Madonna finally wins
October 16, 2000 8:23 PM   Subscribe

Madonna finally wins Under what grounds warrent her rights to that domain name? At the bottom it notes singer Sting was denied his attempt at aquiring, which is merely owned by some online gamer called =Sting=.
posted by grank (13 comments total)
Under the grounds that the previous owner,, the guys who nabbed among others, registered it soley to bushwhack people who randomly typed in the name, more than likely seeking the recording artist Madonna. There was something of a fuss over the thing a while ago, but I can't seem to find any links right now.
posted by Freakho at 9:22 PM on October 16, 2000

So....what stops me from suing for the domain - since it is not actually held by someone with my first name?

And then - if I do sue for it - am I granted it, based on me being the first person with my first name to sue for it?

I think makes perfect sense for a porn site - based on the "madonna or whore" sensibility prevalent in society.
posted by kristin at 9:29 PM on October 16, 2000

So why doesn't the catholic church, who've been using the Madonna name for hundreds (thousands?) of years have a right to it over a pop queen?
posted by tomorama at 9:42 PM on October 16, 2000

Does Sting own the trademark to Sting like Madonna owns the trademark to Madonna? I don't think he does and that is why he lost his case.
posted by Brilliantcrank at 9:43 PM on October 16, 2000

kristin: Madonna had trade marked her name in the USA for all entertainment purposes. I doubt WIPO would've given her the domain name if it were run by some church group.

BTW, Some hardware store owner in Beirut owns my first name. He has not done anything with it for years.
posted by tamim at 9:44 PM on October 16, 2000 is a transportation company specializing in "hazardous waste transportation".

Dunno how I like that, frankly...
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:54 PM on October 16, 2000

Its worth visiting, no raincoat required. They have a summary of their legal position including:

There are thousands of individuals throughout the world who have "Madonna" as a first or last name, thousands of businesses worldwide who use the name "Madonna" as their business name and there are 275 worldwide trademarks using the word "Madonna" including 75 Federal and State trademarks in the United States and Canada alone.

posted by lagado at 11:13 PM on October 16, 2000

I also think it has to do not only with the person who is claiming infringement (Sting/Madonna), but what the current owner has done to have that same name as their own trademark.

In the Sting case, the guy named =Sting= had put and effort into cultivating an online 'intellectual property' that was his because the site was him, he was legitimately using the name 'Sting'. Even if Sting, the singer, did have a trademark in the offline world, he had not done anything to build a brand of himself online, which the =Sting= guy did.

In Madonna's case, no one had tried to cultivate a brand using Madonna, they had simply hijacked the name without building their business towards that name, hence, it had no brand identity of its own.

I think the lines are pretty clear. This is wy were we up in arms over etoy v etoys. etoy had concentrted on building their own independent brand that was dependant upon their name, and conveyed a meaning of who they are. If it just did a simple redirect somewhere else, or they didn't activily promote themselves through the etoy name, then I doubt they would have had much to go on in fighting off etoys.

posted by rich at 9:50 AM on October 17, 2000

So rich, you're saying that all a cybersquatter has to do is make it appear like the site content has to do with the domain name? If I were to squat on "", I could throw some plants on the main page and make it look like it's somewhat related to gardens....what stops people from donig that?
posted by grank at 10:46 AM on October 17, 2000

No, that's not what I said.

You're being simplistic. It would be a subjective evaluation, of course, but some evaluation of effort would probably need to be seen, time, branding effort, purpose, blah blah blah.

Brand identity, trademarks, intellectual property all convey certain standards. I'm not going to mince words about what level of standard that is, though, since I'm not a copyright lawyer. The question that started this thing was 'how could madonna get away with it while sting lost?'

I gave the general underpinnings, which are, as far as I know, accurate.

From there, you'll have to use common sense.
posted by rich at 11:20 AM on October 17, 2000

The guy who had the Madonna name also had a string of other such names. He brought and sold names that were and are famous.

The guy who owns is just some average guy who brought one name when domains were plentiful yet no one wanted one. He had no intention of ripping the singer off, his nickname just happened to be sting too. He plays Quake and calls himself Sting. I guess you could "pretend" to build up an online id. But you could only do it with one name, and you can't do it retrospectively. For most of the time this guy has had "" domains were worthless. Subsequently, things have changed, sure. But you can't apply current reasoning to an act that preceeded this.

Also yes tradmark does come into this. Sting had never registered his nickname ANYWHERE, nor did he even use it. His real name is and has always been an ordinary name, "George Summers" or something.

So lets just get this straight, he didn't tradmarked the name ANYWHERE. Sure, there would be places in the world and even country where "Madonna" isn't tradmarked. Tradmark laws are a nightmare. But she at least made the effort.

He never changed his name via deed poll. I'm not a particular fan of either of these people, so don't know if Madonna did........perhaps someone could clear that up.

Interestingly, the guy who had the "sting" name offered to sell it to him for about 20 thousand. I would have though, that even George would admit, that he had earnt that for his forsight. Apparently not, he took him to court instead.

I don't think Madonna is a good name for a porn site. I definitely think the guy was trying to blackmail her.

But in the "Sting" case. I don't think it's ok for the rich and famous to be able to use their influence to take things away from people who had more forsight than they. In England, "Sting" is and always has been a common nickname.

posted by lucien at 11:32 PM on October 18, 2000 <-- Explain this. Crazy man for Nader. I found this the other day, but he has redesigned since then, and it is even nuttier now. How was she unable to win back this domain?
posted by thirteen at 11:36 PM on October 18, 2000

I take it back, it is not as insane as it once was. He formerly had a list of baby animals Julia supposedly bit the heads off of. I get the impression he might be from Chicago, I might have to find and bury him. For the public good.
posted by thirteen at 11:40 PM on October 18, 2000

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