back to article Al Capone was done for taxes. Now Microsoft's killing domain-squatters with trademark law

Bit-by-bit, Microsoft is hitting back at an international domain-squatting/drive-by-hacking operation by taking over the domains involved. An unsealed order from US District of Eastern Virginia judge Bruce Gerald Lee shows that at the end of June, Redmond gained control of more than 60 domain names registered with the Public …

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Next up

microsoftsucks,org

Yes, I did check it exists.

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Re: Next up

It's a fairly old (10+ years) and reasonably active non-commercial message board on a .org domain, using Microsoft's name to identify them specifically, so hopefully that's more than enough to convince any judge with a semblance of sanity that it needs to stay in those hands.

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Re: Next up

Sane or insane - if using Microsoft's name as part of a domain name constitutes a copyright violation, then that's that.

If MS are smart, they realise that this is a channel for honest feedback they can monitor and let it be.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Next up

Trademark law doesn't work like that.

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Pirate

Re: Next up

they could change it to MICROSHAFT SUCKS and it would have the same effect.

/me considers registering THAT one

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Re: Next up

It all depends on intent. You can always file a suit, but if the inherent topic of forum isn't profitably and knowingly malicious at its core or ambigous enough, freedom of speech (currently) holds weight, regardless of public or private (unless of course you state anything at all negative about the USA gov., which has to mean you're a terrorist of course... of course).

Madonna.com WAS an example, so was/is Nissan.com or thewhitehouse.com or bestbuysucks.com or... the old firefox.com. Hell, if you roll the clock back 20 years I couldn't name 1 celebrity who actually owned thier own name.com... not 1.

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Re: Next up

Hell, if you roll the clock back 20 years I couldn't name 1 celebrity who actually owned thier own name.com... not 1

Me, me me! I've had my surname vanity domain for at least 25 years (got it as a freebie for attending a SunOS course!).

You could argue that I'm not a celeb, but in my own mind (and in my cat's minds) I qualify.

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I think there's precedent for such things being allowed. It's clearly not attempting to masquerade as the trademark owner and I think courts have taken the view that it's a useful outlet for complaints. Some [...]sucks domains have been bought for lots of money by the trademark owners before now as the only way they could take them down.

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Trademarks are meant to protect identity. Using a trademarked name in criticism is considered satire or complaint, both protected under the 1st Amendment.

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Good job Microsoft, they didn't have to do this, it's nice to see them fighting the good fight.

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Just 65 names?

An ars technical piece from a couple of days ago:

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/07/microsoft-targets-fancy-bears-domains-in-trademark-lawsuit/

It contains a link to 200 PAGES of domain names 3 columns per page and small print.

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Facepalm

Scammy domains?

Two decades ago it was common to register wwwbigcompany.com to run scams. While working for a fortune 500 company, I found a large number owned by the same guy and contacted some of the trademark owners. The in house IP lawyer for another company coordinated 10 processes servers to meet the guy who was trying to run a scam. Its one thing learning your being sued by a company with unlimited money for lawyers, it is another be learn about 10 law suits in about 5 minutes.

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Bruce Lee fights on just like in the '70s

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Coat

glad im not in the double glazing industry

imagine all those xxxx-windows.co.uk domains all suddenly disappearing!!

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Anonymous Coward

Australians wouldn't give a XXXX for any version of Windows...

"xxxx-windows.co.uk"?

Does this relate to

- An extremely pornographic version?

- A sponsored version for the Australian market that includes a free tinnie with every copy? (Export versions will be sold as "Fosters' Windows" instead with the implication that everyone in Australia uses it, even though they don't).

- Expletive-censoring asterisks aren't a legitimate part of a domain name, so "XXXX-windows" is the closest they could get?

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Under the heading “good luck with that”, the June judgement grants an injunction against the John Does prohibiting them from “undertaking any similar activity that inflicts harm on Microsoft”.

Doesn't that mean that should further examples come before the court Microsoft can use an expidited proceedure for taking control of the domains based on this court case?

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Coat

That explains

All the domains like usgov.ru and us-voting.ru registered by a Mr V. Putin recently.

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Nice to see a trademark being used as intended for once

Trademarks were supposed to be an assurance to buyers that the product they purchased came from a trusted supplier. In other words, to protect consumers. In the modern era, they do seem to have more often been used to stifle competition.

What I see here is MS actually using trademarks for their intended purpose - to protect users from suckered into believing they are visiting a trusted domain.

Yes, I'm also aware of the opportunities for ironic responses about MS own products and services, but this seems to be one of those rare occasions when they're trying to do the right thing.

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Re: Nice to see a trademark being used as intended for once

Can't agree more - I think Microsoft should be commended here for taking real action against these scammers. I'm surprised so many people on this forum are bagging Microsoft for this - other vendors could follow their lead.

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This is true. Microsoft grabbed a domain which was my last name.org because it was being used to control a botnet. Wasn't I surprised when I tried to register it.

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