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Family may lose "cool" Narnia domain in test case dispute
SuzyUK




msg:3704728
 6:36 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

could be an interesting test case result regarding cyber squatting

The couple in question can prove that did not use the domain to make money as they've been accused of by heavyweight CS Lewis estate owners' lawyers.

[scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com ]

Then giggling. The case was just so darn silly. It falsely bizarrely claimed we'd been using the Narnia domain to make money; indeed, that being why we'd bought it. Huh? See, they have to prove a "bad faith" purchase to grab the domain. It took us two minutes to get evidence from our registration company that we had never tried to, nor made, any money whatsoever; think of the time and money the New York lawyer could have saved if she'd just thought of that brilliant move.

apparently the Edinburgh couple have been informed by their lawyers that a judge in Dallas was due to rule on the case yesterday but the decision cannot be made public until it is passed to Swiss-based WIPO

This could take another day or two


(above quote taken from local paper which I can't find online)

 

LifeinAsia




msg:3704754
 7:04 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Intersting case.
It took us two minutes to get evidence from our registration company that we had never tried to, nor made, any money whatsoever;

How could the registrar possibly know, let alone prove, that? OK, they might be able to show that the domain name never had a web site (if they are also doing the hosting as well as the domain registering). But they have no way to "prove" that the owner isn't selling e-mail addresses. Just like their "wee boy" would be thrilled with a Narnia e-mail address, so would thousands of other "wee" boys and girls, as well as some not-so-wee ones.

StoutFiles




msg:3704782
 7:47 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

They would have been better off just offering money for the site instead.

Also, what if the kid's last name was Narnia? Or if they had no Narnia-related things on their website? How far can companies push copyright words?

rocknbil




msg:3704823
 8:37 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Maybe the lawyers will come back in 1000 years as adults and set things right.

Sorry, coudn't resist . . .

LifeinAsia




msg:3704850
 9:11 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Maybe the lawyers will come back in 1000 years as adults and set things right.

Lawyers turning into adults?! Wow- you're talking serious fantasy! :)

rocker




msg:3704989
 1:43 am on Jul 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

See, they have to prove a "bad faith" purchase to grab the domain

First I want to say this is ridiculous that CS Lewis is is going after the family this way.

However, using it for an email address is bad faith. The only reason they registered the domain name is because of popularity of the series. They are infringing on a distinct trademark. Also it can be considered confusing with the Narnia mark and the family shows no prior use of the name.

buckworks




msg:3704994
 2:11 am on Jul 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

ridiculous that CS Lewis is is going after the family this way

Blame the estate lawyers, but don't blame CS Lewis.

CS Lewis has been dead for decades. He died the same day President Kennedy was assassinated.

rocker




msg:3705007
 2:42 am on Jul 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

Blame the estate lawyers, but don't blame CS Lewis.

CS Lewis has been dead for decades. He died the same day President Kennedy was assassinated.

:) I was refering to the CS Lewis company not the person.

rocker




msg:3707128
 11:04 am on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with Paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <narnia.mobi> be transferred to the Complainant.

[wipo.int...]

engine




msg:3707163
 12:00 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

WIPO Orders Transfer of [uk.reuters.com]Narnia Domain
A Scottish schoolboy must surrender a Web address tied to the Narnia fantasy world, which his father said was a birthday present, after a ruling by a United Nations arbitrator, an official report said on Thursday.

The U.N.'s patent and copyright agency WIPO said the independent arbitrator had ordered transfer of the site, www.narnia.mobi, to the estate of C.S.Lewis, late author of the popular "Chronicles of Narnia" books.

"We are shocked by the decision," Gillian, the mother of 11-year-old Comrie Saville-Smith told the Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh after they were given advance notice of the ruling on Wednesday.


wheel




msg:3707256
 2:04 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

it's too bad, but really, the parents are trampling on the trademark of someone else. having the parents pull the 'it's for the cute little children routine' doesn't validate that they're still using someone else's trademark. CS Lewis should own the narnia domains, not someone else.

bakedjake




msg:3707261
 2:09 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

"We are shocked by the decision," Gillian, the mother of 11-year-old Comrie Saville-Smith told the Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh after they were given advance notice of the ruling on Wednesday.

