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Ron Paul vs. RonPaul.com

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They offered to give Ron Paul RonPaul.org and wanted $250,000 for RonPaul.com

They have ownership of both domains, but .com is more popular.

read it

he posted his letter to Ron Paul, he asks for $250k including his email list. It's a lot but not really for something like that.

"Be a listener only, keep within yourself, and endeavor to establish with yourself the habit of silence, especially on politics." -Thomas Jefferson

They are going to lose the domain(s)

so should make plans to transfer to a new name asap.

If they hadn't tried to profit so much by selling the domain back at an inflated price they'd probably be either about ten grand richer or still own the domains. The big mistake they made was trying to get hundreds of thousands of pounds for it. Did they think Ron's people would pay $100k rather than take their chances with $1500 to wipo?

I must say that Ron is showing a similar bad management of his social media empire that was apparent in the management of his newsletters though and that's sad.

Just give it to Ron

This is pretty petty, I don't understand how it came to this. I thought webmaster bought all these domains to the enemy would not gain control. To have a friendly deny Ron his own name is crazy. Sure, get the money back that you invested, but that's it.

What worries me

Is the fact that the good doctor is so out spoken on the subject of the UN. It seems a bit hypocritical to turn around and use the UN for anything.

No other viable choice

Ron Paul, and most of us here, hate the Federal Reserve System and want to end it. But how many of us are throwing away our Federal Reserve Notes?

How Dare Ron Paul Want His Own Name?

February 8, 2013
How Dare Ron Paul Want His Own Name?
Posted by Lew Rockwell on February 8, 2013 03:52 PM
Those who took it want a fortune in return. But now that Ron is a private citizen again (yea!), the normal internet rules against cybersquatting apply to him, too. (Thanks to Travis Holte)

Having read the complaint...

...this is my opinion.

1. As a matter of existing law, it sounds like Ron Paul has a very strong case, and I expect he will win the dispute.

2. *IF* you accept the legitimacy of intellectual property (which is debated among libertarians), then Ron Paul is in the right per libertarian principles as well.

3. Ethico-legal considerations aside, I personally have no sympathy for the current owners of the websites, as it seems evident to me that their intention was to make money off of Ron's name and then sell it to him at a high price: not the behavior one would expect of a supporter.

Incidentally, I don't believe in the legitimacy of intellectual property, but I guess that's just a point of disagreement between Dr. Paul and I.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

It's not intellectual

It's not intellectual property. Intellectual property is a thing that, when someone takes it from you, you still have it....This is more like digital real estate. If they bought it to make money, good for them. Smart buy. Now they should get whatever the market brings, just like anybody can expect in any money-making venture.

This is like saying, if they bought the house next door to Ron, anticipating that Ron would become a star and the value would go up, that would make them evil people, and Ron would have the right to petition the UN to take their house away.

Ron's out of line here. It's pretty sad.

If RP owns the trademark...

...he would have the right to prohibit others from using it - that's the essence of intellectual property. Since the trademark and the domain name are inseparable (i.e. you can't use the latter without using the former), anyone who owns the domain name other than Ron Paul would necessarily be violating RP's trademark, and therefore no one other than RP has a right to own the domain name.

RP is perfectly within his rights, *IF* you believe in intellectual property (I don't). But to criticize Ron Paul for this action while upholding intellectual property in principle would be hypocrisy.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

trademark has to do with business, doesn't it?

Could Barack Obama sue someone if they happened to buy Barackobama.com eight or ten years ago because they wanted to support his actions as a senator?

Are politicians, whose careers we pay for, trademarkable like a business or brand someone builds or designs?

I believe...

...that you're correct that a trademark can only be used to protect a name that is used for business activities. The classic examples are product brands: Coca Cola, Microsoft, etc. But as I read it, the complaint was claiming that "Ron Paul" is used for business purposes, and that's true enough. Dr. Paul is, in a sense, a business. He sells things under his own "brand": e.g. speeches and merchandise. Under the current law, I think Dr. Paul's claim is correct.

I also think your post raises an important objection to IP. Right now, statutes or case law determine what can and cannot be considered IP, but there is no underlying principle. There's no non-arbitrary limit to what could be considered IP. Taken to its logical conclusion, IP means that every word, concept, technique, recipe, etc could be owned. Think about that. Someone could patent the method of boiling water, or making fire, or the word "the." I think most would agree that this is absurd, yet once you accept the the legitimacy of any intellectual property, this follows.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

Big gray area

Common sense tells me this is a lot different than what is understood to be trademark infringement....to get there from the notion of a site capitalizing on a congressman's popularity requires some stretching and warping of concepts.

The defendants...

....have no claim to the domain name. There is no unique intellectual property, such as a good or service, rather everything is tied back to Ron Paul and his trademark.

They will lose this case and should have turned over the domain for free minus any actually expenses occurred for hosting and building the site. As for the work they put into building the site and writing content: it was either charity for the sake of the liberty movement, or profiting off of Ron Paul's trademark.

