Sep 17, 2012
"the website's domain name was "protected political speech", and "satirical political humor". "
"“ Marc Randazza represented Eiland-Hall and filed a response brief to WIPO comparing the case to theU.S. Supreme Court case Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, and asserted that the website's domain name was "protected political speech", and "satirical political humor". The brief explained the connection between the website and their view on Beck's style of interviewing, where he asks his guests to prove a negative. Randazza asserted that Beck's action of going to the WIPO in an attempt to get the website taken down was in contradiction to his prior statements saying he prefers United States law over international law.
Randazza sent a letter to Beck's attorneys, requesting that Beck stipulate to the U.S. Constitution during the WIPO case. Beck filed a supplemental filing in the case, and argued that the domain name was misleading and could lead individuals to believe it contained factual information rather than criticism. Eiland-Hall filed a surreply which said that Beck "attempted to silence a critic by circumventing (and thereby devaluing) the First Amendment". On October 29, 2009, the WIPO ruled against Beck, concluding that Eiland-Hall was making a political statement through use of parody in a "legitimate non-commercial use" of the Glenn Beck mark. Eiland-Hall wrote a letter to Beck in which he voluntarily turned over ownership of the domain name. He kept the website active at GB1990.com and didglennbeckrapeandmurderayounggirlin1990.com.
Commentators analyzed Beck's actions with respect to the "Streisand effect", and noted that Beck's actions with regard to the website have served to increase attention to the site itself. Representatives of Public Citizen, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Citizen Media Law Project agreed that Beck's trademark claim in his complaint over the website was "preposterous". A journalist for The First Post observed that Beck's claim that a website's domain name was itself defamatory "looks like a first in cyber law". After the WIPO ruling, Online Media Daily noted that a ruling in Beck's favor may have encouraged other U.S. subjects of satirical websites to circumvent the First Amendment to the United States Constitution by taking claims to WIPO rather than airing them in U.S. courts. The assistant director of the Citizen Media Law Project commented on the conclusion of the case, "It's good to see that this WIPO arbitrator had no interest in allowing Beck to circumvent the guarantees of the U.S. Constitution."”
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