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Re: An example of reverse-hijack (was: new.net: yet another dns names pace overlay play)

  • From: Steve Noble
  • Date: Wed Mar 07 12:56:26 2001

This brings to mind AOLSearch.com which was stolen from a group
of African Historians? (someone correct me if I'm wrong here I'm
doing this from memory) because they didn't have the suite # on
their address...  Something about NSI canceling the domain and 
giving it to AOL due to a incorrect address. 

Also.. when I looked into the AOL.ORG fiasco, I remember distinctly
that AOL.COM was registered after AOL.ORG by some time.. interesting
to think of what would have happened had andy not followed the "rules"
and registered a .com for himself..
 
On Wed, Mar 07, 2001 at 09:18:57AM -0600, Doane, Andrew wrote:
> 
> Scott,
> 
> I registered "aol.org" in 1995.  It stood for "Andy On-Line" (my name).  I
> used it for almost five years without any problems from America Online,
> mainly for email and to ftp back into my home network, etc.  I did not have
> a website up.
> 
> America Online sued and won a judgment without even my being present.  They
> stated that it violated their trademark of "AOL", as they had used it first
> in commerce.  They used the fact that I had no web site at www.aol.org to
> justify this claim, ignoring the fact that their was an MX record and some
> other A records.  
> 
> A few "interesting facts":
> 
> 1. In 1995, even if America On-Line wanted to registered .org they couldn't.
> Back then the rules were followed, and .org was for "private organizations
> and individuals".  I registered it as an individual for non-commerce use.
> So their argument that they used it in commerce first is moot - as a .org
> domain you weren't supposed to.
> 
> 2. America Online just recently acquired the right to protect "AOL" from the
> courts.  Traditionally speaking, initials cannot be trademarked.  If a
> company reaches "household word" status then they can get protection.  IBM
> and GM would be examples.  In 1995 when I registered aol.org, America Online
> did NOT have this protection.
> 
> 3. Network solutions suspended the domain without warning by request of
> America On-Line.  My phone calls to network solutions resulted in "call this
> person", which turned out to be America On-Line's attorneys.  NS did this
> before America Online had received a judgment from the court.
> 
> 4. Network Solutions and America Online claim they tried to reach me.  They
> didn't.  The address on WHOIS was wrong, however the email addresses and
> phone numbers were valid.  Very convenient for them.  However, the
> automatically generated renewal notice that I needed to pay my $35/year fee
> from NS made it to me.  Funny, eh?
> 
> 5. I hired an attorney to fight it, not because I wanted cash out on America
> Online (in fact, I didn't ask for this - I just wanted my personal domain
> back that I had been using for almost 5 years without issue).  The net
> result was it would have cost me a mint to fight it against a multi-billion
> dollar company with endless resources.  I caved and just let them have it.
> 
> To date, they have not used it.  They blackholed the domain.  Someone
> explain the point in that.  Obviously they felt people could confuse
> "aol.com" and "aol.org".  So much so that they pointed www.aol.org to
> www.aol.com? No.  So much that they put in MX records so email accidentally
> sent to joeuser@aol.org got delivered or at least a response back to the
> person who sent the email that they have the email address wrong? No.
> 
> Big business wins against the individual by manipulating our government to
> draft legislation in their favor and then using it after the fact.
> 
> There's your example.
> 
> -Andrew
> NOT andy@aol.org
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott Gifford [mailto:sgifford@tir.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2001 3:16 AM
> To: William Allen Simpson
> Cc: nanog@merit.edu
> Subject: Re: new.net: yet another dns namespace overlay play
> 
> 
> 
> William Allen Simpson <wsimpson@greendragon.com> writes:
> 
> > Patrick Greenwell wrote:
> > > 
> > > On Tue, 6 Mar 2001, Paul A Vixie wrote:
> > > > ICANN's prospective failure is evidently in the mind of the beholder.
> > > 
> > > Besides producing a UDRP that allows trademark interests to convienently
> > > reverse-hijack domains 
> > 
> > Awhile back, somebody made a similar accusation.  So, I spent the 
> > better part of a weekend reviewing a selection of UDRP decisions.  
> > Quite frankly, I didn't find a single one that seemed badly reasoned.  
> > 
> > Could someone point to a "reverse-hijacked" domain decision?
> 
> Assuming that I'm correctly understanding what is meant by
> "reverse-hijacked", the most notorious case I'm aware of is
> "walmartsucks.com".  This domain was taken from an owner serving up
> criticism of Wal-Mart, and given to Wal-Mart.  Wal-Mart apparently
> claimed that this domain name was so similar to their actual
> trademark, customers could be confused into visiting the wrong site,
> and ICANN somehow agreed.
> 
> I don't know where the official ICANN ruling is on this, but I recall
> seeing it discussed in a number of places at the time.  Let me know if
> you can't find a reference, and I'll see if I can dig one up.
> 
> -----ScottG.

-- 
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: Steven Noble / Network Janitor / Be free my soul and leave this world alone :
:   My views = My views != The views of any of my past or present employers   :
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