How Could MySpace.co.uk Have Been 'Abusively' Registered Six Years Before MySpace Existed?

from the time-warp dept

Arbitration rulings over domain name disputes sometimes have hard to understand results. Take, for example, the fact that MySpace has now won the right to the MySpace.co.uk domain. The arbitrator found that the domain name was an "abusive registration," despite the fact that the owner had registered it in 1997, six years before MySpace existed. However, by setting up a parked page and putting ads on it, the arbitrator found that the registration was apparently retroactively abusive. This seems open to rather widespread abuse. If you want to own someone else's domain name, all you have to do is build a bigger company based on that name and then point to their parked page and demand they hand it over?


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  1.  
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    Neil, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 5:07pm

    this sounds fine, same rules are used with trade marks. You have to activly use them. Myspace activly uses the name, unlike some lazzy ass that has been sitting on a domain name doing nothing with it for 10+ years.

    let this be a lesson to all lazzy asses out there, if you constantly do nothing people will sho up and take your shit.

     

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  2.  
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    Anon, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 5:19pm

    Nothing wrong

    The guy was a cyber squatter, I think the ruling was fair. If the owner was actively using the website, then there would be reason to be up in arms. The internet really needs to be purged of squatters like him that do nothing but grab as many names as they can, plastering them with ads hoping that someday someone will pay big.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 5:48pm

    I agree with the above posters. If it had been some guy's blog or just pet project site it would be different, but from TFA it seems it was just another ad farm. Surprised that one lasted as long as it did, so I think i'll take a journey on the Wayback Machine and find out what was on it when it was first purchased.

    Edit: NM, the guy blocked the site via robot.txt so it isn't on the Wayback Machine.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 6:12pm

    All you have to do is not be a linkfarming squatter asshole. Damn right its abusive--its abusing the freaking internet by spamming it with trash.

     

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    Sea Man, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 6:23pm

    Not a "bigger" company, just a "legitimate" company. I think the ruling was fair.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 6:26pm

    ooh ooh ooh

    Ban Domain names altogether! That'll solve this problem but good.

    http://64.233.169.147 it!

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 6:27pm

    "...abusing the freaking internet by spamming it with trash." You mean like MySpace?

     

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    Kitsune, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 6:31pm

    M'no.

    I don't understand how you all can agree with this. MySpace is nothing but spam in itself. If someone BOUGHT the name, SIX years before MySpace existed, then I think they have the right to keep it, despite it's usage or not.

    It was eleven years ago. Six years before MySpace even existed. Personally, I don't think this was fair, albeit the fact the buyer wasn't using it.

     

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  9.  
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    Iron Chef, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 6:31pm

    Michael Januik Fan

    If you've been on TD for a while, you may know, I am generally someone who enjoys sharing experiences of great companies and great products, along with the occasional idea for others to implement.

    So tonight, I humbly submit for your approval, Januik 2005 Merlot.

    Wow. What a fantastic wine. Seriously. There's a discrepancy- Either 148 or 248 cases were produced. Either way, it's in limited supply. I bought a case when it was at $28 a bottle and sent it out to friends and family. Now it's $40 a bottle.

    If your ever in Redmond WA, be sure to stop by the Januik Winery for a tour. Who says you need to go to UW to be a good influence in society? This should be on Woot.com


    Here's the specs:
    Klipsun Vineyard, Red Mountain
    Our 2004 Klipsun Vineyard Merlot is a wine we think measures up to previously acclaimed vintages, including the 2004, 2003 and 2002 (rated by Wine Advocate 90+, 94 and 93 respectively). With only 148 cases of this beauty produced, chances are it won’t last long. Rich and lush, ripe and juicy, this is a fruit-forwarded wine scented with raspberry, chocolate and vanilla. What’s not to like about Merlot this seductive?

     

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  10.  
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    boomhauer (profile), Jan 30th, 2008 @ 6:38pm

    seriously?

