Cyberpiracy

What does Cyberpiracy mean?

Cyberpiracy involves the registration of an Internet domain name using the name of another person or a name similar to the name of another person. The purpose of using such a domain name is to confuse the public as to which web site is that of the legitimate provider of a product or service the consumer is seeking. When someone establishes a web site for another product or service without the person's consent but using a similar name, the registrant is effectively leveraging the good name of the person and the goodwill the person has established to profit financially.

The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act passed in 1999 made cyberpiracy illegal. When a party uses a person's name in cyberpiracy, the person can pursue legal action against the involved party, seeking to have the domain name cancelled or turned over to the person. In addition, the person committing the cyberpiracy may have to pay the court expenses and other costs of the victim.

Several celebrities including Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson and Leona Lewis successfully fought and won the rights to their domain names after cyber squatters registered them.  However, other companies such as Nissan Motor Corp have alleged cyber piracy in order to gain rights to www.nissan.com but have been unsuccessful. 

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