Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'The Front Room' started by Lazarus, Jan 19, 2004.
Takes the Biscuit
The funny thing is that if MS went to the domain name agency they could get it for nothing. He could have got away with parody if he hadn't asked for $10,000, he's not really got a leg to stand on.
apart from the fact he's called mike rowe?
prolly a closet pr0n baron
the fact that he creates the site specifically to profit from using the microsoft trademarked name is the classic bit. he has no legs to stand on. I hope they suell the smug git's arse off.
You looked at the site? I haven't looked to deeply but I cannot find one place where any normal person would mistake this site for an official microsoft site. The only way you would get confused is if you were told about the site verbally.
Weird dead links all over the place mind. Which for a web-designer on his own page is a bit silly.
He specifically said he added the "soft" part to his name to get more hits to show off his skills as a web developer to get more work.
Trademark law is very specific, if you don't defend your trademark you lose it.
Mike Rowe was specifically using the microsoft trademark for personal gain. What he was doing with the content itself is irrelevant in this case.
He knew what he was doing. I'd be suprised if he didn't actually do it specifically to be caught so he could make himself famous. Everyone in the IT industry knows just how hard microsoft come down on infringers....
How can you support the richest company in the world who are sueing a 17 year old? Next you'll be telling me that the RIAA was totally correct to sue a 12 year old girl for file sharing, and should have put her in jail for her crimes against humanity*.
*Some record executive can no longer afford buy his kids a spare Porche.
Do i read this right?
Microsoft have trademarked their name phonetically. Didnt know you could do such a thing
My point is that the url www.mikerowesoft.com isn't close enough for any person with passable eye-sight to www.microsoft.com to be an infringement of copyright. Also microsoft should loose because it's the gentlemans name. See the Budwiser(Us) Vs Budwiser[Budvar](Cz) case.
That 12 year old girl had leeched 2000 copyrighted songs......
What it comes down to is one simple thing.
If you believe that copyright and trademark law are fair and just then you should support these actions and ones like them. if you don't belive that there should be copyrighted and trademarked things then you are against them.
Mike Rowe was given the chance to stop using the domain name and microsoft offered to pay his actual paid costs (yes it's a cheap trick but they did offer) he had the choice to accept. He chose to try to profit from them.
He was greedy and should get what he deserves.
Personally I agree with copyright and trademark law. I've worked in a number of industries which rely on copyright to keep them going.
In very simple terms if there was no copyright there wouldn't been 1/1000th the amount of music available, there would be virtually no computer games development on the scale it is these days and there certainly wouldn't be all that many films made.
BUT mike row specifically admits he was using the deliberate similarity in the name to further his site and potentially profit.
Registering mikerowe.com wouldn't have been an issue. he specifically added the "soft" to phonetically mimic microsoft. He wasn't even producing software (a company with a name of mike rowe software might have more chance of getting away with it, altghouth microsoft have had trademark for a long time so proving prior art would be difficult.) As for busweiser and budvar that was a case of prior art in teh case of the chezh company, in as much as they'd had the name over 100 years...
Yaruar. You miss the point completely.
Anway - 'cause my cursory glance at this pointless argument hasn't turned up the register's story on it have a look here. It's quite an informative read
Which point am I missing?
as for the vultures take on the matter, I read that yesterday and also the usual /. hysteria and anti microsoft polemic, they add perspectives.
It's his fucking NAME. Geddit?? I'd LOVE them to try it on in court.
And frankly - if Microsoft came to me and said "have 15 quid to take down your website" I'd be asking them for 15 million, rather than 10 grand.
his name isn't mike rowe-soft though.
he readily admits the allusion to microsoft was deliberate. he just wants his moment of glory and the adoration of a million virgin linux weenies anyway.
moment of glory? perhaps, but you'll be amazed to find that the linux army tends to find people like Mike Rowe a bit thick, so he won't be adored much.
now if he'd named his domain "mikerowe.com" and MS had demanded it that would be a different story.
still, in defence of the little person(tm) everywhere, big companies are the spawn of satan and would laughingly torture childeren to death if a)they'd make money doing it and (to a lesser extent) b) it would be legal. I should know, I work for one.
