Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Resources: ChillingEffects and Taubman Sucks

On the left panel, I have posted some good resources for domainers who are not certain if their domains are infringing on someone's trademark.

These useful links do not take the place of professional legal advice, but you should get the general idea.

I probably will not post here much, but as I find appropriate links, I'll add them.

Best to all.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Trademark Infringement: What was I thinking? (Not!)

Public humiliation, even by proxy, is never a pleasant feeling; it's no fun to admit that you're a numpty domainer and, yes, a cybersquatter.

Like Bill Clinton, I did a bad thing.

First, I apologize to Apple and any other company whose trademark I may have infringed (I may be okay with my non-Apple domains, but as I become more knowledgeable about these matters, I may discover otherwise).

But now is the time to come clean and do something about cleaning up my domain portfolio; it is my wish to divest myself of these problematic domains and even give them (NOT sell) to their rightful owner (if Apple wishes--I'll be contacting them soon, once I figure out how to do this). Otherwise, I will keep these domains for the duration of my registration period (less than a year); however, after that time, if Apple would rather not bother, I plan to release them into the general pool--which is why I'm not going to publicize those names here, although I'm well aware that some of you will arrive here by those very domains.

If so, caveat emptor. If you get any funny ideas about registering these domains after they delete and placing them on parking/monetizing pages, think again.

Fair warning: shortly before I release them, I'll be putting these domains on alert and then, after they delete, I will keep a close eye on them; if I find them on monetizing pages (other than Apple's), I will report you to your registrar and Apple.

What's more, I'll report them here.

You might ask: "Why should you care?" I care because I have an interest in making this situation right; I put this whole thing into motion; although someone else probably would have eventually registered these names, they didn't. I did, and so I'm responsible, at least ethically, for these particular domains and their eventual disposal. I'm not certain about my legal responsibility.

In other words, this will NOT be a trademark infringement watchdog site--I'm just watching the domains that I put into motion.

These domains are NOT for sale, so don't ask. I have turned off the comment feature on this blog, just to make sure no spam slips through; for the duration of its cyber-life, this blog will remain ad-free.

My other domain associated with this blog account is probably in the clear; a negative/parody domain is protected by the First Amendment, and, moreover, is for a product that does not yet exist (and may never exist); in addition, this domain does not contain "Apple" or "VW," and the content clearly parodies a non-existent product.

By the way, I have NOT registered iamnotapple (dot) com (or any of its variations), and I will not do so.

If you wish to compound my error by registering it/them, knock yourself out, but even with parody/disclaimer sites of established AND famous trademarks, you walk a thin line. You had better not profit from it by putting it up for sale and/or parking it on a monetizing parking lot with Apple ads on them; otherwise, your First Amendment rights will probably evaporate into thin air, and you will be forced to create a web page or blog like this one. I'll be putting an alert on this domain as well and keeping an eye on it; if you register it and use it properly, then no problem; otherwise it could end up being a big headache for you.

Now for some positive news: in some way, I need to create some meaning out of my unethical act by giving back somehow, so here is my offer:

If you have some trademark-infringing domains (and not just Apple, either) that you feel could get you into legal trouble and you're not quite sure, you are free to redirect them here, at least on a temporary basis. No need for you to fess up--just redirect and let me know that you have done so. You may remain anonymous. It's just that simple.

I will ask someone (or maybe more than one person) in the domaining community to act as a watchdog for this site, to make sure it remains honest--

Love everyone, but trust no one.

In other words, this will become a temporary placeholder for infringing domains, which means that this site could potentially draw lots of traffic, which is precisely why I didn't want to register the iamnotapple (or its variations) domain.

From this day forward, I want clean hands and a clean conscience.

If you have any valid questions AND/OR would like to post a statement with your redirect (NOT mandatory), you may e-mail me.

However, snide remarks and general snark will be ignored.

You may remain anonymous, at least on this blog. It makes no difference to me if you are a newbie or a well-established domainer.

Best wishes,

A Repentant Domainer