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Victory for small business in domain disputes

Hemos posted more than 14 years ago | from the david-beats-goliath dept.

Links 207

A reader sent us the link-o-meter to the story about how Clue Computing beat toy giant Hasbro over a 3 year long legal dispute over (Hasbro owns the Clue board game). Some are hoping that this will mean small business have a precent to call in in the case of legal disputes over names trademarked by different folks-and in related news, Hasbro will be purchasing Wizards of the Coast, Magic:The Gathering card maker, and owner of TSR, Inc.

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Re:Name squatters and Large Overbearing Companies (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691835)

This largely makes sense. I don't know about statement 1, I don't think there *is* any absolute protection of a name. As many said, trademark law protects your use of the mark in your trade... not your right to use the word for anything you want.
2) I don't agree. "A" can have as many domains as he wants....
3&4) YES! Absolutely! Good idea! We should start doing this immediately.

The only problem I see with revoking domain names is the fact that people percieve having PAID for it. Even though they have just paid a fee for 'registration services' and not actually bought the domain..... this could get ugly.
If my domain was taken away, I would certainly feel that NSI had performed their duties as registrar fraudulently by letting me register in the first place.
It would be easy to show that the original guidelines, up until recently, for which TLD to use are still in place, and that NSI ignored them.

It's already there. (3)

dpdx (52919) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691836)

A company called RealNames is trying to do what you're describing. What's stunting RealNames is acceptance; obviously, companies have to pay them extra to sign up, and that doesn't sit well with them sometimes (they thought they took care of that in trademark registration).

The problem with InterNIC/RSI "impartially" (i.e, non-commercially) administering something like this (besides the fact that it's RSI) is the enormous overhead, plus it's what DNS was supposed to do. They didn't policy-build to account for cybersquatters and the like, and now it's coming back to bite them in the butt.

OTOH, Yahoo lists net presences by category; you could find your category, and then look for Clue (Entertainment:games:board:Hasbro) or Clue Computing (Companies:California:etc.).

I think the current DNS resolution policy would work, if it had more serious teeth. That's likely to be the best solution we'd get.

NO, dammit! (2)

Millennium (2451) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691837)

Hasbro buying out WotC is probably the worst thing which could happen for role-playing gamers.

Why? Because Hasbro is a huge company. And huge companies have this annoying habit of bowing to the twisted whims of the so-called Christian right (never mind that it's neither). Look at Warner's cop-out of releasing The Matrix only on DVD (which I hope they don't do in the end).

In other words, everyone's favorite band of immature zealots will now have a much easier time of getting a lot of the best role-playing and card games out there effectively banned by "forcing" Hasbro to stop making them (thanks to one incredibly annoying facet of the Christian right: it's so damn huge that a boycott, or even the threat of one, would be disastrous to any company, even Micro$oft).

Hasbro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691855)

Hasbro buying WOTC? No biggie. In fact it's good to see WOTC getting some of their own medicine. Now Hasbro buying Avalon Hill... that SUCKED. Note they made AH the same offer of keeping the same management that they are making WOTC. Look at how well they keep their promises...

Dilution (2)

troyboy (9890) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691856)

The theory that Toys 'R' Us uses in such suits is slightly different than trademark infringement. They claim that even if the goods sold under the offending mark don't compete with Toys 'R' Us, the mark "dilutes" their famous mark that they spent a ton of money to build up. In all fairness, Toys 'R' Us has worked quite hard at making the "'R' Us" label meaningful...

But, that argument is circular; 'R' Us only has value because a court is willing to enforce it as having value. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I'd have to agree with you that it is questionable that a company could grab hold of a phrase and prevent even non-competitive uses of that phrase...

Write your Congressman.

Re: Not Just Magic: The Gathering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691857)

Pokemon is Wizard's current cash cow, and the reason Hasbro bought them. WotC is projected to get more sales just from the Pokeman card game than they got from sales of all products last year.

Re:Fry's (1)

jmauro (32523) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691858)

Yea except Fry's eventually forced them to give it up. I'm not really sure how, becuase Fry's is kind of forced to use the full Fry's Eletronics in thier adds so they don't conflict with the real Fry's which is s grocery store. (Funny thing is that they started off as the same chain and that in some places like Pheonix they sit side by side.) But it really doesn't matter since both domains sit with nothing on them. Which is kind of sad. I'd like to see the white trash thing that Fry's would put up for its website.

Re:This is a no-win situation (1)

sarchasm (88008) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691859)

According to corporate law, if someone can prove that you don't enforce your trademark, it becomes dilluted and your right to use it is weakened.

Yep, this makes it hard to tell in a lot of cases whether the company feels compelled to attack or is just being a bully (c.f. Volkwagen's shenanigans [] where it seems like the latter...)

COMpanies should have no say outside of .com (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691860)

It's that simple.

Re:It's already there. (2)

jafac (1449) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691861)

now THAT'S what I'm talking about.

Domain names were meant for servers, not for corporate identity. Domain names don't even allow for spaces. That should be the first clue that it's not the right solution.
Joe Shmo from Cocamo should be able to serve his "this is my dog" webpage on his web server if he wants to (um, as long as he runs a non-corporate entity, and therefore deserves a .org).

The domain name of one's server should bear no more relevance than the IP address. Corporations seeking an easy way to get folks to their web site should utilize a service like RealNames (or, I thought GO did this too).

Unfortunately, IIRC, the original test of this technology led to folks typing in "Barbie" and getting a sex site. But in this case, Mattel would have a legitimate case for suing whoever coopted their trademark in this corporate identity namespace.

Maybe web browsers should have an added feature like "Corporate Trademark Server:" or something like that, but whoever owns the repository, and redirection service needs to be answerable to trademark law, instead of the messed up situation we have now, where people who assign server names need to spend time in court. It should have no bearing.

"The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."

diet-coke and atari (2)

The_Jazzman (45650) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691862)

Hey all,

Well I must admit that I don't have any problem with Hasbros... yet. I own the domain and have a pretty tacky site on there, but in the year that I have owned it I have had no correspondance regarding it from Hasbros. Touch wood I won't in the future.

If someone could figure out quite why not please state... I would be interested in my legal position. I know for a fact that the owners of were contacted but other than that, who knows ?

Another site, was bought by my company by accident... long story but it basically comes down to an internet domain-registering program.
Anyway, we got the invoice and then started trying to figure out who had registered the domain (never mind why) when two days later we received a letter from lawyers representing diet coke (or whoever owns them) demanding that we hand over the domain to them promptly *or else*.
Needless to say we gave it over to them - we're a small company and the publicity would not do us any good, even if ruled in our favour.

The point is, what gives the big companies the right to do this ? Fair enough if someone registered the domain and then started selling off sub-domains eg but just for owning one for legit purposes must be fair enough... after all, "first come, first served.".

Help Slashdot's legal defense fund! (4)

adamsc (985) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691863)

According to their website, 50% of their 1997 revenues and more of 1998s were spent fighting this case:
Lastly, (and it *REALLY* pains us to say this) we need cash to pay the lawyers. Legal defense ate about 25% of our revenue the first year, and for 1997 it was over 50%. 1998 was even worse. If you'd like to send some cash which will be used ONLY for the defense of our domain name, you can send a check payable to:

Philip L. Dubois Attorney Trust Account (include a note that it's for the case)

and mail it to:
Philip L. Dubois
2305 Broadway
Boulder, CO 80304
$2 each from a good portion of readers would probably reduce that trend.

On a wider note, maybe Rob should add a billing page to where you could use a credit card to donate to a good cause.

Wizard's of the Coast. (4)

jelwell (2152) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691866)

Wizard's of the coast actually owns Game Keeper (the mall chain store) now too. It astonishes me that Wizards is allowing themselves to be bought out. But more importantly worries me that many games and game stores might be hurt irreparably in the transition. Wizards bought another Role Playing Game previously from White Wolf Games called "Ars Magica", which was in the same line as Vampire the Masquerade and other Storytelling rpgs. Ars Magica was very quickly dumped on Atlas Games which has since mired the production.

