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Corinthians.com bible-quoting owner loses to Brazil soccer team



Apparent excerpt from the WIPO decision, per difficult-to-parse email from 
the ex-domain name holder below:

"The Respondents contend that ^Ó(w)ell prior to the filing of Complainantīs 
action, Respondent was making noncommercial use of Corinthians.com, while 
simultaneously offering a bona fide service to the religious public. This 
action took the form of Respondent placing scripture (a passage holding 
great personal significance for Respondent) from the book of Corinthians on 
the website in question.^Ô Response, III, 1. (Panelīs emphasis). The Panel 
considers that this contention, and even evidence thereof, is not 
sufficient to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the domain name 
by itself"

-Declan


>From: "j d sallen" <jdsallen@ix.netcom.com>
>To: "Chris Muller" <ChrisMuller@NestLink.net>
>Cc: "Declan McCullagh" <declan@well.com>,
>         "politechbot.com" <politech@vorlon.mit.edu>,
[snip --DBM]
>Subject: WIPO DECISION ON CORINTHIANS.COM
>Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000 13:52:28 -0400
>X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2919.6600
>
>
>Friends, Romans, and Countrymen,
>
>I've just removed the jackboot from my stomach after recieving the WIPO 
>ruling wherein judge Roberto Bianchi gives his blessing for the pirateing 
>of my domain "CORINTHIANS.COM" by a soccer team in Brazil and insodoing, 
>ordering Scripture off the Internet. There is a total disconnect between 
>Biancho's thinking and the UDRP. It's a chilling scenario to anyone who 
>cares about free speech on the Internet. Where to start?
>
>As most of you know the competition for "complainant dollars," i.e., money 
>paid by the initiators of domain complaints, almost exclusively large 
>corporate entities, dictates that agencies like WIPO must appear 
>"complainant friendly" or loose revenue. That being said, Roberto Bianchi 
>now a perfect 7 for 7(he's ordered transfers in each case he's heard) must 
>be considered the Smiley Face of WIPO.
>
>I've got to hand it to him, though; in rationalizing his role as Thought 
>Policeman, he displays a mastery of sophistry that makes a Clinton 
>deposition sound straightforward. Here is an example of his inscrutable 
>(at least to me) dissmissivenes. I think here he's saying that I put the 
>biblical quote on my site merely to divert and confuse people, and in any 
>case that only soccer fans would think of typeing in "CORINTHIANS." I think.
>
>"The Panel considers that this circumstance, while possibly showing a 
>connection with Paragraph 4(c)(i) if it were in fact present, is an 
>independent circumstance.  However, this Panel cannot afford any weight to 
>the contention by the Respondents that they are using the domain name in 
>such a way as to allow a respondent that has alleged that circumstance 
>4(c)(i) was present, being such not the case, to re-use a failed argument. 
>This is especially pertinent for this Panel, that considers that the 
>posting was fabricated to divert consumers, or more generally the public 
>interested in visiting what they think is the site of the well known 
>Brazilian soccer team."
>
>
>
><?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
>
>My reaction to Bianchi's syntax as well as to his logic were the same 
>throughout his decision: "Huh?"
>
>In agreeing with Gotleib, Reisman, and Rackman, lawyers for the 
>Complainant, that scripture on the Internet is worthless and therefore 
>"bad faith," Bianchi writes:
>
>
>
>"Apparently, aside from its biblical posting following their acquiring 
>notice of the dispute . . . Respondents have no made any other use of the 
>domain name."
>
>
>
>At other times Bianchi borders on bazaar. When he rationalizes 
>Complainant's rights to protection despite the fact that they don't even 
>have a Trademark for "CORINTHIANS" (in Brazil or anywhere else), Bianchi 
>says this about their nearest T.M., "CORINTHIAO":
>
>
>
>"CORINTHIAO in Portuguese is pronounced as Corinthian in English.  In 
>fact, unless the English word itself is used, phonetics (because of the 
>nasal pronunciation) and correct spelling require that the word 
>Corianthiao is used in Portuguese.  Thus, when comparing Corinthians with 
>Corianthiao, the Panel concludes that the domain name at issue is 
