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Copyright a domain name?

8:44 pm on Nov 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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joined:July 19, 2003
votes: 0

Hi all,

I just came across a site that is using my name with .com behind it all over their website.
They have same name as me but their extension is .hp

They even have a copyright symbol etc with my full domain name on their website.

Question - Do you have to copyright a domain name or is that a given when you purchase the name?

This worried me a little to see someone else claiming my name.

Any help is greatly apreciated!


3:59 pm on Nov 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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joined:Sept 8, 2004
votes: 0

Hello Saskia.

I'm not a lawyer but I'll share what I know.

Actually, copyrights don't apply to domain names because, at the very least, copyrights
apply to certain works like books, articles, paintings, even website design. Rather, you
may be referring to trademarks.

Trademarks, at the very least, apply to words, phrases, and symbols. So trademarks can
apply to domain names because the latter consists of words or phrases.

When registering a domain name, you only have rights to the name itself. No trademarks,
no copyrights, you get those elsewhere.

No one has absolute rights to any word whatsoever, so people can register domain names
using the same words but with different extensions or variations to the name.

Rather, there are limits to registering a name. Trademarks are one such limit every domain
name owner must consider before getting the name if it can be helped.

In your case, here are some questions to consider:

1. How are they using the name?
2. Do you have the time, money, and sincere belief you should get that domain name with
all your might?

As far as I know, .hp is supposed only to refer to products from that famous computer

5:23 pm on Nov 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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joined:June 24, 2002
votes: 0

It is always safe to copyright the domain name as "Intellectual Property Rights"
Here are some tips.
1. The dictionery word cannot be copyrighted.
2. "yourname.com" can be copyrighted but NOT "yourname"
3. Of course they carry more resale Value $$$$.
3:14 pm on Nov 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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joined:Nov 27, 2004
votes: 0

One more thing:

Are you absolutely sure there isn't a person with the exact same name as yours behind the other domain? It could happen. In that case he's got as much right to that name as you.

Just a thought.

11:08 pm on Nov 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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digitalbrain - still not sure that copyright applies here. trademark or servicemark would be more appropriate.
7:20 pm on Dec 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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joined:Sept 21, 2004
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1) op: do they have the (C) symbol or the (R) symbol? i believe it's criminal to use the R symbol innapropriately.

2) you can apply for trademark yourself for about $250 and several hours of research. it's kind of fun to learn about marks, and anybody interested in domains or trademarks should register one at least once in their life to learn the nuances.

3) what's the tangible value of trademarking a domain you own anyway? and what happens to a registered trademark if the domain expires?

4) my story: recently i successfully backordered 'mycompany'.com which old owner let lapse. a college kid wrote to me saying he was thinking of backordering it too, but he looked up 'mycompany' at USPTO.gov and saw our registered mark, so he decided to stay away from. funny think was, our registered mark is actually really weak and only applies to our 'mycompany' logo not the name, but this is still enough to ward away a lay squatter.

8:00 pm on Dec 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

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joined:Sept 8, 2004
votes: 0

Aside from what snsh said, I suggest you subscribe to the UDRP provider's mailing lists
as well so you can receive their resolved cases and learn a thing or 2.
8:51 pm on Dec 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

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joined:Feb 13, 2004
votes: 0

One of the things that I learned about copyrights and Intelectual Property is that in order to have any sort of case you have to ask yourself a few questions:

1) Are they using the name to sell or market a product or service that is similar or could be taken as being similar to one that you market or sell?

2) Does the who-is database show that his domain name was registered after yours, and did you already have a site up and running and known before he bought his?

If so, then they could be trading on the goodwill of your name and you would have a case.

Orange, for example, is a generic word and cannot be copyrighted. It is the name of a fruit. It is also a colour, BUT it is also the name of a Mobile Phone company. If someone went out and bought orange.net and used the site to sell oranges then no problem. If he used the site to sell orange paint, no problem. But if he used it to sell phones, bang, BIG problem. Go straight to Jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

It is to do with the intent of the domain owner.

Hope it helps.