It would be a shame if Hasbro dumped D&D entirely or even put it on the back burner as many gaming stores could be hurt by this move.

For more info on the aquisition goto wizards site [] .
Joseph Elwell.

Magic: The Gathering (2)

flamingdog (16938) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691868)

Maybe some of you played this, but I doubt anyone with half a mind still does. I quit playing after they started releasing a new set every week. My god, there isn't much more they can do with the game now, so I doubt hasbro is gonna make any money off of that deal. Type 2 tournaments are simply a money making scheme. They don't allow older sets, WOTC doesn't sanction type 1, so you HAVE to buy the new cards if you want to play in the tours. Its friggin crazy. Richard Garfield HAD a great idea til it got all twisted around in an effort to make money.

"I'm not gonna say anything inspirational, I'm just gonna fucking swear a lot"

Does it really matter? (1)

/Wegge (2960) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691871)

While the appeal is pending, however, the decision is likely to be grist for members of ICANN's Domain Name Support Organization, which is forging a policy for resolving domain name disputes.

The value of the abovementioned policy is highly dependant on the willingness of companies to actually live by it. In this case, where Hasbro seemingly appeals the judgement by sheer reflex, don't exactly give me high hopes for the future. I might be mistaken, but it seems that given a large enough company, there is no limit to how far a dispute is pushed in pursuit of total victory.

Or else I'm juste extremely cynical.

Precent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691873)

I am guessing that is supposed to be "precedent."

On a more related topic, I am glad small business finally won one. I think Toys 'R' Us was a Nazi in this arena, trying to say that was some kind of trademark infringement. They said basically that since they invented the "X-r-us" idea that anything-r-us is a trademark violation. Sick.

WotC (2)

DanJose52 (55815) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691875)

Wizards of the Coast is worse for card gaming competition than Microsoft is for fair computer OS competition. WotC uses strong arm tactics, high prices, and "extend and embrace" tactics to slowly take over the world of CCG's. (Collectible Card Games). I only hope that Hasbro will grab them and curb their craziness, allowing other, smaller CCG houses to spring up.

Dan Turk
op on undernet's Magic channel...#mtg

small businesses with good urls... (2)

mattwork (70639) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691877)

Well this case seems like the "first come, first serve" rule is still in effect. And I guess that's a good thing.

Though sometimes it's a pain. Did you ever try to find out about Nissan cars and trucks at [] ? Well, you'll only see a cheesy frontpage site about a little computer store in North Carolina. Nissan the car company had the amazing foresight not to get, or, but Nissan-USA [] .

God I hate URLs with dashes in them...

hasbro buying wotc (1)

mullein (37149) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691880)

I think that this purchase will lead to a lot more AD&D branded toys and merchandise, and perhaps lesser contribution to the art of role playing.
I suppose that the same could have been said about wotc buying tsr to a lesser degree.

btw, i feel that the whole .com hierarchy should be either restructured, or else priority given to the owner if its not being used to confuse with a trademark in the same industry or specialization.

Hasbro owns Atari (1)

drivers (45076) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691881)

Hasbro also owns Atari. You realize what this means don't you? AD&D for the 2600! Woohoo!

Restructuring .com (3)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691882)

I'd definately agree with this one, and there are quite a splits that actually might make sense (as opposed to .web, .biz, etc.)

Take for instance, media sources-- there isn't much conflict in that one, as those that are broadcast media have 4 letter designations in the US. There aren't too many magazines willing to get mixed up with each other, and neither are the movies. (sure, there may be crossover between them, but those are the breaks).

As is stands presently, however, the TLDs are completely useless, except for .edu, which you actually had to prove. (and yet, a nursing school couldn't register as one, for some damned reason). .net is filling with non-isps. .org is filling with for-profit organizations. And .com is saturated with every stupid thing out there.

Unfortunately, unveiling new TLDs, without having some major limitations will result in people flooding the registrars to get them, and more TLDs will be more difficult on the people who have enough problems remembering two letters, much less three. There's some solution out there, I just don't know quite what it is, though.

Oh Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691883)

Maybe if we're real lucky you'll soon be able to hear "Dragonlance action figures - coming to a toy shelf near you soon!"
I better go pre-order my Tanis ..

Re:WotC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691884)

Remember that Richard Garfield owns the patent on collectable card games. So as far as CCGs go, WotC is the only game in town.

Re:NO, dammit! (1)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691885)

Let's not forget that D&D 3rd edition is scheduled to be released next summer/fall and will once again contain demons/devils, assassins, etc. The question is, will hasbro milk it for the money it'll generate( a new edition will generate millions ) or sanitize it because of their popularity and risk enraging the RPG consumers?

Solution! Allow ALL Top Level Domains! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691886)

My solution is this:

(1) All top level domains are valid (no longer restricted to .com, .org, .net, .ca, etc.)
(2) To register a domain, the applicant is STILL REQUIRED to register names in two parts (2nd level + TLD). (e.g.,
(3) TLDs can be registered to no one, nor belong to anyone. They will forever remain free and available for anyone to use. (cannot register .bar)

This would allow Apple computer to register apple.computers, and Apple Records to register apple.records, and some farmer to register apple.farms. Chevy could have chevy.trucks and nissan could have nissan.trucks. etc. Then the namespace is increased infinitely. And there is room for all.

This would also put an END to squatting since it is financially impossible to register an infinite number of domain names. Microsoft cannot register, where foo can be any string of up to 32 or whatever chars of any combination since that would cost (roughly) $70 * (27^32+27^31+...+27^1). Squatting would end. And Squatters wouldn't even be able to dump what they already have.

Oh, and one more thing, once the unlimited TLDs go into effect. Prohibit domain name lawsuits. Make it a condition when you register a domain name that you can sue to acquire or sue to stop others from using their domain names.


Avalon Hill's Sad Demise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691887)

Actually, Hasbro's purchase of AH was the only thing that saved most AH titles from the dustbin forever. AH had most of its net worth awarded to Activision (I believe), in a court case revolving around AH's selling of "exclusive rights" to the computerized version of Civilization to multiple companies, as well as producing their own version.

Hasbro purchased AH for their backlist of boardgame titles to feed to their computer game designers. Hopefully, AH actually had clear title to these games, as I understand that AH didn't actually own the rights to many of the games that they published.

At least with Hasbro owning AH, there's at least a chance see a computer version of, say, Circus Maximus.

As long as we're talking about ancient gaming history, you can make a case that SPI is the Company of Death. TSR acquired SPI, and began to loose money, eventually being acquired by WoTC. Then WoTC started bleeding, eventually being acquired by Hasbro. Will Hasbro be next? And if it is, wouldn't it be cool if M$ decided to acquire Hasbro to round out their game offerings? :)

Re:This is a no-win situation (1)

ocie (6659) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691888)

The problem is that often might makes right. Take Gateway2000 for example. Their trademark was "Gateway2000" and all their computers and ads said so. A smaller company called 'gateway research', or 'gateway computing', or something like that had the domain Gateway2000 decided that they wanted to change their name to 'gateway' and since they were doing this, they ought to have "to reduce confusion" Gateway2000 made a joke offer for the domain name ($10000 or so), so when the owner turned them down, they took it to court and won because "who had ever heard of the small company" I con't even remember what it is called now.

Re:Common word domain names (1)

Chris Brewer (66818) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691899)

"Clue" is a common word.

Exactly! No company should demand rights to a domain that is based on an 'everyday' word. If you name your product that, it's your downfall.

Of course, you can be too successful and lose your branding, e.g. Aspirin, Sellotape, etc.

