back to article The Empire Strikes Back: Disney tractor-beams StarWars.co.uk from Brit biz

Disney has won ownership of just about every possible Star Wars UK domain name in a decision by the registry operator Nominet. Handing in a final judgment [PDF] this week, independent panelist Steve Ormand decided that the domains starwars.co.uk, star-wars.co.uk, star-wars.uk, star-warsco.co.uk, star-warsco.uk, starwars.uk, …

  1. Jediben

    Nominee are a pack of thieves.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Disney are a pack of thieves.

      FTFY

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Or....

        You're both correct.

        1. Roq D. Kasba

          Re: Or....

          If you thought Lucasfilm were a bunch of litigious bullies around licencing, they're rank amateurs compared with the mouse army. Seriously, those guys get the state as their collection agents to increase their IP monopoly long and far in excess of the original aim of encouraging the original creative to produce more works.

          Frankly, I genuinely find it hard to imagine a more dislikeable legal role than Disney IP lawyer.

          1. Darryl

            Re: Or....

            "Frankly, I genuinely find it hard to imagine a more dislikeable legal role than Disney IP lawyer."

            Well... Aple IP lawyer ranks right up (down?) there.

            OK, how about IP lawyer in general?

          2. Andrew Richards

            Re: Or....

            "IP monopoly"? Mickey Mouse (etc.) is Disney's. Why wouldn't they have a monopoly. I know "IP" means "boo" and "monopoly" means "boo" but...

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: Or....

              @Andrew Richards

              Because copyright was instantiated to protect creative works for a certain time - much the same as patents.

              After a time the copyright protection is rescinded, and others can make derivative works. Of course the mouse company then lobbied for extension after extension such that copyright is now for a few centruries after the owners death. Then they register a corporation (which cannot die) as the owner, so that copyright is eternal.

              That was not the intention of copyright law.

              1. Andrew Richards

                Re: Or....

                That I understand but is that a problem. Mickey Mouse is still a going concern: Disney are churning out stuff using Mickey Mouse. Why should I be able to appropriate the mouse-ears image after X years if they're still actively using it?

                As for intention of copyright law isn't there an element that this was design as a protection with the assumption stuff would have a limited shelf life? Life of originator is arbitrary anyway: I could design a cartoon character and set up a business (with other people) to develop cartoons. I might live to be 100 or get killed tomorrow; if the latter the business should still benefit, surely?

                There are anomalies here but I don't get that it's all bad. (E.g. the very limited Bob Dylan releases to keep his early recordings protected.) I thought "IP monopoly" was an odd phrase. Disney's unending benefit might not have been the intention but I don't think me being able to appropriate notable names and designs is ideal either.

                1. John Robson Silver badge

                  Re: Or....

                  @Andrew Richards

                  I probably agree with you with regard to actively used characters/universes - but there is a huge catalogue of very old material which is no longer developed, most of the relevant creatives are long dead. But full copyright protection still applies.

                  Of course if you try to define that then you end up with disney releasing pointless and garbage prequels with "characters" like Jar Jar....

                  But overall I don't see why the creative work in designing a character should be more protected than the billions of pounds of research which go into the development of drugs, or any other technology...

                  1. NotWorkAdmin

                    Re: Or....

                    Of course, most of Disney's output is derivative work. They didn't come up with Hercules, Aladdin, Snow White and so on and so and so on. That's what's so warped about this endless extension - it stifles creativity.

                    There aren't really any new ideas in storytelling.

    2. AceRimmer1980

      Hive of scum and villainy?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They're not the only ones doing it.

      There is a very dubious site at "wwwtheregister.co.uk" (note: no dot after www, it's part of the domain).

      Registered to a company in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

      I suggest you don't go to this site except from a disposable VM.

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Darth Vader does a Death Star construction inspection

    It has come to the point where "rights holders" fight their resellers and resellers are seen to unfairly profit from "rights holders"?

    HEAVY BREATHING!

  3. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Aren't they meant to persistently enforce their trademarks to keep them? How does 10 bloody years indifference count as that? I'm just amazed no one grabbed it when it first lapsed. Nominet are idiots for this decision.

    1. g e

      Nominet are

      Getting pissed up on the backhander and looking forward to enjoying free Disneyworld access for family and friends for the foreseeable future

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No just, in my opinion, possibly corrupt (Re FIFA etc)

  4. Martin-73 Silver badge

    Nominet are disgusting

    They always have been, they have no concept that a domain name is an important business asset in modern life and simply make random snap judgements. I hope the company wins the appeal.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Abscissa.com should take their case to the IPO (if Google has given me the right organization) and get them to declare the Star Wars trademark revoked. If they let it lapse, and didn't offer to buy it back/demand it back ?10 years ago?, then I think they should lose it. Also, because of TTIPP (or whatever the stupid trade agreements are called) they should lose it in the US as well. I'm sure they'd love that.