    So what if this dude's "business" was a traffic harvesting parking page... is that more or less legit than myspace? according to whom, the business legitimacy police? So since he was doing this before the other myspace.com came into existence, why isnt myspace.com basically stealing from him?

    If you writeoff people as squatters and justify taking away their rights, dont be surprised when your rights are the next to go. scary stuff.

     

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  11.  
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    boomhauer (profile), Jan 30th, 2008 @ 6:41pm

    bahah

    your post cracked me up, IronChef ;) now im thirsty!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 6:46pm

    so if i buy a car, and it sits in my garage for 6 years, my neighbor can come and take it if he claims to be a bigger fan of the type of car that i've had?

    if you buy something, it's yours. the person(s) with the myspace.co.uk didn't abusively do shit, besides be lethargic with his domain.

    this is unjust. im glad i just use myspace for spamming tards, thats about all it's good for anyway.

     

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    mj, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:12pm

    yup.

     

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    Doh!, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:22pm

    Did they at least compensate the guy ?

     

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    dualboot, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:45pm

    Abusive... which side??

    Okay, I see where the first few posters get their ideas, but really? I have a website that I've stopped using because I just don't have time to do anything with it. So, if I ended up making it a site with aads on it, and someone else wanted the name... you honestly think that I would be the one being abusive? And honestly... how many times to you type ".co.uk" by mistake instead of ".com?" I thought the Toys R Us domain fight about a decade ago proved that even if you weren't using the domain actively... the company who wanted it would have to PAY for it. That's what happened with toysrus.com when people started switching from dotted quads to names. I learned about it in my "history of the internet" course that I took in lieu of C++... basically... we were told that it's better to register a name that you think you might eventually use than to have to buy it from someone else later. And the guy IS using it... even if just for click-through revenue.

    Either way, I think it's scary that so many of you think that just because the guy doesn't use the site in the same way as myspace means that he's abusive. If his site was nearly identical to myspace... that would be copyright infringement or something else illegal. They should have just bought the site so the guy would hand it over instead of making it a legal battle against someone who... according to many other recent suits... should have been able to sue myspace instead! Honestly... he was using the name, and then they showed up and made a tidy profit using a name he already had. Isn't that worse according to similar law suits?

    Anyway... I might go out and register my name nationally even though I've got a business license for my state... wouldn't want any of you suing me for my domain and winning since I haven't been using it lately.

     

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  16.  
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    Joe, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 8:21pm

    Cyber Squatting ??

    You have a car sitting in your backyard. I like that car and want it for parts for my car that is identical. I file a Suit against you because I am using my car and need parts. You are doing "NOTHING" with it anyway. I SHOULD WIN !!

     

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    Joe, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 8:33pm

    Re: Sorry Anonymous

    I posted before even getting to yours.

    That reminds me of another story. AutoZone had to change it's name after almost 2 years of operation and huge regional store location settings. They changed it from AutoShack. The Radio people were too distraught.

     

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    uffa, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 8:36pm

    What about mine?

    I have a few domains that I did silly things with and now they just sit around with not much going on. I'd like to go back sometime and mess around without fear that they can be taken for no good reason. I really don't see MySpace's right here. Seems like another eminent domain (real estate) problem.

     

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  19.  
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    Dr.A, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 9:39pm

    Fair use

    I can see some of you missed the point.
    You do not own the web name/address but merely pay for the right to use it (like you do with an ip address).
    It is public domain ...

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 10:14pm

    Re: Fair use

    But if I, say, rent an apartment and use it for storage or to throw the occasional party, and a neighbor with a similar-sounding address suddenly takes it over so I have to find a new storage place, that's unnecessary hassle for me - especially considering that I had to get a lawyer to try to fend you off, too.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 10:51pm

    Re:

    myspace is a designated cesspool. i know to stay away from it. it doesnt bother me.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 10:53pm

    Re: Abusive... which side??

    you have to go to school to learn to snatch domains early? geeze. some people learn calculus and physics in school, or rocket science.

