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[P]
New York State Is Taking Away My Domain Name

By ScottBrady in Op-Ed
Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 07:58:16 PM EST
Tags: Help! (Ask Kuro5hin) (all tags)
Help! (Ask Kuro5hin)

Back in 1998 (I was 15 years old then) I registered the domain name NYSFair.com where I put up my own website with information on the New York State Fair. The media loved the story of a 15 year old "computer whiz" and the people at the Fair loved the free publicity. Things have changed since then.

Now the Fair has their own website at NYSFair.org and they want my domain name too.

(for those of you confused by the "censored" notice on my site please read this diary)


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Background

I registered the domain name back in 1998. August 6th, 1998 to be exact. At that time there were no other New York State Fair websites on the internet; mine was the first and only website devoted completely the the Fair. Sixth months later on February 7th, 1999 the Fair decided to register their own domain name at NYSFair.org. Funny they should pick "nysfair" especially considering I'd never seen them use that phrase before.

Present

On August 22nd I was contacted by Mike McCormick of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to tell me that they intended to file a domain name dispute against me with the National Arbitration Forum. They claim my domain name violates their trademark on THE FAIR THE GREAT NEW YORK STATE FAIR. The only way to avoid them filing the dispute would be to hand over the domain name for which they are willing to pay $1,100 (what it would cost them in filing fees to NAF). After reading this article about the high number of cases won by complainants I can't help but feel my chances of winning are slim.

Rant

What I don't understand is why a full three years later they now suddenly have a problem with the domain name. They never had a problem when it got them free publicity. They never had a problem when I put all the Fair schedules online for free. They also didn't have a problem with me answering hundreds of emails from fair goers.

There's an old saying that I can't seem to get out of my head: "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." Not only are they looking it directly in the mouth they seem to have a loaded shotgun to it's head.

Frightening

Above all else I find this frightening. This isn't just about another soulless international corporation abusing the intellectual property system. This is the government. My government. The same government that I pay taxes to. Am I the only one that finds it more than a little disconcerting that the State of New York wants to take a domain name away from one of it's citizens? Especially after he did so much to help them! I know it troubles me.

Your Help

I want to know what suggestions you have. What would you do in this situation? Call the EFF? Give up and hand the domains over? Post comments to weblogs (kidding)? I'd really like to know your thoughts.

p.s. I can already hear all the "get a lawyer" posts. FYI, I'm a poor student in college who is barely getting buy without paying loads of dough to a lawyer. Any legal council would have to be free (i.e. EFF).

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Poll
You should
o Hand over the domain 29%
o Call the EFF 53%
o Other 17%

Votes: 41
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o NYSFair.co m
o NYSFair.or g
o this diary
o New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
o National Arbitration Forum
o THE FAIR THE GREAT NEW YORK STATE FAIR
o this article
o Also by ScottBrady


Display: Sort:
New York State Is Taking Away My Domain Name | 40 comments (39 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Domain Name idiocy (3.33 / 3) (#1)
by tomwsmf on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 04:55:04 PM EST

Lots of folks here were overjoyed to see the WWF get its domain stripped, lets see how they fall in on this one. It just goes to show, bias and prejudges are a common thing in muggles and mages alike. To my mind, if you registered it first, its yours. Case closed. Unless they can come to a deal with you, they are SOL. But of course the system has "matured" now to accompidate big biz and causes de jour. Sof or all of you who horrayed the wwf ruling, heres the flip side. Hope you like sleeping in the bed youve made. -tom

After thinking about it... (4.33 / 9) (#2)
by Perianwyr on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 05:09:05 PM EST

After reading the situation, I'd have to say that the best thing for you to do would be to give them the domain, in return for the $1,100 and a written statement that you did nothing wrong and that the situation was resolved amicably. Why do this? Because it isn't worth your time and money to go to war over a website that's supposed to be helping the organization that's after you. Let them help themselves. They obviously don't deserve your assistance. So let them have their crap, and get some free money out of it too.

Take the $1,100! (3.50 / 2) (#4)
by delmoi on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 05:15:47 PM EST

Are you crazy? Take the money? Why would you want to run a site devoted to people who you obviously have a dissagreement with.

I don't know, I'm not you. Do your really love the state fair that much?

Why not just take the money and register 'nystatefair.com' or something?

