NameSilo

Will I be sued if I buy a celebrity domain name

Labeled as question in Legal Discussion started by FavourB, May 8, 2019.

Replies:
45
Views:
1,186

  1. FavourB

    FavourB Established Member

    Posts:
    210
    Likes Received:
    61
    Will I be sued if I buy a celebrity domain name?
     
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
  2. hawkeye

    hawkeye Top Member PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

    Posts:
    4,439
    Likes Received:
    3,151
  3. BaileyUK

    BaileyUK Top Member VIP

    Posts:
    941
    Likes Received:
    1,449
    Usually depends how you use it.

    A not for profit fan site usually gets away with it. Depends on the celebrity and their marketing and legal team. I assume it's in one of the minor extensions or a Ntld, So your purchase., at least, will probably go totally unnoticed by everyone
     
  4. korganian

    korganian Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

    Posts:
    2,209
    Likes Received:
    2,196
    Anything you do to monetize the domain will give the celeb reason to sue you and likely cause you to lose, so what's the point?
     
  5. JagG

    JagG Upgraded Member Gold Account ★★★★★★★★★★

    Posts:
    1,061
    Likes Received:
    282
    Most likely, Don't waste your time!
     
  6. WatchDogue

    WatchDogue Top Member VIP

    Posts:
    1,926
    Likes Received:
    13,659
    Usually if I find myself asking myself " that type of question " prior to acquiring a domain I don't buy the domain.
     
  7. Steven McEvoy

    Steven McEvoy YLWAgency.com VIP

    Posts:
    1,999
    Likes Received:
    994
  8. okmachan

    okmachan Established Member

    Posts:
    271
    Likes Received:
    583
    Related to this discussion: What if someone owns the name of an artist's made up name(alias)?
     
  9. Fancy.domains

    Fancy.domains Selling gTLDs like delicious hotcakes Gold Account VIP

    Posts:
    6,177
    Likes Received:
    9,040
    It’s like asking if I’ll get arrested if I’m speeding in traffic? It might happen, it might not.

    Personally, I mostly avoid this kind of registrations, if the intention is obvious, but I’ve bought a few surnames...
     
  10. johnn

    johnn Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

    Posts:
    13,202
    Likes Received:
    3,005
    It's ok if she/he is not famous and dead.
     
  11. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TLDInvestors.com TheDomains Staff PRO Gold Account VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

    Posts:
    12,330
    Likes Received:
    9,751
    The number one question here, Why are you buying it, for what purpose? Then a legitimate answer can be offered.
     
  12. frank-germany

    frank-germany F1lter.com xpired domain search engine Gold Account VIP

    Posts:
    6,285
    Likes Received:
    7,340
    what if the celb name is known is a common first name only?
     
  13. offthehandle

    offthehandle . Gold Account VIP

    Posts:
    4,719
    Likes Received:
    7,912
    Awhile back I bumped into this Cheech and Chong UDRP decision, and recall it now for this particular thread, as was suggested about having a "Fan Site".

    Imagine creating a fan store, creating your "own" artwork, work on SEO, articles, pay per click, etc. or promoting someones brand for free or minimal compensation, etc. then the true TM owner sees your sales success and decides differently for whatever reason, you have just wasted all your time and effort. Unless of course, you have the skills to negotiate or hire a lawyer for a contractual arrangement for say a 10 year duration and some exclusive consent of being the "official store". This is the mistake at least I see here is the Respondent made is not having a contract, in early internet days.

    In today's world, you don't have much of a chance to monetize it imo unless the person agrees under a contract. The lawyers on this forum will probably say avoid it.

    https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2009/d2009-1273.html

    "The Respondent's website currently displays the following disclaimer in small print at the bottom of the website's home page: “Cheech and Chong Dot Com is a Cheech and Chong fan site. It is not operated by Cheech and Chong.” This disclaimer appears to be of recent origin, based on the historical records of the Respondent's website viewable on the Internet Archive, www.archive.org."

    "Starting in 2006, the Respondent maintains that the Complainant Chong provided merchandise to the Respondent to be sold on the website."

    "The Respondent argues that it has established rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under paragraph 4(c)(iii) of the Policy based on the use of the disputed domain name with a “fan site”. The Panel disagrees. The language of paragraph 4(c)(iii) of the Policy unambiguously requires a respondent to be “making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers.”
     
  14. Fancy.domains

    Fancy.domains Selling gTLDs like delicious hotcakes Gold Account VIP

    Posts:
    6,177
    Likes Received:
    9,040
  15. jberryhill

    jberryhill Top Member John Berryhill, Ph.d., Esq. VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

    Posts:
    2,003
    Likes Received:
    2,660
    I never quite understand, on a site called namePROS, the fixation on non-commercial use of domain names.

    Yeah, sure, non-commercial commentary, criticism or even praise, can provide a defense in appropriate circumstances.

    But, so what? You know what else non-commercial commentary, criticism or praise does? Fails to make money.