Hasbro doesn't care about AD&D cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691900)

I was watching a CNBC story about Hasbro, in which it mentioned that they bought Wizards of the Coast because WotC makes Pokemon cards, the current hot craze among kiddies. So I wouldn't expect great things in the AD&D department, but they should get more money out of the deal.

Re:WotC (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691901)

I really don't think this is true. As an avid gamer (RPG's and CCG's) I've played a fair amount of good games, and actually, only one (Magic) was printed under the Wizards label. For example, Wizards owns Five Rings Publishing, who publish fine games like Legend of The Five Rings and Doomtown. However, when you buy a pack they say "Five Rings Publishing" not "Wizards of the Cost" and, generally, Five Rings is for the most part, a seperate entity. Other publishers include Precedence, who publishes the L5R RPG and Babylon 5 CCG, and Decipher, publisher of the popular Star Wars and Star Trek card games, are doing very well for themselves. The only reason, I think, that Magic is as popular as it is, is because it was the first, which makes it that which everything else is measured by.

Wizards, also, owns TSR. TSR used to be, in its own right, an RPG 'giant' owning AD&D as well as various other less popular games. Now there are companies like FASA (Shadowrun, Battletech) and White Wolf (World of Darkness, Abberrant)

Unfair prices? I don't think so, nescesarily. Collector cards, from sports cards to Star Wars collectible cards, are generally hovering around 2.50-3.00 a pack, plus, with CCG's, it's like buying a game, not just cards to look at.

Just my two cents.


those meanies (1)

RoLlEr_CoAsTeR (39353) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691902)

Virtual Works claims NSI and Volkswagen have no legal justification for challenging its use of, which it said NSI assigned to the Internet service provider in 1996. A year earlier, VW was assigned the address, leaving unclaimed.
I can't believe those people.. .net denotes an ISP, generally, so what do they think they have to stand on in their argument that should be given to Volkswagen? I can't believe a judge would consider taking a case like this... then again, the way the legal system in America is, I shouldn't be surprised.

Nevertheless, I just hate it when I hear about NSI and the companies that do this kind of thing... I mean, honestly, they usually have no basis for their actions, because most people use the generic ".com" when looking for addresses (ok, well I would, if I were looking for Volkswagen, because ".com" is usually what general sites that their site would have... they sell cars, that's all. They're no organization, no ISP, certainly no government organization.), and so I don't see why/how they should also be awarded ".net". What do they need with two sites? (I know, I know... they'd both point to the same thing/host the same thing, etc.) Still, if people aren't smart enough to find VW (re: by trying, they don't need to be buying one,.. much less a car in general!

Re:Restructuring .com (1)

drsoran (979) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691903)

The solution is probably to get a directory for your directory services. I know I wouldn't be able to find a damned thing these days if it wasn't for some portal site or another with a search engine. As much as I hate "portals" they do come in handy from time to time. Obviously some of the essential sites still get bookmarked, but when looking for something it is much easier to go to Yahoo and type in a generic search subject than hope that I'm going to hit the proper web page by guessing the name.

Take for example. You'd think it would be the motherboard manufacturer of the same name, but it is just some company selling motherboards that has happened to register a bunch of domains using the names of motherboard manufacturers. Slick marketing I suppose but not very useful for the consumer.

As more and more companies start opening up a face on the web it's just going to get more crowded and confusing to the end user. How can it be resolved? Who knows anymore... like you said, more TLDs will just introduce more domain speculators, more confusion, etc.

Re:This is a no-win situation (1)

cowboy junkie (35926) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691904)

I agree completely. The legal system works for large corporations because they have the $$$ to bend it to their will. This case is notable only because it's an exception to the general rule.

"It's the golden rule - he who has the gold makes the rule."

Microsoft Owns FASA now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691905)

At least that's what I was told by an Asheron's Call worker the other day.

they wanted Battletech.

TSR (1)

Synic (14430) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691906)

Well, just as WoTC looks like they didn't kill off everything cool and are doing a good job with TSR's product line, now we have to fret about Hasbro screwing everything up again. :(

Re:Name squatters and Large Overbearing Companies (1)

Tolchz (19162) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691907)

The way I see it people are forcing companies to grab many domain names. How many of you have ever typed a url out pretty quickly and hit a wrong key. Then 78 banners pop up and you realize your at a pr0n site. If people wouldn't abuse the system, there would be no need for companies to register all their names. But if Hasbro does not own , would some newbie typing that url in know that the site he found wasn't a part of Hasbro ?

Eminently Sensible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691918)

It would also make it easier to find official sites, since for a company like Ford(TM) would be at FORD.R.US or FORD.R, and you (initially) wouldn't have to worry about names like FORDCARS, FORDTRUCKS, etc.

Re:Wizard's of the Coast. (1)

bmetzler (12546) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691919)

Hmmm... a whole thread about someone's magic ass. The "news for nerds" reading is off the scale, but I can't hardly detect any "stuff that matters".

Well, I'm sure glad we all know what your feelings are :-) In case you hadn't been paying attention this is "News for Nerds. Stuff that matters" not "News for Nerds. Stuff that matters to Moooo Cow". Of course this doesn't interest you. There a lot of stuff that doesn't matter to me either. But since it doesn't matter, I just ignore it. Perhaps you could try the same solution.


Re:hasbro buying wotc (1)

FreeJacker (89714) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691920)

Personally I think WotC did an excellent job w/ TSR. Since taking over, the game line for AD&D has been given a decent overhaul and they've done such great things as getting R.A. Salvatorre to come back and write another Drizzt novel. I hope Hasbro gives the current WotC hierarchy free reign in the area of it's RPG's.

Simple Solution - Ban DNS. (2)

M@T (10268) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691921)

If sites had to rely on promoting their IP addresses rather than their domain name, any marketing advantage or disadvantage to domain names would be removed. The legal issues with domain names to do with trademark infringements and squatting would disappear and mom&pop companies could coexist with large corporations on the internet quite comfortably. (eg. Clue computing and Hasbro)

Existing trademark laws would still apply, but the focus would be on content and product rather than location. Also p0rn sites and other parasites would not be able to latch on to variations of popular site names, and it would be extremely difficult for them to get similar IP addresses.

The only downside (though not for me) would be the loss of the monopoly by US companies on .com addresses...

Any thoughts on this?


Re:Magic: The Gathering (1)

Dino (9081) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691922)

I've been actively play Magic: The Gathering for years the Type I environment. Austin has a very active Type I envorinment. But, like you said, it's not sanctioned. But I couldn't give a flying flip. I play to have fun, not to play in Japan or UK or whever the Pro Tour is going.

Not to mention I like to play beyond the fourth turn. :-)

I heard about the Hasbro buyout earlier today and haven't yet been able to draw any conclusions about what it will mean for Magic players. Most likely it won't affect me at all. If WOTC never releases a set again, that'll be fine. I still play with people who haven't bought a pack of cards in a long time. If they do, hey that'll be great. I have been enjoying the sets they have released over the past couple years. They are FAR, FAR more enjoyable than sets like Fallen Empires-> Homelands...Yuch.

I Though there was a relevant rule for Domains (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691923)

I thought there was, at one time, a rule that basically was "One Organization, one Domain."

That is, if Hasbro wanted, that would have to be their ONLY domain, so they would lose

If this rule were enforced, all these problems would go away! Each company would have one, and ONLY one domain, squatters could only claim one name, unless they made a front corporation for each one. For what purpose does a company really need more than one DNS address? if they have many sites they can subdomain, like


Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691924)

Play the Expansion Pack ! Settlers ROCKS !

Re:This is a no-win situation (5)

phil reed (626) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691925)

According to corporate law, if someone can prove that you don't enforce your trademark, it becomes dilluted and your right to use it is weakened.

