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Microsoft to Sue Cybersquatters

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the pimples-of-the-internet dept.

Microsoft 221

An anonymous reader writes "The Financial Times writes that Microsoft will launch a series of lawsuits against cybersquatters, and will urge other companies to help tackle what it says is a growing problem on the internet. Microsoft says it hopes its example will encourage other trademark owners to bring similar lawsuits: "Cybersquatting is a growing problem for brands around the world and we hope to educate other brand holders and encourage them to take action," said Aaron Kornblum, senior attorney on Microsoft's internet safety enforcement team."

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221 comments

Wonderful! (1)

Lenneth-chan (926055) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345637)

Once Microsoft takes care of the cybersquatters and the spammers, my internet browsing experience will be perfect! ... So, bets on when that's going to happen?

Re:Wonderful! (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345701)

"Microsoft's internet safety enforcement team."

Sing it with me now.. "Microsoft.. FSCK yeah!!"

Re:Wonderful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345777)

Report any suspect sites to http://www.microsofft.com/ [microsofft.com] .

Re:Wonderful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346275)

Once Microsoft takes care of the cybersquatters and the spammers, my internet browsing experience will be perfect!
Once Microsoft takes care of the cybersquatters and the spammers, fix their browser, my internet browsing experience will be perfect!

sorry, couldn't resist :)

OpenDNS (0)

fishdan (569872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345649)

I once owned microsofd.com [godaddy.com] thinking I'd make a fortune off or people with colds once voice recognition software was the input of choice for browsing. *sigh* Back to the drawing board.

But seriously, isn't this already addressed well through OpenDNS [opendns.org] ?

Re:OpenDNS (1)

Tokimasa (1011677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345711)

OpenDNS involves changing the DNS servers that you use. Most people at home won't know how to do this or just don't even know that this exists. What Microsoft wants to do, regardless of their motives, is shut these people down and potentially let others who have a real interest in the domain have the ability to acquire them.

Re:OpenDNS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346727)

Give me a fucking break. They are doing it for the ca$h. Microsoft doesn't do anything unless money is involved.

Re:OpenDNS (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346935)

Microsoft doesn't do anything unless money is involved.
As opposed to the cybersquatters, who are holding the websites just to display their opinion? The opinion that "This website is available for lease or for sale. Please contact " etc, etc.

Re:OpenDNS (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345723)

But seriously, isn't this already addressed well through OpenDNS [opendns.org]?
Not everyone can use OpenDNS, for one. For another, OpenDNS works by not exactly following the RFC, attempting to correct mistakes made by users instead of directing them to the appropriate error page. OpenDNS is DWIM (do what I mean) and well, DWIM (as any regular user of zsh can testify to) has never quite worked right.

Re:OpenDNS (2, Insightful)

vp_development (789333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345847)

Although OpenDNS has saved me from several typos, I don't think that eliminates the need to sue Cybersquatters who are making money my intercepting traffic that was intended to go elsewhere. The fact there is an industry churing out sites like espnn.com [espnn.com] is like a city putting up a delibierately misleading sign on a highway that diverted people onto a toll road (although I swear that's the way the GW Bridge is set up [wikipedia.org] ).

Re:OpenDNS (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346039)

Well, it's more like some clown got out of his car on the median and put up the sign instead of the city, but I get the analogy.

As long as the sign's not misleading (saying it's Microsoft and/or not disclosing the toll), the issue is even less here, since unlike on roads citizens can indeed advertise on the intratubes.

Re:OpenDNS (1)

HUADPE (903765) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346679)

Also, given the normal traffic in the area of the GW, you have about an hour to parse every sign along the way.

Re:OpenDNS (2, Interesting)

fishdan (569872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345971)

The above points are all well taken -- I guess I was just concerned about corporations throwing their weight around and rushing to litigate in the knowledge that most people will not or cannot afford to fight them. I was working at Palm when Palm sued the owner [com.com] of www.mypalm.com, in a move that was internally regarded as completely unjustified by everyone who didn't wear a suit to work. Palm eventually dropped the suit and settled with the guy when the developers revolted against corporate on this issue (if only we'd known that was the tip if the iceberg).

I'm afraid that this precedent could lead to many other cases of companies trying to seize domains they want through legal methods. I'd rather see people get their DNS from someone they trust, than a judge decide that Delta Airlines owns the trademark to the word Delta.

Re:OpenDNS (1)

26199 (577806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346131)

Interesting story.

It's a tricky issue. Having a trademark means you're responsible for actively defending that trademark. If you don't, you can lose it. And that would be a nasty thing indeed for any big business.

That said it would be perfectly valid to just request that the owner of mypalm.com posted a 'palm is a trademark of' notice... and probably much cheaper.

