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Fan sites

Is a fan site allowed to have a product name in his name?



7:51 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I've read here some posts concerning the use of products and brands in domain names, but haven't found something that can really help me.

My situation is this:

I have 2 popular videogames series fansite that includes the name of the videogame, and the name of the country I live.

But I recently found at my local registrar .com.mx that the exact names of the games were available, and as soon as I noticed I've already bought them.

I'm not planning on selling them, not parking them and so on, I just want to use them to mirror my fan sites.

Is that ok, can they take my domains?

I'm really scared for all the things I've read here about legal fights and so.

I hope someone can help me with this.


9:12 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


na I doubt they will take your domains down if you use the game-name. There are plenty of fansites who already use the title of the game in their name. What most legal battles are about is artwork and use of logo and so on, there you have to be very careful.

Hope it helps!


9:33 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

You could take the easy and safest route and ask the company, unless you're afraid to ask because you think they are inclined to say "no", in which case don't you already have your answer?

Which would you prefer: To build something only to later face a C&D letter or to build something with express approval?


10:46 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

WIPO Decision D2002-0716 (ottavo-nano.com) [wipo.int]

They have regarded as crucial whether Respondentsí "fan sites" are commercial or non-commercial. Operating a "non-commercial" fan site has been generally regarded as legitimate: see e.g. Nintendo of America, Inc. v. Alex Jones, WIPO Case No. D2000-0998; and, with respect to the mere intention of launching a fan site, Edward Van Halen v. Deborah Morgan, WIPO Case No. D2000-1313. On the other hand, in a fan Web site where the fan also tries to make money, the domain name has been regarded as used in bad faith (see for example Universal City Studios, Inc. v. David Burns and Adam-12 Dot Com, WIPO Case No. D2001-0784). The Panel agrees that, while use for purely a non-commercial fan site would not constitute use in bad faith, use for a commercial fan site does. While a Respondent using its domain name for a non-commercial fan site may not have a "legitimate interest" under the Policy, its use may be regarded as in good faith, absent other incriminating circumstances.

IANAL and this post does not constitute any legal advice. If you need legal advice, hire a lawyer.


11:27 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

@shigamoto: it's just I have the exact name <Snip>

@Webwork: I'm reaaaally scared to write that email or make that phone call, I would not fight with them for sure, if they want the domain, I'll give it to them, just hoping they can help me with the money i've already paid for it. Still really scared to try that, I guess I'll wait a bit :S

@nativenewyorker: I do have adsense ads on my sites, but it only gives me enough to pay the host. I'm not in now way trying to "make a living" out of my site. Thanks a lot for that great link.

Thanks everyone for your replies.

[edited by: Webwork at 12:29 am (utc) on Dec. 8, 2006]
[edit reason] Charter [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]


12:34 am on Dec 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

The Adsense=moneymaker is likely your Achille's heel, without regard to your ultimate profitabilty. The mark holder faces dilution and other issues if everyone plays the same "I'm using it but I'm not making (any real) money" position. Nyet! Either be a fan and take a loss or get permission. You might even get booted from Adsense in the right(wrong) situation, since you are now making Google your partner in trading off of someone else's famous/trademark.


3:44 pm on Dec 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

They can indeed take your domain away if they wish.
Unless you have a written permission you cant use their brands in URL like brand+something else.
There are tens of cases where brand holders sued hundreds of domain holders containing their brand in URL.


10:31 pm on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Well I removed all the ads.

In fact, I removed all the site, I'm planning to rebuild it so it can be a "clean" fan site. I just let a "coming soon" image.

I might contact the brand owner soon. Will tell you how everything goes.


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