Trademark infringement? 

Among the cases being watched by the Electronic Frontier Foundation — sometimes called the ACLU of the Internet — is that of, created by Emmanuel Goldstein (a pseudonym), editor of 2600 Magazine. That URL points users to Ford Motor Company’s official homepage, and has prompted a lawsuit not from GM, but from Ford, which has sought a court order stopping him from doing it. Eric Grimm, attorney for Ann Arbor-based Cyber Brief PLC who has worked on dozens of domain name dispute cases, is representing Goldstein. Grimm complains that the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act was, in essence, “drafted by trademark lobbyists” and “designed to be in favor of producing particular results in these cases.”

As a result, he said, “The Internet is not the same place for expression that it was four or five years ago.” Meanwhile, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s legal director Cindy Cohn is at work in a case involving Ford, in which the automaker has sued a variety of registrants incorporating Ford trademarks in domain names, including, a site about cats.

“We’re hoping that a series of these cases that are not trademark infringement, where nobody is confused, will establish some limits to the ACPA and we’ll begin to see fewer cease-and-desist letters going out and more people being able to stand up when they do,” she said.

Sven Gustafson is a Detroit-area freelance writer. Send comments to [email protected]

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