This is only partially true. A trademark is limited in scope - usually to a particular area of trade. There can be no infringement outside of this area (with the exception of well-known marks). The classic example in the U.S. is "Delta". I can think of three right now - Delta Airlines, Delta Faucets, and Delta Dental (insurance). Despite the use of the same name, these three do NOT conflict as far as trademarks go.

Well-known marks would include something like McDonalds, which covers so much ground that McAnything is going to have a problem (yes, I know about the McDonalds in Scotland, and there have been court cases in the U.K. about this very issue.)

Hasbro is throwing its weight around. Based strictly on trademark law, I'd expect Hasbro to lose the appeals, since 'Clue' is not a well-known mark, and there's no significant cross-over between areas of trade. I just hope that Clue Computing can hang in there for the rest of the proceedings.


Re:Simple Solution - Ban DNS. (3)

emerson (419) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691926)

That would be an astoundingly bad idea.

The problem is not that DNS itself is flawed; it's that people have chosen to try to use DNS both as a name-resolution system AND as a directory system.

Removing DNS and going to raw IP addresses would break many many things that people rely on:

-- Web sites routinely map a single name to a round-robin of IP addresses for load-balancing. It might be possible to do some kind of nasty reverse NAT to make this facility possible at the IP level, but we have things like DNS to facilitate not having to do nasty destination munging.
-- Companies are currently able to reorganize their internal networks transparently; if your mail address was, and then the company wanted to move their primary mail server to a geographically different location, there's no way to point that IP address there without complicated tunneling wizardry. Easier just to re-point a DNS entry for
-- Companies change ISP's all the time, and IP addresses get reassigned from leaving customers to new customers. Imagine if you'd sent out thousands and thousands of advertisements, business cards, product boxes, and letterhead with your address on it, and you went to a new ISP, and your competitor got hold of that address block from your old ISP.

DNS was devised as an abstraction layer above IP addresses to allow tricks like this to happen conveniently, and give some sense of permanence to network addressing, in what's definitionally a change-prone environment. The fact that people have been abusing this abstraction layer for commercial purposes is (a) not surprising, and (b) not at all an indictment of the scheme itself.

DNS is our friend; we just need to get some good rules in place as to how to resolve conflicts like this.

How they forced him: (2)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691927)

They took the guy to court over it. The guy couldn't afford a lawyer so he had to represent himself and he did an absolutely *terrible* job at it too. (Then again, who wouldn't?) He lost his website, probably a ton of business, and a lot of money in the suit. And Fry's doesn't even bother to use the damned domain. Fuckers.

I'm never shopping *there* (which is made easier by the fact that there are no Fry's on the east coast.)

- A.P.

"One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

Re:WotC buyout and D&D (1)

AktionP (18395) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691928)

As an RI resident and longtime Hasbro observer, I would say that if past is prologue, Alan Hassenfeld will probably liquidate TSR's highly paid American game developers and replace them with Indonesian teenagers doing the same job for $0.35 a day.

With this in mind, look for AD&D 3rd Edition to have the same kind of effervescently nonstandard spelling and grammar that one is accustomed to seeing in the installation guides for off-brand video cards.

"Produce of Your Imagiration"


sethg has a solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691929)

It's hidden behind a deceptive subject line in a thread above.

Take a look at his idea [] for dealing with this.
(Thread URL is this one [] .)

Re:Avalon Hill's Sad Demise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691930)

wouldn't it be cool if M$ decided to acquire Hasbro to round out their game offerings?

Ugh. Would be such a pure-play move for MS, and basically ruin my life.

hmm, looking at hasbro's balance sheet, Apple could swing the deal too. THAT would be cool.


Re:hasbro buying wotc (1)

Garpenlov (34711) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691931)

they've done such great things as getting R.A. Salvatorre to come back and write another Drizzt novel.



If you say so.

Drizzt was a cash cow that R A Salvatore milked for far too long, and you think it's a good thing that they got him to come back and write another one? [I stopped reading after about the 5th trilogy...]

Re:Domain names 10 years from now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691932)

Ok, so a year from now, Hasbro sells the rights to the game Clue to Parker Brothers... now what domain name do they use?, and break all existing links? Think this is a contrived example? What about; imagine the confusion caused if it suddenly changed from to

Hmm... nobody's registered "" yet... I'd better jump on that one!

White Wolf, WotC, Atlas Games, and Ars Magica (2)

kniedzw (65484) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691933)

This is almost certainly off-topic; those who don't want to hear about this particular subset of role-playing gaming history should move on. But I feel as if I have to set the record straight, both as a rabid Ars Magica fan (and player) and as an Atlas Games playtester.

First off: Ars Magica was developed originally by Mark Rein*Hagan and Jonathan Tweet when they were part of a start-up called Lion Rampant. ArM (as it's usually abbreviated) was kept by the company when - through a complex business morph - it became White Wolf. White Wolf later sold ArM to Wizards when their Storyteller line took off, and WotC provided some decent support for the game (even going so far as to hire Jonathan Tweet, who has since helped re-write D&D 3rd edition). Within about a year of their purchase, however, WotC decided to drop all their RPGs, concentrating on collectable card games (this was before they bought TSR, recall). Atlas Games jumped at the chance to buy the venerable ArM.

Now, Ars Magica was a testing ground of sorts for White Wolf, and many of the game designs that premiered in ArM evolved and became the bases for the Storyteller series. To be honest, ArM had - and has - one of the most elegant magic systems in any role-playing game, and moreover, they worked from a historical perspective.

In the Ars Magica community, few people have bad things to say about Atlas at all with their handling of the line. In fact, Ars Magica has become their primary cash cow, and they treat it with respect. Atlas has averaged three to four supplements a year since they purchased the game, and they have produced the 4th edition rulebook, which is widely considered the best edition ever, including the 2nd, which had long been called the One True Edition by Ars Magica diehards. With the money Atlas earned from Ars Magica, they bought the rights to several other games, including the flailing Feng Shui and the much talked-about Unknown Armies. To say that Atlas has buried the game is to do them a great disservice, as Ars Magica has been both a critical and a popular hit.

Returning to WotC, however, they have become something of the Microsoft of the RPG world. They are ruthless, business-savvy, and bent on domination of their chosen market. The only company to really hold a candle to them within the gaming industry was FASA, which has since been divided up and acquired by Microsoft and Decipher (the former to expand their games with the Battletech line of computer games and the latter to bolster their credibility and get a solid money-making product in the form of Shadowrun). I have several friends within the gaming industry who have been very nastily burned in their interactions with WotC.

Hasbro has also acquired not too long ago the strategy-gaming staple Avalon Hill, and although they claim that they will be reprinting about half of the former giant's catalogue, many hard-core gamers I know have despaired at the recent shake-ups in the industry and turned to more home-grown games. I seriously doubt that Hasbro will sink the D&D 3rd edition project, however, since WotC has a movie contract tie-in and at least one computer game tie-in in the works with third parties.

In summary, however:

  • WotC = big and ruthless,
  • Hasbro = bigger and more expansive,
  • FASA = split into bitty bits by Bill Gates and a well-funded industry whipping-boy, and
  • I need to get a life.

Wizards of the Coast....good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691934)

I am very glad someone is buying WoC..thier game production team SUCKS....the card rage is a huge money pit and any true RPG WoC has ever touched has begun to smell very soon after...I do not know about you but I'm still usinb the first edition rules for AD&D anyways, and the thrid edition was recently announced so i doubt it will fade :)

Re:Magic: The Gathering (1)

kniedzw (65484) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691935)

Note that WotC recently came forward with the following (obviously biased, but likely true) statistic: there are over 1 million registered Magic players worldwide who play in sanctioned tournaments once a week or more often.

Since WotC gets a share of every tournament entrance fee, and they sell all the product, that's a pretty penny.

By the by, an official FAQ [] for the WotC / Hasbro merger is available.

