Does A Movie From 1983 Give MGM Permanent Control Over The Domain

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 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.

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Comments on “Does A Movie From 1983 Give MGM Permanent Control Over The Domain”

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Dosquatch says:

Re: 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.

Korashime says:

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.

WhatThe?!? says:

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…… a game?”

Sanguine Dream says:

Someone call a whambulance...

If MGM had rights to 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 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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?

Jamie says:

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.

Jon Warren says:

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.

Brad says:

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.

Myrmidon says:

If he loses...

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

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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