I call BS. To make things worse, they're using their kid as an excuse. I'm shocked by this mother's disregard for the dignity and privacy of her son.

that Comrie's father Richard, who registered other Narnia-linked sites like freenarnia.mobi after the case was filed, had not acted in full honesty.

Towns said there had been no indication in defence papers he had seen that there had been any preparation to use narnia.mobi as an e-mail address until the Lewis estate began proceedings.

What a bunch of idiots.

How far can companies push copyright words?

I think you mean trademark, and the answer to your question is "as far as they need so that they can protect the investment made in a brand".

If the kid's last name was narnia, and he had pictures of himself and his family up, WIPO wouldn't have ruled this way. In that circumstance, no person in their right mind would confuse the homepage of a family with the surname "Narnia" and the books by CS Lewis.

First I want to say this is ridiculous that CS Lewis is is going after the family this way.

They filed a WIPO complaint, which is the commonly accepted way to resolve issues surrounding domain squatting. How else would you suggest they protect their brand? Kidnap the boy and demand the domain as ransom?

engine




msg:3707282
 2:19 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

What I think is laughable, as I understand it no one appeared to offer a small fee to purchase the domain name form the family, which i'm sure would have been a lot less than the legal fees.

Secondly, why the heck don't they monetise the domain, now they have it, and let the kid, and all kids, have an e-mail address at narnia. Seems like an opportunity missed.

This could have been handled differently, i'm sure.

rocker




msg:3707292
 2:28 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Secondly, why the heck don't they monetise the domain, now they have it, and let the kid, and all kids, have an e-mail address at narnia. Seems like an opportunity missed.

Then the parents will sue CS Lewis for stealing their idea :)

Gotta love the legal system.

bakedjake




msg:3707294
 2:31 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

What I think is laughable, as I understand it no one appeared to offer a small fee to purchase the domain name form the family, which i'm sure would have been a lot less than the legal fees.

But on principle, that's a bad idea. It tells domain squatters that it's OK to go ahead and register a domain, knowing full well that you'll get a warning and an offer of a check before a complaint is started.

WIPO complaints aren't all that expensive anyways, speaking from experience.

This could have been handled differently, i'm sure.

It's maddening to see the press bias though.

engine




msg:3707296
 2:33 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Then the parents will sue CS Lewis for stealing their idea :)

If they were all smart, they could have made it part of the agreement for the family.

le_gber




msg:3707361
 3:18 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

as I understand it no one appeared to offer a small fee to purchase the domain name form the family, which i'm sure would have been a lot less than the legal fees

engine, from the reuter article
The estate's lawyers, the U.S.-based Baker and McKenzie, filed the complaint in May after the Saville-Smiths rejected offers to buy back the site

netmeg




msg:3707381
 3:39 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think I read somewhere that Saville-Smiths also registered drwho.mobi at the same time, which kind of dilutes their argument that it was just for the kids, in my opinion. If it's indeed true.

jmccormac




msg:3707400
 3:54 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Looks like a very clear cut case of cybersquatting. The subsequent registration of other Narnia .mobi domains added to the complainant's argument. And those other trademarked .mobi domains are other problems. It looks like these people got caught cybersquatting and then were trying to plead ignorance and a whole pile of other rubbish.

The interesting aspect of this case from the domainer point of view, and indeed all registrants with undeveloped websites, is the pointing of the unused domains to a parking page by the registrars/hosters. This kind of parking (often with the "this domain may be for sale") is lethal when it comes to establishing bad faith in most domain dispute resolution proceedings.

Regards...jmcc

engine




msg:3707412
 4:07 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

after the Saville-Smiths rejected offers to buy back the site

Buy back! - that would only get them angry, imho.

