Establishing Rights in a New Domain: Defining “Registration” Under the ACPA
Volume 90, No. 3, Spring 2018
By Emily Litka [PDF]

Today, fights over domain name ownership are common. Amy Schumer, FIFA, Goldenvoice (the organizer of the Coachella Music Festival), and Equifax, to name just a few, are recent filers of domain name complaints. These complaints generally allege a “cybersquatting” claim. Cybersquatting occurs when an individual or entity knowingly registers a domain name consisting of a well-known name with the intent of ransoming it to its rightful owner or with the intent to divert business away from the name holder. For example, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights organization, brought suit against an individual who registered because this domain name confused internet users by diverting them to his site, one that espoused a conflicting philosophy, People Eating Tasty Animals.

Legal remedies are now in place to resolve these issues. But in 1995, cybersquatting claims first began to arise, no especially effective legal actions were available. Recognizing the gap, Congress, in 1999, enacted the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), which provided a legal remedy for cybersquatting or, as then referred to, the “predatory and parasitical practices” of “cyber-pirates and shady dealers.”

Emily Litka is a J.D. Candidate, Temple University Beasley School of Law, 2018.