Re:OpenDNS (1)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346461)

AFAIK it would only be a trademark issue if mypalm.com is producing/selling handheld computers; mypalm.com looks like it's just a personal site about them. IANAL, so I imagine someone may correct me.

Re:OpenDNS (2, Interesting)

TechForensics (944258) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346045)

Let me tell you about a guy named Mike Rowe who registered MikeRoweSoft.com. He was just a kid and M$ went after them in all of its awful majesty and by the time the dust cleared, M$ had the domain and the kid, I think, had a new Xbox and some educational packages "to help his career along". Hm, wonder whether he asked to learn about the Linux kernel.

Re:OpenDNS (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346979)

Mike Rowe received:

        His expenses paid,
        The cost of switching to a new site,
        Training on certification of Microsoft products,
        Subscription to Microsoft's developer program website,
        An Xbox games console with games,
        An invitation for himself and his parents to Microsoft's HQ in Washington for an annual technology fair.

So basically, he got an XBox and everything he would need to embark on a career supporting Microsoft software. Given that, it's unlikely he used anything Microsoft gave him to become a Linux hacker.

Go Microsoft! (4, Interesting)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345703)

I think I shall blow some karma by cheering Microsoft on. Cybersquatting has long tickled my free-rider detector, so it would be nice to see a few of them get pwned.

And never mind the malevolence of many of the squatters' typotrap websites.

Re:Go Microsoft! (2, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345729)

As much as I hate M$, I have to cheer them on for this. These squatters are a major nuisance. Also, these squatters try to install spyware and trojans on your computer. Or even worse, try to spread a bot net attack.

Re:Go Microsoft! (2, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346251)

Logical fallacy (hasty induction):

P is bad
P is a subset of Q
Therefore, Q is Bad

Re:Go Microsoft! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346521)

Actually, I believe his argument was: Q is bad. P, which Q is a subset of, is also bad. Therefore, Q is even worse.

Re:Go Microsoft! (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345757)

The thing that pisses me off about it is how they game search engine results, more than the stupid typo-squatting itself. These sites wouldn't be a real problem if we could cut out that bit of their business.

Re:Go Microsoft! (2, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345785)

Yeah, this lawsuit idea is all fine and great if you're a big corporation like Microsoft. The small guy, like myself who has had malicious people squat on domains (my site, for example, but .net and .org, etc for example) are fucked because we can't afford thousands and thousands of dollars to bring a lawsuit against someone on the other side of the country.

(And yes, this person squating my domains is doing so maliciously as they are a former user who continually harassed other users. Then there is also the person who put up the same site and service as mine and used the same domain name, but with one letter off - causing people to constantly confuse the two so that I frequently get complaints by email about problems on my site... that is actually on the OTHER site).

So... frankly.... I don't give a fuck about all of this. Yay corporations. Have fun running our internet.

Re:Go Microsoft! (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346417)

Well, if the cybersquatters are forced into bankruptcy by being hit with huge judgments in favor of Microsoft, they won't be able to afford to register variations of your domain name anymore. Plus one would think there'd be an overall deterrent effect on people thinking of getting into the cybersquatting business.

Re:Go Microsoft! (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346565)

Moral of the story: when you register domains for your business name, register the .com, .net, .org, .biz, and .us (or whatever TLD exists for your country). This negates the necessity of a squatter or competitor from infringing on your trademark.

Believe it or not there are alternatives to litigation, even in today's sue-happy climate.

Re:Go Microsoft! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346033)

Squatters need sued, but will they go after parody sites as well and call them squatters?

Re:Go Microsoft! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346163)

It's just an attack on Google. They'll start the cybersquatting and the point out the millions google makes off addwords on the cybersquatting pages.

Re:Go Microsoft! (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346769)

I think I shall blow some karma by cheering Microsoft on. Cybersquatting has long tickled my free-rider detector, so it would be nice to see a few of them get pwned.

I once had the unpleasant experience of being targeted by the attack lawers of a big company. I had a domain name registered which contained part of their company name, and it was a generic word was relevant to my website. As an individual when you start getting letters and threatening (in the legal way...) phone calls from a big legal company, what do you do? Even if legally you know you are probably in the right, the time and expense to fight it is just not worth it.

So, althought I agree that cybersquatters are scum, so are many lawyers and either should be encouraged!
 

Re:Go Microsoft! (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346865)

This is a case of the lesser of two evils. I'm actually on MS' side here. Of course if you are some small business or individual with limited resources you won't be able to carry out an expensive legal campaign. The laws need to adjusted to aid folks like this.

cybersquatters not the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345743)

the problem is evil people hiding behind unethical corporations

I wonder how much cyberspace has lost to copyright corruption?

