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back to article MySpace stripped of myspace.co.uk domain victory

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 …

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Anonymous Coward

If they have it parked.......

why not just offer to sell it to My Space? or does the revenue from the ad's bring in that much cash for them?

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parked...

The web space is parked, but the domain is still in use by 18 of their customers for email...

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Levi

"why not just offer to sell it to My Space?"

At least under the UDRP (which covers .com, .net. org -- I would assume the .uk resolution procedure is simlar), actively offering to sell the domain to someone else with a claim can be construed as evidence of bad faith and abusive registration. (Successful) cybersquatters should never solicit other parties to purchase their domain, they need to wait for other parties to make an offer to them.

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Even if it does bring in lots of cash

It is not their fault MySpace decided to call themselves MySpace.

I cannot just register a name unique in my country and expect it to be unique everywhere else.

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Anonymous Coward

Domain parking...

Is a plague on the internet, give me a DNS error over a load of adverts any day.

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Thumb Up

@AC re parked

That is probably the plan but they need the judgement to get the leverage.

My guess is that News International wouldn't enter into commercial discussions until they found they couldn't grab it by force.

Thumbs up for the small man coming through for once...

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RE: If they have it parked.......

The web content on the domain may be "parked", but as the article says, TWS still have customers using the domain for e-mail - if they sell the domain, these users will be without an e-mail address that they may have used for many years.

It's probably the case that not annoying long-standing customers is more important - which it certainly is for many small business - than the money they might raise from MySpace. Who would probably now accuse them of trying to profit from domain camping...

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Happy

If it would annoy Rupert..

..I'd like an @myspace.co.uk address

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Alert

time to overhall whole domain process

and take it away from unnecessarily litigious americans.

sort out the procedures to be impartial.

I recently dealt with MS's legal dept over a domain which was clearly making use of their name in a typosquatting way.

They were really nice about it all and i knew i was in the wrong but it was not a bad experience and nominet nor the courts were involved.

Dont rush to your lawyers first, most people are reasonable if you give them some basic respect.

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Paris Hilton

Good Practice

It's good practice when setting up a business to check out the current usage of any domains you might be interested in. Usually before you've settled on a name. There's no point in starting a business called Amazon, for example.

Choosing something that's already in use and then getting uppity about it a few years later is just a bit daft. Even Paris knows better.

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Quite so....

I don't get this. If I had a shop on the high street and some chain decided they wanted the site, could they sue me into vacating my premises so they could take over? No. But they could offer my landlord silly amounts for the plot, until he put my rent up so high I couldn't afford to pay it! - which is what MySpace were trying to do here.

I'm glad they lost, and I hope TWS got their expenses!

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Silver badge

Justice

"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]"."

Hey, you still need proof in the UK? How retrograde. Someone good-looking said that TWS was wrong, what more do you need? The panellists should take example on the US, where you can be convinced of murder with premeditation without even a single proof that someone is dead at all. (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/29/hans_reiser_found_guilty/)

Following this example, TWS should be taken down. They obviously planned their wrongdoings extensively. They even registered the domain 6 years before MurdochSpace was founded. How disgustingly weasely from them.

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Happy

@Pierre

Not only can you be convinced, you can be convicted too.

Probably best just not to kill anyone.

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Justice

You can be convicted of murder without the body in the UK too. If you think about it its not necesarilly a good thing that a morderer should be able to get off just because he's good at disposing of the corpse... grief I can think of a few pretty foolproof methods too.

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@Steve Mann

I don't know if I'd rather be convinced than convicted. Especially regarding murder. Hey, who knows, maybe Reiser just has been VERY convincing? That's the ground on which he was convicted anyway.

(I'll copy the 99 other times on another medium).

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Flame

Sounds like etoy all over again

We've been here before - remember when etoys went after etoy.com, despite etoy having been registered years before etoys was thought of?

The arrogance of these organisations is breathtaking, and the fact that they bring these cases at all is a sad reflection on the justice system, which ought to throw them out straight away.

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So Hang On...

I can register a domain and yet some big-bastard-company can come along and say "Yes our company started $YEARS years after them, yet the domain belongs to us because..."

and that works? Well great- i clearly started thregister.co.uk ( i choose to ignore the amerikkkans because they all have sex with goats ) in 2008 and the current setup, well, thats clearly to pike my future revenue. Works for me.

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Anonymous Coward

@Levi

Yep, the relevant part is 3.a.i.A. from this page:

http://www.nominet.org.uk/disputes/drs/policy/?contentId=3069

"3. Evidence of Abusive Registration

a. A non-exhaustive list of factors which may be evidence that the Domain Name is an Abusive Registration is as follows:

i. Circumstances indicating that the Respondent has registered or otherwise acquired the Domain Name primarily:

A. for the purposes of selling, renting or otherwise transferring the Domain Name to the Complainant or to a competitor of the Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the Respondent's documented out-of-pocket costs directly associated with acquiring or using the Domain Name;"

If TWS offers to sell, that's abusive.

If MurdochSpace offers to buy, that's (I think) ok.

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Paris Hilton

Wild west

[dons fire protective clothing]

This reminds me of when the hoohah over itunes.co.uk broke a few years ago. I remember thinking that there is some kind of common duty of care to net users.

IIRC, iTunes.co.uk was registered ahead of the launch of the similarly monikered Apple service and took advantage of Apple not registering the address. The proprietor then proceeded to sell a whole bunch of MP3-related tat to visitors.

There was (and I'm not saying that this is the case here) a customer protection issue: just because someone beats a bigger/richer organisation to the punch, shouldn't mean that the lucky applicant has a right to exploit a business name, and the users who take a punt at the address without really knowing what they are getting into.