    You want to spend your time, money and effort on not making money? That's great. But there are simpler ways to do that. You can lay on the couch and watch TV all day, if you want to. It will make the same amount of money as a non-commercial website, and won't cost you registration and hosting fees.

    Now, if you just want to pretend you are doing that, you can give that a try too. Like kids who think they can hide by covering their face with their hands, domainers who engage in elaborate pretenses which they incorrectly think anyone is going to find credible, aren't doing themselves or anyone else any favors.
     
  16. IMEZI

    IMEZI Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

    Posts:
    5,157
    Likes Received:
    1,736
    the heir might came along with a lawyer LOL
     
  17. jberryhill

    jberryhill Top Member John Berryhill, Ph.d., Esq. VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

    Posts:
    2,003
    Likes Received:
    2,660
    Not sure what the "LOL" is about....

    http://www.abajournal.com/news/arti...lawsuit_over_cybersquatting_of_prince_dot_com

    Prince's estate files lawsuit over cybersquatting of prince.com

    The estate of the late recording artist and actor Prince is suing an Englewood, New Jersey-based domain broker for cybersquatting the prince.com website.

    Filed last Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the suit alleges that Domain Capital is infringing on the estate’s “PRINCE” trademark by owning the domain.

    If the estate of the dead celebrity maintains rights in the name then, yes, they can enforce those rights. Whether the celebrity is dead doesn't matter.
     
  18. Ategy.com

    Ategy.com NameCult.com Gold Account VIP

    Posts:
    3,788
    Likes Received:
    11,549
    A trademark is whatever mark (name, slogan, logo, etc) an individual or company uses in commerce (even if it isn't "officially" registered). So "Madonna" would actually be more legitimate a trademark than whatever her real name is (although she likely could easily argue and justify she uses her real name in business as well as she likely doesn't open bank accounts and sign business deals as just "Madonna".

    That said .. Madonna and Prince are generic enough to safely use in any other trademark class that they do not operate in. So if you wanted to open a construction company called Prince or Madonna, then you wouldn't have any problems.

    Trademark infringement is based on how you USE and PROFIT FROM the term (or in our case the domain).

    Essentially if you use the domain in a way that *COULD* mislead someone into thinking you are or are associated with the legitimate trademark holder, then you are in violation of infringing said trademark the moment you make $0.01 (I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think there is any fine print that can save you).

    Also .. I'd like @jberryhill to confirm, but I'm quite sure that even if you don't make money, if the trademark holder can convince a judge that you are costing them revenue in almost any way then you would be found to be infringing on the trademark as well if if you never made a cent.

    At the end of the day, if you buy a domain because you think it has value based on someone else or an existing company then you are infringing on their trademark unless you genuinely want to create a hobby fan site or a review site ... but even then it's a very very thin line between that and trademark infringement.

    A very short time into domaining I came to the personal belief that, in general, single names are generic enough to justify holding (as long as you obviously aren't associating it in any way with any one person or company) .. however .. I feel holding most full names (first plus last name combinations) are almost always just wrong ... and I'm not even talking legally, but morally .. it is very hard to argue that it isn't cyber squatting unless it's a dead person.

    (Just to be clear .. it's also morally wrong to kill someone just to be in the clear for holding their domain name)
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
  19. okmachan

    okmachan Established Member

    Posts:
    271
    Likes Received:
    583
    Thanks for the detailed reply. Appreciate it. (y)
     
  20. FavourB

    FavourB Established Member

    Posts:
    210
    Likes Received:
    61
    For selling
     
  21. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TLDInvestors.com TheDomains Staff PRO Gold Account VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

    Posts:
    12,330
    Likes Received:
    9,751
    Then the answer is yes someone will come after you, that is absolutely a bad faith registration or secondary usage if purchased from someone that did not register in bad faith. So I would avoid that, they don't have to go the UDRP route they could take to court under ACPA and look for $100,000 plus the name.
     
  22. mayazir

    mayazir VirtualNameMarket.com VIP

    Posts:
    3,884
    Likes Received:
    1,554
    You mean handreg or buy from someone?
    Why you need it? Develop? Sell to the cebebrity?
    I bought name+surname on closeout, contacted them and sold
     
  23. FavourB

    FavourB Established Member

    Posts:
    210
    Likes Received:
    61
    yes handreg
    wow you are lucky
    was it a local celebrity?
     
  24. mayazir

    mayazir VirtualNameMarket.com VIP

    Posts:
    3,884
    Likes Received:
    1,554
    Mexican
     
  25. FavourB

    FavourB Established Member

    Posts:
    210
    Likes Received:
    61
    Maybe with local celebrities it won't be a great issue like international
    Some might want to buy
     

Want to reply or ask your own question?

It only takes a minute to sign up – and it's free!

Share This Page

NameWorth
  1. NamePros uses cookies and similar technologies. By using this site, you are agreeing to our privacy policy, terms, and use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
Loading...