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When CyberSquatting Laws go bad....
May 10, 2008 5:10 PM   Subscribe

Nissan vs Nissan, or David vs Goliath Nissan, who used to be Datsun is alledging cybersquatting and suing Nissan, who has always been Nissan, for $10 MILLION in damages...
posted by Mr_Chips (38 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
My company does work for Nissan. Now I know why we direct people to nissanusa.com isntead of nissan.com.
posted by thecjm at 5:14 PM on May 10, 2008


Man, if only Nissan cars just gave the guy a million for the domain in 1999, this could have been all avoided and saved everyone money, time, and frustration.
posted by mathowie at 5:18 PM on May 10, 2008


I'm not clear how this is "best of the Web" or even new, given the last legal update to this page was in 2005, which according to my admittedly limited mathematical skills, was 3 years ago.....??
posted by docjohn at 5:37 PM on May 10, 2008


I haven't read all the links. But it looks, from nissan.com's page about the lawsuit, that the issue was litigated all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied cert. Was that just over the rights to the domain? Now Nissan USA is alleging damages against Nissan Computer?
posted by jayder at 5:38 PM on May 10, 2008


The story of the car company name is a lot more complicated than "used to be Datsun". The Nissan name has been used at least since the 30s....
posted by mr_roboto at 5:41 PM on May 10, 2008


Also, Mr. Nissan's name wasn't always Nissan; it was originally נִיסָן, which is usually Romanized as 'Nisan'. Of course, the car company's name was originally 日産....

Wouldn't unicode domain name resolution make the world a kinder place?
posted by mr_roboto at 5:48 PM on May 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


This has been going on for a long time. I wrote about it on my blog in 2001.
posted by netbros at 5:48 PM on May 10, 2008


Man, if only Nissan cars just gave the guy a million for the domain in 1999, this could have been all avoided and saved everyone money, time, and frustration.

Expect a letter from my lawyer, Haughey.
posted by Mr. Metafilter at 5:48 PM on May 10, 2008 [26 favorites]


Previously.
posted by NoMich at 5:52 PM on May 10, 2008


To be fair, Nissan existed when Datsuns were being sold. The cars were made by Nissan, but badged Datsun. (I think mostly only when exported, in Japan they were called Nissan.) The Datsun name was phased out in the United States in the early 80s. I remember the ad blitz about the name change. Mr Nissan is trying to claim that in 1987 (when he created Nissan Computers) the cars were sold still as Datsuns but that's just not true. You'd think with all his outrage he'd at least gat basic facts like that straight. Lying doesn't help his case. And before the first court case he was automobile related advertisements on his nissan.com page. That's pretty sketch. Two companies can have the same name only if they aren't competing in the same business space.
posted by aspo at 5:56 PM on May 10, 2008


for $10 MILLION in damages...

Anybody else getting an echo of Dr. Evil?
posted by languagehat at 6:21 PM on May 10, 2008


I'm of the opinion that if you snooze, you lose. He's obviously running a legit business, and he's been fighting this garbage for, what, almost ten years? I honestly don't feel he's "cybersquatting".
posted by Rhadamanthus at 6:30 PM on May 10, 2008


This is old, old news.
posted by jeversol at 6:39 PM on May 10, 2008


The story of the car company name is a lot more complicated than "used to be Datsun". The Nissan name has been used at least since the 30s....

Nissan used the name Datsun after the war to avoid association with Nissan's shocking war record
posted by mattoxic at 6:48 PM on May 10, 2008


OK, the dude's name is Nissan, and he got the domains in question. He's operating his business from the site. Nissan the car company is pissed, which I understand, but it seems like one of those too bad things. Unless of course they are pissed because their name is associated with such ugly web sites... Seriously, this is like web negative 1.0.
posted by Eekacat at 7:09 PM on May 10, 2008


Man, this is still going on? Nissan v Nissan, just like the old days, warms the heart.

Delta Airlines finally got delta.com out of Delta Software a couple years ago.

I'm kind of surprised that the corps haven't been able to simply ram through legislation to squash these guys flat. I mean, that's what the government is for, amirite?
posted by intermod at 7:38 PM on May 10, 2008


My name is Uzi Nissan.

Maybe he could sue Uzi.
posted by wfrgms at 7:52 PM on May 10, 2008


Nissan used the name Datsun after the war to avoid association with Nissan's shocking war record

What are they going to change it to to avoid association with Nissan's shocking internet record?
posted by dobbs at 7:58 PM on May 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


The problem is that they both want a -.com domain name. Why one doesn't have a .car, and the other have a .computer domain name is because the internet names were designed by people who probably didn't understand the real world at all.
posted by Brian B. at 8:31 PM on May 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


The problem is that they both want a -.com domain name. Why one doesn't have a .car, and the other have a .computer domain name is because the internet names were designed by people who probably didn't understand the real world at all.

Give a .computer domain to a person? That's computerist!
posted by furtive at 8:43 PM on May 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


mr. roboto:

> Wouldn't unicode domain name resolution make the world a kinder place?

http://☃.com/
posted by mulligan at 8:48 PM on May 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


http://☃.com/
posted by ryanrs at 11:58 PM on May 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Mr Nissan is trying to claim that in 1987 (when he created Nissan Computers) the cars were sold still as Datsuns but that's just not true. You'd think with all his outrage he'd at least gat basic facts like that straight. Lying doesn't help his case.

