Expensive Political Stunt? The Daily Caller Acquires KeithOlbermann.com, May Result in Trademark or Cybersquatting Dispute

July 16th, 2010

Tucker Carlson is the editor-in-chief of the premier Keith Olbermann criticism and political commentary site, www.dailycaller.com. The Daily Caller is probably as well known for political commentary as it is known as a platform for jibes, both personal and political, about Keith Olbermann which instigate responses from the political anchor and eventually escalate into Tweet fights that have splashed all across the internet news community. In at least what is initially a very successful move to fan the flames, the Daily Caller purchased www.keitholbermann.com and Tucker Carlson has impudently setup a contact email where you can reach him at [email protected]

trademark cybersquatting disputeThe Daily Caller hasn’t stopped there, they are offering @keitholbermann.com email addresses to the most creative names @kietholbermann.com that get submitted, and all you’ve got to do is ask. To get a keitholberman.com email, go to Win a keitholbermann.com e-mail address.

Early email winners include;

[email protected], [email protected], and [email protected]

Although the Whois registration info has the registrant information hidden behind Domains by Proxy, Inc., the Daily Caller has publicly announced its acquisition of the keitholbermann.com domain name address.

As he’s indicated, Tucker Carlson believes he can hold onto and has plans for his ideally named domain name for providing Keith Olbermann commentary and criticism. However, there is no new original content as-of-yet; Carlson’s recently purchased www.keitholbermann.com remains a mirror-site of www.dailycaller.com. 

Perhaps it has been a good move for the Daily Caller to hold off on generating original content for keitholbermann.com. The Daily Caller’s conduct could possibly be in violation of federal laws.

In an article posted yesterday on NYMag.com, Dan Amira provided commentary on the Daily Caller’s acquisition of keitholbermann.com in the form of an interview with intellectual property rights attorney Enrico Schaefer, founder of Traverse Legal, PLC. Enrico Schaefer said that the Daily Caller may be in violation of trademark infringement and anti-cybersquatting laws. The bulk of the exchange (Amira’s entire article can be found here, The Daily Caller May Regret Buying That Keith Olbermann Site) has been re-produced below;

“There’s always room for some debate on this kind of stuff,” Schaefer told us. “But the reality is that Keith Olbermann has got strong trademark rights in his name — a show called Countdown With Keith Olbermann, with his name used as a brand — and therefore anyone that registers a domain name in bad faith, or a personal name of a famous individual who has trademark right, is potentially liable for up to $100,000 in damages, plus attorney fees.”

“But wait a second,” we ignorantly inquired, “What about, you know, freedom of speech? Doesn’t the First Amendment allow us to criticize public figures however we damn well please?” Not always. Some “gripe sites,” as they’re known, are okay, if they “have no financial stake, no positive benefit that they receive. They just have something to say and they’re going to say it,” Schaefer explains. But “the moment that you start to make money or derive a benefit for your business, you lose a whole layer of First Amendment protection.”

“So what’s Olbermann’s next move? Schaefer says he has three options of varying intensity. On the lower end of the spectrum, he can send the Daily Caller a cease-and-desist letter, giving it five days to hand over control of the website and possibly pay him damages. The middle ground would be forcing it into binding arbitration, which the Daily Caller would have to comply with under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy, which applies to anyone in the world who registers a domain name. Or he could sue the Daily Caller in federal court under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. “I think the Daily Caller would likely lose this across the board,” Schaefer predicts.”

Not that he has much sympathy for Olbermann. “People who don’t register their domain name and the variations of their name, they’re just asking for it,” he says, incredulously. “The concept that someone as famous as Keith Olbermann could have gotten this far in life without registering KeithOlbermann.com is shocking.”

More information on the Keith Olbermann and Daily Caller dispute and related articles on political cybersquatting can be found here;

The Daily Caller acquires KeithOlbermann.com

Keith Olbermann Gets Lunch Handed to Him by The Daily Caller

Representative Pete Hoekstra, Victim of a Cybersquatter?