Feeds

Anti-WalMart domain win claimed as sea-change

But it's nothing of the sort. Sadly

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

WIPO has ruled against a huge conglomerate! We know, unbelievable as it may seem, it's true. Kenneth J. Harvey is officially entitled not to have his www.wallmartcanadasucks.com taken off him and given to a faceless organisation. The judges did slap Ken's wrist however, calling him childish and unfair.

This decision was immediately claimed as an enormous victory, giving the man in the street a legal precedent to be allowed to criticise big, powerful companies without fear of intimidation or legal hassles.

Unfortunately, it is nothing of the sort. And for anyone to claim that it is, is a sorry indication of how far WIPO has managed to persuade society that trademark and image are greater priorities than the individual's freedom of expression.

Wal-Mart has been on a huge spree of domain reclaim - in fact it may be WIPO's best customer - it has virtually every URL that begins "wal-mart" and "walmart". The defendant in this case had already handed over www.walmartcanadasucks.com and www.wal-martcanadasucks.com in July. Through this massive process of reclaim, Wal-Mart has effectively (as Kenneth pointed out in his case) stifled all criticism of the company on the Internet. Now how can this possibly be right in a so-called democracy and a so-called open medium?

You'll note that Ken kept the URL www.wallmartcanadasucks.com - that's "wall" with two "l"s - i.e. it has nothing whatsoever to do with Wal-Mart's trademark. The fact that it won www.walmart etc. without the hyphen should be where the battles are being fought.

But now we seem to be claiming that by being allowed to keep a MISSPELLED domain name, we should be grateful. The reason why even WIPO couldn't decide in Wal-Mart's favour is because if it had, it would effectively be saying that any site that criticised any trademark company should be handed over to the company in question.

This is what is called autocracy - look it up.

This case should never have even been raised by Wal-Mart and the fact it was, and was even discussed, is a depressing omen. What we have learnt is where WIPO's envelope finally ends - right up to the point where the URL has nothing to do with the company. That's a comforting thought, ain't it? ®

Related Links

WIPO ruling on www.wallmartcanadasucks.com
WIPO ruling on
wal-mart and walmart canadasucks.com

Related Stories

WIPO domain dispute coup continues
AltaVista shames cybersquatter
WIPO madness round-up
Who the hell does WIPO think it is?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.