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Reg to fight for Harry Potter ‘cybersquatter’

We won't have huge companies bullying young girls

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Following our story on Friday regarding 15-year-old Claire Field, who was served with a legal letter from Warner Brothers ordering her to hand over her www.harrypotterguide.co.uk domain, we have been inundated with angry readers pledging their support.

It's certainly not the first time that Warner Brothers has used legal might to scare innocent members of public and it won't be the last, but we feel - as you apparently do - that involving a teenage girl in such shenanigans is out of order.

Claire is a fan and went out of her way to point to the official Harry Potter sites, but this clearly wasn't enough for Warner Brothers - which owns the rights to the upcoming movie of the famous book series.

Well, we've decided to stand up for Claire and her right to run her fan site. She has every right to the URL: she didn't register it in bad faith, she makes no money out of it, and it is just what it purports to be - a guide to Harry Potter. The question isn't even a question of the UDRP (universal dispute resolution policy) - described as "flawed" by a leading member of Britain's policy board for domain disputes.

The UK has not accepted UDRP as a method of deciding domain disputes - a policy that has led to rich companies and famous people having undue influence over domain names. The company that does offer an arbitration service, Nominet, will rule against WB's claim to the URL, we are assured.

So that leaves the option of WB going direct to the courts - if, that is, the conglomerate doesn't scare Claire into handing it over before then. Apart from a number of readers pledging money to a war fund, we have also had a man offering a ".ca" Harry Potter domain to Claire, an ISP offering to host the site if her ISP gets cold feet and various emails from other people that have been harassed by Warner Brothers for their URLs.

We see this as an appalling move by the grey suits at WB and are sure that they will leave Claire alone once they realise the disgust that most people feel towards this sort of bullying. Claire has yet to tell us what exactly she plans to do, but hopefully we can get behind her and nip this in this bud before so-called cybersquatting extends even further into social injustice.

We'll keep you in touch, as well as have a word with the lawyers in this case - London-based Theodore Goddard - and see what it has to say. ®

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