Steve Levy ⬥ 22 May
Prometheus Global Media, LLC, the parent company of Billboard and the Hot 100, filed for UDRP arbitration over two domain names, BillboardRadioOnline.com and TheHot100Radio.com. According to the UDRP rules, a Complainant can only bring a complaint relating to more than one domain name if the domains are registered by the same entity. In this case, the Complainant argued that both domains had in fact been registered by the same individual, a “Shawn Lloyd,” despite the fact that the WHOIS records list “Billie Druer” as the registrant of BillboardRadioOnline.com and “Webstarts” as the registrant of TheHot100Radio.com.
How did the Complainant attempt to prove that the two domains belonged to the same registrant? By pointing to the Facebook page of “Shawn Lloyd,” which lists both of the domains in question, and by showing that the two domains resolve to similar content. This evidence was a bit thin for the National Arbitration Forum Panelist, however, and she was forced to dismiss the Complaint over one domain name, TheHot100Radio.com.
Those of you who have been reading this blog for some time know that the UDRP does not allow for evidentiary discovery or cross-examination of witnesses. If you need more facts to develop your case the better (but more time-consuming and expensive) choice is to file a claim in federal court under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) where you can request your opponent’s documents and depose and cross-examine its witnesses. If you’re going to pursue the UDRP to save time and money, you’d better have a solid case from the start.
In the Prometheus Global Media case, the Complainant did the best it could with the facts it had available, but it just wasn’t enough to convince the Panelist that the owner of the two domains were really the same person. Despite the websites looking similar and both domains being listed on someone’s Facebook page, the actual WHOIS records for the domains list different owners, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, creation dates, and registrars. Even a look at the WHOIS history shows no further similarity than two different towns in the Canadian province of Ontario. Even though these towns are a mere half-hour drive from one another, this simply is not enough to satisfy paragraph 3(c) of the UDRP which says that a “complaint may relate to more than one domain name, provided that the domain names are registered by the same domain name holder.”
In the end, this will likely be nothing more than a speed bump in the complainant’s drive to reclaim these 2 domains since the cost of filing two UDRP cases is still far less expensive and time-consuming than that of filing just one ACPA claim. I expect we’ll see a decision on the second domain in another few months and my money’s on another win for the complainant.