Oh well. If I were you I would have jumped at the change to take that money. Oh well..
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
What basis do you have to keep it? (3.83 / 6) (#5)
by ghjm on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 05:23:44 PM EST

This isn't a case of name confusion (ie, nissan.com being owned by Amnon & Uzi Nissan, who run Nissan Computers). You're not running a domain called NYSFair.com because your name is Nathaniel Fair. All the content on your site was specifically to do with the fair. They were okay with this for a while, but now they want to run their own site. What basis do you have to insist that *they* shouldn't be allowed to run *their own* Web site?

I think you need to either accept their offer or make a reasonable counteroffer, but recognize that you can't keep the domain - if you fight it you will lose, and rightly so IMHO. If this were your personal domain and the name conflict was unintentional, I'd support you all the way. But you really didn't have the right to register a domain clearly intended to be for someone else's business, without their permission, and then run a Web site of your own from it.

The fact that you've switched the content over to having nothing to do with the fair probably doesn't help matters any. At this point you aren't even maintaining any fair-related content on the site. You're insisting that the domain has to sit idle. Perhaps they were vaguely annoyed at your trademark takeover from the get-go, but at least you were keeping schedules updated and so forth, so they were getting some value out of it. Now you want them to get no value at all, but let you keep the name. Why? Why do you even want the name, if you're not running the site any more?

If you do want to make a counteroffer, you might ask for some publicity on or involvement with the web site they do create. But really, you should probably take the $1100 and be done with it, while it's still being offered. It's a more reasonable deal than most of this type - usually they just sue you. The fact that they're willing to make this offer probably results from their appreciation for the work you've done in past years. The best you can do is ask for, say, $2000; maybe they'll give it to you. But if they refuse, really, take the $1100.

Sory if this sounds harsh - that's not my intent, I just think you need to face up to the reality of the situation.

-Graham

So no freedom of expresion then. (4.33 / 3) (#7)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 05:36:37 PM EST

How then is one suppossed to register a domain name that deals with a certain issue or topic?

If I want to talk about Coke (the canned drink, you durggies!), and of course I want my site to be known, then the first thing would be to register a suitable domain:

www.ILcoke.com
www.cokesucks.nte
www.this-is-coke.comwww.buy-coke.com
www.hatecoke.com

Then what you are saying is that The Coca-Cola Co. can do whatever they want and stop me registering a domain?

My gut feeling is that it sucks, and that we should fight this with the little might we have.

To the guy of the problem: take the money, remember that to win a legal battle you need deep pockets (yours or from somebody that would be willing to suppor you) but please let know as many people as possible of the situation (local media, in a new website, etc).

Don't hand the content! Tha is yours, don't let them trick you into relinquish your hard work....



------------------------------------
"They only think of me as a Mexican,
an Indian or a Mafia don"
Mexican born actor Anthony Quinn on
Hol
[ Parent ]
No. (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by ghjm on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 10:36:16 PM EST

That's not what I'm saying at all. If you register coke-sucks.com, or even i-like-coke.com, you have a reasonable claim that the domain name is correct, and that the popular culture status of the name is such that you really ought to be able to use it in this way. I totally support "whatever-sucks.com" domains.

But that's not what was happening here. In this case we have the equivalent of registering coke.com itself, specifically to build a Web site concerning coke. At that point I just can't see how you could *not* find in favor of the trademark holder. Yes, it's a balancing act, and the trademark holder shouldn't be able to run roughshod over legitimate other use - but really, you have to leave trademark holders *some* rights.

-Graham

[ Parent ]
i sort of see your point (none / 0) (#33)
by el_guapo on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 02:52:06 PM EST

BUT - when he registered the domain they did NOT have the trademark. He should be able to keep it. If I register elguapocars.com and then you go start a car company 2 years later called elguapo cars (and register the trademark) you do NOT magically get the rights to elguapocars.com that I registered previously. I think the Fair folk are being shitbags. If they really want the domain they should make him a fair offer, not "this is what it'll cost us to fight you for it" offer. What a bunch of pricks....
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
They already *have* a Domain. (none / 0) (#25)
by ti dave on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 04:29:36 AM EST

"What basis do you have to insist that *they* shouldn't be allowed to run *their own* Web site?"

They already have a domain, NYSFair.org.
Let them use that, I say.
They should have gotten off their collective asses and registered the .com version early.

Better yet, if the State wants it that badly, make an offer to trade the .com for the .org.
Might seem to fit the original intent of the separate domains that way.

Cheers,

ti dave

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Their site (none / 0) (#26)
by Dievs on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 04:32:06 AM EST

>All the content on your site was specifically to >do with the fair. They were okay with this for a >while, but now they want to run their own site. >What basis do you have to insist that *they* >shouldn't be allowed to run *their own* Web site? They are welcome to run their site at NYSFair.org, which they do, or NewYorkStateFair.com, or any else. Why *he* shouldn't be allowed to continue having a site?

