Jeanette Winterson Wins Back Kidnapped Domain Name
by Linda Harrison
Novelist Jeanette Winterson has won back her dotcom after it was "kidnapped" by a Cambridge academic.
In March, the Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit author claimed Mark Hogarth, who had registered hundreds of URLs bearing the names of famous writers, was abusing her trademark. Writing in The Times, she accused Hogarth of kidnapping her name, asking: "If a writer cannot go on the Web, as myself, in my own right, with my own work, then how am I to trade?"
Winterson said she was preparing to take the cybersquatter to court to get her name back.
And this was no idle threat - she took her complaint to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Centre, who yesterday ordered Hogarth to give jeanettewinterson.com, jeanettewinterson.net and jeanettewinterson.org to the author.
WIPO decided that Hogarth had acted in bad faith and gave him ten days to transfer the URLs.
Hogarth's plan was to set up a string of Web sites that would redirect users to Amazon and cream commission off any books bought. But his downfall came when he tried to sell a number of URLs to the authors themselves, asking for around three per cent of their 1999 gross book sales. This riled a few people, and even Hogarth later admitted it was a "very ham-fisted approach" which he regretted.
Speaking after her victory, Winterson, who also wrote Sexing The Cherry and Art & Lies, commented: "I am pleased it is over. It has been very distressing to find out that someone else has taken over your name."