     

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  23.  
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    vinod, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 11:14pm

    Maybe if he trademarked it...

    I believe the issue really is that MySpace is trademarked, and even though he bought the domain name, he never trademarked it. So when MySpace or MyWasteofSpace.com trademarked their name anyone using the MySpace name was doing it illegally even if someone else purchased the domain name a long time ago.

     

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  24.  
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    boomhauer (profile), Jan 31st, 2008 @ 1:04am

    wrong

    Dr. A- No, you missed the point.

    These people are using trademark infringement as a means to take away property from others. Trademark infringement is SUPPOSED to mean you are using markings or names in ways which could lead to confusion with another mark and lead a consumer to think you are, or are associated with, the other party. If i have a squatter site that doesnt look anything like myspace, then I am not infringing myspace. I dont know what this site looked like, but the only way they could be guilty is if it were obvious that they were trying to confuse people into thinking they were on the official myspace site. If they were doing this, they are guilty. But Im pretty sure they were not, and thus this case should never have taken legal property away and given it to myspace.com.

    And thus i repeat, this is really scary. Trademark was never meant to be this.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 2:20am

    I think this is a pretty clear case of "I'm a big company what's yours is mine and if you don't like it fuck off".

    Myspace has no right to it whatsoever, regardless of its usage.

     

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  26.  
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    mike allen, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 2:22am

    SO

    So the guy didnt use the site the preidence is set if someone wants the name of your site tough we have more money we take you to court you lose your site. If you use it updating daily tough. personally id post a diss of the company doing in the last hour and point to a back up site. MY SPACE in this YOU suck. hang on just you SUCK.

     

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  27.  
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    Shohat, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 4:00am

    Re:

    Just be because you are not familiar with the rules, does not mean MySpace is the bad guy.
    Techically, with enough time and will, you can take any parked page you want. Buying domains just to place ads and re-sell them is against the rules.

     

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  28.  
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    Twinrova, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 4:10am

    Crap. I'm so screwed.

    In the past 10 years, I've gone through several domain names myself. Some, I've put content on. Others, I have nothing but an image and the site's name (not even ads).

    So, based on this article, if someone wants my domain, I'll have no choice but to hand it over?

    Ha. I dare anyone to try. Even with compensation, I'm not giving it up. I'm absolutely tired of Corporate America feeling their name takes precedence over common sense to obtain the website with some respect.

    Every day, stories like this just makes it more difficult to dispute the logic of groups wanting to take down skyscrapers.

     

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  29.  
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    Alan Smtihee, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 4:56am

    There's nothing new under the sun

    This is an old tactic in the new digital age. Back in the mid-90s, The Hard Rock Cafe (mega-chain of "rock-n-roll" restaurants), sued the Hard Rock Cafe, a small mom and pop cafe in the small town of Empire, Colo. The Colorado cafe's name was derived from the mining industry and had been in operating since the 1930s. Did that stop the chain from suing the "original" Hard Rock? NO. Fortunately, they lost their trademark infringement lawsuit.

     

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  30.  
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    JustMe, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 4:57am

    Won't Someone Please Think Of The Children

    ... oh, wait, nineteen ninety what now? Oop, nevermind.

     

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  31.  
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    BTR1701, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 5:09am

    Re: Content

    > If it had been some guy's blog or just pet
    > project site it would be different, but from
    > TFA it seems it was just another ad farm.

    Since when does someone have to justify what they do with a web domain they have legitimately registered and purchased? This guy only had ads and links on his page... so what? If he legitimately obtained the domain, he's entitled to do whatever he wants with it-- he could put up nothing but the words "This is my site" and leave it there for years if he wants to. It's not for you, the government, or anyone else to start policing which content is legitimate and which is illegitimate.

