I'd expect that some of the legal problems with domains are still being defined as precedents are set in court cases.

Do you think it's still kind of wide open until a few court decisions are established for reference?
I thin k there is still a long way until the internet and the domain business can be actually reguated and with precedents set so it would be easier to deal and establish what is right and wrong... I still see so many loopholes around it, that I think it needs more time... and also is a way of communications that is advancing and developing.
you know, most domain disputes boil down to trademark violations, and ICANN has a set code (the dispute resoltion policy) for that. There are internally accredited courts (such as WIPO) which deal with domain disputes.

Simply put, most domain disputes already have precidents or at least a framework for resolvig them and, secondly, disputes arent resolved in real (or usual) criminal or civil courts.

So I don't think that the path is still "wide open", although precidents can always still be set, and most likely will (as in any other legal system).
Taggart Wrote:Do you think it's still kind of wide open until a few court decisions are established for reference?

That, of course, depends on the exact issue.

Just for fun, google around for Lockheed Martin v NSI, the dispute,
the saga, etc.
I am sure there has been enough trademark and copyright law through the years that it can be applied to most domain, and similar, disputes. Let's just hope lawyers see it that way too instead of bringing so many frivolous suits that there will be no need for more law and regulation.
I've actually had personal experience with this, and wasn't sure of my legal rights, so I signed over my domain voluntarily. Here's my story:

A company was created a few years ago called "ChaCha" it was marketed as the worlds first human powered search engine. They hired people that work from home to perform searches and I was one of those people. They called us "guides." We were encouraged to build up our "networks," or other guides we had invited. We were to earn a commission from their earnings. We were given ChaCha logos and told to distribute them freely on flyers, business cards, etc. I never did that, but I did set up a forum for the guides in my network. I did it so I could communicate with them. I purchased a domain name,, and set up my forum.

Within a year I heard from word of mouth that ChaCha was cracking down on the use of their trademark. I didn't really understand this because we were initially encouraged to use it to get guides signed up. I got a letter from their attorney saying if I didn't sign over my domain, I would be sued. I wasn't using the domain to profit. I was just using it to communicate with my network. I signed over the domain.

How can you trademark a commonly used word in a domain such as "apple" or "chacha." Can you sue everyone that claims a domain with the word apple in it just because Apple is a multimillion dollar company. What about ChaCha. It is a dance, right?
Mom (not mine, but to many boys),

It is odd that ChaCha would send over a Cease and Desist letter threatening to sue. This could be a scare tactic. Normally, these disputes are settled in mock-courts dealing with intellectual property issues.

To answer your question though, it really has to do with how the domain is being used. This is from the Dispute Resolution Policy, and it should answer your question:

Quote:a. Applicable Disputes. You are required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding in the event that a third party (a "complainant") asserts to the applicable Provider, in compliance with the Rules of Procedure, that[INDENT] (i) your domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
(ii) you have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) your domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
[/INDENT]In the administrative proceeding, the complainant must prove that each of these three elements are present.

b. Evidence of Registration and Use in Bad Faith. For the purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:[INDENT] (i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.
[/INDENT]c. How to Demonstrate Your Rights to and Legitimate Interests in the Domain Name in Responding to a Complaint. When you receive a complaint, you should refer to Paragraph 5 of the Rules of Procedure in determining how your response should be prepared. Any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence presented, shall demonstrate your rights or legitimate interests to the domain name for purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(ii):[INDENT] (i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
I've heard of Chacha... I even remember somewhere on the net, people offering invitations to be ChaCha guides, but I haven't heard of them until now that I read this "problem". So, did you ever get paid? Is it actually working the way it suppose to work?
Thank you so much for the info. Also, I'm glad someone got my username. Some people think it means too many boys, which isn't want I intended of course.

Yeah, I got paid almost immediately. Most of the discussion in forums about NOT getting paid seemed to come from people that didn't actually work for them. There was a lot of trolling in chacha forums for whatever reason. I haven't logged in and worked for over a year, but I was lucky enough to get started early with ChaCha. My network consistently earns me $20 a month in passive income. Having said that, I should probably log in and work to ensure I'm not deactivated.

I guess that's why I didn't fight the legalalities of my domain. They've been pretty good to me.

As far as how the search engine is operating... when I initially researched Scott Jones, I felt ChaCha would be a sucess. Working with them, I found them to be unprofessional. The initial launch lacked direction and communication. Search activity fizzled out for a while. For some reason unknown to me, the activity has picked up lately. I don't know why. I just see it in the my earnings.
Another reason that the cease and desist order might have appeared is that Cha Cha seemed to have some of the same habits as Google Adsense. They set the rules in one spot, then change them and bully everyone into following them immediately. Not a good way to do business, but I have read many posts from Cha Cha guides where the existing tos was used against them, even though the tos hadn't been formally changed.

Cha-Cha's business ethics always appear a bit weak to me.

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