What did Fox submit with its complaint? Because I found plenty of things to blow up its case.
A World Intellectual Property Organization panelist has ordered (pdf) the domain fox.org transferred to media giant Fox Media.
Before you get completely up in arms, one thing in the dispute may indicate the domain was used in bad faith. So let’s get that out of the way first.
According to the decision, Fox submitted evidence that someone sent emails from fox.org to try to phish Fox’s employees. That would be bad.
But I’m a bit suspicious here. Did the emails actually come from fox.org? Did they look at the headers?
I’m suspicious because the same guy has apparently owned fox.org since he registered it in 1996. He registered the domain under the name Fox Research Institute. And I get error messages when I look up the MX records on this domain.
So if he suddenly started phishing with the domain, he certainly played the long game. Setting up a domain in 1996 under a similar business name, one that he was apparently involved in (more on that later) and then recently started phishing? I have my doubts. Especially with some of the stuff I dug up after just a few minutes of research.
The domain owner didn’t respond to the dispute and my guess is that’s because the email addresses associated with the domain don’t work.
Now we can dig into some of the bizarre things in panelist William Hamilton’s decision and what I uncovered with just a few minutes of research so that you can get up in arms:
- The section about “Rights or Legitimate Interests” makes no mention of how the domain was registered to a company called Fox Research Insitutute.
- The Rights section also states, “Furthermore, the nature of the disputed domain name, which unabashedly adopts the Mark in its entirety, carries a risk that any Internet user would assume the disputed domain name resolves to a website sponsored or affiliated with the Complainant.” Um, the dictionary word Fox?
- In the “Registered and used in bad faith” section, Hamilton writes, “Fourth, it is difficult to conceive of any use that the Respondent might make of the disputed domain name without the Complainant’s consent that would not involve bad faith.”
I took a look at the archive.org captures for this site. In its early days it had information about…wait for it…foxes. And a quick google search with the registrant’s personal name and “foxes” pulls up information suggesting that he published a literary furry fanzine in the 1990s.
With just a few minutes of research, I could determine that this domain was mostly likely registered and used in good faith. I’m not sure what evidence Fox Media submitted with the complaint, but did it omit this info? I find it hard to believe that Fox didn’t come up with the same stuff I discovered.