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Friday, 6 October, 2000, 08:03 GMT 09:03 UK
BBC's cyber victory
Computer screen graphic
Data Art Corporation wrongfully acquired bbcnews.com
By BBC's Clare Doole in Geneva

The BBC has won a battle against a US "cyber-squatter", who registered its trade mark on the internet.

The UN body which arbitrates in cyber-squatting cases, 'Wipo', ruled that the Californian-based Data Art Corporation, had no right to the internet address bbcnews.com.


The company appears to be an inveterate cyber-squatter

The BBC successfully argued that the company had no rights to the trade mark and that it had been registered in bad faith.

Data Art Corporation offered no response to the complaint.

Gambling and porn

Visitors to the site are directed to a variety of web sites, including those which provide online gambling, soft porn chatlines and trivia game shows.

British laws prevent broadcasters from running gambling services.

The company appears to have registered a score of trade marks of well known companies with the aim of selling them back for a high fee to their rightful owner.

It is not the first time the BBC has used the arbitration service set up by the UN.

It has already won back rights to its French and Spanish web sites, and the broadcaster is in star spangled company.

The Hollywood actress Julia Roberts and the family of the rock star Jimi Hendrix have used the UN service, which is increasingly seen as an alternative to taking a cyber-squatter to court.

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See also:

15 Nov 99 | e-cyclopedia
Cybersquatting: Get off my URL
02 Dec 99 | Business
The $7.5m net address
06 Dec 99 | Business
Betting on banks.com
26 Jan 00 | Scotland
Firm accused of net name piracy
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