Does A Movie From 1983 Give MGM Permanent Control Over The Domain Wargames.com?

from the would-you-like-to-play-a-game? dept

The domain name arbitration game is a tricky one, especially if you're going up against a big company. Unlike the legal system, the system for domain name arbitration is... well... somewhat arbitrary. You're bound by the rulings of arbitrators who don't have to work off of any precedent and often make decisions without clear reasoning. Rogers Cadenhead, a Techdirt reader, is apparently going to blog about his ongoing domain arbitration battle with MGM over the domain wargames.com. MGM claims that due to the 1983 movie War Games, they own the right to the domain in question. Cadenhead, however, has a decent argument against that. He's owned the domain since 1998, and clearly has not been using it for squatting purposes (the easiest way to lose your domain name in an arbitration suit). Instead, he's spent some time setting up an online business selling computer games that have something to do with a war theme. Given the history of the domain name arbitration game, where the big company almost always wins, the deck is stacked against Cadenhead -- but in the meantime, it seems that MGM's suit may have just helped pump up extra attention for his site.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    identicon
    Archstroke, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 11:23am

    This is just another example of a big corporation muscling a smaller competitor out of the way. I say, all the more power to Cadenhead. Good luck in the legal fight.

     

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      itanshi, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 11:41am

      Re:

      actually, i heard they are making a sequel of wargames so... hmm

      source: http://www.cinematical.com/2006/09/07/mgm-plugs-five-new-sequels/

       

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      Dosquatch, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 1:13pm

      Re:

      This is just another example of a big corporation muscling a smaller competitor out of the way.

      It's worse than that - the smaller guy isn't a competitor. He's not making movies, nor is he selling anything related to the movie in question. In short, he's not trying to bank off of MGM's intellectual property or offer anything directly competing. MGM is, quite simply, being a bully in this situation.

       

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      Ricky the Klown Master, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 8:17am

      Damn It that SUX!!

      I am upset by this because I recently sought to name my Personal website "Killer Klowns from Outer Space," but that too has been distributed by MGM. I feel as though the walls of my life are crashing down all around me..

       

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    glitch, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 12:23pm

    why not just change the suffix ??

    wargames.net...wargames.org..an easy soluion

    although i don't believe MGM has an inherent right to wargames...

    what happens if the US Dept of Defense decides they want that domain..can they take it by eminent domain ??? lol

     

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      Korashime, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 2:20pm

      Re: why not just change the suffix ??

      "what happens if the US Dept of Defense decides they want that domain..can they take it by eminent domain ???"

      The DoD has it's own top level domain (.mil).

      As for eminent domain, I suppose it could be argued that because there is not tangible item, that the concept does not apply. I doubt I would do well in court with that argument though. Probably just as well I'm not a lawyer.

       

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    PhysicsGuy, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 12:29pm

    so my question is this. did mit steal the term wargames when they had "hack offs" so to speak? or were the original hackers from mit the ones who came up with the name wargames?

     

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    Stephen, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 12:37pm

    I thought movies weren't using TitleOfTheMovie.com, but TiTleOfTheMoviemovie.com.

     

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      etrim, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 1:42pm

      Re:

      I'd have to agree wargamesmovie.com should be perfectly acceptable. It's not as if people going to wargames.com wouldn't notice that it isn't in any way related to the movie. Although i'd think MGM could have bought some advertising space at the top of the page cheaply enough.

       

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    jassie, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 12:46pm

    Get over it MGM

    Good for the little guy! Screw MGM. My generation was the only one actually interested in a movie like Wargames. (I was twelve when it came out.) The kids today aren't interested in watching a geeky kid plug up a modem to hack into the Pentagon, so they really aren't protecting anything by hassling this guy.

     

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    WhatThe?!?, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 12:55pm

    Sounds like a

    Don't these guys ever give up? I mean it was 1983 for god's sake! Also, isn't "wargames" and "War Games" kind of dissimilar enough? I was tinkering with a Commodore Vic-20 typing in silly 3k games in BASIC out of Compute's Gazette back then...waaaaayyy long ago!

    [MGM W.O.P.R. to Cadenhead]

    "Would...you...like...to..play... a game?"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 1:12pm

    maybe the arbiter should consider that US copyright specifically states that titles may not be copywrited.

