Viacom Wants Jackass.com Domain Name, But Future Media Architects Won’t Give It To Them

jackass
The Jackass TV show on MTV started in 2000.   The show grew popular and ended up launching a movie series owned by MTV parent company Viacom.  Anyone that has registered domain names before also knows how important it is to secure the .com for their business name right away.  Future Media Architects has made things a lot more difficult for people that want to buy the .com for their business name including the Jackass franchise.

Future Media Architects is known as a cyber-squatter, a company that buys domain names and doesn’t put any content on it… only advertisements.  Future Media Architects (FMA) won’t hand Jackass.com to Viacom because they plan to create a website for it about donkeys and “their contributions to society.”  The World Intellectual Property Organization knew that the FMA was full of it but decided that they cannot hand Jackass.com over to Viacom.

Future Media Architects owns 100,000 domain names, many of which only have ads on them.  FMA is based in the Virgin Islands and has a CEO based in Kuwait.  Viacom filed the complain to the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center saying that FMA was using the domain name in bad faith.  For the last 6 years, Jackass.com only had CPC ads on them, but during the case the FMA even showed future website mockups of donkey websites.

“The Respondent offered no explanation as to why it has taken approximately 4 years to launch the donkey website. The Respondent also made no effort to explain why it suddenly wishes to operate a website promoting donkeys, and what benefit it will receive from pursuing this course of action,” according to the WIPO report.

A three part test was conducted to determine that FMA was the winner of the domain name.  The first test was whether the domain name was identical or confusing to the Viacom trademark.  Yes.  The second test was whether Future Media had any legitimate interests with respond to the domain name.  Yes, but Viacom failed to show that FMA did not have any legitimate interests.  And the last test was whether the domain name was registered and used in bad faith.  FMA made no attempt to sell the domain name to Viacom after purchasing it so they won from that standpoint.

My advice to anyone interested in starting a business is to snap up the domain name right away before the FMA takes it.

This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at

Viacom Wants Jackass.com Domain Name, But Future Media Architects Won’t Give It To Them Comments

  1. ES says:

    “The World Intellectual Property Organization concluded knew that the FMA was full of it but decided that they cannot hand Jackass.com over to Viacom.”

    Oh really? Where is that noted, or is that your analysis?

    Also, it sounds like you don’t know the definition of a cybersquatter.

  2. Mat says:

    “Future Media Architects is known as a cyber-squatter, a company that buys domain names and doesn’t put any content on it… only advertisements.”

    How did you conclude that FMA is a cybersquatter? And let me correct your definition of cybersquatting; according to wikipedia:

    “Cybersquatting (also known as domain squatting), according to the United States federal law known as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. The cybersquatter then offers to sell the domain to the person or company who owns a trademark contained within the name at an inflated price.”

    Please note that FMA owns the domain name AND its trademark, that and FMA has never sold any domain name. So basically, FMA doesn’t satisfy neither of the two conditions of a cybersquatter. Please understand the definitions before you use them and accuse FMA of cybersquatting.

    FMA won this case for two reasons: 1) It owns the ‘Jackass’ trademark and that gives it rights to the domain name as much as Viacom. FMA claimed the domain first and that’s Viacom’s problem, if they thought the domain name should belong to them why didn’t they register it 9 years ago? 2) ‘Jackass’ is a generic dictionary-word and that alone is enough to deny any claims to own the domain name.

    FMA’s business is clean and is not against the law in anyway, and none of its domain names would classify the company as a cybersquatter. Again, please do not accuse a company of such an illegal action when you clearly lack the correct definition of it.

  3. Amit Chowdhry says:

    I’ma agreeing with a point that Ars Technica made here:

    “The WIPO arbiter said that the company’s explanations about the donkey websites were basically ridiculous and not the whole story; the idea that someone with 100,000 websites is suddenly going to turn jackass.com into a REALLY USEFUL SITE about donkeys after being hauled before WIPO borders on the ludicrous.”

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/02/wipo-jackasscom-an-owner-a-real-jackass-but-can-keep-site.ars#comments

    In this case it seems like FMA is typosquatter. When someone “registers variants of popular trademarked names, a practice known as typosquatting.”

    It could be purely a coincidence, but I’m formed my opinion based on what I’ve read from another article.

Leave a Comment