[ Parent ]
Other way around... (none / 0) (#34)
by ScottBrady on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 06:52:50 PM EST

They were okay with this for a while, but now they want to run their own site. What basis do you have to insist that *they* shouldn't be allowed to run *their own* Web site?

I'm not the one trying to stop them from running their own website. It's the other way around. I have absolutely no problem with them running their website at .ORG. Why would I? I do, however, find it suspicious that they specifically reg'ed NYSFAIR. But so what? They liked my idea and borrowed it. I consider that a compliment.

But you really didn't have the right to register a domain clearly intended to be for someone else's business, without their permission, and then run a Web site of your own from it.

(First off, this is not a business. This is a public event run by the State of New York. I find the difference to be profound.)

Without their permission? Here is were it gets interesting.

When I registered the domain name I was not aware of any trademarks held by New York State relating to the Fair. When I created my website the first response from them was "thanks." They even went on record in the newspaper thanking me and admitting to sending people to my site! If that isn't permission, what is?

Additionally, there have been cases in the past involving trademark disputes where the trademark holder has registered their domain name with an "alternate" TLD because the .COM was already taken. Then, at a later date, the trademark holder files a complaint about the .COM stating that it violates their trademark. What was the outcome of these cases? The trademark holder lost because the court found that by registering an alternate domain name they were acknowledging they knew about the use of the other domain and were thereby giving permission to the domain holder by not filing a complaint immediately. In short, they diluted their trademark.

I wish I could find the articles about these cases. If anyone has URLs please post them.

--
Scott Brady
"We didn't lie to you... the truth just changed."
YHBT. YHL. HAND.
[ Parent ]

So (4.44 / 9) (#6)
by trhurler on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 05:25:56 PM EST

Here's what you do. Take the $1100. Let them have the domain. Use your existing setup with a new domain name, say, "nysfairrapedmybutt.com" for example, to both concisely explain what they did and offer email addresses for the people responsible. Call up a couple of the media outlets that fawned over you after you have your site set up, and let them know what's going on. Include on your site a list of links to other stuff to do while the fair's running, email conversations between you and the fair people, and so on. When they send you threatening emails(and they will,) post them on your website, and don't bother replying. Save the $1100 in case you do need to speak with a lawyer, but don't worry too much about that; these aren't federal agents here, but just a bunch of local wankers with no brains and a bad attitude. Local government types are usually the worst sort of pompous windbags, but they don't really have much clout outside their narrowly defined roles, so criticizing them is fairly safe.

If you end up not needing the $1100, my advice is, buy stock in large boring companies like Conagra, IBM, P&G, and so on and let it sit there for a few decades, reinvesting dividends and growing as it will. You'll end up with quite a lot more money, and to put it mildly, you'll have given the fair a black eye far worse than any positive publicity you could have provided, which is what they deserve.

I wonder if the World Wildlife Foundation supporters who thought stealing domain names was such a grand idea when it benefitted their little cause will still have their big yaps open now. I'm betting the answer is, "no, because they're a bunch of hypocritical, self contradictory fucks." :)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

The WWF case was different. (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by ghjm on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 10:58:23 PM EST

The WWF (the wildlife one) is not well known inside the U.S., but it is a very highly recognizable mark elsewhere in the world. I grew up in Canada and I clearly remember the World Wildlife Fund spots from Saturday morning cartoons. Many people were innocently visitihg the WWF (wrestling) page looking for spotted owls. And of course the WWF (wildlife) has been around - and actively using and investing in the WWF mark - for 40 years. So here we have two brand owners who do not conflict; you have to choose one or the other. Is it more fair to choose the one who got to the domain first, or the one with the best claim to the brand itself? I don't know what the answer should be, but I'm satisfied with the WWF outcome. Although, I have to ask: If the Wildlife Fund won, how come wwf.com still shows the wrestlers?

[ Parent ]
The TLD System Could Work (4.50 / 2) (#27)
by Bios_Hakr on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 05:50:08 AM EST

OK, The WWF(animal lovers) operate a not-for-profit orginization, right? The WWF(money lovers) operate a company trying to make money, right? So, isn't that what the com/net/org system is in place for?