The entire .com TLD is a wasteland (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345745)

These days the entire .com TLD has been ruined by cybersquatters and profiteers. There are barely any usable .com names available that havn't already been purchased by someone out to make a quick buck by offering to sell it to you at a vastly inflated price. The registrars don't seem to have any interest in solving the problem; after all, they're getting paid plenty of money for lots of domains that they otherwise wouldn't be selling. I wonder what they plan to do in five years time when the entire namespace has been registered and the only people selling domains are domain squatters and resellers?

The long and the short of it is that if you want a .com domain today, you may as well go straight to sedo.com and save the wasted effort of trying to register one yourself. It's taken.

Perhaps it's time for... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345983)

...eminent domain!
 
/ducks

Re:The entire .com TLD is a wasteland (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346381)

the whole .domain thing is just media hype

com net org ca jp etc

truth be told, most people really don't care which

Re:The entire .com TLD is a wasteland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346925)

If I know the name of a company and I want to go to their website, I will go to [companyname].com first. Almost everyone will do this. Most web browsers these days will add .com for you if you don't do it yourself. The .com TLD is amazingly important to any business. I don't like that fact, but that's the way it is.

Re:The entire .com TLD is a wasteland (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346553)

I wonder what they plan to do in five years time when the entire namespace has been registered and the only people selling domains are domain squatters and resellers?
Bribe some US congressmen into creating a few new TLDs and sell them instead; with the bonus that people who already own fzzbrgle.com will want to snap up fzzbrgle.moc, fzzbrgle.con, fzzbrgle.zap, to avoid squatters buying them up.

Well, I exaggerate, but you get the idea.

Re:The entire .com TLD is a wasteland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346669)

I own a few hundred domain names but I wouldn't consider myself a squatter, since none of my domains are typos of other people's names and all of my domains are used to host "real content". While I do run my sites for-profit I don't jerk around surfers, ever even consider touching maleware and, in fact, my primary strategy is to build recurring visitors through regularly-updating content.

Anyway....

I register new domains on a daily basis and while it is true that you're not going to be able to find many single short letter common words that are available, if you put a bit of thought into the process there are still plenty of great domains available. In fact, I'm often quite surprised at some of the domain names I end up grabbing, doing a whois "just incase I'm lucky", thinking for sure someone else would have grabbed it and then to my utter pleasant shock it turns out to be a available. You just have to be creative and not always get your hopes up on your first choice.

Point is the situation is far from as gloom as you make it out to be. 26 letters in the alphabet and they are allowed to repeat themselves to form countless combinations, and they can even be broken up into sub-domains (del.icio.us for example). Saying the namespace is going to completely deplete in the near future is like saying eventually all music will be a rip-off of something else as there's only so many combinations of notes. Being a musician as well I can say "hogwash" to both.

Re:The entire .com TLD is a wasteland (1)

iago-vL (760581) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346933)

They won't care, because they're still getting their monthly registration fees, so it's not like they're losing money on the deal.

And by the way, not all good domains are taken. I recently registered http://www.skullsecurity.org/ [skullsecurity.org] (and .com, .net). I thought that was a pretty sweet domain!

Should have done this earlier (4, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345751)

Personally, I would have sued the Cybersquatters first, and left innocent kids called Mike Rowe alone.

Re:Should have done this earlier (5, Interesting)

Slashamatic (553801) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346325)

However dubious, Mike Rowe has the right to use his name to create a company called MikeRoweSoft. Once there is a legal entity registered with that name then what is the issue? Even when it comes to a personal name like Macdonalds. I believe a lady with that name operates a tea-room in Scotland which was contested by the 'other' one. Macdonalds challenged her in court for the right to use the name but they lost as it was her real surname and there was no intent to deceieve. In fact, the clan chieftain apparently testified pointing out that as a real Macdonald she actually had more right to the name than the Macdonalds company.

Re:Should have done this earlier (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346435)

Except that Trademark, unlike copyright and patents, are not selectively enforcable. You can not allow potential trademark violations slide, regardless of how trivial they are, or you run the risk of losing them. In the end, Mike Rowe was very happy with the terms of the settlement (They paid all his costs for the domain and moving to a new site, an MSDN subscription, paid for MSCE training, an invitation for him and his parents for Microsoft's tech fair, and an XBox with games) and Microsoft didn't lose their trademark. It was win-win, and the only people who were upset were third party people who felt that it was somehow some big bad bully at Microsoft trying to oppress the little guy.

