UA wins rights to troublesome domain name
The Web site www.universityofarkansas.com will not longer direct Internet users to an anti-abortion page that included graphic photographs. After two months, the UA has gained the rights to the site after filing several complaints against the “cyber squatter,” who claimed the domain name.
The World Intellectual Property Organization granted the UA rights to the site, said Harold Evans, a lawyer with Williams & Anderson PLC in Little Rock. Evans handles intellectual property cases, including trademarks, for the UA.
According to the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, the organization granted the UA rights to the site for three main reasons:
* The domain name is identical or confusingly similar to UA trademark,
* The domain owner has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name, and
* The domain owner has registered and used the domain name in bad faith.
“There was no question that the university would prevail,” Evans said. “It was the clear the person was cyber-squatting. This person had done it with numerous others.”
Before the WIPO turned the domain name over to the UA, the site www.universityofarkansas.com would redirect users to another site, www.abortiontruth.com/pictures.html.
Scott Wang, a computer repairman, owns the site www.AbortionTruth.com. He said he is not responsible for the redirections but that the cyber squatter often uses his “pictures” page as a destination.
“We didn’t have anything to do with the redirects and for the sake of those who oppose the redirects, we hope it is resolved very quickly,” Wang said in an e-mail interview.
A man named John Barry, also known as Ari Khan, owned the Web site www.universityofarkansas.com, Wang said.
Barry also owns sites such as www.jamesmadisonuniversity.com, which also directs users to the anti-abortion site.
“This person is basically a serial cyber squatter,” Evans said. “He’s probably acquired hundreds of domain names.”
Cyber squatters often claim common Web site names and then sell them to people or organizations that they would most obviously belong to, Evans said. Cyber squatting can also be used to advocate a political agenda, but it is most often used for commercial gain, he said.
Barry has 10 days to appeal the WIPO decision, but Evans said he and other UA official don’t expect him to file a lawsuit to stop the transfer.
“We don’t expect anything to happen in 10 days,” he said.
The UA will likely use the Web site to redirect users to the official university site, www.uark.edu, Evans said.
UA officials are not likely to pursue criminal or civil charges, Evans said.
“All the university wanted was the domain name,” he said.
This case is the first of it’s kind at the UA, Evans said.
“But it probably won’t be the last.”