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Patsy Cline estate sues to get PatsyCline.com

She’s (or her estate) Got You.

Image of Patsy Cline's greatest hits album cover

Patsy Cline Enterprise, LLC, which manages the late singer’s intellectual property, has filed a lawsuit (pdf) against the owner of PatsyCline.com. [Update: the lawsuit was settled.]

Visual Link Internet appears to have registered the domain name in 1996 and, according to the suit, has previously operated a site about the singer.

The history between the estate and the domain owner is an interesting one. According to the suit, the estate initially reached out to Visual Link to complain about its operation of the site. (It doesn’t say when, but this seems to have been within the past few years.) It alleges that Visual Link’s owner, Mark Bayliss, said the domain wasn’t for sale but also mentioned he had turned down $50,000 for the domain and, were it to sell, he expected to receive over $50,000.

The estate then made an offer for $5,000 through a third-party service, which in turn reiterated Bayliss’ claim of the previous $50,000 offer and that it would cost more. In the lawsuit, the estate says it reached out again a year later to try to negotiate a purchase and Bayliss again told them it would be a substantial price.

So the estate turned around and did something amusing: it sent Visual Link an invoice for $87,500, which it said reflected an annual licensing fee for the name, image, and likeness of Patsy Cline.

Then it got weird.

Patsy Cline Enterprises reached out to the Defendant earlier this year, at which point it alleges that Bayliss told them he’s not responsible for the content of the site, and it’s actually managed by Celebrating Patsy Cline, Inc.,  a nonprofit group committed to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of Patsy Cline. But when the estate reached out to the non-profit, it said it had nothing to do with the site.

The estate pushed forward, telling Bayliss it was going to enforce its rights. It alleges that Bayliss then contacted it with an offer to sell the domain for less in order to avoid litigation.

The lawsuit claims that Visual Link Internet has infringed its trademarks and is violating the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. It demands that Visual Link transfer the domain name.

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  1. Michael Anthony Castello says

    After all these years and it’s fumbling of the matter, Visual Link Internet should try using squatters rights and statue of limitations. (Note: I’m not a lawyer and don’t claim to be one) I suggest Visual Link Internet contact a good lawyer like John Berryhill, Ph.d., Esq.

    • Anonymous too says

      That’s a cyber crime though. Why would he defend himself by admitting he’s a squatter?

    • Fact checker1 says

      The legal teams key evidence in the case is a letter from Celebrating Patsy Cline Inc. The group Mr Bayliss says owns the website. Celebrating Patsy Cline Inc says they have nothing to do with the patsysycline.com website.

      Look at the internet Archives The title of the website is Celebrating Patsy and the web site asks for donations be sent to Celebrating patsy Cline inc. I guess that forgot about the Internet Archives.
      Look for your self google Internet Archives , It is clear some one if making false statements and it is Not the Defendant.
      https://web.archive.org/web/20010209092013/http://www.patsycline.com/

    • Larry Hunter says

      Michael – you are correct (even if you’re not a lawyer). Based on the allegation in the suit there has either been;
      Illegal cyber squatting – which you point out,
      Fraud against the estate for illegal usage of NIL
      Deceit inasmuch as no one ever gave him permission
      And a documented archive that shows the funneled links from the website to his company – for his obvious gain.

      He does indeed seem to need an attorney.

      Having been around the music industry for years one thing is certain. Country music entertainers don’t often file suits; however, when they do there is usually a significant injustice revealed.

      We can all armchair quarterback what we think but at the end of the day the scales of justice will have to weigh the evidence. Guess we will see which side is heavier.

      • Rick says

        In TN they take these things very seriously. Goes back to the Presley family. I think the family of Cline has defended their rights before. Being in the music business also, I know they have to…people think if someone is gone they are free game. My job is to search out bootleggers for artists. People think they can use public figures and no problem.

  2. JZ says

    He could of got 10k out of them and been done with it. Now he’ll get nothing. No reason for some random guy to own PatsyCline.com.

    • susan says

      Read the case, they Offred $5000 for the domain and he said no. The patsycline.com hosting for a non profit committee to promote patsy cline home town where she grew up and were her grave is. Mr. bayliss has donated the use of the domain and provides free webhosting for their site for the last 21 years. His Internet service provider company is also based out of Patsy clines home town.

      • Betty Williams says

        How do you donate an illegal service.

        That would like me saying that I would donate a home for the homeless but I used your house.

        • susan says

          No your comment is incorrect, their is no dispute over who owns the domain name.
          The dispute is who is reasonable the content on the website.

    • susan says

      The truth will come out in court. No offer to sell for $50000
      He just turned down their offer to buy for $5000 dollars. And waiting 24 years to notice that the Patsycline.com web site infringes on your trademark?
      I think they are hoping he caves in and settle the case.

