NCAA Tries To Bully Fan Discussion Site Into Handing Over Its Domain Name

from the how-about-ncaasucks.com? dept

Reader Eileen writes in to alert us that the NCAA -- known for its overly restrictive views at times -- is trying to bully the owner of the discussion website NCAAbbs.com into handing over its domain names. The NCAA is, not surprisingly, complaining that any domain name that includes NCAA automatically should belong to the NCAA. Of course, it's not so simple. While the NCAA does have a trademark on its name, that doesn't mean it gets automatic control over any site that uses NCAA in its domain name. The NCAAbbs site is clearly not associated with the NCAA and is pretty clearly just a fan discussion site. The owner of the site says that he's planning to fight the demand, and hopefully he can succeed. While the domain dispute process can be a bit arbitrary, the courts have often realized that a trademark holder does not get full control over every domain that mentions them. Hopefully, that will be the case here as well. Of course, the one area where it's pretty clear that you can keep such a domain name is in cases of "sucks sites." So perhaps if the NCAA wins this, the owner can simple relocate to NCAAreallysucks.com.

More to the point, however, you have to wonder what the NCAA thinks it's doing here. You have a site that has been set up to promote the NCAA and all of the various sports teams within the NCAA. This is an incredibly useful promotional tool that the NCAA should be celebrating and helping rather than attacking. Why do so many organizations think it's smart to threaten, attack or sue their biggest fans?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2009 @ 6:28pm

    Mike;

    Organizations that attack their fans don't typically do it just to be "jerks", they are often FORCED into doing it to protect their copyright to the use of their name.

    Disney is well-known for "attacking" schools and other completely non-threatening users of their "intellectual property" and send "Cease and desist" orders so as to make sure that when they REALLY DO want to go after someone, they can demonstrate that they have been consistent in protecting their copyright.

    -avi

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2009 @ 6:43pm

    Re:

    Trademarks. You're thinking of trademarks. You cannot copyright a name.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Kazi, Dec 17th, 2009 @ 6:53pm

    They should force NCAA to buy all domains with NCAA whether owned or unowned. I'm sure CAN / hosting services could use the extra money.

    www.*NCAA*.*
    where * is a wildcard and can be none or any combination of valid domain name characters.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Murdoch's #37 fan, Dec 17th, 2009 @ 7:00pm

    Re:

    Nope, because if I run a company called Nates Cars Autos and Accessories market, I will want NCAAmarket.com, and I can keep it, I just can't do anything to do with college sports on it.

    It's why you can have a national A1 moving company and an National A1 advertising company, both with trademarked names, and nothing either can do about each other.

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 17th, 2009 @ 7:10pm

    Re:

    Yeah, that's trademarks. And they don't have to shut them down, they just have to make sure they acknowledge who owns the trademark.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2009 @ 7:12pm

    NCAA

    You mean the National Council of Accountants and Attorneys?
    or the Northern Canadian Arctic Association?
    How about Nixon Clinton Ambiguity Association?
    or Never Claim Any Acronym ....

    Real ones:

    NCAA National Clinical Assessment Authority (UK)
    NCAA Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority
    NCAA National Council of Arab Americans
    NCAA National Civil Aviation Authority
    NCAA New College Alumni Association
    NCAA Non-Nuclear Consumables Annual Analysis
    NCAA NATO Civil Airlift Agency (US DoD)
    NCAA NATO Civil Aviation Agency
    NCAA National Command Authority Aircraft
    NCAA NATO Civil Air Augmentation
    NCAA National Council for Accreditation and Attestation (Republic of Moldova)

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Kazi, Dec 17th, 2009 @ 7:14pm

    Re: Re:

    So you can't make a website called: www.ncaasports.com and refer it be about Northern County Athletic Association Sports which might include say some NCAA college team? Would the "Northern County" (fictious name) get called for trademark infringement?

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    Laurel L. Russwurm (profile), Dec 17th, 2009 @ 7:40pm

    Maybe its just the NCAA showing solidarity for the MPAA.

    I don't know about names, but you can't copyright a book or movie title. Then again, Toys are us owns the letter "R" so maybe I'm wrong.... or is that trademark or patent?

    Even if the law says you can. no one should be allowed to copyright/trademark/patent an acronym.

     

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

  9.  
    icon
    Nina Paley (profile), Dec 17th, 2009 @ 7:50pm

    You Always Hurt The Ones You Love

    Why do so many organizations think it's smart to threaten, attack or sue their biggest fans?

    Because if you can't attack your fans, who can you attack? No one else would stand for it.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2009 @ 9:04pm

    Re:

    This is pure FUD. They are not forced to do anything more than make sure the trademark is not being misused.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2009 @ 11:11pm

    If I were the owner of NCAABBS.com I wouldn't even fight NCAA, I would first put a note on my website that says, "I am relocating to NCAASUCKS.com because they are suing me for trademark infringement" I would let that site stay there for a respectable period of time to let everyone know (and I would take down all content that helps the NCAA immediately) and then I would sell NCAABBS for as much as I could to the NCAA and then I would open up NCAASUCKSBBS.com and start a whole new website there.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    roddy, Dec 17th, 2009 @ 11:16pm

    Acronyms

    It seems even if you try your luck at a site and go the acronym road you still get blocked , this world just keeps getting more and more complicated

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 3:58am

    Re: what's that I smell?

    oh, I know it's a shill

     

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

  14.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re:

    He's talking about forcing the NCAA to buy every single possible (infinite) permutation of the the word NCAA in a domain name, thereby spending an infinite amount of money.

    I thought the joke was obvious, but oh well, I must be a geek.

     

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

  15.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 8th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    You know, here's an idea. If NCAA wants to own every site with NCAA in it, why don't they just preemptively PURCHASE every name with NCAA in it? If they buy them all, no one else can have them and then nobody gets sued, or wastes money in court.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    visitor, Apr 12th, 2011 @ 8:12am

    I was recently sent a letter from the NCAA in regards to my site www.atmarchmadness.com. They want me to transfer the domain to them due to the fact that they trademarked 'March Madness' and any domain name containing that belongs to them by law (in reference to college basketball). I draw in a petty 50 visitors a day during the tournament time-frame (just to do a bracket challenge) then traffic goes to nil. Am I really hurting them with this?? Since i do not have the means to even come close to combating them in a court of law, I will just comply. Just thought it was unnecessary of them to demand the domain name transfer.

     

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


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