    This is the same sort of thinking that got us the disgusting Kelo decision by the Supreme Court-- where a city can now come in and take your land from you and hand it over to a big company like Wal-Mart or Home Depot because they've decided the big company will make more productive use of it than you will.

    This idea that big companies have more of a right to domains (or land or just about anything else in society) than the average citizen merely because they are big companies is elitist and ridiculous.

     

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  32.  
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    Wolfger, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 5:26am

    Joining the crowd

    The ruling's good, Techdirt's got it wrong this time. Registering a domain name and then squatting on it for years without doing anything useful is an abuse of the system. I just wish they would strip these people of their domains *before* somebody actually puts up a fight.

     

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  33.  
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    JustMe, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 5:39am

    Re: Wolfger

    What?!? How is it an abuse of the system? Person A registers a domain and uses it as they see fit. Whether that is hosting a tech blog or vanity page or an ad farm or just hold it for their children, as long as they pay for the domain who are you to say it isn't an acceptable way to use it??

    What is 'wrong' is that the system allows Person B to come along and say "Gee, that is a great domain name, I wish I had though of it 8 years ago, I think I'll steal it" and then hire lawyers to do just that.

    Remember, this isn't a tangible object. My ownership of a website in no way deprives you of owning a (different) website.

     

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  34.  
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    Duane, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 6:00am

    NARRATOR

    And so the universe ended.

    One of the major selling points of that wholly remarkable book, The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy, apart form its relative cheapness and the fact that it has the words 'Don't Panic' written in large friendly letters on the cover, is its compendious and occasionally accurate glossary. For instance, the statistics relating to the go-social nature of the Universe are deftly set out between pages five hundred and seventy six thousand three hundred and twenty four, and five hundred and seventy six thousand three hundred and twenty six. The simplistic style is partly explained by the fact that its editors, having to meet a publishing deadline, copied the information off the back of a pack of breakfast cereal, hastily embroidering it with a few footnotes in order to avoid prosecution under the incomprehensibly tortuous Galactic copyright laws. It is interesting to note that a later and wilier editor sent the book backwards in time through a temporal warp and then successfully sued the breakfast cereal company for infringement of the same laws.

    http://www.marktaw.com/blog/TheNewHHGG.html

     

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  35.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 6:50am

    Re: Joining the crowd

    about two years ago I had a problem. Comcast gave DHCP but the IP address never changed. In the past two years my IP has changed twice. DynDns doesn't like that and cancelled my account. I then purchased a .com. There is no web site there I just use it so I don't have to remember my IP address. If someone came along and said they wanted my domain name, should they be able to just take it?

     

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  36.  
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    Dr. Slobber, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 10:28am

    giving it away

    Why not give up all your rights and just chuck them aside along with property rights abuse by the supreme court (eminent domain allowing corporations to grab land from private owners for their own commercial use), you already have no problem giving up your social security numbers. No more personal rights, no more personal privacy is the future for all.

     

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  37.  
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    Hisham, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Abusive... which side??

    You completely missed the point!

    You can only RENT domain names, and when you do, due to the limited availability of domain names, you have to actively be using it, or give it to someone who will! Otherwise, you are empowering all these assholes that Park Thousands of perfectly good domain names and wait until someone is interested and then try to extort insane amounts of money to give it up!

    Do you know how many of these pricks parked perfectly good domain names to extort money off someone like me, who wanted to start a small website but couldn't because these parasites parked all the good names, and are demanding 10,000 - 100,000 dollars to give it up?

    This is not to say, that legitimate people who innocently parked domain names and are developing something for it, shouldn't have their rights protected against big corporations who would bully them to get it!
    They absolutely should have their rights protected, but the law should be modified to push all these domain parkers out of business and into the pig sty where they originally crawled out of.

