain rush to purchase the equivalent one under the new TLD. It's just a way to make more money for domain registrars. It doesn't effectively increase the namespace.
  • If a trademarked sound (not even a specific spelling) can be enforced throughout all industries, the good names really will be all taken soon. This lawsuit would make more sense if

    (1) youtube (2005 []) had launched after (2006 []),
    (2) the company behind utube [] was actually named "You Tube", or
    (3) youtube was into manufacturing, and not entertainment.
  • UTube was there ten years before

    Also stop saying "tinfoil hat". For a bunch of geeks who pride themselves on being "accurate", aluminum foil and tin foil are distinctly different things.

    Jesus /. gets dumber everyday.

    OK bitches mod me down now I got tons o' karma.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by geoffspear ( 692508 )
      Also stop saying "tinfoil hat". For a bunch of geeks who pride themselves on being "accurate", aluminum foil and tin foil are distinctly different things.

      Yes, and we also know that aluminum doesn't stop the mindcontrol rays like tin does, asshat*.

      * Sorry for the inaccuracy. I know that "rectum hat" would be more accurate, but it takes longer to type.
  • Nein. Enter: SueTube.
  • Here is a very simple solution to the problem. Make domain names presumably exempt from all trademark laws UNLESS the plaintiff can show, with clear and convincing evidence (a higher burden of proof than the usual preponderance of the evidence standard), that the owner of the domain name registered the domain in question: (1) with the intent, at the time of the registration, to cause confusion between two products, services, entities, or existing trademarks; and (2) the use of the domain is NOT to exerci
  • Well, how long do you think it will be fore UTube sues slashdot for slashdotting its site even more than they were by clueless n00bs trying to find raunchy videos? Well, /. does not have the billions that Google has. But if /. ever grows that big, it too will be sued I think.
  • Should domain name simply be exempt from trademark legislation in all countries or is it a legit thing to fight for?

    No, domain names should not be exempt from trademark claims. They should be treated the same as any other way of presenting oneself.

    Regardless, this is not a trademark case. "Utube" is not in the same business as "Youtube", and "Youtube" is not benefitting from "Utube's" name in any way. Under any common definition, it isn't trademark infringement.

    And while I can sympathize with these peopl
  • "(I wonder if they think Google's pockets might be deeper that the previous owners'.)"

    Or maybe, just maybe, they didn't want to go running to the lawyers first thing to see if something amicable could be worked out? Of couse, if they did go reaching for the lawyers as soon as "" was registered, they'd likely be decried around here as the next SCO.

    But we like youtube, so any enemies of it must be ebil.
  • A domain name and related services like email and web pages should be treated like phone numbers: it's a communication address.
    A domain name is not the company itself ot its products and services!
    If none would sue anyone for having chosen a specific phone number (like 800 numbers), why on earth a domain name should be the object of legal actions?
  • by slapout ( 93640 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @12:05PM (#16689553)
    Redirect everyone coming to their site to a video of an advertisement for utube. And in the description say "if you would like to purchase our product, click here". Then people who are really looking for youtube will get there (and see a utube ad). And people who are looking for utube will think they're just watching a utube ad before entering the utube site. Problem solved.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.