  3. Anonymous says

    Yes, please make an example out of these idiots who think they can infringe on others trademark and play hard ball. A $50,000 offer was more than enough. He has got to be a rookie domainer…or just stupid.

    • Anonymous too says

      Why didn’t he sell it if someone offered him that? Who would offer that if they couldn’t use it? I say BS

      • susan says

        I think the legal team is trying to make a case for domain squatting. He turned their offer down and this is just their way to try and acquire the domain name. I read the law suite and their is no document entered into evidence showing any one asking $50000 dollars for the patsycline,com domain name. Only Patsy cline estate offering $5000 for the domain and Mr bayliss saying no.

    • Susan says

      Story is incorrect. Judy Fudge offered $5000 for the domain name Patsycline.com and Mr Bayliss said no. Mr Bayliss owns an ISP and Webhosting group started back in1995. His company is based in Winchester VA the location where Patsy Cline lived and got her first break on the Winc Radio talent show. Mr bayliss mother went to school with Patsy cline as well. He bought the domain name in late 1995 and and in 1996 donated the use of the domain name and free web hosting to the Winchester City Chamber of commerce “committee to promote patsy cline. ” the Winchester chamber of commerce developed
      the Celebrating Patsy cline website to promote Patsy Cline and receive donations through the site to help buy the Patsy Clines family home in Winchester VA.. This was a tribute site to Patsy Cline. And Mark Bayliss has donated the use of the domain name Patsycline.com and webhosting for 24 years for FREE. Dose not sound like domain squatting. .Their is always two sides to a story.

    • susan says

      The Patsycline.com domain and the tribute website has been online since 1996. The non Profit that owns the website had the number one site on google for search words “patsy cline”. Their is no excuse to wait 20 plus years and just now notice a trade mark infringement. I think they have failed the test of time to notice this in the public domain.
      The owner turned down their offer to buy the domain name now they just notice the Trademark infringements,
      I Read the law suite filed its online. No evidence summited showing any offer to sell the domain for $50000 dollars, Only reference is one of the lawyers saying it was part of a phone conversation,

    • susan says

      Mr bayliss has owned an ISP since 1995 and He is also recognized as one of the leading Technology experts in the USA and is an expert on internet policy. Mr Bayliss Bought the domain in 1995 and donated the use of the domain name in 1996 and supplied free webhosting for a non profit group that Promotes Patsy cline from her Home town were patsy Cline ‘s grave is located and were patsy Cline grew up.
      No offer was made to sell the domain for $50000 dollars.
      Read the suite online. The only offer to buy patsycline.com was for $5000 and he turned it that offer down.

      • C. Lector says

        So he thought he could just take someones name and use it? Why did he buy the domain to begin with??

        • susan says

          Here is some history as to why Visual link bought the domain name, ‘
          The domain name was bought in early in 1996. Mr bayliss owned the first ISP in Winchester VA the Home of Patsy Cline and where her grave is located And where Patsy Cline went to School and was discovered singing on a talent contest on WINC radio in Winchester VA.. Mr Bayliss mother also went to school with Patsy Cline and lived just a few blocks away. I am sure this had some factor in to why he bought the domain name. But my guess is he wanted pattsycline .com to stay in her home town. I find it interesting the websever for patsycline.com and her website is located in the Visual link data center less than 2 miles from Patsy Clines Grave and 2 miles from he childhood home. Only seems fitting.

      • Rick says

        So how does a guy that is such an expert on the internet not know about using a celebrity’s name without permission?

        • susan says

          He did not use a celebrates name with out permission, Their is no question he owns patsycline.com this fact is not in dispute
          the suite is primarily about the website and its content. Mark Zuckerberg owns the facebook.com domain but he is not responsible for content put on by his users. Same with info posted on this forum or any other free webhosting company.

          • Rick says

            So if he had permission to use her name then he has no problem. He can just show them he had permission. According to the lawsuit he is being charged with using the name. This is about the patsycline.com right? The lawsuit says “Cline Estate owns all intellectual property interests and right of publicity rights in and to the “Patsy Cline” name, including “Patsy Cline”
            as an unregistered trademark, (the “Patsy Cline Mark”).”
            Those things aren’t done with out contracts right? I thought they dealt with name stuff years ago. This must happen all the time.

          • Rick says

            Even Zuckerberg takes down stuff. Bayliss should have taken down whatever was an infringement. It got him in trouble.
            So I can say anything and use anybody etc on here? I keep learning new stuff!

