FYI: [20010908 NB] Porn Publisher Says 'Typo' Domains Just Part Of The Web Game
Andy Mueller-Maguhn (by way of chiari mario <email@example.com>)
andy a CCC.DE
Sab 8 Set 2001 15:35:08 CEST
Saturday, September 8 6:40 AM SGT
Porn Publisher Says 'Typo' Domains Just Part Of The Web Game
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, 2001 SEP 7 (NB) -- By Steven Bonisteel, Newsbytes. One
of the most notorious collectors of "typo" Internet domains says addresses
that sound like - or almost like - the names of well-known companies and
celebrities don't amount to cybersquatting. Instead, says porn network
operator John Zuccarini, the misspellings make for a hide-and- seek that
many Web surfers expect to play.
But the unique argument didn't spell "innocent" for an international panel
of arbitrators who ruled recently that Zuccarini, an American, had no right
to hold 11 Internet domains reminiscent of the pop group known as the
The three arbitrators, representing the World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO), didn't buy Zuccarini's argument that many Web surfers
actually hunt for misspelled domain names and know full well that what they
might find will have nothing to do with a famous-sounding word or phrase.
What's more, the arbitrators pointed out that, while such Zuccarini-held
addresses as BackStreeBoys.com and BackSreetBoys.com could be part of such
a game, the defense didn't explain the domains BackStreetBoysPics.com and
WIPO's Geneva-based Aribtration and Mediation Center is one of four
organizations accredited to arbitrate domain-name disputes for the Internet
Corporation for Assigned names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN's Uniform Domain
Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) has been used by trademark holders
around the world to claim Internet addresses from Zuccarini and his
companies, which go by names such as Cupcake Party, Cupcake Patrol, Cupcake
City and Country Walk.
Zuccarini's losses under the UDRP have included Encyclopaedia Britannica's
complaint over such misspelled domains as Brtanica.com, Bitannica.com, and
EncyclopediaBrittanica.com; actress Nicole Kidman's complaint over
NicoleKidmanNude.com and the misspelled NicholeKidman.com; Microsoft
Corp.'s complaint over EncartaEncyclopedia.com and Encata.com; and United
Feature Syndicate's bid for and Dillbert.com.
In U.S. federal courts, Zuccarini was also among the first domain-name
holders to be sued under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act of
1999, which prohibits Internet users from registering, in "bad faith,"
Internet addresses that are the same or "confusingly similar" to famous or
But in the UDRP defense of his Backstreet Boys domains last month,
Zuccarini argued that his "practice of misspellings and typo squatting
services the unique market on the Internet where a large number of Web
surfers specifically type misspelling of words and phrases in order to
search for unusual information, advertising, and products."
Zuccarini also argued that his Web sites don't purport to be authorized by
the Backstreet Boys, not has he ever offered to sell his domains as a
However, the WIPO panel ruled that Zuccarini "has no reason to use these
domain names except to divert Internet surfers who erroneously type in the
wrong domain name, or type in the pictures- based domain names perhaps to
seek pictures of the Backstreet Boys."
"(Zuccarini) urges the panel to acknowledge his advertising mousetraps as a
legitimate business attracting consumers who purposefully mistype terms in
order to find links to unusual information and advertisements," the panel
wrote. But it said Zuccarin offered no evidence that Internet users do in
fact seek out misspelled addresses, and that he should know from his
previous UDRP losses that merely redirecting "mistaken typists to other
sites is not enough to create a legitimate use without a greater connection
between the domain name and the redirected site."
"Here, there is no connection between the sites to which a consumer is
directed and the Backstreet Boys trademark," the panel said. "Rather,
(Zuccarini) uses these celebrity name misspellings to display ads for
unrelated goods and services."
WIPO's Arbitration and Mediation Center can be found here:
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