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge
      Devil

      knowing Disney and they history of litigation, that would end in some international tribunal (you say it's not applicable? oh, they will find a way, or they will make a way)

      not that I wouldn't like to see them burn money... would be better only if lawyers didn't get paid in that

      1. g e

        Mind you

        If Disney are butthurt so badly they want to litigate until the heat death of the universe (and beyond, quite likely) then hell, let those lawyers milk them and buy yachts.

        Not that I'm in anyway condoning Being An IP Lawyer, you understand, I just think Disney is a greater evil which makes the lawyers OK by comparison. Sort of thing. After all , someone has to Set The Lawyers Going.

        Kinda like guns aren't intrinsically bad, it's how they're used that's bad.

        1. Havin_it

          @ g e Re: Mind you

          >After all , someone has to Set The Lawyers Going.

          >

          >Kinda like guns aren't intrinsically bad, it's how they're used that's bad.

          Ah, but easy access to lawyers allows people to litigate faster than they can think it through.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      The trademark never lapsed, only the domain did. Sorry, but I think that Disney has the right to these domains, because it has the trademark.

      Abscissa should have sold to Disney when they had the chance. Most trademark owners are normally more than happy to settle quickly and quietly. They're used to doing this in America after all, where having the trademark means nothing when it comes to domain names.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It can't be that simple

        A lot of trademarks are identical to other trademarks owned by different people, so who has the right to which domain?

        Go to https://www.ipo.gov.uk/tmtext.htm and search for, I don't know, "acme", say.

        And this is ignoring unregistered marks, international issues, ...

  6. HighHo

    I read this first on the BBC, one thing this article doesn’t mention is "Abscissa itself has also benefited from the dispute-resolution process, by wresting control of jokers.co.uk from a fancy-dress rival in 2007."

    Unfortunately there is no details as to what this dispute was regarding (and I cant be arsed to research, maybe someone else will), I don’t really defend Disney in anyway, but if this case was something similar then I find it hard to care at the same time.

    1. Dapprman
      Thumb Up

      jokers.co.uk

      You beat me to it - without this information Abscissa seem like they are totally inocent and have been done wrong, but to have used the same mechanism themselves against a rival ....

  7. Michael Hoffmann
    Coat

    Somebody has to do it

    Disney: give us all your starwars domains.

    Abscissa: but you let them lapse! We picked them up 2 years later and now had them for 10 years. Selling authorised merchandise. What's the deal with that?!

    Disney: we have altered the deal. Pray we do not alter it any further.

    That's not a coat, it's a huge black cape...

  8. The Nazz Silver badge

    Criminal complaint?

    I'd be interested to know, here in the UK, what would be made of a formal criminal complaint made to the Police, for Theft and/or Extortion ( ie at a cost of protracted expensive legal costs) against Disney, aided and abetted by this "expert" Steve Ormand.

    It appears to be a clear cut case of Theft, Nothing less. .

  9. vordan
  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nominet

    YOU HAVE FAILED ME FOR THE LAST TIME ...

    1. wolfetone
      Trollface

      Re: Nominet

      Well, technically they've helped the dark side, so the quote is misplaced.

      Sorry.

  11. FlatSpot
    Stop

    Cuts both ways...

    "Abscissa itself has also benefited from the dispute-resolution process, by wresting control of jokers.co.uk from a fancy-dress rival in 2007."

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Cuts both ways...

      @FlatSpot...

      You'll not that that was a rival, using their name in their own business field.

      Rather than this, which is a reseller using the name of the company whose good they are selling - with an obvious redirect to their own site when you select any item.

      There is no chance of confusion here...

  12. Wade Burchette Silver badge

    Simple defense for Abscissa

    Abscissa: "You don't need sue us." (waves hand)

    Disney lawyers: "We don't need to sue them."

    Abscissa: "These are not the domain names you are looking for." (waves hand)

    Disney lawyers: "These are not the domain names we are looking for."

    Abscissa: "We can go on with our business." (waves hand)

    Disney lawyers: "You can go on with your business."

  13. hatti

    More lightsabres please

    The Abscissa Droid Army Strikes Back.

    Disney could make a film out of this, they wouldn't even need a new plot.

    More money, more burger king toys, what's not to like.

  14. choleric

    hand waving argument

    These are not the domains you [should be] looking for.

  15. David Given

    Perfect missed opportunity...

    ...if only the Catholic Church had a St. Arwars.

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