          • Old Willie Fan Photographer says

            He may own a domain but he owns no rights. I have a picture of Willie Nelson that I took at the concert in Winchester at the Patsy Clone theater. I took the picture and own it. I can’t make money with it. I can sell my one picture but have no rights to Willie Nelson. Own a domain just means he owns it. He can’t use it. – signed Old Willie fan and photographer

  4. Anonymous too says

    Why do people think they can use other people? Who is this guy and what does he have to do with Patsy Cline? Maybe he should try to use something like Apple or Disney next.
    Make big money!

    • Susan says

      Mr Baylis and his internet service provider company is based in Winchester VA were Patsy cline grew up went to school and got her first big break on the WINC radio talent contest. His mother went to school with patsy Cline, Patsy Clines grave in also in Winchester, Mr bayliss since 1996 has donated the use of the domain name to the no profit Winchester Committee to Promote Patsy Cline. He also donated free webhosting and internet access as well. Mr Bayliss has close ties With the city of Winchester VA. .

      • Anonymous too says

        Why does that give him any right to buy that domain? I drink Coca Cola but I can’t use that name. I like Beyoncé but I bet I can’t buy Beyoncé.com and do what I want. I went to the same school as Justin Timberlake but that doesn’t entitle me to use his name. Maybe I don’t know much. Should be trying to!!

        • susan says

          Why are you talking about his right to own the domain name. Their is no question he has the right to own the domain name. If they thought he did not have the right to own the domain name they would have filed a complaint and challenged his right to own the domain, They would have done in this case or over the last 20 years

          • Anonymous too says

            How does he get to buy that name .com? and I think this is part of the issue they have. Why do you think this is about what’s on the website? did he do something on that page? I can’t find it now to look at. I may be uneducated but I think it says he is using a celebrity and didn’t have any permission. I hate seeing people do that. You know he bought it because she was a famous name. That’s what people do. What if it was my name? I’d fight too. People think celebrities are just things. And Susan, that other commenter is right…you know so much about this guy and what he does. you got to know him…or something! Heck I found this article because of being a fan of music. YOU seem to be involved. That commenter is right…it sounds personal.

  5. Nell A says

    I don’t get it – this guy buys a domain obviously to make money and sits on it. If the article is correct LITERALLY he breaks the law and in essence steals money from the estate of a dead singer. And everybody wonders why he gets sued. It sound more like he was trying to extort the estate – 50K wasn’t enough – he wanted more – WOW!
    Can”t wait to see how this turns out.

    • susan says

      You comment is incorrect, mr Bayliss turned down the offer to Buy the domain name. The patsycline.com domain name was donated wit in months after he bought it in 1995 to the Winchester City chamber of commerce Committee to promote Patsy Cline. As well as free Web hosting for the last 20 plus years. No money stolen no extortion just a person trying to help his community to promote one of their famous daughters from Winchester Patsy Cline.

      • ??? says

        Wow the estates legal team would be thrilled if that is the case.

        It would prove so much.

        Unfortunately for me bayliss it would all be against him. Not sure why you pointed that out. The legal team can now use this information.

      • Rick says

        If it was given to the city, why aren’t they after the city? How did they get Mr. Baylis involved?

  6. check the facts! says

    Attorneys took the word of the persons who owned the web site and are trying not to get sued. And never verified their statement. If you read the letter in evidence from from Celebrating Patsy Cline Inc. they say they do not have an agreement with Visual Link and do not know Bill Bayliss. And they do not have the password for the website.

    Take a look at the Internet archives for Patsycline,com The website title is “celebrating Patsy” and on the bottom of the website it has a donation link to send money to “Celebrating Patsy Cline Inc” , here is a link to the Internet Archives take a look for your self.
    https://web.archive.org/web/20010209092013/http://www.patsycline.com/

  7. susan says

    The legal teams key evidence in this case is a letter from Celebrating Patsy Cline Inc. The group Mr Bayliss claims owns the website. Celebrating Patsy Cline Inc says they have nothing to do with the patsysycline.com website.

    Look at the internet Archives The title of the Patsycline.com website is “Celebrating Patsy” and the web site asks for donations be sent to ” Celebrating patsy Cline inc”. I guess they forgot or did not know about the Internet Archives.
    Look for your self. google Internet Archives and look at patsycline.com site from 1996 through 2010. Someone is making false statements and it is Not the Defendant.

    • Richard Franklin. says

      Susan

      I am a reporter in Nashville coving this case. Is there a number I can contact you? I would love to submit an article to one of the local papers and you seem to have some great information.

      I have contacted Julie at the estate as well and am waiting for her response as well.

      Thanks
      Richard Franklin.