     

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    drj, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 1:27pm

    I just cant believe this domain was actually still available in 1998.

    Maybe there are some good domains left.

     

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    Sanguine Dream, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 1:44pm

    Someone call a whambulance...

    If MGM had rights to wargames.com then they would have said something long before now. This is just a case of someone singing their shoulda coulda wouldas.

    I kinda agree with itanshi. They probably wanted to use the domain for an upcoming sequel but when they went to register it and found out someone else was already using it they got mad and brought in lawyers to figure out how to get it back.

    And glitch I bet the reason the don't want to just change to .org or .net is that they know if they used the site url in an ad most people would just assume a .com and when they typed it in the net surfer would end up at Cadenhead's page. And you best believe that the execs at Cadenhead have somehow translated that possible mistake into "lost revenue".

    Now if I had any power at MGM I'd offer a deal for Mr. Cadenhead. I would offer to buy some ad space on wargames.com and simply put something to the effect of, "If you are looking for the official War Games movie site the click here." And as part of the payment MGM would put up an ad on their site to the effect of, "If you are looking to buy various war simulation games then click here." That way they both come out on top by cross advertising.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 2:06pm

    Why not a more suitable TLD...

    Why is it that in addition to "TRAVEL" and "MUSEUM" currently available, yet somewhat obsure, TLDs a "MOVIE" TLD cannot be added to resolve what will continue to be a problem with movies and video content available on the Internet. Is the Internet user community so hung up on the .COM there are no other considerations? Wouldn't ROCKY49.MOVIE be easier to locate and avoid conflict and confusion?

     

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      Jamie, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 2:40pm

      Re: Why not a more suitable TLD...

      Every time you add another TLD, that is just one more name that a company has to register to protect it's trademark. Adding a .Movie TLD is not a good idea for that reason.
      Think about it. A company such a Wallmart doesn't bother to register the domain Wallmart.Movie a disgruntled customer/employee registers it and then puts up info, or even a video critical of Wallmart.
      The only option Wallmart or any company has, is to register each and every one of the TLDs that pertain to the company. For a big company like Wallmart, that isn't a big deal. For smaller companies, it can get very expensive.

       

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        Jon Warren, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 6:53am

        Re: Re: Why not a more suitable TLD...

        If your small business can't afford to register 5 or even 10 domain names a year it probably isn't a valid business anyway. I don't buy it as an expense issue. I also know very few businesses that register a name with all the tld's. I don't think your concerns are valid. I don't care if there are more or less tld's personally I'm just pointing out that your argument doesn't seem valid to me.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 2:21pm

    Nissan.com

    Go to Nissan.com for information regarding big company trying to muscle out a small guy. the small guy keeps on fighting them!

     

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    Brad, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 2:34pm

    How about a .film?

    A few people already suggested a new TLD, and another one is .film. I don't get why a movie title has to have a dot com at the end of it. All its going to do is host some cheesy flash animation and a Coming Soon written in a font that does a bad job at conveying the genre of the film. A bad trailer w/the option of playing in one of 8 styles like .mov high, .mov low, .mpg high, .mpg low, .wmv high, .wmv low, .ram high, or .ram low. And then as soon as the movie gets release it will display DVD Coming Soon in even worse flash because they fired the first group and outsourced the animation to India.

     

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    paul, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 3:29pm

    In a court case involving "2600 a Hacker Quarterly" and Ford it was ruled that the domain name falls under freedom of Speech. The courts told Ford tough luck. The domain name was fordsucks.com (or something along those lines).

    This guy is clearly within his rights to own that name, he registered it first.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 1:35am

    First come first served...

     

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    identicon
    Myrmidon, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 10:09am

    If he loses...

    If Cadenhead is unfortunate enough to lose this legal battle, then I might suggest a new name for his web site.

    www.Isellwargames-MGMsucks.com

    Sure, it's long, but it'll be easy to remember that MGM sucks. I do hope he wins. I think people here have raised a number of valid and reasonable points about why MGM is in the wrong on this one.

     

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    identicon
    no, Dec 20th, 2006 @ 10:30am

    Ya right

    He who has the most money wins! If Ted Bundy had 1 billion to fight his case in court, he would have walked. Since he had no money, he lost. Simple as that.

    That is the American Way!

     

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