Cybersquatting in Narnia – Goliath Wins

A few weeks ago, I wrote a rather harsh assessment of Richard Saville-Smith, the registrant of narnia.mobi. He sent me a pretty spirited defense of his position and complained that I unfairly portrayed him.

Consistent with my policies, I listened to him, gave him the benefit of the doubt, and I even changed the post. By the time I was done reading this guy’s emails, I was even rooting for him. I am the sucker of the day.

That was all before I found out what a complete bullshit artist he is. After looking at the panel findings, I’m back to my original position — he’s a cybersquatter, and the Panel thought so as well (for the reasons I predicted in this post).

Here is the really interesting part of the decision — a rejection of the Sorkin/Cabell theory that there is no constructive knowledge requirement under the UDRP:

Paragraph 2 of the Policy implicitly requires some good faith effort to avoid registering and using domain names corresponding to trademarks in violation of the Policy. Media General Communications, Inc., supra. See Shaw Industries Group Inc. and Columbia Insurance Company v. Rugs of the World Inc., WIPO Case No. D2007-1856; HSBC Finance Corporation v. Clear Blue Sky Inc. and Domain Manager, WIPO Case No. D2007-0062. Paragraph 2 of the Policy (“Your Representations”) is incorporated by reference in the registration agreements of ICANN-approved registrars, and provides as follows:

“By applying to register a domain name, or by asking us to maintain or renew a domain name registration, you hereby represent and warrant to us that (a) the statements that you made in your Registration Agreement are complete and accurate; (b) to your knowledge, the registration of the domain name will not infringe upon or otherwise violate the rights of any third party; (c) you are not registering the domain name for an unlawful purpose; and (d) you will not knowingly use the domain name in violation of any applicable laws or regulations. It is your responsibility to determine whether your domain name registration infringes or violates someone else’s rights. (emphasis added)”. (source)

Some media outlets are still trying to paint Mr. Saville-Smith as a poor victim of a big corporation. Yes, he is David in this scenario (and I rooted for the underdog). However, it seems that my initial assessment was correct: He’s just an opportunist and a bullshit artist.

2 Responses to Cybersquatting in Narnia – Goliath Wins

  1. Tricky Dick says:

    I think you are pursuing a good course in your badassness for First Amendment protection of bloggers:

    Step 1: Blog about publicly availabile information concerning a person (who, before then, was probably not a public figure). Solicit and publish the person’s commentary.

    Step 2: Refer to the person in an offensive manner (eg., “bullshit artist”) that yet does not rise to actual malice.

    You can call this technique “public figure bootstrapping”.

  2. I’m not sure that the technique you describe is worthy of being called “bad ass,” nor is it what I did.

    1) I didn’t solicit his commentary, he offered it.
    2) Perhaps there is another way to say “bullshit artist,” but nothing quite packs the same fun punch.
    3) It may be offensive, but it doesn’t need to rise to “actual malice,” since it doesn’t even rise to “defamatory.”

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