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Now he won best new artist of the year at an awards show on TV and has lots of CD's and every time I go to a store people say "Hey, you have a famous name!"
He uses ".net" as his website. I don't know how to find out what a website is worth to a musician? What kind of broker could I contact to get an appraisal for a website that only has one potential buyer?
Let the famous musician come to you, if he/she cares, but if not then just bask in the glow . . and incidental traffic . . of someone else's fame.
Just don't seek to make coin off their fame.
then you may well be opening the door to a hostile takeover
Can you provide a reason for saying that? After all, the OP says:
I have owned my own name (.com) for 10 years.
I am aware that there may have been cases in the past where celebrities tried to aquire websites which use their names, through court/legal actions/lawsuits. I don't know how successful they have been in these matters. But hasn't the longevity of ownership (as well as being legitimately the person's [current webmaster's] actual name) been a big factor? I would think that it would be o.k. for the OP to try and find out if the musician is still interested in aquiring the .com name which is definitely more favorable than the .net. If the site right now is just a personal web site which does not have major income I would want to sell it to the musician for a few dimes if possible.
My name is also the same as a large company... but the copmpany doesn't seem to care.
Can you provide a reason for saying that?
The law deals with fine distinctions sometimes. No mention was made by the OP that he/she developed a website about him/herself. If not, is the domain parked? If parked, has the OP labored to keep the domain free of "specific references to the musician"? Presumably so, but if not - and if the OP were to approach the musician about a purchase - then there may be an issue. It may not be a winner in a WIPO proceeding but the analysis doesn't end there if there is any other evidence of trading off.
So, OP, has the domain been in use as your personal website for some time?
If so, have you attempted in any way to profit by virtue of the "shared name"?
Not sure you want to answer or address such matters in a public forum, as explained in the Domain Forum Charter.
But no.. I don't use it to make money off of my name or anything.. after all.. I'm not famous guys, remember?
I think you should simply put up a simple, boring, and definitely non-commercial site about yourself. On the home page, put a link to the musician's .net site saying "If you are looking for Joe Bloggs the musician, go here (link)".
If the musician is interested and his technical team is awake, they will see the referrers from your site, and that you are showing good faith. They may make you an offer. Even if they don't, your karma is intact. ;)
As to value, there really is no yardstick; it's all about what it is worth to the other person.
If they are doing big business on the .net site (selling and promotion etc.), then there may be a few thousand in it.
If it's just a sad vanity site, then even vanity won't earn more than a couple of hundred!
famousperson.com also has contextual advertising on the site.
If not-so-famous Famous Person sold it to him, then, he's possibly signed a suicide note.
how could you stand a chance to protect yourself from claims of trading on fFP's name.
My understanding of precedent is that there are generally two aspects to it:
1. the domain name is in use, and that use is legitimate, name-relevant, and unconnected with the challenging person / company
2. the site does not gain directly or indirectly by association with the challenging person / company.
I suspect that in this case, owning the domain name before the famous person was famous would be helpful, but not if #2 was broken in any way.
That said, OP, do you WANT to sell it? If so put together an offer and know what YOU want for it. Then sit on it and wait. There's that old adage about opening a can of worms to consider.
NOT LEGAL ADVICE. GET A LAWYER!
[edited by: Simsi at 1:20 pm (utc) on Oct. 30, 2008]
Man, I also own "My name" at Gmail.com and I guess he has chosen to use Gmail as well because I get "Evited" to parties by his friends all the time. I don't know... if I email him on his website to just talk to him about buying it if he would even respond. I don't know if people like that even open their own emails. I wonder if he would remember emailing me 5 years ago.
I wonder if I respond to one of the evites his friends send me by saying, "Hey, I own "myname's" myname.com and you all know he uses ".net". Have him give me a call I'd like to sell him the name!"
What would happen. hmm. You all make me nervous saying he could just take it from me. That's messed up. Sounds unamerican. I can understand if I was trying to hold him up or if it was hindering his life in some way, but he's got a great life going. If he can just take it from me with attornies when I email him then what's the point. I'd rather keep my own damn email address with my own freaking name. I was named it before he was born so I have seniority ;).
Very interesting discussion.
You all make me nervous saying he could just take it from me
I say don't worry about that at all. The likelyhood of that happening is slim IMO. I really doubt that men in black trenchcoats will show up at your doorstep demanding that you "hand over the domain, or else....", although that does happen in movies.... hmmmm.. :-) . I really don't see them taking any legal action against you unless you are in some way causing them trouble. They would most definitely rather work out a deal with you anyways, rather than spend money on attorneys and such.
I say send the musician an email if you can. Tell him you want 50 grand for the .com domain or else you will tarnish his name forever by stealing babies or something that will get your name on CNN if he wants to get tough about it. (Thats what some would do in the movies... not really advised to put it that way in real life though!) It is highly unlikely that there will be a problem if you approach him in good faith, and kindly ask if he would like to make your day with a very generous offer, after all he already expressed interest once before. If the guy actually gets to read his own e-mails or is advised of your contact, and if he is a 'good guy', he might really enjoy throwing some money at you if he is enjoying great prosperity as you say, and you both get something out of it then.
[disclaimer]I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice, just my opinion.[/disclaimer]
SOME courts! Not all... yet!
The clarification is welcome, although I didn't mean that Kentucky courts had legally defined a domain name - rather, that it seems to me that courts tend to end up comparing domain name names to things they more commonly deal with, and then looking at case law for those things. With strange results sometimes.
WebmasterWorld is a pretty tech-savvy community, so I think it tends to have a different perspective on this than most people ;)
Completely absolutely unrelated to the issue at hand here in this thread, and you should not have brought that up here at all
As Receptional Andy points out, I think it is very relevant because the precedent that it could set if it comes off will potentially impact on the issue that the OP has and indeed on any domain name owner whose content arguably conflicts with the interests of another.
[edited by: Simsi at 11:01 am (utc) on Nov. 5, 2008]
If you decide to sell, I would think a direct approach would be best. Just email the webmaster and say something along the lines of "I don't expect to use the domain name as much in the future as I do now, would you be interested in buying it?"
I would keep it very brief and casual and see if they bite.