Why Not? (1)

Swarthout (38828) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691936)

It worked for Tandy Corp. Any thing *Shack that's related to electronics is under thier trademark.. ComputerShack, NetShack, they are all Fair Game, I know one company that had to rename by threat from Tandy. The Big Companies like to Whip the Little Guy around

M$ owns FASA Interactive; Decipher owns FASA (1)

kniedzw (65484) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691937)

Microsoft owns FASA Interactive, which was a subset of FASA - the subset that produced all the computer games. FASA themselves got bought out shortly after selling FASA Interactive. The buyer, as the other responder to this post mentioned, was Decipher.

Domain Names.... why bother? (0)

Rax Morgant (81660) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691948)

You know what? How about we just use IP addresses instead?
While this might seem like a bad idea at first, think about it.... there would be no pseudo-domain names (like mine, i know, i know) and you would have to be honest about your IP!
I guess not everyone has my propensity for remembering numbers, but computers do.... so while television ads for (I think that's my friend's cable modem, except I changed a digit) would fail to grab your attention, email would work just fine.
AND.... it would remove the "dot com" television advertisement FOREVER.

More worrisome than domain names (2)

DanMcS (68838) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691949)

Being in regular contact with the WotC/TSR guys (playtesting and whatnot), they are saying that for now it's business as usual, in web policy et al. I'm personally glad to hear that, having registered a domain relating to the new setting coming out for alternity, I would hate to lose it. More worrisome, though, is the Hasbro moral stance, as someone mentioned. If they start censoring D&D, Alternity, and other products based on the irate cries of ignorant parents, just because a product mentions a "devil", I'm going to be rather unhappy. According to the WotC [] website, Peter Adkison (founder, CEO) will be chatting on their chat server tomorrow at 11:00 AM Pacific time. I've never had much luck with their chat server, though :(

Re:Name squatters and Large Overbearing Companies (1)

bmetzler (12546) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691950)

2) I don't agree. "A" can have as many domains as he wants....

I think I get what was meant here. If I go out and register 200 domain names and don't use them, or do use them, but one should really be owned by someone else, then if I don't have a legitemate right for it, I must either give it up, or lose all my domains. Okay, something like that

The only problem I see with revoking domain names is the fact that people percieve having PAID for it. Even though they have just paid a fee for 'registration services' and not actually bought the domain..... this could get ugly. If my domain was taken away, I would certainly feel that NSI had performed their duties as registrar fraudulently by letting me register in the first place.

I agree. I think too many people believe that they are *buying* the domain and somehow have *ownership* of it. Nonsense. They own the domain no more then they would "own" their post office box. So if you paid a year for the domain and had it for a year, your squared away. If you had it for only 3 months, and then found out it "belonged" to someone else, then I'd hope you'd get a prorated refund.

I think that domain names need to be controlled though. TLD's need to be restricted as to who can get a domain in that TLD. As was mentioned before, net should be restricted to networks, org to organizations and com to business. domains should be automatically allocated to whoever best "owns" them. for instance should belong to only one company legally. They pay their $35 a year and that's it.

What's harder is to determine is personal and "promotional" type domains. Who gets Which Smith gets Who gets what does the rfc say? Where do these domains belong anyways? Hopefully a few more TLD's will provide more ability to classify domain names better. .shop can only be one thing. .home is simple to guess what we'd find there. And most importantly, we need a restricted .adult domain.

I'm not sure what to think about "reselling" domains either. I feel cybersquatting is wrong, obviously for of course, but I don't think it's legitimate for either. I can see why domain names have "value" But I think domains names, after one is finished with them should be given up to let the next "renter" use, much like you'd give up a Post Office box when you were done with it. I don't advertise my PO Box 1234 when I'm done with it, and I think that's the way domain names should be handled too.

Of course, again we're back to the problem of people complaining when the domain names are taken from them because when they registered the name that assumed that it "belonged" to them. Now it's being taken away and they're losing their "investment" which they wanted to sell for big bucks.

Well, I just can't wait tfor the use of domain names to be deprecated. That'll hopefully take care of all the problems.


No, Decipher owns FASA. (2)

LadyNymphaea (15396) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691951)

Check out info here [] and here [] .

The merger should be completed by the end of the month.

I can't find any info on the merger at the Decipher website, as they don't seem to have any corporate press releases up that aren't related to their games.

Re:Name squatters and Large Overbearing Companies (1)

Pascal Q. Porcupine (4467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691952)

It doesn't help that the rules governing .us domains are too hierarchal. I used to have an account on someone's machine which was part of the Blacksburg Electronic Village. He was in group E of it. So his machinename was (machinename) I'm all for hierarchy when it makes sense, but having overzealous hierarchies makes it laughable.

In the meantime, I miss the days when a site was named with or or whatever. SGI's good about this, but most companies suck, and this has led to peoples' mentalities that a domainname should be and oftentimes not understanding that a URL isn't simply One time it took me half an hour to convince someone that Be's BeOS website is at and not and it really didn't help that was a very badly-broken site.

Wow, i've rambled again and lost track of my point. Bad porcupine, no cookie... *smacks self on the forehead*
"'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.

Hasbro V. Clue Computing, please flame Hasbro (0)

ericr (89741) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691953)

These silly people are already filing an appeal, and I don't know how much longer I can keep fighting. Please, O Beloved Slashdot, email the crap outta Hasbro and let them know if you don't support thier perversion of the 'Net. Thanks! Eric Robison Clue Computing

Why would they care? (1)

The Welcome Rain (31576) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691955)

RPG's are no longer a large portion of the gaming market. Even AD&D is slim pickings compared to WotC's card games.

It's a sign of the graying of the hobby. This happened to the wargamers and it's happening to us. While this has probably improved the quality of the average campaign (no more eighth-graders grabbing loot and inventing the Helm of Many Fists to wear all of their rings :), it's going to hurt the industry. I think it'll return to the hands of the small companies and the hobbyists within a decade.


Good move by Hasbro, buying WOtC (1)

LadyNymphaea (15396) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691956)

The two companies have quite a few products in common; for example, Hasbro has the rights to manufacture Pokémon [] toys for the U.S. market (at least that's what the tag on my stuffed Pikachu indicates ^_^) and WOtC had the rights to market the Pokémon CCG in the States. Hasbro bought out Microprose, which made the Magic: the Gathering computer game.

This makes me wonder, though; Decipher currently has rights to produce Star Wars CCGs, and Hasbro makes the SW toys. I make a conjecture that some switching of licenses will be going about soon.

Is it easier to buy the company than to just buy the licensing? Hmm...

Re:Lawyer: clearly correct under U.S. trademark la (1)

imp (7585) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691959)

Somehow, Hasbro has gotten the idea that trademarks reach *much* farther in domain names than they do anywhere else. This is simply fallacious, and worthy of sanctions.

Yes. Hasbro's attitude in this case was rumored to be "we want, we don't think you are infringing on our trademark, but NSI's dispute policy lets us beat up on you, so fork it over." Which is clearly WRONG.

It is an excellent day for Right over Might.


Re:Hasbro owns Atari (1)

Pascal Q. Porcupine (4467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691960)

Don, you're smoking crack again. Stop it. :)
"'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.

Fry's (1)

jeff.paulsen (6195) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691968)

My favorite domain name conflict was / is, which was taken by someone claiming to be "Frenchy Fry's Frozen Foods", leaving Fry's Electronics squatting on

This is a no-win situation (5)

brennanw (5761) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691969)

Basically, while we all sit around and criticize these companies for throwing their weight around on smaller companies (don't get me wrong, I do it too), a company really has no other choice if they want to protect their trademark. According to corporate law, if someone can prove that you don't enforce your trademark, it becomes dilluted and your right to use it is weakened.