This case is different (more domain parking rather than squatting), but it makes clear the need for some reform. In other words, just because we are happy to saddle up and negotiate bandit country, it shouldn't mean that every potential user of the web should have to do the same.

Paris, because she likes to saddle up and ride.

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Anonymous Coward

@Levi

I seem to remember a case from a few years back where a large organisation offered to buy a domain from its registrant for a decent amount of cash. When the chap agreed to the offer, they took his acceptance to the tribunal as proof that he'd registered it in bad faith with the intention of selling it to them all along.

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@Wild West

I would turn that argument exactly on its head: if you are starting a new online business, it should be a basic piece of due diligence to ensure you can register the domains you need, or buy them from the current users/squatters, *before* you become a bigger/richer organisation. If you want to get the domains without paying ransom values, then you have to buy them in advance.

It's not good enough to say "I'll not bother getting myspace.co.uk while I'm starting up, I'll just wait and if I'm successful accuse them of profiteering".

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@Levi

If cybersquatting you also have to be careful if a company does offer you money... if you then go back to them asking more then people have been picked up on trying to exploit the name and cash in on it by asking for daft sums... which is again ridiculous as maybe you just got lucky and should be entitled to expect the company to offer reasonable recompense for the benefit they'd make from having the name.

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Re: Justice

Actually because of habeas corpus in the UK you REQUIRE proof that there IS a body, not necessarily the body itself but at the very least blood + missing person is enough.

If you fail to prove that someone has come to an untimely end it can only be filed as a missing persons case.

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Anonymous Coward

@Dunstan Vavasour

Fair point, but I was talking more about someone seeking to trade off the back of an established organisation/announced business. Apple cocked up with iTunes.co.uk, but that doesn't mean that A.N Other should then hold to ransom something that a reasonable person could construe was a part of Apple's business without any other recourse before court (and chequebooks) .

I think that the courts can distinguish between laziness/profiteering and a genuine oversight. Especially when the cost of a domain name is fuckbuggernothing a year.

I'm all in favour of rewarding entrepreneurship, but some aspects of the squatting/parking debate feels as nasty as the activity of patent-trolls.

Or to restate: any oversight body should be able to reassign a domain to another organisation, based on the reasonable man test, and the sums paid to the evictee should be "time and materials" based.

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It's time to put on make-up......

I agree about Nominet being shaken up and the dispute resilution service taken away. I'm STILL waiting for a reply to a query about the process I sent in January, along with three follow ups I sent afterwards. A phone call made to them had the reply of "send us a mail", even though i had told them to just reply to the ones I had already sent!

Nominet is a cabal, any ideas that they're completely open and transparent is laughable.

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Anonymous Coward

@Karl Lattimer

R. v. Onufrejczyk (1955) England Court of Criminal Appeals held: corpus delicti can be inferred from circumstantial evidence even if the body is never found.

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@levi and AC

"Evidence of Abusive Registration"

eh? did IQ's drop sharply while I was away ? They registered the Domain name 6 years before myspace.com. If they find they are no longer using it, they can offer to sell it to anyone for however much they like - including myspace.com who CHOSE to buy a domain that had a co.uk equivalent already registered.

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Pirate

Am I missing something?

Can not the current owners of myspace.co.uk delegate subdomain www.myspace.co.uk to Mr Murdoch (for a fee, naturally) or even point it at www.myspace.com's IP address? That way the 18 customers get to keep their e-mail working, and nobody gets too confused when they go to www.myspace.co.uk and end up seeing what they expect instead of a lovely ad-page...

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Paris Hilton

habeas corpus

Isn't habeas corpus about the body of the accused, who has to be physically present when charged and tried, rather than that of the victim?

...because I'd like to have the body.

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Joke

@Jeremy

"[T]ime to overhall whole domain process and take it away from unnecessarily litigious [A]mericans."

Ooooh, sorry. He's Australian actually... But nice try. Reg? You have control of the board.

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@Karl Lattimer

Habeas Corpus: That you have the body. The body they're talking about is the accused, not the victim. You're confusing Habeas Corpus and Corpus Delicti.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: @Jeremy

"He's Australian actually"

Not since 1985 he ain't.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6925738.stm

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Thumb Down

Go back to trademark law - it's all the same really, and they have lots of experience...

In the world of trademark the law is quite clear, and the ability to search and register a trademark globally is a separate process from local registration. In the world of domain registration the process is massively simpler, since every single registered domain can be easily searched on line. Trademarks of course, often being images, and many stored in dusty binders from many years ago, are that much harder to search.

But... trademark law is well defined and has lots of useful precedent about prior use and public domain; and by and large a trademark court would have reached the same conclusion as the appeal did - first come first served, and if you didn't bother to check and/or register it globally that's your problem.

I think the real problem is that these disputes are not actually happening in a court of law with judges schooled in the law and the principals of precedent - so we're reinventing the wheel. Corporations with lots of money to spend on lawyers are taking advantage of this.

Take it away from the amateurs. (and no, I'm not a lawyer, just an IT guy whose gone through the global trademark process before).

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Coat

@anonymous coward

@Levi

By Anonymous Coward

Posted Wednesday 30th April 2008 09:11 GMT

I seem to remember a case from a few years back where a large organisation offered to buy a domain from its registrant for a decent amount of cash. When the chap agreed to the offer, they took his acceptance to the tribunal as proof that he'd registered it in bad faith with the intention of selling it to them all along.

You not talking about the case of microsoft trying to stitch up a guy from canada called Mick Rowe, who registered the domain of mikerowesoft.com are you by any chance.

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@ Go back to trademark law

exactly -

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>.

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Gates Horns

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.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC - Damned if you do ........

Only microsoft customers would be confused by mikerowesoft. lol.

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