My point, which you seem to be ignoring, is that the inclusion of soft at the end doesn't mean the url is a close mirepresentation of microsoft.com. It's not theft, copyright or any other because the url isn't close enough to the original to create "confusion of the customer". Also, as you said, he isn't a software company and it's obvious from the outset so confusion is avoided there as well. The only level on which mike rowe relies on the microsoft name is to make a very weak joke. To win a lawsuit they would need to prove that the site could be confused with microsoft.com by a normal person. It wouldn't and that's not what microsoft are going for. The link posted shows that microsoft are using a foible of domain name arbitration where asking for money automatically invalidates any claim to a domain*. Anyone can see the case wouldn't stand up in court.
*According to my interpretation of the inquirer article.
I'm not an expert on US law (IANALAHNPOOTV, etc.) Copyright and theft are irrelevant here as it's a trademark dispute which is a very specific dispute. For me the key here is that he didn't accidentely create a name to ape microsoft, he specifically created a name with the express purpose of using the microsoft name for monetary gain.
It's not a trademark. There's no trademark issue at stake, MikeRoweSoft isn't a trademark and phonetic trademarks do not exists. Not even in America. At time of writing.
Microsoft came across it and decided that they would prefer to claim any phonetic ones volunterally if they could, so the approach him (using heavy handed lawyers, naturally). Sadly Mr Rowe, rather than say "No, sorry, it's my name", he replied "$10, stfu! Give me $10000 u r teh riches". He could, alternatively, have asked for a more innocent and reasonable settlement of relocation charges, (e.g. arranging for him MikeRoweWebdesign.com and some hosting or something). Sadly, jumping up and down screaming "Show me the $10000 u evill business" makes you guilty of intentful cybersquatting.
I don't think it's fair. It's legal, due to Mr Rowe's immature response, but I think MS are being a little over protective of their name. The point about having to defend your trademarks is true, but overlooking this one would probably not make any defense for a future case where someone did abuse the MS domain name.
There was a comment on Neowin that put it fairly nicely: When he regged it it was probably just a cheap childish joke amongst friends, nothing malicious. It's a shame for him that had he just been straight and honest in his response he would either have a) never been bothered again 'cause there's no case or b) got himself a new, notably more mature domain name for free. I mean, would you buy web design from someone with a stupid pun for a domain?
I'd be insulted after being offered just 10 dollars. They started the monetary repirations, if they both offer outrageous amounts of sum then its both their faults. Considering he's had the domain for a good year and a bit (iirc from when i read his site) and he's using it and not exploiting it as a "microsoft" site e.g. doing offensive stuff about their site, paradoyingi t (apart from the name which you'd need to be an idiot not to confuse) etc. I'd say microsoft are in the wrong.....and yes, MikeRoweSoft is a shit joke if i do say so.
Correct McFly !!
Sadly, the fact that he said "Give me $10000" makes him, in the eyes of the law, a 'squatter'. If he'd just said "No, it's my domain, get lost" he'd probably have been fine. Even though he did deliberately base his name on the word "Microsoft", I think he'd be able to class that as parodical, which (I believe) comes under the heading of "fair use".
no, it's not. it's a trick. he should never, ever, ever have entered into any form of monetairy negotiations.
Why does it make him a squatter, they made him an offer and he said that it wouldn't be enough and told them what it'd take for him to move. That's how settlements work, isn't it? Obviously he didn't expect to be paid, and surely that works in his favour?
would probably determine how his lawyer "argued" his case.
whether it was an estimate of the monetary value of the work he had already put into the site, perchance?
wow, very astute addition to the thread....
$10000 is what he claims the site is worth to him, in terms of hours put into it and so forth. We don't know if there's actually any maths behind that.
The biggest problem is that Microsoft are a massive company using bullying tactics for a very dubious purpose.
It may well be about protecting their copyright for them - but to have lawyers use such tactics when they know very well that what they want is nothing that they can legally ask for is taking the piss.
Many large companies behave unethically like this - and that's exactly what it is.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not anti-ms or anything (ffs - I make them millions in rolling out their products) - but I'm very anti-big-guy-bullying.
Which is what this is
You have to be careful here. This is not and never has been a copyright issue.
According to microsoft it is a trademark issue.
If this is the case they have no choice but to defend it, because if you don't defend a trademark then you lose it.