So a company with a trademark must use draconian measures of enforcement when defending their trademark -- they have no choice if they want to prove that to a court that they're enforcing it. And since cybersquatting has been a problem in the past, companies are probably advised by their lawyers that they MUST track down ANY potential use of their trademarked name, even in situations where it won't apply.

Of course, that means nothing to the poor small business owner (or private owner) who coincidentally is using a name that has been trademarked. It's certainly not fair to them at all -- and they don't really have the funds to defend against such matters, nine times out of ten.

It seems like a situation where no one can really win. If a company wants to retain the rights of their trademark, they have to crack down in every situation (which is why Red Hat is doing what they're doing these days). On the other hand, there's no reason why someone in a business completely unrelated to the trademark should ever have to be pushed around by a corporations legal teams.

The only way out of this is to either a) strengthen the rights of the people holding the trademark, so they don't have to enforce it all the time, or b) weaken the power of trademarks significantly, or even abolish it all together, so that no one can lay any kind of legal claim to a word or a phrase.

Either option has its problems, but I think that abolishing trademark would be better than strengthening it -- if it were strengthened, companies would probably find it more "convenient" to force people who had trademarked words in their domain names to hand them over, even if the domain names were used in a way completely unrelated to the trademark itself. If that were the case, sites like would have been instantly overrun and they would have had no legal recourse whatsoever.

Hope that wasn't too disjointed...

Re:Wizard's of the Coast. (2)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691970)

Ars Magica was not a Storyteller game, like Vampire or Mage. It was not part of the line, although it did have a bit of background in common (Ars Magica was a game Mark Rein-Hagen co-developed with Jonathan Tweet a number of years before striking out on his own with the Storyteller series). The first two editions of Ars Magica, published by Lion Rampant, were excellent. Then White Wolf bought it and tried to integrate it into the World of Darkness (but never into the Storyteller system -- it always had its own rules). The result was the horrible Ars Magica 3rd Edition, which seemed bent on destroying Ars Magica entirely. Thankfully, White Wolf eventually sold the game, and it eventually ended up in the hands of Atlas Games. Although they don't spend nearly as much money as White Wolf on glossy glitz and appearance, they've greatly improved the game with their release of 4th Edition.

Incidently, I'm a big fan of WoD and Storyteller games. But I'm also a big fan of Ars Magica, so I'm rather overjoyed that it finally landed in the hands of a company willing to do it justice with far better respect for the game than White Wolf ever had...


Name squatters and Large Overbearing Companies (2)

Ryandav (5475) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691973)

This is a side question that I would like to see discussion on someday.

I notice that a lot of folks here seem to hate so-called 'squatters' who reserve domains for money, presumably because some folks here work on that kind of thing in their day2day job. I also see some people ranting against overbearing big businesses that use piles of paperwork to overwhelm smaller registered owners for domains that they want (ie and many others).

What should be the 'rights' reguarding names and domains? First come first served leads to squatters, but trying to discern honest holders from large pushy companies seems difficult at times. And what about "name-grabbers" like George Bush Jr., who tried to grab all the parody-type addresses he could think of before announcing candidacy. Many of you folks work within the DNS system for a living, how do _YOU_ feel it should work?

Random Speculation, pay no mind if you don't care...

Clue? Cluedo! (1)

Dr_LHA (30754) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691974)

Well perhaps this will make Hasbro standardise the International naming of this product - which is called "Cluedo" in the UK (and everywhere else AFAIK).

We in the UK have been putting up with everything gettting renamed to the US version for a while, the latest tragedies being Opal Fruits turning into "Starburst" (s*** name) and "Oil of Ulay" becoming "Oil of Olay"

Anyway - [] points to Hasbro's web site if anyone's interested!

Trademarks... (4)

joq (63625) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691977)

Its good that someone finally has woke the heck up over in the Justice System. No one really defined _what_is legal to register and what isn't. But you can waste money doing a trademark search.

Lets quote NSI shall we

Revision 03 Effective February 25, 1998 1. Network Solutions, Inc. ("Network Solutions") is responsible for the registration of second-level Internet domain names in the top level COM, ORG, NET, and EDU domains. Network Solutions registers these second-level domain names on a "first come, first served" basis. By registering a domain name, Network Solutions does not determine the legality of the domain name registration, or otherwise evaluate whether that registration or use may infringe upon the rights of a third party.

This is solely written to deter themselves from suffering legal actions... point blank

2. The entity applying for a domain name ("registrant") is solely responsible for selecting its own domain name ("domain name") and maintaining for the continued accuracy of the registration record. The registrant, by completing and submitting the Domain Name Registration Agreement ("Registration Agreement"), represents that the statements in its application are true and that the registration of the selected domain name, to the best of the registrant's knowledge, does not interfere with or infringe upon the rights of any third party. The registrant also represents that the domain name is not being registered for any unlawful purpose.

Does this mean that if I registered "" and three months down the line someone trademarked it, they can now sue me? Some of these laws are a joke... I can see whay they would make these laws being it would deter some moron from registering a site to make massive money, but there a Corporate entities who turn around and bastardize these laws as well

3. Network Solutions neither acts as arbiter nor provides resolution of disputes between registrants and third party complainants arising out of the registration or use of a domain name. This Domain Name Dispute Policy ("Policy") does not confer any rights, procedural or substantive, upon third party complainants. Likewise, complainants are not obligated to use this Policy.

More legal mumbo jumbo from a half assed registrar

6. Indemnity. The registrant hereby agrees to defend, indemnify and hold harmless (i) Network Solutions, its officers, directors, employees and agents, and (ii) the National Science Foundation ("NSF"), its officers, directors, and employees (collectively, the "Indemnified Parties"), for any loss or damages awarded by a court of competent jurisdiction resulting from any claim, action, or demand arising out of or related to the registration or use of the domain name. Such claims shall include, without limitation, those based upon trademark or service mark infringement, tradename infringement, dilution, tortious interference with contract or prospective business advantage, unfair competition, defamation or injury to business reputation. Each Indemnified Party shall send written notice to the registrant of any such claim, action, or demand against that party within a reasonable time. The failure of any Indemnified Party to give the appropriate notice shall not affect the rights of the other Indemnified Party. Network Solutions recognizes that certain educational and governmental entities may not be able to provide complete indemnification. If the registrant is (i) a governmental or non-profit educational entity, and (ii) not permitted by law or under its organizational documents to provide indemnification, the registrant must notify Network Solutions in writing and, upon receiving appropriate proof of such restriction, Network Solutions may provide an alternative provision for such a registrant.

In other words money talks...

What I wanna know is...

What is Network Solutions going to do in a cross-registrar dispute?

What if they weren't the registrars how are they going to handle things. And when just when are the court systems going to stop letting people twist laws?

oh well back to work...

Re:Wizard's of the Coast. (1)

lomion (33716) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691979)

Actually White Wolf bought this from WoTC then WoTC bought it back..

Common word domain names (4)

blogan (84463) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691981)

"Clue" is a common word. An individual should be able to take any common word and make a domain out of it. It's the company's fault if they name their products single words that appear in /usr/dict/words or personal names ( dispute). It's the same with movies. If you want a domain for it, don't call it a single word. Make a creative name and your product would be more recognized.

Also, it's a user's fault if they type in "" and assume they are at Hasbro's site. I'm sure there's a card in the box that gives the address, or people can type the company's name. Sometimes I just guess the URL if I'm looking for something, but I look at content if the site comes up.

Are we to assume that if someone knows the name of a product, they should just be able to go to and get there?

Surf on over to www.thatonethingisawinbobsofficelastyearandwantedt :)

Re:Simple Solution - Ban DNS. (1)

BLiP2 (54296) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691986)

Well it would help get rid of annoying AOLosers, most of whom probably shouldn't use a computer in the first place.

*whine* uh!... numbers are HARD to remember...