If you want to take up action over the issue, look at the trademark laws. The entire gamut of "intellectual property" laws suck in some way or another. The fact that Microsoft occasionally has to look like a bad guy in order to play within them, does not make Microsoft the bad guy.

hmm, (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345779)

This is one of the very few things I can agree with Microsoft about. It's damn irritating to search for a domain name, find that it's not taken, then several days later try to register it only to find IT IS TAKEN by some cyber squatting asshole.

If you wanted it that much... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345941)

If you wanted it that much, you should have registered it when you had the chance.

Re:If you wanted it that much... (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346579)

If you wanted it that much, you should have registered it when you had the chance.
You obviously aren't aware of the scam involving domain name registration, then. The act of searching a whois database indicates your interest. Someone involved with one of those companies then snaps it up or passes on the information to another company.

I know, this has happened to me; a domain I had my eye on for years *just happened* to get snapped up earlier on the same day that my hosting company tried to buy it; I was suspicious at the time, and right to be- I found out what had happened later on.

I wasn't about to waste time approaching the thieving vermin who stole it, as I knew they'd try to extort me more than I was prepared to pay. Lo and behold, I checked again a month later and it was no longer registered. Presumably they got a refund when they realised that they weren't going to make any money, so I got the domain after all, though I registered it myself this time.

Re:hmm, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346175)

The very act of searching for a domain name at a web site will result in its being "pre-purchased" for you.

Use nslookup at the command line, no one need know your intentions but you and your DNS server. Try this and you'll find your desired domain names stop disappearing.

Re:hmm, (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346299)

It's damn irritating to pass by a jewelry store, then find THEY HAVE MY DIAMONDS that I was going to mine from the earth.

Fixed.

A good start? (1)

Dread Pirate Skippy (963698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345803)

A growing problem? This problem has been around for the entirety of the 15-some odd years I've been using the internet. Typo-squatters are nothing more than a minor nuisance now, how about a company with Microsoft's clout tries taking on spammers and fixing the single most annoying thing the internet has brought into our lives. Unless Bill is a big believer in some kind of herbal male enhancement products or Canadian prescription drugs.

Cheaper Solution (3, Insightful)

s31523 (926314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345881)

Wouldn't it be cheaper if M$ just paid off any of the squatters? I mean the practice of registering domain names of trademarked names sounds like good ol' capitalism to me... If M$ thinks this is unethical or whatever, ha! Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black.

Re:Cheaper Solution (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18345929)

Holding intellectual property ransom has nothing to do with capitalism. Take your marxist claptrap elsewhere.

Re:Cheaper Solution (2, Insightful)

Zonekeeper (458060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346025)

Since when is a domain name on the internet intellectual property? What the hell kind of assinine view holds that a company (or any entity for that matter) automatically has rights to every type of medium that might contain the ability to market their product and or service? The internet wasn't built for that in the first place, just because companies have commercialized it to a large degree doesn't give them some special claim, or at least it shouldn't. Normally I come down HARD on the side of capitalism, but I think some important fundamentals are being overlooked here or purposely brushed aside for the almighty $currency.

Re:Cheaper Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346785)

Since when is a domain name on the internet intellectual property? May you receive many upmods.

Re:Cheaper Solution (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346499)

Well, I'll bite.

Holding intellectual property ransom has nothing to do with capitalism.
Sure it does, if you mean free market capitalism. If there is any kind of property, it is quite within the bounds of capitalism for the owner to choose to relinquish control only when someone pays a price they set. Sure, it may be annoying that the system structure allows anyone to get squatter's rights on domain property, but as long as the system allows it, "holding intellectual property ransom" is pure capitalism. Not allowing someone to use an equitable system to gain rights over a domain is against the principles of capitalism.

Note, however, that the term 'intellectual property' doesn't really apply here.

Take your marxist claptrap elsewhere.
Marxist claptrap? I'm sorry, what part of the OP's post has anything to do with Marxism? Your post insinuates that not allowing ownership of intellectual property is capitalist. I'm sorry, isn't property ownership one of the tenets of capitalism? As long as the system allows for intellectual property (to continue using your incorrect term) then how is being allowed to sell it to the highest bidder Marxist?

I know I shouldn't feed the trolls, but the insightful mod on the parent to this post struck me as odd. The parent espouses an action that is more Marxist in nature than the OP, and then calls the OP Marxist. Never mind the tone of the post, or the loaded, albeit inaccurate, langage -- "olding intellectual property ransom."

Re:Cheaper Solution (1)

Hans Lehmann (571625) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346563)

Holding intellectual property ransom has nothing to do with capitalism.

On the contrary; it has everything to with capitalism. Microsoft's entire existence is based on creating intellectual property and then only releasing it when paid their asking price. As I see it, registering the "micorsoft.com" domain name in hopes that someone will accidentally land there is no different than creating yet another new OS in hopes that you can force people to upgrade to it.

