Lord of the Rings domain fight enters realms of fantasy
The Register – July 14, 2004
The Lord of the Rings trilogy of films may have appeared to have made the impossible real, but now its backers want more.
While there is no doubt they are the masters of Middle Earth, and all the plastic merchandise that can be forged in the Mountains of Cashin, Warners Brothers, New Line Productions and The Saul Zaentz Company are now determined to extend their dominion.
The Internet lives in a sort of virtual world, so it should come as no surprise that the film’s producers and the bloke who bought the film rights off United Artists in 1976 for a set of books by JRR Tolkien (yes, there are books of the film), should seek to gain control of www.shiremail.com.
As was explained so coherently to the owner of Shiremail.com, Tarrant Costelloe, in a letter from the lawyers representing all three parties, Addleshaw Goddard: “The SHIRE name is well-known in the UK and elsewhere, to readers of the Lord of the Rings books (and others) and the goodwill in the name has been achieved through sales of such books.
“The incorporation of the SHIRE name into a domain name by you is a misrepresentation to the public that the domain is connected to the Lord of the Rings books and/or films. In particular, the registration by you of the domain name constitutes a representation to persons who consult the Whois register that you are connected to or associated with the name registered and thus the owner of licensee of the goodwill in the name, which of course you are not.”
All the company wants is for Mr Costelloe to realise his mistake and hand over the domain on which he has run an email business since September 2003. Let’s look at that reasoning again.