My point was, if sweeteners were offered, instead of hurling legal sticks, i'm sure this whole thing could have been handled better, imho

rogerd




msg:3707447
 4:41 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>Also, what if the kid's last name was Narnia?

The fact that the child's first name was Madonna didn't help in the madonna.com fight (won by the singer).

razoras




msg:3707454
 4:46 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

I found it difficult to sympathize with the mother during her interview with NPR when I first heard about the story. Or rather, difficult to understand why she thought she had a snowball's chance. I understood her reasoning, but I also understand trademarks and could see the logic behind infringement claims.

Oh well. I hope SHE understands, or will understand. The impression I got from her NPR interview is that she might be a little dim.

Demaestro




msg:3707531
 6:19 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

CS Lewis should own the narnia domains, not someone else

And what would a fan of the Narnia series call their site without getting sued?

CS Lewis estates is not entitled to any and all domains containing the word "narnia" and if they are then I give up in this ridiculous industry.

If Narnia.mobi was SOOOOOOO valuable to them then they should have registered it. They didn't register it and therefor should be available to anyone who wants to use it for any number of reasons save profiting from the CS Lewis books and characters.

No reason in the world a fan can't have a book review of Narnia up at Narnia.mobi and that is just one legal use of the domain... there are 1000s of other legal uses as well.

physics




msg:3707599
 7:55 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

If it was somedomainnamewithnarniainit.mobi then I would say they should back off, the bad press wouldn't be worth it. But narnia.mobi? Come on ... hand it over.

londrum




msg:3707678
 9:09 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

what gets me in all this, is why domain registrars are still allowed to carry on selling things which have been shown to infringe upon people's copyright.
presumably a load of narnia-related domain names are still available to buy - which may land the buyers in trouble - so why are they even allowed to sell them?

if someone was found in possession of drugs, they'd get arrested. and if the police caught up with the seller, so would they. what's the difference?

Commerce




msg:3707684
 9:17 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

it's too bad, but really, the parents are trampling on the trademark of someone else. having the parents pull the 'it's for the cute little children routine' doesn't validate that they're still using someone else's trademark. CS Lewis should own the narnia domains, not someone else.

wheel,

As I recall, that defense did not seem to work for a fellow who bought a domain for his daughter many years back.. Wendys.com

Arguably, that one had more standing than this appears to.

nickreynolds




msg:3707693
 9:38 pm on Jul 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

What I find suprising is that this is such a high profile case where the domain name doesn't appear to be really harming anyone, when there are thousands of domains in use out there with money making websites and using brand names apparently with impunity

webdoctor




msg:3709104
 11:51 am on Jul 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

If Narnia.mobi was SOOOOOOO valuable to them then they should have registered it...

Sorry, but I thought the point of getting a trademark is that you *don't* have to register all the variations on [trademark].TLD

Say you've got the trademark... it's now for Joe Public to check at uspto.gov [uspto.gov] before [s]he registers a domain that might infringe your trademark.

AFAIK this is generally called "Due Diligence"... and if you screw up on it, you end up in court.

StoutFiles




msg:3709199
 2:02 pm on Jul 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

As I recall, that defense did not seem to work for a fellow who bought a domain for his daughter many years back.. Wendys.com

It'd be really hard to defend a Wendys.com purchase, who would buy a domain for their daughter with an unneeded 's' at the end?

Demaestro




msg:3709227
 2:24 pm on Jul 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

webdoctor you are right you don't have to register all the possible domains in order to protect your trademark.

I suspect these "parents" aren't being as up front as they suggest but for the company to say that the domain is valuable enough for them to take legal action when the true nature of the site these people have planned for it was still unclear seems wasteful.

It wasn't valuable enough for the company to pay the $20 for, but it is worth paying $20,000 + in legal fees trying to take it from someone before it is even evident what they actually have planned for the domain?

I can't stand when a companies first reaction is a legal one. I guess that is just my bias.

[edited by: Demaestro at 2:28 pm (utc) on July 28, 2008]

This 40 message thread spans 2 pages: 40 ( [1] 2 > >
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