Re:Domain name =! real estate. (2)

bmetzler (12546) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691987)

I should be able to buy and sell all the domain names I damn well please on a first cone serve basis. If I PAY for 5000 domain names. They're fucking MINE, and I can resell them for any amount I want. Or maybe I will just sit on them. No one has to buy them. And if I am to assume ALL THE RISK (of not being able to sell them), then I should receive ALL THE PROFIT when I do make that one big killing.

Nonsense. Utter and dismal nonsense.

Domains aren't "owned". They are registered and "leased". I think that the idea of "owning" a domain was the biggest mistake ever made. You register a domain and use it. When you are done with it, if you don't use it "forever", then it's unregistered and the next person to register for it starts paying for it. That's how the Domain naming system should work.

You shouldn't be assuming any risk, because the domain names aren't intended to be a salable goods. It's no better then scalping tickets. If you think that you own domain names, what else do you own? Phone numbers? Do you buy chuncks of phone numbers so that you can sell them to the highest bidder? 1-888-cooldude; 1-800-your4us; 1-615-iamnice? How about post-office boxes. PO Box 666 might be valuable. Do you stand in line and offer to step up of line to the highest bidder so they can get closer to the front of the line? What in the world makes domain names any different.

I think that whoever would "buy" the rights to a domain name from a third party is a fool. I will only get a domain name by registering it directly from a registrar, or legally getting rights to it through the court systm.


Re:Simple Solution - Ban DNS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691988)

If we used ips are limited, names are not. A box can have more than one site on it. Thus,, can all be on the same box and thus have the same IP. The web server gets a request and from the URL figures out what page it should load. Also you whould have companies buying huge blocks of address so they could have simular sequenced numbers. In no time all IPs would be gone, at least till IPv6.

Re: Not Just Magic: The Gathering (1)

JPelorat (5320) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691989)

I haven't actually seen Pokemon cards, but I was wondering if WotC were the makers. I have a friend who owns a bookstore, and she sells out of their Pokemon allocation within an hour of getting it from the delivery truck.

It's insane. Hell, I work at a computer store, and we're only half-jokingly considering selling the damn things.

It's a moot point (4)

WilliamX (22300) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691990)

This is all going to become a moot point now, though. ICANN has developed a new Uniform Dispute Policy [] that very soon all new domain registrants and all renewing domain registrants will be obligated to abide by as a condition of domain registration. It makes NSI's dispute policy look like a friendly thing.

The trademark and copyright interests are lobbying ICANN very heavily (including big money Hollywood interests [] ) for stronger protection, even beyond what the law currently gives them. They can't get Congress, or even the courts, to back them up, so they are lobbying hard within ICANN, and ICANN is listening, not wanting to have to fight big corporate interests who are the ones actually paying ICANN's bills right now (see Follow the Money [] ).

Soon individuals and small businesses with find themselves in the position of having to do what Clue Computing did, be the plaintiff in a case suing to KEEP your domain name, since under these new policies Trademark holders won't be obligated to take you to court and prove infringement or dilution. You will have to prove you aren't infringing, thus shifting the burden of proof as well as the expense.(Clue Computing sued NSI to prevent implementation of the Dispute Policy)

Not a very promising outlook.

I've been advocating some sort of grass roots campaign [] to rally against these actions by ICANN, but some people just see that ICANN is fighting NSI and think that is a justification for them trampling our rights.

William X. Walsh - DSo Internet Services
Email: Fax:(209) 671-7934
Editor of

Domain names 10 years from now? (2)

craw (6958) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691991)

I don't know if anybody has posted this, but here goes. The problem with domain names is that they are extremely limited (for instance, .com, .net, .edu, .org). This the legacy policy that we now have. Hence, there is an incredible amount of potential overlap between corporate names and other legitimate ones.

In this freelance world of domain names, disputes such as the one with clue will continue to happen. This might be unpopular, but I would impose a rather draconian solution. Incorporated companies are given .com; in this case Web sites associated with hasbro, such as clue, will be something like, The caveat to all of this is that hasbro can still register, or However, they cannot force someone to give the name up if it was already registered. OTOH, with time, ppl will search check out .com sites if they are looking for corporate info.

I know that they are working on additional domain suffixes. However, unless drastic measures are taken to restrict and control which domain can be registered and for what purpose, things are going to be real ugly during the next decade. Otherwise, the only unregistered domain in ten years will be, or the only way to navigate the web will be by use of portals.

Of course the ironic thing is (1)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691993)

That WotC purchased TSR, which was the previous Microsoft of the gaming world. Now Hasbro, which already owns the remains of Avalon Hill will buy WotC which owns TSR which bought SPI...

Result was simple extension of Trademark case law. (1)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691994)

Reference the case Bozo vs. Bozo, won by the "Bozo's Resturant" owner who had apparently been using the name long before Larry Harmon. Mr. Harmon was reportedly livid at the result, expressing his anger and disbelief that the small resturant owner was allowed to continue using the name "Bozo" for that mere reason, as opposed to him being awarded exclusive use of the name based on the size of his great "Bozo the Clown" empire.

I get it: you work for a portal! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1691996)

The only effect of using raw IPs would be that everyone just go through a major portal to find what they wanted. Result: Yahoo and AOL take over the world.

Or people would start associating letters with digits, as in phone numbers. Result: Numerologists paid big bucks to serve as expert witnesses in trademark disputes.

Or the biologists would help out. Result: Government gives everyone a free souped-up extra-smart-gene mouse to help remember IPs.

I gotta say, I can't imagine what led you to suggest this. Perhaps you went to a school like MIT where they had building numbers instead of names?

Re:Solution! Allow ALL Top Level Domains! (1)

emerson (419) | more than 14 years ago | (#1691999)

I think you should read up on how DNS works.

Specific TLD's are an inherent part of the process; people being able to create random TLD's simply can not work with the existing system -- there'd be no easy and transparent way for resolvers to know where to go to find the zone info for subdomains of some arbitrarily-named TLD. Not without a major rewrite of every DNS stack in existance.

Not to say that a major rewrite to create such a system would be a bad thing; just that it couldn't be grafted on to the existing system in any sane way.


There's another solution (1)

Nathaniel (2984) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692006)

If we were to simply state that domain names don't infringe on copyright, these problems would go away.

Lawyer: clearly correct under U.S. trademark law (5)

hawk (1151) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692007)

The outcome is clearly correct. The question is whether Hasbro should be sanctioned for an abusive filing for initiating the frivolous litigation.

There are *many* categories of trademarks in the U.S. A trademark in one category does *not* in any way block the identical trademark from being used in another category. That Hasbro has registered "Clue" as a game would in no way stop Ford from building a car called "Clue."

Somehow, Hasbro has gotten the idea that trademarks reach *much* farther in domain names than they do anywhere else. This is simply fallacious, and worthy of sanctions.

hawk, esq., once again griping that judges in general are far too slow to use their authority to sanction frivolous filings.

Re:Wizard's of the Coast. (1)

jelwell (2152) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692008)

White Wolf was able to inherit all the best parts of the system that Lion Rampart had created in Ars Magica (which predates the StoryTelling line - as it stands now); but was unsuccessful in integrating Ars Magica as a product into it's genre which was bent on being Dark ("World of Darkness"). It wasn't so much that they failed to integrate Ars Magica, it's that they had already bought a really good system to build off of. If you check the Ars Magica Faq [] (in paticular the history section) you'll see that White Wolf the game company was created with Ars Magica as it's game.
Despite White Wolf's reluctance to embrace Ars Magica there is not doubt that it is the genesis of the Storyteller series.

I must agree that White Wolf never paid enough attention to the game, and Wizards abandoned it entirely. But atlas seems to have all but killed it.
Joseph Elwell.

Re:Wizard's of the Coast. (1)

jackal! (88105) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692009)

Okay. First edition was Lion Rampant. That company merged with White Wolf Magazine to become White Wolf games, which published the second edition. WotC bought it for and released our beloved 3rd edition. Then it was sold to Atlas the 4th and current owner.