[ Parent ]
A problem (none / 0) (#31)
by trhurler on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 01:29:18 PM EST

Basically, the problem is this: in the US at least, which is where the .com registries are, trademarks are specific to what you do. So, there's no problem with WWF referring to both a conservation group and an entertainment outfit. Fine. But, as you say, only one can have wwf.com.

Here's the beef: when the wrestling guys bought the domain, they bought it. They have a trademark, so it is not reasonable to claim they don't have a legal claim to the term WWF for purposes of denoting a professional wrestling organization, which is what they use(d) wwf.com for. Giving wwf.com to the wildlife people is arbitrary. It is like me coming along and saying "well, I know that's his house, but I want you to give it to me based on the fact that we both have boats on the dock across the way and my boat is bigger" and then having a court GIVE ME THE HOUSE!

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Or (none / 0) (#40)
by ghjm on Tue Sep 04, 2001 at 04:20:58 PM EST

"Well, I know more people voted for him than me, but my party appointed you to the bench" and then having a court GIVE HIM THE ELECTION!

What's new about this? Judicially assisted legal theivery has been a staple of American jurisprudence for, well, basically ever since the Supreme Court decision that gave corporations the rights of a 'natural person' ... so our screwed up ideas of what's legal apply to domain names, too. So what? Fix it for everything, or quit whining.

[ Parent ]
Tell the whole story (4.66 / 9) (#8)
by catseye on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 06:00:18 PM EST

You need to tell the whole story.

You are not just some poor fan being exploited by a big corporation. I did a few whois lookups. You also have registered in your name Interweb Design Studio. On your Clients Page you list The Great New York State Fair as if they were a client. On that gif that replaces the nysfair.com link, you use all sorts of graphics which come very close, if not walk boldly right over that line, of trademark infringement.

If I just came across your Interweb Design Studio site as a potential customer, by looking at your client page I might think that you actually had the State Fair site as your real client, when in reality you don't. This is very deceptive.

If I were you, I'd take the money, hand over the domain name, and pray they don't sue you in a real court. You are capitalizing on their trademark by using it to promote your web site design.



Interweb (none / 0) (#23)
by vinay on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 11:46:46 PM EST

I went and looked at the Interweb site, and it does note that it is an "Unofficial site." Has that changed since the article was posted?


-\/


[ Parent ]
Yes (4.00 / 1) (#28)
by catseye on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 09:08:13 AM EST

It used to say "Informational" instead of "Unofficial".

[ Parent ]
Google cache confirms (none / 0) (#37)
by hoskoteinos on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 11:27:37 PM EST

see here -- it was originally "informational"

[ Parent ]
Please. (3.25 / 4) (#9)
by rebelcool on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 06:21:57 PM EST

As someone said below, you list 'the great new york state fair' as a client of yours. Something of which, they are not. That's very deceptive.

In addition, from what I can tell of the 'old site' it looks quite official. Well done, to be sure, but if I were a consumer, i'd probably be confused by the site myself.

If I were to register 'cocacola.com' before they did, then make up a site that listed all sorts of official looking information, that would be very misleading, and that is illegal. You are not being censored, because this kind of speech is NOT free, and never has been.

You are very lucky they are not hauling your ass to court and suing you. In fact they've offered you a generous sum of money. Quit your whining, take the money and go buy some beer (well you might be too young to buy it..get a friend to) and congratulate yourself on doing the right, mature thing.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Public event... (none / 0) (#35)
by ScottBrady on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 07:07:31 PM EST

If I were to register 'cocacola.com' before they did, then make up a site that listed all sorts of official looking information, that would be very misleading, and that is illegal.

First, let me say that there is a world of difference between a product manufactured by a corporation and a public event run by New York State. Event schedules can not be copyrighted. They are in the public domain just like listings of phone numbers and addresses.

Moving on: I never claimed to in fact be the State Fair. Every page of my site carried a disclaimer that the site was not in any way affiliated with the Fair or anyone running the Fair. How, may I ask, can I tell people that the event listings that I am showing them are for "The Great New York State Fair" if I can't say those words? Was I suppose to point and wink my left eye?

You are not being censored, because this kind of speech is NOT free, and never has been.
You neglected to read this.

--
Scott Brady
"We didn't lie to you... the truth just changed."
YHBT. YHL. HAND.
[ Parent ]

Two questions (3.50 / 2) (#10)
by finial on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 06:24:10 PM EST

1) What exactly is the trademark they are claiming infringment on? Is it "NYSFair" or is it logos or text used on the site itself? If you are using their copyrighted/trademarked words and symbols on your site, you'll have to remove them. Simple as that. But unless they have a trademark on "NYSFAIR" or "NYS Fair" then I don't think it will hold much weight.

