According to Fox 17 in Nashville, Tennessee, the presiding judge ruling on the state of Kentucky’s seizure of 141 gambling-related domain names has refused to dismiss the lawsuit. The judge said that he will hear arguments a month from tomorrow – November 17th – before deciding whether or not to give control of the 141 domain names to the government of the state of Kentucky.
According to a post on Poker News Daily, the eagerly anticipated ruling on the fate of 141 gambling domain names that were seized by the state of Kentucky has been delayed until tomorrow. The delayed ruling was attributed to a computer glitch in the presiding judge’s office. This ruling could be impactful to other domain owners – not just the owners of these 141 domain names or even to owners of other gambling domain names. In one way or other, this ruling could have an impact on any domain owner.
At the hearing last week, domain owners were well represented by the Internet Commerce Association.
“I’m not a doctor, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.” I admit it, I still get a kick out of those commercials. Even when they aren’t on television, I am reminded of them when I visit the legal section of some domain forums. Not only do many people ask some serious legal questions, but I’ve seen some misinformed answers. For people who rely on the advice of non-lawyers, I think you really need to take the answers with a grain of salt.
Don’t get me wrong – there are many smart people who want to help out and give advice to a legal question, especially when a large company threatens a small company who has rights to a domain name. However, unless the question is answered by an attorney who specializes in IP law, and more specificially, has experience in domain-related matters, I think those who are watching the answers need to be cautious.
Although I try to give a conservative opinion when pressed, I really try to advise people to seek the opinion of an attorney when it comes to domain legal matters. Even a response that may seem benign could cause damage to a person’s case or legal standing. While there are always obvious answers, it’s best to turn to a lawyer for legal advice.
Since I’ve been asked this question many times, here are a few lawyers who I’ve met and/or worked with in the past for various legal matters:
I don’t have a legal background, but I was just sent a link to some legislation that was just passed by US Senate. The Act, known as the “Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008” creates a Cabinet-level position called the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.
Recently, some companies have gone after trademark domain names by citing violations of copyright acts in lieu of the Lanham Act, which specifically covers domain names. This Act will allow the US Justice Department to file lawsuits against people who violate copyrights on behalf of the copyright holders. Could this could be dangerous for domain owners whose names could potentially be considered copyright violations?
When you see that a HUGE domain deal is going to take place in the near future, who is the first person you think of that made the deal? If you guessed Rick Schwartz, you would be correct.
Lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice, unless there’s a reason for it. While some people have said that Rick Schwartz is “lucky,” I would strongly disagree. Rick saw the potential in domain names many years ago, scoffed at selling most over the past few years, and has recently cashed in, while retaining some of his best names. Not only did Schwartz recently work out huge deals for iReport.com and Property.com (and RoomDividers.com last week), another deal is in the works that in Rick’s terms, “will blow the doors off the industry at the darkest time…..AGAIN!”
While the domain name in discussion hasn’t been publicly revealed yet, the deal is going to make headlines for Schwartz again – and for his friend Kevin who had a hand in the Property.com deal as well. While I won’t publicly congratulate Rick for this until the deal is done, I will say that from this and my own personal experience, it appears more end users are beginning to understand why they should own category defining generic domain names, and many are paying big bucks to get them.
Mike Berkens wrote an important post today about keeping your Whois information current and updated. ICANN regulations require that Whois information is accurate, and if the information isn’t accurate, there is a chance that your domain name could possibly be taken. There are also many legal reasons to do so, which Mike outlines in his post. It just makes sense to keep your information updated, and if you are worried about spam emails or privacy, just buy the privacy guard.
In this vein, I think it’s also important to note that some UDRP panels have ruled that a change in registration information can be seen as a brand new registration. One recent case (although it didn’t really impact the decision) was on the BME.com case, which the respondent lost. The respondent had changed his Whois information (between his own entities), and they still cited this changing Whois information.
In addition to this issue, Godaddy also seems to still lock domain names for 60 days when the Whois information is updated. While this can usually be remedied somewhat quickly if you contact them, it is a nuisance.
Yes, maintaining your valid Whois information is most definitely important – especially if a signficant event has impacted it (ended partnership, bankruptcy, company formation, divorce…etc). However, keep in mind that changing your Whois information could put your domain name at risk depending on who is monitoring your Whois listing.