FC: Denver city councilman buys up his rivals' .com names

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Thu Jan 23 2003 - 23:25:20 PST

  • Next message: Declan McCullagh: "FC: Bill Purdy: "I'm going to jail over my Washington Post domain""

    Date: Sat, 04 Jan 2003 23:26:18 -0700
    To: "Declan McCullagh"<declanat_private>
    From: Charlie Oriez <coriezat_private>
    Subject: Lanham Act and political campaigns
    Cc: k.swearingenat_private
    Declan -
    Back in Feb, 2002, you covered a fight in Texas where the Texas Dems 
    registered a parody site criticizing the ties between the Texas Republican 
    Party and Enron, and the attempt of the Republicans to get the site taken 
    down or modified on Lanham act grounds.  The Dems ultimately won since the 
    site was fairly obviously protected parody.
    A candidate in Colorado has taken a different tact, registering likely 
    domain names of his opponents with the sole intent of preventing their 
    use.  He's stated his intention to keep the sites blank and merely deny 
    there use to the opponents whose names are in the domain names.
    The Anti Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act of 1999 (signed by Clinton 
    in November of that year) expanded the Lanham Act to cover bad faith 
    registrations of domain names so as to intentionally deny their use to 
    trademark owners or owners of personal names.
    Story here: 
    The wiggle room is the language of the act that says that the squatter has 
    to intend to profit from the act.  My tendency is to interpret that as the 
    cybersquatter is intending to sell back the domain to the rightful 
    owners.  However, since the person who wins this election gets paid for the 
    position at risk, at least one political operative raised the possibility 
    that the post election payments might be sufficient to trigger Lanham.
    Penalties are $100,000 per violation.
     From the political perspective, if I were an opponent, I would spend the 
    spring accusing the candidate of the Lanham Act violations and hammering on 
    this action as symptomatic of his lack of ethics.  The candidates are 
    running for City Auditor, and the voters at least would want the person 
    holding this office to be purer than Ceaser's wife.
    News reporter: sanchezr@rockymountain news.com or (303) 892-2231
    I've been unable to reach any of the candidates though I've taken the 
    liberty of cc'ing the admin contact for Debbie Ortega, one of the victims 
    of the Lanham violations, on this note.
    I also alerted the reporter to my perceptions of the Lanham act's involvement.
    Charles Oriez   coriezat_private
    39  34' 34.4"N / 105 00' 06.3"W
    The internet views censorship as damage and routes around it
        -- attributed to John Gilmore
    Opt out of QWEST sharing marketing data on you http://www.qwest.com/cpni/
    POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
    You may redistribute this message freely if you include this notice.
    To subscribe to Politech: http://www.politechbot.com/info/subscribe.html
    This message is archived at http://www.politechbot.com/
    Declan McCullagh's photographs are at http://www.mccullagh.org/
    Like Politech? Make a donation here: http://www.politechbot.com/donate/
    Recent CNET News.com articles: http://news.search.com/search?q=declan

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Jan 24 2003 - 04:36:48 PST