Re:Cheaper Solution (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346591)

It's not Microsoft's IP until they prove it in a court of law, hence the need for a lawsuit.

Re:Cheaper Solution (1)

Rotten168 (104565) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346887)

Actually, I think that anti-cybersquatting laws are "marxist" (not really, but they ain't capitalist). Internet domains should be treated like property like anything else... at least the commercial extensions (".com" etc.) should.

Re:Cheaper Solution (1)

Clujo (943854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346541)

Microsoft has an internet safety team?

Re:Cheaper Solution (2, Insightful)

Rithiur (736954) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346719)

And continue paying them forever in the future? I think the point of lawsuits is to get a favorable ruling(s), so that tackling them in the future will be easier. And besides, if MS just started paying them all off, wouldn't that just encourage the practice even more?

Even if Microsoft isn't the most ethical company, it doesn't change the fact that this can be a Good Thing.

OMG - Corporation Loses a bit of Revenue!? (2, Insightful)

jimijon (608416) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345897)

Come on- Cybersquatting is nothing but the free market in action. I am sure microsoft could afford to pay any cybersquatter a decent amount of money to get back a domain they will then hold forever. And as far as all of you who are having a difficult time finding a name, tough. That is what a free marketplace is all about. Personally I know of a legitimate company that had a name similar to youtube and instead of complaining adapted their site to take advantage of all the new traffic. Why is is that when the litlte guy makes a buck it is so damn problematic but when the corps rape the little guys it is just ok. Viva la Squatters. Now technological solutions to spam... well that I would support. cheers

Re:OMG - Corporation Loses a bit of Revenue!? (1)

Slashamatic (553801) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346215)

Microsoft may be able to afford that but what about the rest of the world. You can't 'squat' Microsoft's telephone number in your area even if they have no office there. You must have some right to the name, either personally or for business. I believe that the same should apply to domain names. Typosquatting is more of a grey area, but it is fscking annoying mistyping a name and then ending up with a load of porn.

Re:OMG - Corporation Loses a bit of Revenue!? (1)

jimijon (608416) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346369)

Well first off, they are never the same name. Secondly I have been using the Internet since it was just a bunch of usergroups, bbs, etc. and maybe only twice or so have I mistyped a site name and saw porn. Big deal.

I believe in free markets. Period. With all of MS's might and batallion of IP lawyers, etc., they should have bought up their name space years ago. But no.... let's regulate, let's get lawyers, the Internet is dangerous!!! We must regulate it! We must tier it! We must protect the people! Especially the corporations!

I personally have lost names I wish I still had, have secured names for future purposes and have been very frustrated trying to find other names not taken. Annoying yes, life is competitive and certainly not fair. However, I have never seen regulation do anything but ensure more revenue for the big players and of course the government.

If you can't make money from it.... regulate it. cheers

Re:OMG - Corporation Loses a bit of Revenue!? (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346391)

Seconded.

I mean, it's not like it's even remotely challenging to find porn when you want it. When I typo a URL, generally I don't want porn.*

Well, unless one handed typing leads me to mistype my porn site name, at which point then maybe it counts as value add.

*This goes double when I'm at work.

Mod Parent Up! (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346305)

This is one of the best, most stinging reversals of the double standards corporations set vs individuals.

I'm tempted to bookmark and "steal" it next time i see someone spewing antipopulist vitriol about the "free market"

Re:OMG - Corporation Loses a bit of Revenue!? (1)

doubledjd (1043210) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346351)

ah..bullshit. It isn't about "corps vs little guys". I'm at a small (though high traffic) non-profit and we had numerous squatters. We still have a few. Basically, they try to appear to serve a similar function as we do. Click on something, you are blasted with ads/popups. Purchasing all these extra domains was a sizeable fee for us. The reality is we are the little guy and the squatter is an established and wealthy corp. Viva la "cease and desist you cybersquat bastard"

PR stunt... (0, Offtopic)

Vexler (127353) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345911)

Now that their XML proposal is getting fast-tracked and their connection to SCO-IBM uncovered, M$ needs an easy pinata to beat to a pulp so as to appear as the second coming of Captain America.

Bah, it's more annoying than anything. (4, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345973)

For example, folk who go to "libtomcrypt.org" will be treated with a squatters website. But if you google for "libtomcrypt" the correct domain comes up near the the top (searching for libtom hits the website on the first link).

Whomever bought libtomcrypt.org had to shell out the $10 or whatever it cost to steal it from me. Will they make money from it? I don't know. I'm not going to buy it back though (their website claims no offer under $1000 will be looked at). So unless they make ad revenue it cost them money to steal it from me. And that brings me to the other point. Just because you were tricked to going there and saw the ads, doesn't mean they do [or should] make any money off that. If advertisers smartened up and only paid per lead actually generated, it would pretty much kill these sites overnight.

