“Fantasy Island” to Become a Movie But Sony Dropped the Domain

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According to a post on Deadline just yesterday afternoon, “The long running ABC series Fantasy Island is being reconstituted as a feature film by Blumhouse and Sony Pictures, the latter of which controls the rights to the Aaron Spelling series which ran from 1977-84.” Smartly, Sony Pictures Entertainment owned the matching FantasyIsland.com domain name for several years, as reported by Ray Hackney on TheDomains.com.

For some unknown reason, Sony let the matching FantasyIsland.com domain name expire, and it was deleted just prior to the news about the movie. As Ray reported, FantasyIsland.com sold via DropCatch.com auction for $3,251. The Whois has not yet changed, so the winning bidder for the domain name is presently unknown. This marked a precipitous decline in sale price, as FantasyIsland.com had been reportedly acquired for $22,005.

I would maybe sort of give Sony a bit of a pass for letting the domain name expire if the “Fantasy Island” series was dead and not coming back for any reason. Even then, the company left money on the table as there were plenty of people participating in the auction who felt FantasyIsland.com had some value. In this case, where there is now going to be a movie made with this matching name, I simply don’t understand why it was left to expire.

In my opinion, a major company should just set all of its domain names to auto renew – especially those that have been used in the past or were bought for a premium price. The annual renewal cost of a domain name should be less than $10/each, so it’s a drop in the bucket.

If Sony wants FantasyIsland.com back, it will either need to buy it (likely at a premium from its selling point if the company wasn’t the winning bidder), or they will need to try their luck via legal recourse. Either way, all of this could have been prevented by simply renewing the domain name. It seems like a pretty inopportune time for this domain name to expire.

14 COMMENTS

  1. More than likely a UDRP. There is a LIVE Trademark Registration # 1166825.

    Why buy a domain name on the drop for $3251 that was owned by TM holder; when they can file UDRP for less than the wholesale price you paid?

    • I remember listening recently to a podcast with an experienced UDRP lawyer that the baseline cost for filing a UDRP was in reality closer to $5000. That includes the filing fee and lawyer /legal fees just to get to that point. So the purchaser might not be completely out-of-pocket if they wanted to quote a quickie UDRP pre-emptive price…

    • @maggie If a filing at WIPO is $1300. Its a standard filing. Corporatecounsel may just have a legal intern file the UDRP. Whereas, ACPA would be more involved and expensive requiring experienced counsel. This was an unwise purchase for a domain speculator IMO.

      Berkens posted a blog I believe in 2016 highlighting the fact that all speculators need to learn basic trademark law. Buyer of FantasyIsland.com gets an F.

    • @raymond

      Thanks for sharing the WIPO case. Berkens wrote a blog in 2016, telling domain speculators to study basic trademark law; but do most listen?

      This is a UDRP in the making.

  2. Mark Monitor needs to get authorization to monitor their clients’ IP assets
    So many firings at Sony over the last few years the name fell through the cracks, most likely
    They also neglected to file trademarks way in advance for “The Emoji Movie”, and when they did file them, these marks were not approved. I believe Sony had to license the TM rights from a guy in Germany who owns dozens of “Emoji” marks. In Germany, as in most of the world, it’s first to file, not first to use.

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