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Thread: Domains with Copyrighted Words !!

  1. #1

    Domains with Copyrighted Words !!

    I want to buy few domains which are having copyrighted words in it, Can I buy these domains or I will have any legal problem in the future?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Padalda View Post
    I want to buy few domains which are having copyrighted words in it, Can I buy these domains or I will have any legal problem in the future?
    Domain copyright and trademark stuffs are really complicated and beyond the scope of this post.

    Just follow these two principles:
    1) Don't register any copyright names, exception being if you run an Apple (fruit) selling company, you can register names with apple in the domain...There are more examples like this.

    2) If you have a copyrighted domain to your name, do not use it for projects that you have invested a fortune on. Companies don't care much about copyright violations unless it becomes conspicuous to the point of challenging the business of the copyrighted holder. There is a case involving Donald Trump. One guy registered a name with the word TRUMP and set up a 4 figure sum per year business. Nobody cared. When the same business grew to a 6 figure sum per year business after 4 years, Donald Trump's lawyers immediately filed a copyright violation against the latter. Donald won and the business closed down.

  3. #3
    One of my friends bout a domain with 'iWeb' in it. And he had legal problems later on.

  4. What happens is that the legal owner of the Trademark files a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which is actually part of the United Nations (UN). WIPO then evaluates their complaint and, if they see merit in the complaint, confiscates your domain and gives it to the complainant.

    Not all companies persecute their fan base. MySpace, for example, is very happy to enjoy the benefits of the thousands of MySpace resource sites that have sprung up to support and promote MySpace. Facebook, on the other hand, wants to retain control of all things Facebook. If you are curious about a specific organization, you can search WIPO decisions.

    It costs several thousand dollars in legal fees to file a WIPO complaint, so most organizations will send a cease and desist (C&D) letter first. This letter will usually just tell you to stop using the domain name. If you refuse, the organization may decide to continue with a WIPO complaint.

  5. #5
    I once had a domain name with 'ebay' in it; they were not shy about their disapproval and strongly suggested that I let it expire or they would take legal action.

    It depends on the name and its association as to how likely you are to encounter problems, though there are no fixed rules other than if it is an obvious violation of a trademark (ebay is obvious) avoid it.

    There are obvious trademarks, though, that have been used, and used successfully, though the company turns a blind eye to it as they see it as free promotion. Car makes and models are common to be used in domains for fan sites and this keeps interests up in these products, so the car companies ignore them as it is free advertising for them.

    Of course, there is still a problem with a fan site in that if it does become big, and the company so wishes , they could cause problems and most likely take it. As stated before, I would not invest a lot, or have as my primary source of income, a site which uses a product or company name, regardless of how much the company is willing to ignore such sites, unless they put it in writing that they will not seek to take such fan sites.

    An example of a site which suffered such consequences was the Harry Potter lexicon site (for whatever reason anybody would want to produce a lexicon of Harry Potter). J K Rowling not only used the site but apparently complimented and may have recommended it; that is until the site author struck up a deal with a publisher and the publisher of Harry Potter and Rowling went after him.

    A good way to look at trademark infringements and the possibility of such is whether it is a dictionary word (common use word) and any association the subject of the site has with the word.

    Trump is a dictionary word and does not solely belong to Donald Trump. However, if someone were to use a domain with trump in it for a real estate site, or perhaps an apprenticeship site, and obvious association can be seen there and that opens one to potential legal action. A site, though, about trump taking card games has a different association with the word itself and not with Donald Trump. Of course anything is open to interpretation and someone with Trump's money can be heard when he wants to be.

    If it is a dictionary word, and there is no association with the company or product (the previous example of Apple), you should be okay; no guarantees though as we are subject to bias if it involves the internet.

    With two major awards of millions of dollars to millionaires in lawsuits for downloading a few songs against people barely making a living, IMO, we can see that bias is going to work against you if it involves the internet. When something is relatively new, like it has been around for less than two generations, it is both scrutinized and looked upon with a jaundiced eye, and it has judges jumping on the bandwagon to make precedent setting decisions for their own immortality.

    The only tangibles on the internet, in the eyes of those scrutinizing the internet, are sites like Amazon, eBay, MSN, Google, etc. which are looked upon as real as they have actual offices and products and stuff like that. Our sites which are just collections of our writings, ideas, artwork, downloads, etc. are intangibles, they have no real property, and though there may be laws to protect domains and such, with no real property the same amount of protection is not going to be afforded them.

    A distinction to make here is the difference between a copyright and a trademark. A trademark protects a name (Apple, Google, Ford, etc). A copyright protect the body of work of which the title is only part of the whole and such the title is not prevented from being used again. The only way to trademark a title, say in a book or film, is either if it is used for more than one work, in which it is a series title and can be trademarked, or in the case where it may be unique and/or popular enough to consider that use of the name would be an infringement on the part of the creator/s of said work and trademark protections would, or should, be granted.

    Okay, I lost myself somewhere in this soapbox rant, I'll summarize:

    Check the name you are considering to see if it is trademarked.

    If it is the title of a copyrighted book, that does not mean it is trademarked. If the book is very popular, and then there would be a chance for a sequel (or...good god...many), then there is a good chance that the title or part of it will be trademarked for the series.

    If you are looking to use a common dictionary word in your domain and that word also is trademarked, do not associate it with a similar subject as the trademark owner.

    Watch your ass...nobody else is going to do that for you.
    Last edited by Menard; 9 August, 2009 at 16:12 PM.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by Padalda View Post
    I want to buy few domains which are having copyrighted words in it, Can I buy these domains or I will have any legal problem in the future?
    I think you must not do this if the word you are using is related to big company . 3 years back I was new and very fantasize for adsense money and purchased Googlecurrency .com . The day when It was indexed in google I received one mail from google team that take down this blog and stop using this domain which contains our copyrighted keyword . Then one webmaster told me that they can sue you for this work in millions and next day I dropped that blog in thrash and didn't renew that domain ever .

  7. #7
    I got a mail for registering ! And they are asking me to stop using it and drop it as well..
    Indian & International webmasters are welcome !!!

  8. #8
    Where do I check if there is a trademark on a specific name

    I am looking purchase a .com domain of a persons name. But the person is a model/celeb.

    If the persons name is Alex Melnok - is available

    Is it a bad idea to go ahead and buy it?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by 5starpix View Post
    Where do I check if there is a trademark on a specific name

    I am looking purchase a .com domain of a persons name. But the person is a model/celeb.

    If the persons name is Alex Melnok - is available

    Is it a bad idea to go ahead and buy it?
    You can check US trademarks at United States Patent and Trademark Office

    Click on Search Marks.

    Most celebrities do not mind fan sites using their name, but if their name is trademarked--and many are--they can take it away from you at any time. Personally, I think it is a bad idea to register any domain containing a copyrighted or trademarked name.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin

  10. #10
    If the name is not trademarked, am I safe buying it? Or can they still take it away later

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