17
Jul/02

Perhaps There Should Be TLDs Zoned For Political Speech


Politechbot via ICANNwatch on the case of William Purdy and what looks to be another domain name as free speech case. An anti-abortion advocate is apparently registering what are described as names similar or identical to the names of newspapers.  The registrant re-directs traffic to anti-abortion sites.

I disagree with the author’s final sentence, that ACPA wasn’t designed to handle this.  The Lanham Act deals with the use of trademarks in the context of free speech and the caselaw is clear.  Political speech is not an absolute defense to the deceptive use of a trademark.

These names are or are not confusingly similar to the trademarks of others, the registrant does or does not have legitimate interests in registering those names (which is different from the legitimate interest in making political speech), and he does or does not seek to divert traffic from the trademark owners.  I acknowledge that the UDRP might not necessarily be appropriate for a complex case because of its limited record, but the ACPA can handle this.

UPDATE: Politechbot carries a list of the domain names in question along with a post from Purdy.

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