Excellent answer, Thanks Kate.
I'll pass this on,
From: John P. Looney [mailto:jplooney-ilug at online.ie]
Sent: 15 February 2000 08:58
To: 'ilug at linux.ie'
Subject: Re: [ILUG] [Way Way OT] Domain names registration laws
On Mon, Feb 14, 2000 at 06:07:35PM -0000, Comerford, Wayne mentioned:
> I know there are laws about domain names etc
> but what are the exact laws with domain names and does the same law
> apply to all countries. I mean what chance has he got. Very slim I'd
> And would I be liable if I hosted his Site?
If it you register a domain that's a trademark, then they can take you to
court and sue your for dilution of trademark.
A few years back, they strengthened this, so that even if you tryed to
sell "Microsoft beer mats", Microsoft could sue you. Seeing as the .com
domain is currently administered in the US, it's under US trademark law.
However, I'm not sure they can sue a company based outside the US. They
could just send a letter to NSI or whoever, and tell them to remove the
entry, if no one turned up in court to defend it.
Dilution of trademark is usually settled by someone saying "Stop using
the trademark, or else". They then say "ISP, stop hosting that site, or
else". The "Else" is then "Estimated loss of earnings due to consumer
confusion and branding damage". For instance, if you registered
"Cocacola-ireland.com", and started selling pen knives, and subsquently
got a million hits, CocaCola corp would be within their legal rights to
say "We reckon that we spend $90 billion worldwide on advertising. That's
$15 for every man woman and child. If a million people came to their site,
that's $45 million you owe us triple damages, plus fines". Then they go
into lost internet sales, due to confusion etc. It really can mount up.
They try & take everything you have, and when there is no more company
money left, they settle for an equity stake (buy shares at less than half
price), or the losers' bankrupcy.
In the past, the ISPs pull the plug before anything happens. Messing with
big US corporations like that is *asking* for trouble. But seek legal
advice...not off me :)
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