2) Have you read the UDRP closely and thoroughly? I looks to me like this relates most closely to a "fan" site. Those have had mixed results with arbritration. Some go to the artist, some stay with the fan. But you must read and understand this document. The timeline on this is short and if you miss a date, you give up the domain.



If you haven't already (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by aphrael on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 06:30:33 PM EST

call your state senator and representative's offices, explain the problem, and ask that they do what they can to help you. They might not do anything, but they usually try to be as helpful as they can when their constituents are dealing with state entities.

As Steve Miller said... (3.00 / 1) (#12)
by barzok on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 06:35:43 PM EST

Go on, take the money and run. You're an admitted poor college student and you won't win this one. NYS is right here. Take the $1100 and walk away. You're young, start learning to pick your battles now. This is one that you don't want to fight.

Few Points... (4.33 / 3) (#13)
by ScottBrady on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 06:39:36 PM EST

I'd like to make a few points.

First, it is the duty of the trademark holder to protect their trademark from dilution. Why, then, have they waited until three years later to protest the domain name? If the Fair had told me "thanks for the help but we have a trademark and..." I would have been more than happy to accommodate. Instead all I heard was "thanks for the help" followed by silence.

Second, the domain name was registered by my ISP. Because all my hosting accounts go under the master account for my business they reg'd the domain to my business. As anyone who's dealt with NetSol knows, it's a bitch to change a domain owner. I'm still trying to get the address and phone number changed on all my domains!!

Say whatever you want about me and what you think my intentions were. The fact remains I never intended to rip them off. I can sleep well at night knowing I did a good deed. Now apparently it's time to move on.

--
Scott Brady
"We didn't lie to you... the truth just changed."
YHBT. YHL. HAND.

Re: Few Points... (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by Volta on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 01:57:10 PM EST

First, it is the duty of the trademark holder to protect their trademark from dilution. Why, then, have they waited until three years later to protest the domain name?

Well, this one is easy to answer: they didn't file for the trademark until 27 May 1999, several months after you registered the domain. IANAL, but I don't see how you could be infringing on a trademark before they filed for it.

That said, if I were you, I'd take the money and let them have the domain. This is a battle you probably won't win.

[ Parent ]

Reasons you can (and maybe should) fight this. (3.00 / 2) (#14)
by Lelon on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 06:40:40 PM EST

First and foremost, they do not have the right to every domain name that can be construed as the New York State Fair. For example, they might have the right to www.newyorkstatefair.com, but not every possible domain (which could number in the 100's easily).

Second, and perhaps most importantly, if you are telling the truth and did run a site providing information about the fair (this would loosely be considered a "fan site" i guess) then you had a legimate use for the domain. Its not like you were just sitting on it, or had a bunch of porn banners to make money. And (again, if what you say is true) you weren't trying to sell it for a huge amount of money.

That being said, if this were taking place in WIPO, you would keep your domain name.

Simply put, you aren't a cybersquatter like this idiot.


----
This sig is a work in progress.
Errrr, bit of follow up (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by Lelon on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 06:48:37 PM EST

It should be mentioned that I do feel sorry for people who viewed domain names as "real estate" and are now getting screwed (although I do not feel sorry for Denny Hammerton, who is just a complete and utter idiot.) And it should also be noted that WIPO and ICANN have fairly arbritraty rules. JimiHendrix wins (when he's DEAD) and Sting doesn't (because his real name isn't Sting). And what about all the other Madonna's in the world? Does the pop diva deserve the website cause she can afford lawyers? Who knows.


----
This sig is a work in progress.
[ Parent ]
Confusingly similar... (3.33 / 3) (#16)
by Signal 11 on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 07:00:58 PM EST

I'd say you should threaten them with a drawn out case that would cost them millions. There are several cases which state that a domain name is "property". Well, I say contest the whole damned 'arbitration' system - if you lose your domain, file a suit against ICANN for theft.

But then again, I'm not a lawyer. =)


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Take the Money and Run! (3.75 / 4) (#17)
by prana on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 07:21:22 PM EST

It would be wise to have them sign a release of liability as well so any future foolishness on your part (say, libel) doesn't result in your ass being dragged to court.


Just a suggestion. (3.00 / 2) (#18)
by mindstrm on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 07:44:57 PM EST

Come up with a counter-offer. Ask them for payment for all the free advertising and publicity, and to compensate you for all the work you've done on the domain over the years, and you'll happily fork it over to them. Otherwise, they are taking away something you have an investment in.

