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08|08|2007 07:05 pm EDT

New York State Makes Their Own Domain Laws

by Adam Strong in Categories: Legal Issues

A bill proposed by New York State Senator Betty Little will ban all New York state residents from owning a web address of any other living person.

“An Internet presence is a must for almost all businesses today,� Little said in a prepared statement issued Tuesday. “An essential part of attracting and keeping customers is having a web address that is easy to remember and helps point people, searching the web, in the direction of your business.

Wait a sec. here Betty. I thought we were talking about a persons name and now you’re talking about a business. You “prepared” this statement ? I don’t disagree with you about domains being an essential part of business. You do seem to know your stuff about what makes a domain important, but let’s not confuse the issues here please Senator. And if you did your job, you’d know the fine state of New York is in the same country that has the Lanham Act and the Anti-Cybersquatting law already on the books.

Approved by Gov. Eliot Spitzer Aug, 1, the law will prohibit a person or entity from registering a domain name that consists of the name of another living person, or a name substantially and confusingly similar thereto, without that person’s or entity’s consent if there is specific intent to profit from such name by selling the domain name for financial gain to that person or any third party. The law does not punish those who accidentally register a name that is or could be confused with another living person’s name. Violations are punishable by a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each day the violation occurs.

So, then can I register a persons name if I have no intentions of selling it to them ? What if I just want to own the domain and put up pictures of the person with food all over there mouth or even use it for ppc ? Is that ok ? It seems to read that way. What a great piece of legislation ! I’m so glad we have great politicians in this country who understand the technology and current laws that govern it so that they can protect the “internets” and make sure our “tubes” don’t get blocked up.

UPDATE: I just added a link to the Senators press release. She must be proud of this great new law. <sigh> The Senator’s law apparently also includes business names as well. This is even worse than I first assumed

A measure sponsored by Senator Betty Little (R,C,I-Queensbury) aimed at preventing a person from registering a domain name that is similar to or the same as another living person or business with the specific intent to profit from selling the domain name to that person or business has been signed into law.

I guess we will have to wait to see exactly what the law says in the books, unless of course one of the lawyers who might be reading this wants to give us the info. This law is setting precedents for sure and the continuing saga should be watched by all involved in internet business and domains.

In addition, the New York State Attorney General is enabled to apply to the Supreme Court for an injunction, including forfeiture or cancellation of the domain name. The registrar, domain name registry or other domain name registration authority will not be liable for injunctive or monetary relief under this section except in bad faith or reckless disregard, which includes willful failure to comply with any court order.

[Update] Apparently the bill was already approved by Gov. Elliot Spitzer on August 1st..

[seen first over at Elliots Blog] and sourced from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise



Mike Maddaloni

August 8, 2007 @ 7:57 pm EDT

This is confusing. It only pertains to New York residents, correct? What happens if someone registers a name of a business that is similar to another business and it is the name of that business? Or what if they register a name of someone who is not a New York business or person?

It appears Governor Spitzer wants to toy with businesses as he did in his last job as Attorney General.

Oh, and the link to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise is broken.


Michele Neylon

August 8, 2007 @ 8:34 pm EDT

Is it April 1st?

Adam Strong

August 8, 2007 @ 9:08 pm EDT

Mike. The law is about people but Senator Betty talks about busineses. So she’s a bit confusing to say the least . Additionally, the law is a state law in NY so I’d imagine it’s only enforceable on NY residents/busineses engaged in buying domains. There’s so many other things wrong with this law. Check out Sahars opinion on . I also imagine will have a lively discussion at this link

Lastly I updated the story with a link to the Senators press release

Mike Maddaloni

August 8, 2007 @ 9:27 pm EDT

Thanks for the further links Adam, and the more I read, the more I am confused!

What you mentioned earlier about buying a domain name similar to a person or business and then doing nothing with it, which I would assume is no intention to sell, is ok? Also, what if someone hires a consultant to buy a domain name for them, then they don’t pay the bill – do they have a claim to buy it, even if there is a contract in place.

I am no lawyer nor do I play one on YouTube, but this proves once again… get the idea, buy the domain name, then move forward!


[…] Update*  Quite a Few People Have Written About This […]

Dave Zan

August 9, 2007 @ 3:02 am EDT

Sorry if this looks like “comment spam” since I’m somewhat copying and pasting the same comment I made in other blogs about this, but I can’t help notice the governor mentioned in one of those links appears to be the same one who UDRP’ed his namesakes:

No wonder there was much enthusiasm in getting this passed.

Incidentally, and list their addresses in…ding, ding, ding, New York. :)


August 24, 2007 @ 12:35 pm EDT

This sounds like New York.
New York is famous for forcing Business out of New York starting back in the 80’s.

From what is said about registering a domain name that is similar to or the same as another living person sounds like if a person registers a domain in their name and another person with the same name complains it would fall under this law.

Also allot of Businesses share common words in their name what about those?
I don’t think they are going to limit this to people cybersquatting/selling domain names. Then what? Do we have to prove we didn’t try to sell the name?
This doesn’t sound like a fair playing field.

Since the state is stating they will charge $1000.00 fine per day it sounds like whatever business has the most money will win no matter their start date and the state is just out for the money. What if someone starts a buisness with one of my domain names? I should be able to stop them not the reverse. Who is going to decide? Typical New York.

We just bought a house here, however if New York is going to threaten my business it’s Time to move out of New York.

[…] the footsteps of New York state, Pennsylvania apparently also sees a need for a state wide cybersquatting legislation. The March […]

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