No, he's right, it's Atlas. But whether or not Atlas made it better or worse is a matter of opinion.


jedidiah (1196) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692010)

We're too busy playing Settlers of Catan.

Re:Name squatters and Large Overbearing Companies (2)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692011)

Assume party A holds a name, and party B wants it. My take on a reasonable set of rules:

  1. Can B legally prevent A from using the name independent of whether it's a domain name or not? If they do so, then A loses the domain name just as they would any other name. Otherwise,
  2. If A owns multiple domain names, B has a legal right to use the name and does not already possess a domain name, A has to either give up the name or give up all it's other names. One domain name to an entity. Otherwise,
  3. If A does not belong under the TLD in question based on the appropriate RFCs and B does, A loses the name and B gets it. Businesses, for example, don't get to hold on to names under .org if an organization that qualifies for .org membership wants it. Otherwise,
  4. If A has not been actively using the name, they lose it. If they're actively using it and registered it first, they keep it.
  5. Opinions?

Re: Not Just Magic: The Gathering (1)

JPelorat (5320) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692012)

They branched into many other card games, and bought TSR, among other things. M:TG is not their only cash cow. TSR still sells to the kiddies. Hasbro would not have bought them if they weren't totally convinced that they'd make money from the deal, and corporations that large are not stupid about what they spend money on, regardless of what Joe Public (or anyone else) may think...

DNS stinks for the web... (3)

Hobbex (41473) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692013)

Yes, I know that trademark law stinks too, and that in this particular case maybe it is what needs to go first: but the dns situation is just going to get worse and worse.

There simply are not enough phrases around to give everyone a fair chance with a DNS system where no one cares about anything except the second level name in .com tld. I read on the original vision for the web (from CERN) the other day (it was linked here I believe) and it included critism for keyword systems, and yet what has DNS turned into: write "" for flowers, "" for Greeting Cards, "" for drugs (not that kind, of course, that would not be fitting).

The fact that DNS is controlled from the top down plays right into the hands of all kinds of abuse, everything from lawyer happy MN corporations, to NSI's constant monopolist practices, to the intervention of the American regime that is last thing we want on the Net.

Will adding more tlds help? Hell no, companies are already buying out there domains in .org .com and .net, they will go ahead and buy them in .wtf as well.

I can't say that I have a beautiful replacement in mind that solves all the problems, but we have to start looking for a decentralized, non-commericial, non-governmental naming system. The current domain name system is not, and will never be, anything but a bad compromise and a headache for the way the Internet has turned out.

/. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.

You mean trademark (1)

brennanw (5761) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692014)

but I knew what you meant.

Can't we all just get along? (2)

bug-eyed monster (89534) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692015)

I'm not sure if this is technologically possible, but a mature solution would be:

The small business gets a domain name like, Hasbro gets, and somewhere there is a single web page under that says for Clue Computing of Boston click here, for the Hasbro Clue game click here, etc.

Perhaps I'm dreaming, but let's say there was a mega-server somewhere. When you type in your browser, you're shown a web page from this server that basically presents you with a set of links to all sites related to that name. Now all we have to do is find someone to maintain the mega-server and the lists (yeah that's the scary part).

Re:Name squatters and Large Overbearing Companies (3)

jafac (1449) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692036)

I don't think that there should be a "mapping" between existing corporate trademarks, and domain names. I mean, I don't think that domain names were originally intended to be used that way, and with the nature of the internet, and the way domain names are (were) assigned, we were bound to run into conflicts.

I think a new system of corporate registry is needed, whereby, a given "big corporation" that has it's name as a protected, registered trademark, can register it's name, and be assigned an IP, but doesn't necessarily need a domain name, because this "new system" does not consist of a user, typing the corporate trademark into the Location field of his or her browser.

I don't know if there should be some intermediate "portal" or directory site one should go to first, in order to "hop off" to any given corporation, or whether browsers (or plugins) should add some kind of input field to the UI. It would seem to be more clean if there were just a page one could go to, look up the actual real corporate trademark name (Microsoft Corp. not, and click on the link, and there you go, no ambiguity, no possibility of hitting some squatter site by mistake, and no need for Corporation X to send paralegal paratroopers in to do a man's job.

The simple mapping of corporate names to domain names certainly is one of the great things about the internet that has attracted a lot of business (because it's SIMPLE for the enduser to understand and implement), but the limitations of using that system for something it was not designed to do are showing.

"The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."

Re:Wizard's of the Coast. (2)

unicorn (8060) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692037)

WotC has been doing lots of different things, over the last couple years. The indecisiveness regarding Ars Magica, is just one example. And the Game Keeper, and WotC brand stores, were a terrible idea. It's generally considered bad form to compete with the resellers that are your lifeblood.

And as far as cash cows go, Magic provides a relatively steady income stream for them, but Pokemon is the current cash cow. They are raking in a ton of cash of that one, at the moment.

WotC buyout and D&D (3)

trims (10010) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692038)

I run one of the larger AD&D sites on the web (I get about 100,000 hits/month, even though I haven't updated it in a year... :-(

Am I the only one that remembers the problems we (ie the gaming community) had with TSR over writing game extension and new rules? Thankfully, this sorted itself out, and WotC seems to have been content to abide by the TSR decision.

I'm really worried about Hasbro, though. Given that they seem to have a rather (shall we say) zealous approach to "protecting" their Intellectual Property, I'm really worried that they might try to revert to the old ways, and start trying to stop alot of the independent authors of D&D material.

I couldn't fight them if I got sued. I don't have the resources. This despite the fact that I've been EXTREMELY scrupulous about making sure none of the stuff on my site is lifted from TSR material. I'd have to close down, and that would be a shame.

Hopefully, Hasbro will Do The Right Thing, and continue with the current policy. People writing new material for the TSR games help sell "Official" material. And I'm well within my rights to create such stuff. I just can't afford to defend myself in court.


Re:Name squatters and Large Overbearing Companies (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692039)

I think It's simple.
Do things as they were originally intended.
Force names to be registered in 'good faith'.
Obey guidelines about different TLD's.
(ie: A business SHOULD NEVER be able to register,, and, unless they are both a business, a network provider, and a non-commercial entity.
Domains were meant to make things a bit easier, not to be the be-all-end-all of directory services.

Do like .ca does. Anyone can have a .ca domain.
BUT... if it's for a business, it has to be directly derived from or very closely related to the name of your business. If it's only in one province, you get a, or, or whatever. If you are in more than one, you can have a .ca.
If you are a person who wants a domain, put it on

It seems clunky.. but if NSI had run the Internic as it should have been, and actually LOOKED at what they were registering, and forced them to be reasonable...
(What about all the .com domains that have fraudulent information as to the business they are registered to? Shouldnt' those go? )

There should never have been this many domains registered this fast.. people are to unwilling to be heirarchial.

Re:Name squatters and Large Overbearing Companies (4)

sethg (15187) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692040)

(1) Create a ".r" TLD. (We can't use ".tm", because that's the country code for Turkmenistan.) Only organizations with a registered trademark "foo" have the right to the "foo.r" domain. (If two organizations have the "foo" trademark in two different jurisdictions, then it reverts to first-come, first-served.)

(2) Establish a convention whereby anyone who has the trademark "foo" in the country with country code "xx" can get "foo.r.xx".

(3??) As a condition of taking "foo.r" or "foo.r.xx" domains, a trademark holder should relinquish any ".com", ".net", or ".org" domains they own that contain the trademark, so that the namespace doesn't become congested from large companies grabbing up every possible domain name containing their brand names.

Re:Clue? Cluedo! (1)

ostiguy (63618) | more than 14 years ago | (#1692041)

I believe this is often a preventative measure to ensure goods manufactured for the US stay here.
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