Come up with a reasonable offer... and see what they say.


18 (3.66 / 3) (#19)
by xriso on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 09:42:42 PM EST

If you were 15 years old August 6, 1998, then you must be at least 18 years old now. Maybe they think that since you're an adult, they can succeed better.

And remember: there's a first time for everything. If they hadn't asked now, and did it next year instead, wouldn't you still be thinking "Why now?" I think that basically all they want is control over the website. Perhaps you can persuade them that they can have the domain, but you are the most qualified webmaster to run it. This way, you get paid, and they feel safe. Although, they might try to change the content completely.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

I agree... (none / 0) (#38)
by pulsar on Sun Aug 26, 2001 at 11:03:42 AM EST

I agree with xriso. If you were 15 3 years ago, then you are now an adult. They probably feel they would have a better chance of winning the case.

My suggestion is to take the money, register another domain name (newyorkstatefair.org, nysfairsucks.com, etc) and continue your existing site.

[ Parent ]
Not much you can do (2.50 / 2) (#21)
by X-Nc on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 10:43:54 PM EST

The comment about trying to make a reasonable counter offer is not bad. Even if you get free councel you're not likely to win the arbitration. All I can say is good luck and don't spend to much time/effort on it. You got to pick your fights and do what you can.

Accepting $1100 "proves" you are cybersq (4.85 / 7) (#24)
by Robin Lionheart on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 01:20:42 AM EST

Be careful. Under the unreasonable provisions of the ACPA (Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act), merely accepting an offer to buy a domain name supposedly proves that you are cybersquatting.

An unscrupulous lawyer could use your acceptance as evidence of "bad faith" in registering the domain, presuming you only registered it to resell it to them. Then they strip you of the domain for free and nail you with the legal costs.

I recommend you read Oppedahl & Larson LLP's Considerations for innocent domain name owners, and consult a lawyer before responding in any way.

gods below, that is FOUL (none / 0) (#30)
by Perianwyr on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 10:32:00 AM EST

That's extremely evil. Essentially, it means that:

1) domain names are property in the hands of those with money and lawyers

2) domain names are not property in the hands of others.

Malthusian LAWCAP strikes again!

[ Parent ]
Call your representative (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by Manax on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 09:39:41 AM EST

I'm not sure what part of the state you are in, but I'd call up Rep. Louis Slaughter (D-Rochester), and tell her the story.

I'd personally try to avoid dealing with DoAM, figuring they don't care about me AT ALL. Go over their heads! :)

Besides, shouldn't their domain be under .gov? And if they actually have a trademark (which you could certainly check), they haven't enforced it in 3 years... assholes.

Best of luck.


"Why should I be content to simply live in this world, when I, as a human being, can CREATE it!?"

New Information... (5.00 / 4) (#36)
by ScottBrady on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 07:35:32 PM EST

I went digging through my scraps of newspaper clippings today and came across three articles about my website that included very interesting quotes from the State Fair. For your reading pleasure:

"Fair Officials have referred a number of people who have called for information to the site, said Mike Tarby, who works with computers for the fair. 'From what I saw of it, it looked well done,' Tarby said."
The Post Standard, Tom Murphy - August 26th, 1998

"Last year, it was reported that some fair officials were directing the electronic-oriented to Brady's unofficial site. 'Our philosophy is the more information that is out on the Internet regarding the fair, the more people will find that information. [Assistant Director Ellen] Paprocki said."
Observer-Dispatch, Jonas Kover - August 13th 1999

"'Two websites are better than one,' said Peter Capuccilli, director of the State Fair. 'I applaud him for his time and effort.'"
Chittenango-Bridgeport Times, Courtney Kelley-Roe - August 31st, 1999

To me, this shows that not only did they approve of my use of the NYSFair.com domain name they were encouraging others to use the site. I can't help but think any lawyer would cringe after hearing their client make statements like the above.

--
Scott Brady
"We didn't lie to you... the truth just changed."
YHBT. YHL. HAND.

If it makes you feel any better (none / 0) (#39)
by irksome on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 11:19:23 PM EST

You're not the only one in the CNY Region (I assume you're in the CNY area, because the State Fairgrounds are in Syracuse) who's having trademark hassles with a relatively large "institution" in the area. I recently got a Cease & Desist order for one of the websites I was helping to run ... e-mail for more info.
I think I am, therefore I'm not.
[ Parent ]
New York State Is Taking Away My Domain Name | 40 comments (39 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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