Who owns your name?
September 30, 2000 6:40 PM   Subscribe

Who owns your name? I could not find this story on the web. I saw it in print. It appeared in an article by Geoffrey Vanderburg in the Friday Sept. 29th Edmonton Journal.
Here's an excerpt. "An internet company with links to the National Firearms Association has been ordered to give up a Web site using Justice Minister Anne McLellan's name. Smartcanuk Internet Services has been told to transfer control of annemclellan.com to Canada's justice minister, McLellan's Edmonton lawyer said Thursday"
Al Green, owner of Smartcanuk... says the ruling sets a "very very dangerous precedent."
"Sandra Sellers, an eResolution arbitrator...., decided Monday to grant transfer of annemclellan.com and annemclellan.org to McLellan."
McLellan was able to demonstrate that the domain name was identical or similar to a trade-mark, that Green had no legitimate interests in the name, and that the name was being used in bad faith....
Green argues McLellan is not a trademark, she's not famous and his use of the Web site does not constitute "bad faith"

I think I have to agree with the arbitrator on this one. If there is one last sacred domain we should be entitled to it is our own names. Although in the case of the John Smiths of the world that position is likely to take some heat. Any thoughts people?
posted by daddyray (8 comments total)

 
I agree. A person's name should not become an profit opportunity for someone you don't even know.

So when will a Greg Storey sue me, Greg Storey, for gregstorey.com? How long before we see two people with the same name get in a legal battle over the use of a (name).com?
posted by Brilliantcrank at 7:28 PM on September 30, 2000


There was the recent case in the UK of a Cambridge don registering the names of famous authors. Jeannette Winterson took him to court and won, and turned the domain into a home page for her new book...
posted by holgate at 7:53 PM on September 30, 2000


Then again, there's the reprehensible behaviour of Penguin Putnam, which named a book "Katie.com" even though they didn't own the domain. And since the book dealt with sexual abuse as a result of meeting someone online... well, you have to feel sorry for the actual owner of the domain.
posted by holgate at 7:57 PM on September 30, 2000


Repeast after me, folks: an address is not a name. An address is not a name.

There's only so much name space.

First come, first served. Absolutely.

There's *already* statute law to protect you if someone has a domain name that "should be" yours, and tries to trade *off of your reputation with it*.

But there *are* too many John Smith's out there; how do you decide who gets it?
posted by baylink at 9:32 PM on September 30, 2000


Well, that's one problem I won't have; as far as I've been able to determine, I'm the only person in all of cyberspace who has my full name, and I may be the only person in the US who has it.

About 6 months ago I did an Alta Vista search for my name and turned up far more references than I thought I would; and every reference I found was actually to me, various things I had done over the years; none were to anyone else. (It brought back some memories, things like ten-year-old contributions to Risks Digest I didn't remember making until I read them again.)

My brother is not as lucky; we actually found another William Den Beste (but only one other) and we exchanged some email with him. It looks as if he's actually not related to us, which is rather interesting considering the unusual origin of my surname. (If you're curious, read the BIO on my web page.) I guess there must have been two smartasses.

You people just got to get more creative with your names, that's all.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:44 PM on September 30, 2000


baylink: "Repeast after me, folks: an address is not a name. An address is not a name."

maybe -- it should be.
posted by tamim at 10:52 PM on September 30, 2000


It's too bad high-level domains were not organized to keep personal pages and business pages separate from the beginning. Perhaps the naming of new high-level domains will keep personal page domains out of the hands of businesses and vice-versa.
posted by carsonSF at 9:36 AM on October 1, 2000


I oughta point out that I wrote about the difficulties in registering a domain in one’s real name over at A List Apart a year and a half ago. It’s very difficult. Only now do I own joeclark.org, for example.
posted by joeclark at 7:22 PM on October 2, 2000


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