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  1. #1

    Copyright issue on names

    What are the copyright issues in creating a new domain name. Example - lets say someone created a new domain like xboxforum.com , and did not work for MS. Can an outsider of xbox (or MS) use 'xbox' as a part of a new domain like xboxforum.com??

  2. #2
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    For your example it would be allowed since you are going to promote the product, you can also create a domain and host a site with the domain xboxsucksbigtime.com.

  3. #3
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    It depends on the company involved. Some companies are very protective of their marks (see the Ford Mustang thread in the Lounge) while others do not mind. You can't use "MicroSoft" in a domain name but they don't mind their product names in domain names (ie MrExcel.com, ExcelForum.com, xbox360forum.com).

    BTW: IANAL.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComplexDrive View Post
    For your example it would be allowed since you are going to promote the product, you can also create a domain and host a site with the domain xboxsucksbigtime.com.
    Sorry, but are you SURE??
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  5. #5
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    This issue revolves around fair use. If your forum is about the xbox, are you going to call it "the black and green gaming console by microsoft"? It's got a name, and you're allowed to use it.

    However, you should consult an IP lawyer. We likely don't have any visiting this forum. There's also some information here:

    http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/frie...guidelines.htm
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  6. #6
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    There isn't "fair use" of a registered brand and the fair use of copyrighted text is something fuzzy. See more here http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

    Many countries don't extend trademark/registered mark rights to Internet domain names because the same mark can be registered by several companies to be used in different product/service classes. However, I think you should ask permission before investing time and money because your site will explore a trademark/registered mark and not use a name which is trademarked/registered to a different class of product. This way, answering your question with the same example, xboxforum.com can be registered but can't be used to talk about the Microsoft product called xbox.

    And then there are the well-known marks ...
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  7. #7
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    You cannot copyright a name, you can trademark a name and therefore its a breach of trademark. You would be best contacting microsoft and asking if you can use their name.

  8. #8
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    You would probably be ok with the name. the funny thing is that it would be easier to defend "MicrosoftXboxsucks.com" then "xboxforum.com" since you could claim commentary or parody on the first one.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by pepesnick View Post
    What are the copyright issues in creating a new domain name.
    None. However:

    Quote Originally Posted by dotHostel View Post
    However, I think you should ask permission before investing time and money because your site will explore a trademark/registered mark and not use a name which is trademarked/registered to a different class of product. This way, answering your question with the same example, xboxforum.com can be registered but can't be used to talk about the Microsoft product called xbox.

    And then there are the well-known marks ...
    Quote Originally Posted by RH-Scott View Post
    You cannot copyright a name, you can trademark a name and therefore its a breach of trademark. You would be best contacting microsoft and asking if you can use their name.
    If you put any hints of commercial use (e.g. ads) in the website of the domain name, bearing a term used as a uniquely famous trademark that's heavily protected, you're potentially asking for trouble. If you really want to be able to accomplish such, then ask for "permission" as the others have said.

    Unfortunately if the trademark holder says no, then you won't be able to do what I described above.

  10. #10
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    In the cases of trademarked names: Even if you get permission, arn't you at their mercy? IE. They can demand the domain from you at anytime.

    I'd suggest stay clear.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by James Lee View Post
    Even if you get permission, arn't you at their mercy?
    Essentially, yes.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dotHostel View Post
    There isn't "fair use" of a registered brand and the fair use of copyrighted text is something fuzzy. See more here http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html
    Even though the OP mentioned copyright, this is actually a trademark question, and the government site mentions fair use:

    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/tac/tmlaw2.html
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  13. #13
    So if one wanted to ask permission to use their trademark name in a domain for a site that take ads, who and how do I conact? Lawer needed?

  14. #14
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    Technically they could take your domain out if they wanted to, but it would be more of a pain for them to do it than to just have you use the domain.

    Don't sell anything on it, and you should be fine.


  15. #15
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    As long as you don't say your website is official, it should be okay.

  16. #16
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    If this is really about xbox, and it wasn't an example, I posted a link above where Microsoft gives fan sites permission with certain restrictions, in case you missed it.
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  17. #17
    Hi Swivelhost - Paul,

    Can you sell cookies on the site? Seriously, can you sell other stuff as long as it doesn't have their trademark on it?
    Last edited by casau; 01-18-2008 at 03:26 PM. Reason: clarifying

  18. #18
    What happen the other way around. Say I got a domain name wannaBeMe.com and a year later someone register a business and call it WanneBeMe. They then call me up and demand that I gave up my domain name because they have a trademark on the name. Whats my right? This actually happened to my sister and she just didn't want to deal with the headache. So, she sold it for $900.

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