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

Posted Feb 18, 2009

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 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 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, 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.