     

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  38.  
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    Etch, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 12:20pm

    Re:

    I agree wholeheartedly, but its important to add that it was never his "shit" to begin with, and that domain names are RENTED or LEASED. No one should own them due to their scarcity, they should be pooled and recycled fairly depending on who leased it first on the condition that he be actively using it.
    I hate those lazy ass extortionists that park thousands of domain names for years, it hurts all of us! Especially web entrepreneurs who want to launch their own websites, after all, this is what the internet revolution is all about! Its about empowering the common man, as broke-ass as he is and as cheaply as possible! To give these people a voice to be heard, and to NOT have to deal with extortionist scum!

    I'm happy with the verdict, and I would be interested in hunting down the rest of these domain parkers and suing them all! GET A REAL JOB LIKE THE REST OF US!

     

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  39.  
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    Etch, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Re: Content

    This isn't about big companies! Its about empowering the small guys who will make legitimate use of the domain name and can't afford to pay the Cyber-squatters the hundreds of thousands they are demanding!

    Big companies find it less costly to just pay the Cyber Squatter the few thousand he asked than to pay their lawyers to sue his pants off, effectively encouraging this sort of behaviour!

    Besides, you can never OWN a Domain Name. You can only LEASE it. Your analogy is faulty.

     

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  40.  
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    Etch, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Joining the crowd

    Nope. You have 1 Domain for personal use, that's fine. Cyber Squatters have thousands that are unused, effectively blocking everyone else from using them. That is a clear abuse of the system.

     

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  41.  
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    BTR1701, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 3:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Content

    > This isn't about big companies! Its about empowering the small guys

    You're kidding me, right? No "small guy" has been empowered here. A multi-million dollar corporation (MySpace) took a domain *from* a small guy.

    The small guy is the one who was silenced here by the big corporation.

     

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  42.  
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    Etch, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Content

    What are you talking about?? The guy is a Cyber Squatter!
    He reserves Domain Names only to sell them!

    Go online and try to register a good domain name .. go ahead and try!! You won't find any good ones, and you know why?
    Its because scum like this guy have them ALL Parked to be sold to the highest bidder!! What part of that don't you understand?? This hurts EVERYONE, the small guy, and the big guy!

    Forget MySpace!! MySpace just made it into the news because they can afford to fight this battle, but what you don't hear about is the hundreds of thousands of little guys who can't fight back! The guys who want to register http://www.cellphonebatteries.com/ or http://www.fixyourpc.com, or http://www.2for1dildo.com , ..etc but can't because some jerk-off is sitting on them waiting for you to contact him!

     

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  43.  
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    Etch, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Content

    Oh and by the way, Fuck MySpace!
    I hate them as much as the next guy.
    But in this case, I'm glad they won.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 4:15pm

    Re: ooh ooh ooh

    ha ha that's awesome

    I have now increased in nerdness for memorizing it

     

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  45.  
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    BTR1701, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Content

    > He reserves Domain Names only to sell them!

    Um... no. He had this domain for several years before there even was a MySpace. It's not like he reserved Sony.com knowing that the real Sony would have to come to him to buy it. There MySpace didn't even exist when he reserved that domain.

    > but can't because some jerk-off is sitting on
    > them waiting for you to contact him!

    Way of the world. It's how business works. No different than someone buying land on the outskirts of Houston, then waiting until the city grows big enough that what was once cheap farmland becomes valuable real estate.

    In your world, if Home Depot wants that pasture, they should be able to just take it because they want to build on it whereas the owner is just sitting on it to try and sell it to the highest bidder.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 2:00pm

    Trademarking and IT Media

    When a domain is registered, the individual or business registering the domain submits to mandatory arbitration in the event of a future dispute. Under the ACPA, trademark owners can seek not only transfer of the disputed domain, but also monetary damages. It does not matter if you paid for use of the domain before the trademarking occurs. Domains are not treated the same way as physical property. Anybody who has a trademark not just large companies can dispute a domain name that uses their trademark. If you are very attached to your domain name you should trademark it before some one else does.