      • Visual321 says

        This is Mark Baylis. I was sent a link to this story today and have been reading the posts. I would .be glad to set up a WebEx meeting. That way I can better provide details by sharing information and history and provide up to date information. Be glad to Invite Julie as well as well. .Her Mother and my Mother grew up on the same side of town or as they say in Winchester the same side of the tracks.
        Looks like their is a lot of miss Information out their.
        Also just in case their are any lawyers local in Tennessee reading this forum that would like to help with this case. please contact me. you can contact me through face book Mark Bayliss Winchester VA

        • Richard Franklin says

          I was trying to get in touch with Susan who had made all of the post. Sorry for the confusion Mr. Bayliss.

          Richard.

      • visual321 says

        This is Mark Bayliss. i was sent a link to this story today, Been reading the posts, Noticed your. I am not Susan but would be glad to set up a WebEx meeting to discuss this. Their is a lot of miss information out their. Also if their are any Local lawyers their in Tennessee that would be interested in helping me with this case feel free to contact me.
        Post inf phone number or email address would be unwise in a forum, But my name and city are already mentioned many times, so contact me on Facebook and we can set up a date and time and i will send out a WebEx invite, Jus look up Mark Bayliss Winchester VA in face book and send me a message with you contact info.

  8. Lisa Jones. says

    Very interesting read.

    Not sure who anonymous or Susan are but they seem to know a lot about the casements

    Let’s dissect this a little.

    First no files a law suit for no reason as it cost money. So based on the evidence presented in the complaint it would seem the estate is completely justified.

    Second you can’t “donate” something you don’t own the rights to. Mr Bayliss can obviously own the domain but he can’t use it for his gain which is apparent by linking the website to his company and using images that he had no rights to. This is clearly spelled out in the case – not sure how you missed that Susan. And you seem to be contradicting how many years he “donated” the website 20 or 24 or how many? If you what you say Susan is correct then he should have documentation of the agreement and that will settle that but it looks like he dose not there is evidence to the contrary. And LOL if you know SO much about Patsy Cline how do you not get her children’s names right.

    It seems Susan in associated somehow to mr bayliss.

    Anonymous-reveal yourself. My guess is that you are part of the estate or a close friend. I would have my name all over this to show everyone how overwhelming the evidence is. But my second guess is that you are probably having to hold back until after case is settled which is understandable.

    Attorneys know what will win and what won’t win in court – kinda their job.

    So let’s sit back and watch. If you’re a gambler I would say 5-1 odds the estate wins based on accurate evidence in complaint. But that’s why I’m not a lawyer – I like to make bets.

    • visual321 says

      I was just made aware of this forum, And read your post.

      I think your right about Anonymous they are probably part of the estate or a close friend trying to sway public opinion.

      your statement.
      ” Second you can’t “donate” something you don’t own the rights to. Mr Bayliss can obviously own the domain but he can’t use it for his gain which is apparent by linking the website to his company and using images that he had no rights to..

      I agree completely agree with you that you can not donate something you do not own and you can not use copyrighted or trademark protected images with out the consent or approval of the Owner.

      The website and the content was provided by the Winchester Frederick county chamber of commerce working with Celebrating Patsy Cline inc Not sure if they ever ask for permission to the content on their website.

      . I Find it Interesting that the website hosted on the
      patscline.com domain was titled “Celebrating Patsy” and ask for donations to be sent to “Celebrating Patsy Cline inc” and on the bottom of every page is says “copyright Celebrating Patsy inc. “. Yet Celebrating Patsy cline Inc provided a letter saying they had nothing to do with with the website. They also said they did not know Bill Bayliss. in the letter summited into evidence. First my Name is Mark Bayliss not Bill bayliss and I do know Ms Helm the person who wrote the letter and her family, So not sure what going on there. I tried to call Celebrating Patsy Cline Inc and left a message but no one has returned my call yet. And now the Celebrating patsy cline Inc Facebook page is gone as well as their website is now out of service.

      to answer your question of how many years Celebrating Patsy cline Inc hosted their website using the patsycline.com domain.
      That would be from 1996 to 2021 So 20 years.. Put that in perspective Microsoft did not create a web browser till August 1995. So in respect to Internet history this was one of the oldest running websites.

  9. Kenneth Gordon says

    Patsy Cline Enterprise, LLC should get in touch with me. I maintained Visual Link’s websites for ten years and can testify as a matter of fact that Mr Bayliss absolutely is lying about his lack of control over the content of the page. Not only did he run ads on the site, but he contacted marketing companies to try to improve where PatsyCline.com showed up on Google Search pages.

    I’ve personally made changes to the website at his request to avoid lawsuits from Patsy Cline Enterprise, LLC.

    Contact me at 540-440-1369 or kenneth.arlen.gordon@gmail.com

    Also, the user accounts visual123 and Susan are accounts maintained by Mark and his girlfriend, Susan.

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