Warner Bros. fails to gank domain for The Gangster Squad movie

Arbitration panel rules against movie studio for domain for upcoming film release.

Warner Bros. is releasing The Gangster Squad, starring Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, this coming October.

But it’s missing a key ingredient: the domain name TheGangsterSquad.com.

The movie studio filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum to try to get the domain name but failed to show trademark rights in the domain.

The history of the name is actually quite interesting from a UDRP perspective. “Tales From The Gangster Squad” was a series of articles in the Los Angeles Times written by Paul Lieberman about the division of the Los Angeles Police Department called “The Gangster Squad”. He ran those articles beginning October 26, 2008; the registrant of the domain registered the domain on October 30, 2008. It wasn’t until November 26, 2008 that Warner Bros purchased rights to the to the article series for its movie.

Dates are an issue here, of course. But even if Warner Bros had purchased rights prior to the domain registration, would it have any sort of trademark rights to “The Gangster Squad”?

Also interesting is if L.A. times writer Paul Lieberman had any sort of rights at the time of the registration. According to the panel, the article titles that appeared in the Los Angeles Times do not constitute trademark use.

For his part, the respondent says he is an author working on a book about The Gangster Squad.

Warner Bros might have trouble with another name: GangsterSquad.com is owned by Mike Mann.

Comments

  1. says

    Just wanted to make it clear that while DomainGang.com is not for sale, DomainGangster.com is. Tell Warner Bros to give me a call.

  2. Sam says

    What’s the point of having a website for a movie? You can rewatch a trailer on YouTube, so what more can a dedicated site offer?

  3. Ron says

    @Sam

    Not everyone thinks like you, it is for marketing, the more direct the keywords are to the movie, easier it is to remember, and visit the site.

    The Radio Test, does it pass…

  4. Jonathan says

    Noted TheIrishman.com as 4 sale on Sedo, the next Scorsese, Di Niro, Pecci is TheIrishman, not sure about the film but look what Goodfellows did 4 pizzas !!!

  5. Jonathan says

    domains@ Agree, but if you were launching a brand TheIrishman com in a cognitive sense the name will stick, good or bad movie.

  6. says

    Argh this shits me about the people that do digital marketing for film studios, I’m sure they have enough in their budgets for a domain. A perfect example is is Spider Man 3, that had close to $80,000,000 budget but doesn’t own spiderman3.com, I’m sure they could have afforded the asking price.

    I get so annoyed when I see a great trailer and to find out more information I must remember to visit http://the-movie-title-2012.net or some random gTLD…

    I’m sorry but all things aside, I think this is just really bad for their image and makes their digital campaigns look half arsed! I hope at somepoint they get their act into gear! The only really decent digital play I’ve seen recently is around the Hunger Games.

    http://www.TheHungerGames.com redirects to http://www.scholastic.com/thehungergames/

    and

    http://hungergames.com redirects to http://hungergames.wfp.org/

    Seriously there has to be some better effort by film studios in using domains, and if they know they are going to release an upcoming film title, secure the name before they start the marketing machine. So that’s my rant over but there is much potential lost by their often laziness….

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