Podcaster loses Simpsons Movie site’s cybersquat

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GENEVA (Reuters) – An American podcaster on Wednesday lost the right to operate a website using the name “The Simpsons Movie” to lure fans of the cartoon series to sites related to its own internet production.

A United Nations patent agency WIPO arbitrator ruled that New York-based Keith Malley should cede control of “thesimpsonsmovie.com” to Twentieth Century Fox, News Corp. NWS.N unit that owns the Simpsons brand.

The film starring the cartoon family premiered on July 20 in Springfield, Vermont, ahead of its release Friday.

The World Intellectual Property Organization ruling revealed that Malley had registered the domain name to divert activity to linked sites promoting and selling merchandise associated with the popular “Keith and the Girl” podcast he product.

The arbitrator said setting up the Simpsons movie website amounted to “bad faith recording and use” of the address – a practice known as “cybersquatting”.

The case, which highlighted the difficulties of managing the Internet, was brought to Twentieth Century Fox in May. The WIPO has operated since 1999 a dispute resolution system under which cyberquatters can be challenged and have their sites closed or transferred to a more legitimate owner.

Malley, a 33-year-old man who operates the podcast with his singer girlfriend Chemda Khalili, offered no defense, the PMOI said.

Over the past eight years, the United Nations agency has handled some 10,500 cybersquatting cases, many of which involved famous trademarks, oil companies to hotel chains, movie stars and prominent actors, writers. and internationally renowned sports clubs.

Earlier this year, the PMOI said Internet governance was threatened by hackers who adopted a series of techniques to take over domain names and create a free market for all.

Squatters register variant top-level domain names, or “TLDs” like www.reuters.com, over which they have no real rights, using the proliferation of national or type identifiers – like .au ( Australia) or .aero (aviation).

In the Simpsons case, the PMOI said, Malley first used the “movie” site to link to another “which featured discolored and in some cases sexually explicit” depictions involving characters from the television series. .

A lawyer for Malley had indicated that the comedian would be willing to sell the site to Twentieth Century Fox for $ 50,000, the MEK said. The offer was turned down by the film company.

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