Glenn Beck Loses Domain Dispute Over Meme Site
Friday, November 6th, 2009
Glenn Beck loses challenge to parody web site.
[Update: after winning the case, the domain owner has voluntarily given the domain to Beck and reopened the site elsewhere.] Conservative TV personality Glenn Beck has lost his dispute over the domain name glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com. (See Domain Owner Responds to Glenn Beck.)
In order to win the domain name, Beck had to prove three things to an arbitrator:
1. The domain name was confusingly similar to Beck’s mark, i.e. Glenn Beck
2. The domain’s registrant did not have rights or legitimate interests in the domain name
3. The domain was registered and used in bad faith
The arbitrator for the case, Frederick M. Abbott, decided that the domain name was confusingly similar to the Glenn Beck mark, although he explained in detail how some panelists may think otherwise. But it didn’t ultimately matter, as Abbott found that the registrant did have legitimate interests in the domain:
Respondent appears to the Panel to be engaged in a parody of the style or methodology that Respondent appears genuinely to believe is employed by Complainant in the provision of political commentary, and for that reason Respondent can be said to be making a political statement. This constitutes a legitimate non-commercial use of Complainant’s mark under the Policy.
Because the second element of the UDRP wasn’t met, Abbott decided to not issue a ruling on the third element. But he also noted that it is unlikely the complainant would have prevailed on the issue of registration in bad faith anyway.
Abbott noted that whether or not the web site is defamatory could be an issue for the courts.
Review Abbott’s decision here (pdf).