Prince’s Estate Sues Cybersquatter Over Prince.com
The Prince estate has been quite busy ever since the iconic artist passed away in April of 2016. Having defended the apparent infringement of YouTube videos and managing to settle a legal dispute with Tidal, now the estate is faced with the issue of cyber squatting to deal with.
The latest legal dispute is with Domain Capital, which is a company based in New Jersey. The estate asserts that Domain Capital has violated the Lanham Act by registering the prince.com domain. According to Michelle Fabio at Forbes magazine, the Lanham Act, is an American infringement act that gives trademark holders the right to file a law suit against any person who registers or uses a domain name that is “identical or confusingly similar” to a “famous” person’s name. Prince’s estate believes the company is acting in bad faith with the intention of profiting from Prince’s trademarks.
Prince’s estate owns the trademarks over his musical performances, recordings and clothing, and that property is registered to Paisley Park Enterprises, which is under ownership by Prince’s estate. The complaint has requested the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey to hand the prince.com registration over to the estate and award statutory as well as actual damages and any profits including a permanent injunction.
Prince’s estate maintains that Domain Capital contacted them on May 9th, this year and informed them that it was the owner of prince.com through a lease-back financial agreement with an anonymous third party. The official complaint argues that Domain Capital buys select domains from owners and then leases them back to them, so the owner can anonymously use the domains. Domain Capital has over 40 domain names listed for sale on its site but prince.com isn’t one of them.
Prince’s estate goes on to claim that Domain Capital has never used the prince.com domain name, which is a blank web page, stating that this isn’t the first time the company has been at the centre of cybersquatting accusations. The estate identifies three other times in which the World Intellectual Property Association has ruled against Domain Capital and ordered the company to turn over domain name rights to trademark owners. Recent events have shown that Prince’s estate is serious about protecting its intellectual property and artistic freedom. The musician spent his own life doing so, which Billboard dubbed his “career-long battle against any company that he felt stood in the way of artists’ rights and money.”
Meanwhile, Dave Grohl , recently recounted the time he once jammed with Prince, one of his personal musical heroes and no one was there to see it! To watch the video and read more on that story go here.
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