MySpace stripped of myspace.co.uk domain victory
Nominet elections feel the hand of Rupert Murdoch
UPDATED An independent appeals panel has overturned a heavily-criticised decision to hand control of the myspace.co.uk domain to Rupert Murdoch's Fox Interactive Media.
Nominet's Dispute Resolution Service (DRS), had ruled in favour of MySpace in January, despite the domain having been registered by a small British ISP six years before the US social network was founded.
Barring any possible further High Court action by MySpace accusing TWS of "passing off", the judgement, released on Thursday last week and passed to The Register today, means control of the address remains with Stockport's Total Web Solutions (TWS).
TWS managing director Paul Fallon said: "We refused to be bullied by one of the largest media organisations in the world. This has been a very stressful case for a legitimate medium sized ISP to have to take on – but we had to defend our reputation and to stand up for what was right."
A MySpace representative did not return a call requesting comment.
TWS originally registered myspace.co.uk in August 1997 to provide its clients with a cheap and easy-to-use homepage and email address in the early days of the web. It also registered bigspace.co.uk for the same purpose. 18 TWS customers still use @myspace.co.uk email addresses.
As domains and web design became cheaper, the services became redundant, and the domain was "parked" in or before July 2004 with Sedo, a company that targets advertising links on unused domains. The following year, with the explosion of popularity of social networking, and MySpace in particular, the Sedo algorithm began serving TWS' domain with ads for services such as "MySpace Friend Adder".
The panel rejected MySpace's claim that it had rights to the domain because it is wholly descriptive of its business. The appeal then turned on two key issues to determine whether TWS' registration and use of myspace.co.uk was "abusive".
Firstly, when was the use switched to ads based on the MySpace name? The Murdoch lawyers argued that TWS had begun exploiting it when Fox acquired the site for $580m in a blaze of publicity in July 2005. The panel said it had "grave suspicions" this may have been the case, but it "simply has no way of knowing", and "cannot do other than resolve this uncertainty in favour of the Respondent [TWS]".
Read on for the politics behind the battle...
@AC - Damned if you do ........
Only microsoft customers would be confused by mikerowesoft. lol.
Damned if you do ........
From a ye olde reg article - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/01/19/microsoft_lawyers_threaten_mike_rowe/
“They responded to this email by offering to give me all of my out-of-pocket expenses in return for the domain name. This came out to be $10; the amount I paid for the domain. This made me feel insulted. I had spent a lot of time building up my site and I had only been offered $10 for my work. I responded by asking for $10,000, which I regret doing now, for my work and domain name.”
As he now knows, Mike had unwittingly slipped into the classic trap set by companies in order to get hold of domain names - the creation of a “bad faith” use of the domain. By offering to sell the domain for profit (even if sparked by the offer of payment by the other party), according to the bent logic of domain dispute arbitrators, it shows the owner had no legitimate interest in the domain and so it should be handed over.
Microsoft, with its case bolstered, declined and Mike heard no more until 14 January when a 25-page letter and book were Fed-Ex’ed to his house explaining why he would have to hand over the domain, stating he had intended all along to sell the domain for profit and that his domain would confuse Microsoft customers.
@ Go back to trademark law
if I trademark a name "FreakyFridayFantasies" - both with and without spaces - today.
And some company starts marketing a product with the same name - then they are SoL (excrement out of luck). This **should** be no different with domain registrations, First registered - First served, REGARDLESS of what I do with the domain; Porn, ads, nothing, whatever.
To bring this back to the topic at hand - if Myspace (or apple as has been pointed out) failed to register their preferred domain name in the *.co.uk (or any other TLD) it should be that company's problem <end>.
That company then needs to enter negotiations, and pony up the bucks to buy it <end>.