WIPO has again decided that famous people by dint of being famous have every right to any URL that includes their name. Even if that name is spelt incorrectly. This time it's tennis players Venus and Serena Williams and actress Nicole Kidman.
Aside from a purely ideological opposition to WIPO awarding names without due regard to its own rules, we would otherwise agree with these decisions though. For example, Eileen White Byrne - who owned www.venusandserenawilliams.com, .net and .org until a week ago - is clearly a little off-kilter. How else could you explain the fact that the .com site features little more than an odd picture of Eileen and crazy caps ranting about how great Nike is? The other two sites don't even have anything on them (oh, and she wanted $1 million for the three sites). Only look if you have a strong constitution.
As for the Nicole Kidman cybersquatter - he really is a cybersquatter. John Zuccarini is a regular in WIPO rulings and has registered thousands of URLs, often misspelling celebrity names. In this case, he had www.nicholekidman.com (note the extra "h") and www.nicolekidmannude.com. John is a royal pain in the arse because he registers domain names under false addresses, with false fax numbers and email addresses. Fortunately, WIPO doesn't actually need to bother to speak to someone before deciding that they are guilty, so he's lost them.
Incidentally, we hadn't checked out the WIPO rulings for some while, but you'll be pleased to hear that nothing has changed. AOL, Yahoo, eBay and Sony feature as prominently as ever, putting claim to almost unimaginable URLs - and winning.
Will anyone ever get around to creating a logical domain dispute system? WIPO certainly won't, and nor will ICANN. Nor will big business. Nor will celebs. And so, fearing upsetting the former, no one else will either. Great, ain't it? ®