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Thursday, 21 December, 2000, 17:54 GMT
Defeat for Harry Potter 'cybersquatter'
JK Rowling
The books have made JK Rowling a multi-millionaire
American media group Time Warner, which owns the marketing rights to the Harry Potter children's books, has won its case against a California-based organisation it accuses of "cybersquatting".

On Thursday, it was granted ownership of 107 Potter-related internet domain names in a ruling by the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), based in Geneva.

The names - which include harrypotterbooks.org, harrypotterfilm.org and harrypotterstudios.com - had been registered on or around the day the news broke that the first Potter book was to be made into a film.

Harry Potter books
The four Potter books gave sold millions worldwide
The WIPO, the closest the internet has to a ruling body, ordered that the respondent, known as HarperStephens of California, had "no rights or legitimate interests" in the domain names which were registered "in bad faith".

Wizard sales

The series of books about the young apprentice wizard have been a runaway success.

Millions of copies of themost recent book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, have been sold in more than 30 different languages, making author JK Rowling a multi-millionaire.

It sold more than 370,000 copies on its first day in the UK.

The first book, Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone, is being made into a Warner Brothers film, due for release in November 2001.

Cybersquatting

Cybersquatting is where individuals seek to profit by registering someone else's trademarked name.

Stars Emma Watson, Daniel Ratcliffe and Rupert Grint
The first book is being made into a film
What is at stake are millions of dollars in revenue from the increasingly lucrative business of signing up websites.

Many celebrities including singer Madonna, actress Julia Roberts and the family of late rock star Jimi Hendrix, have won the right back to their domain names.

However, British singer Sting lost his case on the grounds that "sting" is a commonly-used English word.

The WIPO's dispute settlement service for cybersquatting was first set up a year ago to allow victims a chance to get their domain names back without fightly a costly legal battle or paying large sums of cash.

It has settled more than 900 cases, mostly against the cybersquatter.

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See also:

06 Jul 00 | Entertainment
The Potter phenomenon
09 Aug 00 | Europe
UN gets tough with cybersquatters
17 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Madonna wins cyber fight
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