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The Internet Businesses The Almighty Buck Apple

Apple Threatens iTunes.co.uk Owner 354

Posted by timothy
from the all-wide-eyed-innocence dept.
derxob writes "According to The Register, Apple has accused Benjamin Cohen, the 'dotcom millionare' of being a 'cybersquatter.' He registered ITunes.co.uk on Nov. 7 2000, and Apple trademarked ITunes on Dec. 8, 2000. They have taken him to the UK registry Nominet and are demanding that he give up the domain."
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Apple Threatens iTunes.co.uk Owner

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @04:21AM (#11030166)
    It's clear that he's been using Itunes for his online binary download product before Apple ripped him off and registered a copycat trademark. This means that the registration was made without due dilligence etc. etc. etc. Just because it isn't registered, doesn't mean a trademark isn't valid.

    He should try to get the itunes trademark signed over.
  • by miu (626917) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @04:27AM (#11030197) Homepage Journal
    You have to remember that this was early 2000 also, everything was still e-this and i-that, it is very possible that this guy came up with the name independent of any knowledge of Apple's music service.

    I'd think Apple would want to stay far far away from Trademark and name disputes wrt the music biz - doesn't Apple Records still have lawsuits going because Apple Computers violated their agreement to stay out of the music biz with that name?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @04:47AM (#11030285)
    On his own website, [quickquid.com] he acknowledges that Apple had applied for the trademark before he registered the domain:
    Apple Computer Inc applied for a trademark for the name "ITUNES" on the 27th October 2000.
    If anything, HIS registration was made without due diligence.
    • Proud To Be An Anonymous Coward.
  • by dustinbarbour (721795) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @05:04AM (#11030333) Homepage
    I'll never understand all of this copyright nonsense. Seriously.. So the guy registered itunes.co.uk and uses it for music related commerce. Who cares? The site is OBVIOUSLY not realted to Apple and any shmuck who thinks he's doing business with Apple Computers while at the site is retarded. Apple needs to get over it. Buy the man off. Give him 50,000 British pounds and I would bet my balls that he'd give up the domain. I mean, that would be more than he could possibly be getting from sales.
  • by lucason (795664) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @05:06AM (#11030341) Homepage
    Apple shouldn't even be selling music as a result of their agreement with "APPLE music". (You know, the beatles' record label...)

    Amayzing that they are now defending what they were then refuting.

    It's kind of like MS ripping off windowed GUI and then pattenting their own. (Oops I just cited precedent...)
  • by anum (799950) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @06:18AM (#11030541)
    I doubt that this domain was registered with the INTENT of squating on it and hoping for a big pay off. Those were heady days for i/e business ideas. Like most of those ideas this one didn't go anywhere. The site probably languished for a few years and then came the iPod followed by iTunes. By this point I can see someone making the decision to hold on to a worthless domain to recoup the investment and then some. Maybe even profit on the draw of iTunes to push some mechandise or service (scam? I withhold judgement).

    Summary: He may not have started out as a mean, evil, coward of a cybersquater. But as time goes by he begins to look like one.

    Tortured Analogy: He didn't know the railline was going to go in when he bought the land but when it turned out to be worthless for his original intentions he decided to hold on to it just in case.
    Now the railway company wants it to build a station on it.
    Should they be forced to pay him whatever he demands or should he be forced to hand it over by the courts. On the gripping hand, maybe he should be forced to accept a fair market value for it. Compromi(s|z)e, is it that hard?
  • by GauteL (29207) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @06:22AM (#11030545)
    iTunes was released by Apple in January 2001 and filed as a trademark in October 2000, before he registered his domain. iTunes.co.uk was registred in 1998, a long time before itunes.co.uk. It is however not clear whether it was owned by Apple before october 2000.

    Given the huge Apple rumour mill, it is not impossible that the product name was even known a few months before the launch.

    This is not clear and should be something for the lawyers. You seem to have just as much bias as Apple fans.
  • by Kombat (93720) <kombat@kombat.org> on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @08:53AM (#11031290) Homepage
    This is one of the most unabashadly biased and slanted articles I've ever read from the Register. Between the misplaced blind support of the self-described snot-nosed teen "Dotcom Millionaire" and the blatant ad hominem and non sequitur attacks on Apple ("Apple has so far refused to comment on the case. Although it is currently being investigated by the authorities for price fixing with its iTunes service, so it probably has its hands full."), I don't know how anyone can take this article seriously.

    If one can successfully pull away all the spin and red herrings, here are the facts:

    - Cohen registered "itunes.co.uk" on Nov. 7, 2000.
    - Apple published the "iTunes" trademark in the Trade Marks Journal on Dec. 6, 2000, about a month later.

    So Cohen had the site slightly before Apple trademarked the name. Seems like pretty coincidental timing. What did Cohen do with this site? He forwarded it to another online music site that he ran, with a totally different name. Why would he register a domain as obscure and nonsensical as "iTunes", but not go after the trademark itself, or market any products or services using the name? And how come the timing was so close?

    It seems clear to me that Cohen knew what Apple was doing, and saw an opportunity to profit from Apple's marketing (by deceiving web surfers into accidentally stumbling onto his own service), or extorting money from Apple.

    I hope this punk loses, and I wish the Register would grow a little backbone and show some objectivity.
  • by macdaddy (38372) * on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @10:01AM (#11031859) Homepage Journal
    You never registered upcoming products when they are a secret. That would be the stupidest thing you could possibly do. You keep it a secret until you're ready to go public. Then you make your application. And it doesn't matter if they applied or not. If they can prove that they used the name internally before what's his name then he's screwed. iTunes 1.0 was basically a new skin on SoundJam by Casady and Greene. Granted it was missing features found in SoundJam but it still wasn't anything more than a repackaged SoundJam when it got right down to it. It was made by the same person after all. It wasn't until later releases that it became it's own product. Apple bought the rights to the product from Casady and Greene and the SoundJam author and then hired the author to continue working on the newly born iTunes in house. All Apple has to do is show that they used the name internally via emails or other documents and the UK guy is screwed.
  • iTunes.ca is next (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sophrosyne (630428) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @10:58AM (#11032471) Homepage
    Prepare yourself for the next apple.slashdot story:
    Apple goes after iTunes.ca [itunes.ca] cybersquatter.
    ...just a prediction.
  • On deck -- itunes.ca (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Titusdot Groan (468949) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @11:27AM (#11032812) Journal
    Next on the agenda -- the squatter at itunes.ca [itunes.ca].

    It's clear in this case because the registry was on 2003/05/01

    Come on people -- both of these guys ran out and grabbed this site and they just point to their flybynight sites. Is this really what the internet is about -- registering everything you can think of and pointing it at your piece of crap website?

    This isn't some kid registering the site to talk about his favourite music store (that only recently started working in Canada ...)

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