That is provided that people aren't stupid enough to use squatter domains to search/buy things.

Tom

Re:Bah, it's more annoying than anything. (2, Insightful)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346003)

It's a numbers game. They lose $5 on you and dozens of others but they make $30,000 on some obscure domain that suddenly becomes important (like FireLouPinella.com will be by the end of the Cubs season).

Re:Bah, it's more annoying than anything. (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346297)

There is always FireLouPinellaNow.com :-)

I don't get the whole "omg I gotta pay off some lo-life for a domain" bidnez. If you have a trademark and someone takes the domain, that's one thing. But if someone has a clever name and you want it, just think of another, or a variation on it [provided they're not trademarked].

For me I went from libtomcrypt.org [stolen] to libtomcrypt.com [too long and retired] to libtom.org [nice and simple]. I also bought it for 10 years. So provided my registar doesn't mess with me I should have it for a good long time.

If I had trademarked LibTomCrypt I would have a claim to get the .org back, but frankly it's not worth the effort. Google indexed libtom.org the same day I put it up. And within a few days you could find it via a search for "tom st denis" or "libtom projects". So the problems caused by it were minimal.

Tom

Yeah, but what about verisign and others... (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346389)

Ok.. so verisign and others are basically domain squatters as well.

basically, people who own dns servers will immediately register any typo anybody makes...

every domain name that has ever been tried by anyone in the world gets "squatted" by people who control dns servers, and they are given the "right" to then charge you a substantial markup for that domain, but nobody ever complains about them, oh no...because only corporations are allowed to squat domains.

Re:Bah, it's more annoying than anything. (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346749)

afaict there are three ways for a squatter (whether a typo-squatter or a domain snatcher) to make money

one way is advertising, some people will presumablly generate at least clicks and possiblly leads on the adverts.

another is selling the domains back to thier rightfull owners (you said you wouldn't buy but i bet many do)

the final way is drive-by installations of scumware (for users who use browsers with suitable security holes)

Re:Bah, it's more annoying than anything. (1)

_|()|\| (159991) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346765)

whatever it cost to steal it from me. ... I'm not going to buy it back

Can you elaborate on how libtomcrypt.org was "stolen"?

Free Market? (1)

brewstate (1018558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18345985)

I do not condone using a business' reputation to exploit people, but if the domains are there to purchase why don't they. Pressure Go Daddy and the like to sell packages that contain "All" permutations of the Address Requested. It is wrong to assume that just because you have a name that all other names similar to them are infringing. If this were true in the "real world" we would have to eliminate all but one John Smith and if John Smith was wealthier than John Smithe he and all other John Smithe's would have to go as well.

Profit motive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346027)

Isn't this about Google ad revenues?

Still makes me nervous (2, Insightful)

starX (306011) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346057)

This is one of those things that I'm split on. On the one hand, I think MS is in the right to be pursuing cybersquatters, especially when you consider that most of these folk tend to be trying to peddle spam. On the other, I still don't like the precedent that was set fairly early on of folks who had registered domains in good faith having them stripped away because an individual or company had deemed it "cybersquatting." There is the potential for abuse here, and Microsoft's pockets (and legal resources) are deep enough that even the thought of taking them on will make most people want to settle.

What is wrong with a little free enterprise? (1)

bhennon (1075579) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346073)

Why cant these people be allowed to make some money off of the domains that they paid for? If domain names were given away then i would agree, but these are peices of property that are paid for fair and square. If someone can buy them and turn a quick profit then so be it!

Re:What is wrong with a little free enterprise? (2, Insightful)

demiurgency (1072428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346725)

I can buy blank DVDs from the store fair and square, burn pirated software onto them, and sell them for $2 apiece. I paid (a pittance) for the DVDs, so it's a nice fair profit, according to this logic.

The issue is one of infringing on intellectual property rights.

...didn't I see something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346103)

...here on /. about Microsoft profiting on Lexus ?
naaa... I must remeber wrong... Microsoft would never do something like this.

senior safety enforcement attorney (1, Funny)

richlv (778496) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346129)

senior attorney on Microsoft's internet safety enforcement team

that's one bloody scary profession...
probably whole "internet safety enforcement team" is pretty well equipped with weapons and bulletproof jackets, going around and shouting all kinds of legalese.

What about trademark squatters? (1)

TNN (19310) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346141)

Many large companies and lawyers purchase trademarks for mere speculation. Some made the headlines recently...
Brand protection attorneys use dedicated software to monitor all sorts of databases and the Internet so that they can leap at any time to try monetize trademarks that they keep semi-dormant. It's easy for them, it's just a little extra in their regular business.