>phonetically nearly identical to the Complainantīs trademark CORINTHIAO."
>
>
>
>I knew I hated phonics.
>
>
>
>Bianchi betrays his bias against Respondents as he repeatedly states that 
>"Complainant asserts . . .", while "Respondent alleges . . ." It's guilty 
>until proven innocent. Every time it's my word against theirs I lose 
>bigtime. It didn't help me even when I introduced clear evidence. In one 
>example the Complainant (knowing it to be untrue) listed 50 
>dubious-sounding domain names I had never heard of which they contended I 
>owned. Bianchi took it to be true despite my providing registration 
>evidence that the names were registered to people as far away as the U.K.
>
>
>
>The logical extensions of Bianchi's decisions auger very poorly for free 
>speech on the Internet. For example, watch out if you have any religious 
>content, or any noncommercial content for that matter, with a ".com" 
>address. Bianchi ruled mockingly that "If the Respondent is using the 
>domain name for the very saint and noble purpose of distributing a 
>religious message, why should they use a .com domain name (for commercial 
>use)?"  And try to mount a defense? Good luck! Bianchi writes:
>
>
>
>"The Respondents contend that (w)ell prior to the filing of Complainantīs 
>action, Respondent was making noncommercial use of Corinthians.com, while 
>simultaneously offering a bona fide service to the religious public.  This 
>action took the form of Respondent placing scripture (a passage holding 
>great personal significance for Respondent) from the book of Corinthians 
>on the website in question. Response, III, 1. (Panelīs emphasis). The 
>Panel considers that this contention, and even evidence thereof, is not 
>sufficient to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the domain 
>name by itself"
>
>
>
>
>
>Translation: "We can burn your books if they stand in our way." The 
>selectivity displayed by this case is disturbing. I provided documentation 
>showing over 300 other urls, mostly ".coms," containing or using alone the 
>word "CORINTHIANS." Furthermore, I contacted the owners of most of these 
>names and provided letters from them saying that they had never been 
>approached by, or heard of, the Complainants. To no avail.
>
>
>
>Two years ago, long before there was any such thing as a cybersquatting 
>law, I registered two urls that could legitimately be claimed by trademark 
>holders, one with the name Dowjones in it. Although I never offered or 
>intended to sell these, they were of course brought up by Complainants. 
>What they didn't know, however, was that I had already, at my suggestion 
>and at no charge, offered to transfer the urls to their more appropriate 
>owners. I even included a letter from the Dow Jones people thanking me. 
>Needless to say, Bianchi took a dim view anyway. But the way he used this 
>against me was pure circuitous logic. He ruled that my actions in those 
>cases didn't apply because I had not made the same offer to the 
>Complainants. Bianchi chose not to mention that a similar offer to 
>Complainants would presume my guilt in this case.
>
>
>
>His ruling about what constitutes a legitimate dispute is chilling. The 
>"Bianchi Rules" state that a domain owner is in jeopardy as soon as they 
>become cognizant of any dispute at any time. It doesn't matter how trivial 
>or illegitimate that "dispute" might be. Theoretically, if you don't have 
>a working website (possible proof of "bad faith") by the time you receive 
>an obscene phone call complaining about your url, from any kook anywhere 
>on the planet, you could be in big trouble. That "could" becomes a "would" 
>if you're lucky enough to have that case come before Dr. Roberto Bianchi.
>
>
>
>Something is very, very wrong here. By the UDRP's own declarations, theirs 
>is supposed to be a "narrow" and "minimalist" policy. This case should 
>never have been dignified by an arbitration, yet Bianchi chose to extend 
>his time-line for a decision and even accepted a supplemental complaint 
>submitted long after the deadline.
>
>
>
>I hope to take this before a US court. I'm not a lawyer but I can't 
>imagine the First Amendment would be allowed to be trammeled this way by a 
>real judge. But who knows? I'm not exactly feeling lucky. Keep the faith.
>
>
>
>J D Sallen

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