     

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  47.  
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    youcouldbenext, Feb 9th, 2008 @ 1:11am

    Reverse Domain Hijacking

    A lot of people here are truly out of the loop, and don't realize how serious this problem is, and how it will become much worse over time, as domain names become more valuable. The use of myspace.co.uk as far as I understand it, was for e-mail purposes originally. When the traffic became heavy, monetizing the domain may have been necessary to compensate for the excessive bandwidth usage (even if only the nameservers). But I'm not writing to defend this particular case as I don't know much about the specifics, but rather in a more general sense. Have any of you read about the long nissan.com legal battle? Or how about an attempt to steal afm.com? This is an acronym for crying out loud! See: www.shameontheafma.com These are just some examples of many out there now. Large corporations are using the legal arm in an attempt to crush small businesses and/or web sites. They aren't only attempting to steal domains that are deemed to be "squatting" by the general public. They are using the same tactics to take names that ARE legitimately used by other businesses, simply because they see the value in them, or would just like to have them. Even when the small business owner has a legitimate use of the domain name, the large corporations are hoping to make it so expensive to defend, that the small business owner will simply go bankrupt in the process, and give up. And that is their wish only if they don't actually expect to win very easily or after a failed attempt at scaring them out of their domain name, freely. What's next in sight here, myspace.ca? This website is currently used for a personal blog, but what if the traffic gets too heavy (assuming it hasn't already), that something like AdSense will have to be placed on it. Of course, then "Myspace"-like ads will appear. So will Myspace Corp. then be able to sue for damages or have the domain taken away? Do they now own the two words "My" and "Space" placed together across the ENTIRE WORLD, simply because they are/were a popular web site? Maybe "my place" will be next in line, as it sounds awfully similar to "my space". Or how about "your space", or "outer space". Okay, now I seem silly, but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. I've read about some domain name disputes that seem utterly ridiculous, if the above AFM acronym one doesn't seem absurd enough for you. You'd be surprised how far greed can go. Just do a search on "reverse domain name hijacking". I'm sure you'll find more "gems" out there.

    This isn't just about the trade names either. Many corporations can apply for new trademarks as easily as though they are picking candies. If you currently registered a domain name, or are even using one for a web site or business (current or for future use), after enough time it's possible that a new corporation, or even a corporation's new product release will use something that is similar and trademark it, and retroactively come after you, "legally" too. Whether they have a just right to do so or not, doesn't seem to stop them from trying regardless. This will especially be true if the domain name has much value.

    So for those that think "good riddance" to the former owner of myspace.co.uk, I say you're fools! You are helping the rich get more rich, and nothing else. I think Myspace Corp. should have offered money for the name, if they really wanted to start using it now. But in their millions of $$$, they are still too cheap to do even that. Sickening if you ask me, just like those people who defend this sort of practice.

    What I think needs to happen AT LEAST, is that whenever a person or corporation issues a complaint by legal means over a domain name (a dispute), they should not only have to pay their own lawyers, but all the legal fees of the defendant UP FRONT, and perhaps a bit more to compensate for the stress and agony brought on because of it. This would at least limit the corrupt angle of trying to make the other business go bankrupt just trying to defend their case.

    I will admit however, that I'm not a fan of corporations retroactively taking domain names away, AFTER creating NEW trademarks. With "Myspace", it's their official name now, but the situation is similar because it came after the UK version of the domain was registered. But what's stopping them from creating new products or services, then using the same legal tactics to take more domain names away from others? Ever consider that? It's a real problem, and I can't see it getting any better over time, as more domain names get used and/or registered... and thus become more valuable and wanted by multiple entities.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    the worlds biggest shit head, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 12:35am

    LIKE I GIVE A FUCK ABOUT THE MYSPACE DOMAIN

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    Shine (profile), Feb 1st, 2012 @ 1:55am

    Re:

    I'm thinking the same thing too. Did he get compensated?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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