"Get Firefox" = Cyberquatters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346145)

Would that also Include

http://www.ie7.com/ [ie7.com]

I love Microsoft! (1)

CTuso (733305) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346149)

I love watching Microsoft get lawsuit happy. It is again that time of year. Something tells me that Microsoft is just upset that somebody beat them to a new market.... With their buying power, Microsoft could be the ultimate cyber-squatter. The only problem is that there are too many other little companies which have beat them to the punch, making it problematic for them to mass register domains. I can see how that would be annoying. In fact, its almost as annoying as those filthy, annoying, people trying to work the patent system. Maybe they can take on those nasty people who attempted to prevent competition by attempting to shut antivirus makers out of their OS. Maybe Microsoft should take them o.... oops... forgot, that is Microsoft. Well maybe they should fight RIAA... in the ultimate battle of who can flood the US legal system more rapidly.

Re:I love Microsoft! (1)

Edward Kmett (123105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346525)

Microsoft could be the ultimate cyber-squatter.

Microsoft is the ultimate cybersquatter; they have SiteFinder after all.

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/27/221524 6 [slashdot.org]

I love how everyone pitched a fit over Verisign or Earthlink redirecting typos, then rolled over when Microsoft started the same thing.

What about innovation? (1)

averyfisher (1062070) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346191)

I think it's great Microsoft wants to tackle the cybersquatter problem. However, I strongly suspect this is more to do with having a bloated legal team than anything else.

What ever happened to innovation? People are doing it, people will continue to do it even if a handful of people get pinched, so create a better technology protocol - don't RIAA it with a fleet of lawyers.

Something's not quite right... (1)

GanjaManja (946130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346291)

Sure, they sound like they're saving the interweb from some kind of creeping disease, but upon reading the article it sounds less benvolent. "Dyslexic Domain is to pay Microsoft £24,000 ($46,000), returning the profits it is estimated to have made from infringing domain names. [...] Microsoft will also reveal it has recovered 1,100 domain names since it began its campaign against cybersquatting last year." "Recovering" 1,100 domain names... meaning now MS owns them. Did they just buy every typo variant of "www.microsoft.com" ? In fact, did they just get Paid $48k to acquire them? ------ The main thing that popped into my head when I read the /. brief, and then started wondering why it sounds sorta fishy, is this: Can I start suing all those tons of (often large) companies that patent every damn thing they can think of, just so they can make money in the eventuality that someone with some real vision figures out how to do something useful with it? [right, perhaps the difference here is previously existing "intellectual property". Still it would be great if companies formed just to think up random stuff and wait to make money of someone else's invention, through patent lawsuits only, would get screwed 'cuz I think they're much sleazier than domain squatters ]

Re:Something's not quite right... (1)

GanjaManja (946130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346317)

[HTML format fix:]

Sure, they sound like they're saving the interweb from some kind of creeping disease, but upon reading the article it sounds less benvolent.

"Dyslexic Domain is to pay Microsoft £24,000 ($46,000), returning the profits it is estimated to have made from infringing domain names.
[...]
Microsoft will also reveal it has recovered 1,100 domain names since it began its campaign against cybersquatting last year."

"Recovering" 1,100 domain names... meaning now MS owns them. Did they just buy every typo variant of "www.microsoft.com" ?
In fact, did they just get Paid $48k to acquire them?

------

The main thing that popped into my head when I read the /. brief, and then started wondering why it sounds sorta fishy, is this:
Can I start suing all those tons of (often large) companies that patent every damn thing they can think of, just so they can make money in the eventuality that someone with some real vision figures out how to do something useful with it?

[right, perhaps the difference here is previously existing "intellectual property". Still it would be great if companies formed just to think up random stuff and wait to make money of someone else's invention, through patent lawsuits only, would get screwed 'cuz I think they're much sleazier than domain squatters]

Re:Something's not quite right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346441)

How can they be "recovered" when they were never Microsoft's to begin with? These domains weren't stolen from Microsoft. Microsoft had a better opportunity than most to buy these domains and Microsoft decided to pass on the opportunity, allowing other entrepreneurs to risk their $5.

the inevitable question: (1)

phynodedotnet (1071728) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346323)

Is www.whitehouse.com still what I think it is?

Re:the inevitable question: (1)

ibm1130 (123012) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346675)

Up until January 2001 it was a porn site featuring fat chicks.
Content could be summed up with that one word valley girl expression
for ultimate disgust.

        Ewwwwwwww!

Patent Troll sues Trademark Trolls. (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346397)

Cybersquatters will generally either offer to sell the name back to the trademark owner for an extortionate price, or make money from internet traffic accidentally landing on their page.
Cybersquatters sound exactly like patent trolls, such as a certain company that patented double-clicking [newscientist.com] and IsNot [eweek.com] , just with a different type of IP.

