Myspace domain can be kept by original owner

June 2008


The Nominet Dispute Resolution Service Appeals Panel has ruled that the domain – which was registered by Total Web Solutions before the now very popular MySpace service came into existence did not after all have to be turned over to MySpace Inc, owners of the social networking site. Total Web Solutions registered in August 1997 in order to provide its clients with a cheap and easy homepage and email. On or before July 2004, which was no longer in demand for its original purpose , was “parked” with Sedo, a company that targets advertising links on unused domains which In 2005, following the growing popularity of MySpace, began serving Total Web Solutions’ domain with advertisements for services such as “MySpace Friend Adder”. The appeal panel dismissed the assertion by MySpace Inc that it was entitled to the disputed site on the ground that it was entirely descriptive of its business. Nor did it consider the earlier registration to be abusive. The panel added: “To date experts and Appeal panels have reasonably consistently taken the view that if a registrant acquires a domain name in advance of the coming into existence of the complainant’s rights, the registrant is entitled in principle to hold onto the domain name and to use it, notwithstanding that confusion of the ‘initial interest’ variety may be inevitable. Similarly, experts and Appeal panels have concluded that in such circumstances it is not of itself abusive for the registrant to demand a high price from the complainant for transfer of the domain name in recognition of its enhanced value”.

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