MySpace (Unfairly?) Wins UK Domain Name
Here’s an interesting decision in a UK domain name dispute. MySpace just won the domain name myspace.co.uk, although the name was first registered 6 years before MySpace existed. You can’t really argue that some imposter stole a domain that was rightfully yours if it happened years before you first used the name for your service; or can you?
It seems you can. Antony Gold, chosen as an independent expert in the arbitration process run by the .uk domain registry, Nominet, has ruled in favor of MySpace.
What tipped this case over in MySpace’s favor was the fact that myspace.co.uk was your average “parked” page with a bunch of ads, and it was therefore ruled an “abusive registration.” The domain used to be used for a better purpose before, but the owner - Total Web Solutions (TWS) - figured that MySpace-related ads will do better (and I’m guessing it did earn them a hefty sum of money.) Thus, the court saw this practice as “abuse.”
TWS, however, has quite a sound argument on their side, too, referring to an older ruling, in the case over the name verbatim.co.uk, where the panel had said: “the Complainant must satisfy the Panel, as an opener, that the Respondent was aware of the existence of the Complainant or its brand at the date of registration of the Domain Name or at commencement of an objectionable use of the Domain Name.” Basically, they say that MySpace was well aware that the domain myspace.co.uk is already used when they started their service, and it’s probably true. Furthermore, they claim that they didn’t choose to use the MySpace-related ads; they were automatically chosen by an algorithm when MySpace became wildly popular.
In the end, the better known party got the upper hand, but I’m not quite convinced that the decision was fair, as I fail to see what was “abusive” in the way TWS handled the domain.
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