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Sting Gets Stung as the Wheels of Internet Justice Roll Over Him
By Moses Avalon
(more articles from this author)
2001-03-15
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Recent developments in recording contracts have put the onus on artists to assign exclusive rights to their domain name to the record company and allow the company to sue on their behalf, anyone who tries to squat on the name. The practice has met with much criticism from artists and their management as it puts the artist's entire virtual identity in the hands of the label. One lawyer friend placed in a well known music law firm called it "over-reaching, but predictable behavior," for major labels.

Who cares? What else is new? Well, how's this for a chilling example of the repercussions of this new clause:

You may recall a story I wrote about several months back where Madonna emerged victorious in prying her domain name from the clutches of a pornographer. Although The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) declared that her name was unique enough to be classified hers and hers alone they didn't feel the same way about Sting, claiming that "sting" was too common a word to protect. (But Madonna isn't? Apparently these guys have never been to Italy.)

Well, this month an Internet watchdog group called My-Reputation, stated that Sting was the most bootlegged site on the net, identifying 11,580 bootleg Police sites plus an additional 3,797 sites selling his solo music.

Meanwhile, it seems that Celine Dion has had more success in this area. A Canadian branch of the WIPO has awarded her the rights to the Internet domain name, www.celinedion.com. They took it away from some guy who had registered it and was running a fan base. The WIPO said this guy had a history of registering the names of celebrities and running "unofficial" fan sites. This same clown has been usurped by the WIPO for the rights to www.juliebrown.com and www.brucespringsteen.com. Sting remains.

Sting is lobbying heavily for reform in this area but is meeting with mixed reviews. It seems people are taking him about as seriously on this issue as they took his acting career.


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