Actually, Mr. Nisan didn't create Nissan Computers until 1991, just when something called the World Wide Web was making its first baby steps out of CERN Geneva. What he created in 1987 was a car import/export business called "Nissan International". According to Wikipedia, the Datsun brand (the company was never named Datsun) was discontinued in March 1986. What a coincidence. IMHO, the man is just a cybersquatter with good and persistent lawyers.
posted by Skeptic at 4:20 AM on May 11, 2008


Also, Mr. Uzi Nissan or Nisan seems to have gone to some unprecedented lengths to make his plight known to the public. There goes whatever sympathy I may had left...
posted by Skeptic at 4:46 AM on May 11, 2008


a cybersquatter unfairly pirating the car maker's brand name, or something even worse: A spammer of journalists?

is spamming journalists (note: not spamming in general. we are talking special people here) worse than cybersquatting? discuss.
posted by krautland at 5:00 AM on May 11, 2008


A spammer of journalists

Perhaps journalists shouldn't be open relays.
posted by srboisvert at 7:46 AM on May 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


A spammer of journalists

A charm of hummingbirds... a parliament of owls...
posted by Project F at 11:25 AM on May 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


The problem is that they both want a -.com domain name. Why one doesn't have a .car, and the other have a .computer domain name is because the internet names were designed by people who probably didn't understand the real world at all.
No, they understood the real world perfectly well; they just weren't trying to solve the problem you seem to think they were trying to solve. DNS does what it was meant to do: it allows you to look up computers by name. It does not allow you to reliably find a name for a computer by guesswork, though, which is what people post-AOL want to use it for. Your proposal doesn't work either: there are a zillion Joe's Towing companies across the US; which one gets joes.towing? X.500 was intended to solve the problem you're describing, but it's clumsy and hard to understand and no one wants to use it or implement it. Unfortunately that's because the underlying problem is, in fact, clumsy and hard to understand and no one wants to deal with it.
posted by hattifattener at 11:55 AM on May 11, 2008


joes.towing.springfield.il.us

If I typed just towing.springfield.il.us, I could get a list.
posted by ctmf at 12:16 PM on May 11, 2008


Yeah, ctmf, and if you follow that to its logical conclusion you get X.500.
posted by hattifattener at 1:31 PM on May 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Your proposal doesn't work either: there are a zillion Joe's Towing companies across the US; which one gets joes.towing?

joes.towing.chicago

I didn't even realize I had a proposal until now: the same as a proto-search engine. But since you offered, what was the sane part about .com, .org, and .net? Why even bother with such imaginary states?
posted by Brian B. at 1:36 PM on May 11, 2008


If you're really curious, Brian B., you'll want to check the Internet Society RFCs. You can trawl through the DNS related ones here - I think Jim Postel first defines the COM TLD in RFC 920.

You should find this one particularly instructive: RFC 2352 - A Convention For Using Legal Names as Domain Names. (It wasn't implemented - like hattifattener says above, DNS isn't trying to solve the problem you think it should.)
posted by zamboni at 3:48 PM on May 11, 2008


Thanks zamboni, but the last link differs considerably, offering to register by legal categories. What seems intuitive in regards to joes.towing.(location) is that it offers a keyword method that enables a unique identity, so that joes.towing.(location) is based in reality and common language. It can have many different ways to get to the same page, depending on the list of services they offer (joes.wrecking...). There would be no need to pre-establish categories because if there are two "joes towing" in Chicago, then the criteria for listing keeps going as long as two matches are still found. If there is only one ronaldos.towing on the web, then the listing wouldn't bother with extending past that much information. As it stands now, one company typically owns all the domains related to their name, indicating a complete failure of the original .com/.org/.net scheme.
posted by Brian B. at 4:18 PM on May 11, 2008


Personally, I've never understood why "cybersquatting" [1] is a crime anyway. If, for example, the Coca-Cola company wasn't smart enough, back when the net was starting, to register "coke.com", and Joe Nerd was, well too bad for Coke, guess Joe Nerd gets a few million bux. If nothing else, the entire cybersquatting nonsense gives large corporations far too much power over ordinary people and smaller corporations.

First come, first served is the only model that makes any sort of sense. The very notion that, later, when company X is embarrassed to discover that this funky internets thingie is all the rage with kids these days they can swoop in and seize "their" domain names is insane on the face of it. If they want it they can offer to buy it, and if the owner doesn't want to sell, too bad Mr. Megacorp, sucks to be you.

[1] I lothe the cyber- prefix that people affix to anything relating to the net with a burning passion.
posted by sotonohito at 4:20 AM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


The problem is that they both want a -.com domain name. Why one doesn't have a .car, and the other have a .computer domain name is because the internet names were designed by people who probably didn't understand the real world at all.

That's just about one of the most ridiculous things I've ever read.

joes.towing.springfield.il.us

Sure and for Microsoft, you'd do: microsoft.software.computers.seattle.wa.us. Right? That's easy to remember. Or should that be microsoft.software.computers.readmond.wa.us. Either way, very sensible and easy to remember (*rolls eyes*)

Pleas. If you want to find Nissan, just type "Nissan" into Google. The first link is nissanusa.com. Same with microsoft or "uzi nissan" or just about anything else. The domain name system is not designed to help business get a catchy name, it's there too provide a way to name computers, and it works perfictly well. In fact, it was created before the web and before there was any commercial value at all in domain names, so the fact that it doesn't solve business disputes automatically is not a design flaw, nor is it indicative of some failure to understand the world on the part of it's creators.
posted by delmoi at 6:32 AM on May 12, 2008


(er, please not 'pleas'.)
posted by delmoi at 6:34 AM on May 12, 2008


If you want to find Nissan, just type "Nissan" into Google.

You needn't even go that far. Type it in the address bar. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky...
posted by Sys Rq at 7:58 AM on May 12, 2008


joes.towing.springfield.il.us

That kind of geography-centric naming has already been tried. It went over like a lead balloon. It turns out the average Internet user doesn't understand hierarchical naming systems.

joes.towing.chicago

joes.towing.springfield

This is not the naming system you're looking for.
posted by oncogenesis at 4:27 PM on May 12, 2008


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