Cybersquatting != free market (2, Interesting)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346423)

To all those of you saying that cybersquatting is simply the result of the free market, well you are wrong. It is the result of improper pricing for domains in the first place. All short or word-like domains should have been priced higher. When prices are too low, a shortage will result -- as it has.

Also, Microsoft has a legitimate interest is removing cybersquatters, as do we all, because quite a few of these (appart from other issues) are phishing or pushing crapware (or just advertizing, but that is acceptable in my book). Also, holding domains captive results in crappier names for everyone, which is a bad thing.

Cybersquatters - Trademarks (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346431)

IMHO, the problem isn't just cybersquatters who register based on trademarks. It's cybersquatting in general. I wanted to register a domain name that was an acronym, but I find that various people just register acronyms. .gov, .org, .com, and .us were taken (I thought you had to be a non-profit to register a .org? What happened to that?) so I am stuck. I can't afford to pay their silly fees, and I wouldn't want them to profit anyway, so I won't do it. How many legit sites are shut-out by these tactics?

Oxymoron and PR Stunt? (0, Troll)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346445)

"Microsoft's internet safety enforcement team" seems an Oxymoron as many holes as IE has had to let bad things happen to your PC while on the Internet.

I also wonder if this is a PR stunt by Microsoft to win a few brownie points to offset the otherwise evil image held by a lot of techies? Courts have normally held that unless you own a brand name/company name that someone is squatting on you don't have much standing to sue. It's a free market otherwise. And I don't see M$ needing to sue about anything but THIER name and products.

Mother of all fucking hypocrites (1)

Mammothrept (588717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346535)

Microsoft has the nerve to sue other companies for typosquatting? Normally, I'm all for suing such vermin but Microsoft? Type www.lyndows.com in your browser and see where you end up. Lemme see if I can find an email address for TFA's author and ask to to go back to Microsoft for a comment.

Re:Mother of all fucking hypocrites (1)

z0idberg (888892) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346973)

I dont get it.

It looks like it goes to some aimoo message board that no longer exists. Domain registered to some guy in Bolivia.

You seem to be suggesting it is owned by Microsoft or something?

Futile (1)

Aneirin (701613) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346571)

It doesn't matter whether they think its a good example or not. The fact that your trademark doesn't give you rights to THAT domain would make this lawsuit obviously futile. This was already resolved a long time ago when companies didn't have websites and wanted to get on the arena. They discovered other people already had the domain that was "theirs." They found out they had to just buy it from the other people. Trademark!=domain registration. It's that simple.

Re:Futile (1)

Aneirin (701613) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346807)

Here is a little follow up. What microsoft should be doing is actually submitting the information to ICANN and not trying to sue under trademark. http://www.icann.org/dndr/udrp/policy.htm [icann.org] --- it is a violation of the rules of the registrar (adopted in 1999) under 4.a / 4.b.iv. So to clarify yes the people are in violation, but suing under trademark is the wrong way to do it.

Enforced (2, Funny)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346743)

Cybersquatting is a growing problem for brands around the world and we hope to educate other brand holders and encourage them to take action," said Aaron Kornblum, senior attorney on Microsoft's internet safety enforcement team.

Or else we'll pay you a call, like those weenies at the Dyslexic Domains Company*

*knock knock*
"Who dat?"
"Internet Safety Enforcement, hit the dirt motherfuckers!"
"AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"

--
* Ream name.. see TFA!

Typo domains (4, Insightful)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346803)

I get a distinct feeling that they're annoyed that they aren't making as much money as they could on typo domains (Microsoft redirecting unknown domains in IE to their search site). I have to wonder if this made any influence on their decision to go after cyber-squatters.

Microsoft are trademark squatters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18346853)

Windowing GUIs and office software predate Microsoft's entry into these markets, therefore should not be subject to trademark status.

How many other generic names is Microsoft now claiming it "owns"?

Why... (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346961)

...do I keep picturing Martin Short's lawyer character Nathan Thurm saying everything Kornblum says? Maybe that's just the way the world works?

pot, meet kettle (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18346971)

isnt microsoft's deal with novell just microsoft cybersquatting on Linux's IP???

just an extreme thought...

Is it just me or ... (1)

haraldm (643017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18347003)

... does anybody else doubt if Microsoft is going after more than maybe the 5 or 10 cybersquatters who own domains that look like Microsoft's? I for one wouldn't bet on them doing a real effort and wipe the entire problem away. An if that is so, where is the news? Microsoft is going to sue a couple of people who they think are peeing at their legs. Huh?
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