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BBC forces comedian to hand over bbc.uk.com

It's not funny, he says

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A British comedian has been forced to hand over his Web address after the British Broadcasting Corporation issued a writ against him in the High Court.

Funnyman Barry Paskin [Who he? Comedy Ed] said he wanted his site bbc.uk.com to become a portal devoted to the best of British comedy.

But the BBC took exception to Paskin's use of bbc.uk.com and demanded he hand over the domain or face being dragged through the courts.

The BBC's lawyers accused him of trademark infringement, among other things.

Paskin finally agreed to give it up this week after refusing to sign a gagging order, which would have prevented him from talking to the press about the legal action.

He turned down 140 offered by the BBC to compensate him for the cost of the domain.

"This isn't very funny," said Paskin. "I'm here to make people laugh - not go through court battles."

Paskin's also riled because he claims the company that sold him the domain gave him assurances that bbc.uk.com would not breach trademark laws. He even set up a company with the same name.

He is currently seeking legal redress against the e-outfit that flogged him the domain and as a result will not say which company was responsible.

A notice on bbc.uk.com reads: "Due to the threat of legal action and enormous legal costs in the High Court of the United Kingdom we have been left with no alternative but to hand this domain name over to the British Broadcasting Corporation.

"We wish to notify all visitors (even though we think it has always been obvious!!!) that Best of British Comedy has NEVER been a part of and has in no way ever been associated with the British Broadcasting Corporation. Nor did it ever want to be!!! Thankyou for visiting us in the past. We came, We saw, We got screwed over..."

Paskin was supposed to have handed the domain over to the BBC by 11 May but this was delayed due to protracted negotiations with the Beeb.

A spokesman for the BBC said he was aware of the case. He also denied reports at the weekend that the BBC has spent 1 million in legal fees trying to wrestle back domains containing the acronym 'BBC'.

"That figure was nonsense," he scoffed. "We've only been involved in a handful of cases...and it's not complicated legislation.

"The real cost is hardly five figures - let alone seven," he said.

If you want to check out Paskin's comedic talents - he does a natty line in crank phone calls, don't you know - you can check him out at TheSerialCaller.com ®

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