What Rules Govern Domains Named After Celebrities?
February 7, 2005 11:13 AM   Subscribe

CelebrityDomainFilter: what are the "rules" for websites under the [famousperson].com domains? the famous "more inside"

Hypothetically, if someone registered "TheBeatles.com" or some such - what kind of content would be allowed? I'm curious as to how much fan-site material is normally tolerated or legally OK to use? Discographies? History? Anything?
posted by petebest to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
The answer to this question is incredibly fact dependent. Many more details about the parties, the specific uses etc. would be needed to form a useful opinion. You could do some basic research on UDRP decisions through the Berkman UDRP Opinion Guide, but that's only a part of your diligence. You also need to look into ACPA and any other state and federal unfair competition laws. And of course you need to be careful reprinting lyrics, photos, etc. Tricky territory.
posted by anathema at 11:42 AM on February 7, 2005

If you start making money off of it then you can bet that the celebrity you're making money off of is going to come around looking for some payments.
posted by fenriq at 12:22 PM on February 7, 2005

Response by poster: good points, I'll check the BUOG and yeah making money is not part of it.
posted by petebest at 12:32 PM on February 7, 2005

I disagree with fenriq here. If you're making money as a result of membership, advertising, affiliate programs, I don't think you're going to get hassled much, depending on the size of the celebrity in question and whether they have their own domain (beatles.com, for instance).

Of course you wouldn't want to host anything that was under copyright, etc., but discography, bio, links to other sites, etc. should all be fine. It's a fan site afterall. You might wish to include a disclaimer that you have no affiliation with the celebrity.

Be warned though, if the site is not particularly flattering to the celebrity in question, they will, more than likely, come after you and try to claim the domain name under any and all applicable ICANN rules.

IANAL, but I think the general rules apply, get permission from as many sources as possible.
posted by FlamingBore at 12:37 PM on February 7, 2005

Celebs who try to recover their eponymous domains usually, but not always, succeed.

Notably, Bruce Springsteen lost in arbitration when he tried to get back brucespringsteen.com from an alleged cybersquatter who claimed to be running a fan site. You can read the WIPO Arbitration decision. Other coverage of the same dispute and its aftermath here, here, and here.
posted by jewishbuddha at 3:28 PM on February 7, 2005

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