If I tried to register MickeyMouse.com and sold mickey mouse merchandise, Disney would sue me. This is no different. Because they did not create the intellectual property the site is based on, they should be happy Ron Paul isn't suing them for libel and demanding damages for any profits they made off his trademark.

Keep in mind, Ron Paul had to put up with a ton of BS during the campaign regarding newsletters published in his name that had racist content. Don't you think he has a right to be concerned that there is a website called RonPaul.com that uses his name and image???

peace + liberty = prosperity

I agree with

everything you said, except for one point on the newsletters... he controlled them, maybe not as watchfully as he should have, but they were not someone else's newsletters.

valid point

I was speaking more in regards to content being posted that was tied to his name without his consent or oversight.

peace + liberty = prosperity

That's the

problem with the newsletters. It's because they were published in his name that it implies oversight and consent. You couldn't start "LastStraw's Newsletter" then publicly say you were outraged at the content published in it.

My thoughts

Well, as a web developer I've paid attention to domain squatting since it was first made an issue.

Property rights is what I'm most concerned with. My criteria for determining domain squatting is whether the holder is using the domain less for personal use than usage associated with the trademark holder.

By that criteria I'd have to agree with Ron Paul. It's clear that the owners of RonPaul.com are not using the site for a purpose not associated with the trademark of "Ron Paul".

If they had put up content devoted to playing chess, for example, and their chess club was named "Ron Paul" alluding to something other than the famous politician, then that is not squatting, and property rights should hold.

I said in the other thread on this subject that a fan site is acceptable, but now I think that actually applies to using a variation of the trademark, for example, ronpaulsfanclub.com. Using the exact same name as the trademark is a different situation. Ron Paul will probably win this, and I would agree with that ruling.

I am also a web developer,

I am also a web developer, and if someone tried to seize one of my domains I held in good faith, I'd fight them through every legal means.

You'd be right if this was actually domain squatting. It isn't. It's pretty far from what could be considered domain squatting. That website has been putting out content for years. This is a domain grab, plain and simple.

In fact, if there was any time for Dr. Paul to claim the domain, it was when he was actually running for president. To lay a claim to it now, through a third party that doesn't actually have any power whatsoever over the .com domain, is quite bizarre. The United Nations? Really, Doc?

Sic transit gloria mundi.

as a web developer

I have watched a lot too. AND I agree that Ron Paul will likely win. The only reason he might not win is that he did not go after the domain when he was very aware of how it was being used. And now, years later he is going after it. It is almost implied consent. He will likely win anyway, because he can afford the lawyers to do it. But it REALLY looks bad on him and he will lose more than 250k in future donations, etc for his organizations. That is just my opinion of course.

My guess is that the people

My guess is that the people who are complaining wouldn't have donated anyway. They're always looking for the first excuse to jump ship on every project for some complaint or another. Be it something serious like Ron Paul trying to take control of his brand, minor like rand endorsing romney, or even more minor like the font on a door hanger.

So yeah... I don't think we need to worry about the complaints from the spectator room.

JustLiberty4US's picture

I don't understand all of the

I don't understand all of the Ron Paul "he earned it...just give it to him" comments.

Most of us here love and admire Dr. Paul and have worked and donated to his campaign. But we need to be consistent with free market principles.

It seems like a no-brainer to me; make an offer, if we can't work something out, move on.

It's called cybersquating fella

The courts has ruled on it years ago.

Patriot Cell #345,168
I don't respond to emails or pm's.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.

It would be considered cybersquatting

if they had deliberately obtained the domain in an attempt to turn around and sell it to the highest bidder.

If you believe that, then you haven't ever visited RonPaul.com because they've done quite a bit for the movement and only went out of their way to sell it after the last campaign run.

You think they became millionaires off the project or something? I guarantee that just like Michael, they've scraped the little amount of cash they made on the revenue from the site just to get food on their tables.

Not sure why so many of you have problems understanding

this simple rule.. His name is his property and anyone using his name meaning HIS PROPERTY, which is frigging obvious that it is what they're doing, should be held accountable.

Now I know more than a few of you really don't care for Dr.Paul and haven't ever so you look for reasons to pounce whenever possible.

Patriot Cell #345,168
I don't respond to emails or pm's.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.

You better tell the rest of the world's Ron Paul's about it

So they can get their share of things they were too slow to claim for themselves.

The rest of the world's Ron

The rest of the world's Ron Paul's aren't Ron Paul. There's one and he owns the trademark.

It's his name.. He owns it.. they knew what they were doing..

They used his name without his permission most likely.

They're going to lose and rightly so.

Patriot Cell #345,168
I don't respond to emails or pm's.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.

But he does not own the domain name

He does not own the domain name www. ronpaul.com, somebody else does. I don't think it's very libertarian to use force to make them transfer the domain to him.

The courts have already ruled on this and it's righteous

I don't want to hear your anarchistic views on using government because they are there to be used in cases like this.

Patriot Cell #345,168
I don't respond to emails or pm's.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.