DON'T STEAL MY NAME.
California, hoping to protect people against Internet fraud,
recently passed legislation preventing "cybersquatting." The
term refers to registering, in bad faith, ".com" and other
domain names that are identical or confusingly similar to famous or
trademarked real names of other people, living or dead. Offenders either
sell the name to the highest bidder or use it for fraudulent purposes.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers last year
developed its uniform dispute resolution policy that trademark owners
worldwide can use to reclaim domain names from cybersquatters. And
Congress recently passed its own cybersquatting prohibition. The
California legislation differs in one significant way from both the
federal law and the uniform policy. While those two policies focus on
trademarked names, the California law applies to individual names.
Although celebrities may trademark their names, trademark and
intellectual property law typically does not protect individuals'