First Amendment juggernaut Marc Randazza is having a very good week. On Wednesday, Professor Donald Marvin Jones a/k/a the "Nutty Professor" voluntarily dismissed his invasion of privacy lawsuit against Randazza's client Above the Law. Today, word comes that WIPO Arbitration Panelist Frederick M. Abbot has denied Glenn Beck's UDRP complaint against another Randazza client, Isaac Eiland-Hall, the man behind glennbeckrapedandmurdereda younggirlin1990.com. (See our previous posts here and here.)
In the decision (pdf), Panelist Abbot ruled that Eiland-Hall's domain name was a "legitimate noncommercial or fair use of [Beck's] mark," dooming Beck's claim:
In the present context, this Panel considers that if Internet users view the disputed domain name in combination with a visit to Respondent’s website, the “total effect” is that of political commentary by Respondent, capable of protection as political speech by the First Amendment under the Hustler Magazine standard. Respondent appears to the Panel to be engaged in a parody of the style or methodology that Respondent appears genuinely to believe is employed by Complainant in the provision of political commentary, and for that reason Respondent can be said to be making a political statement. This constitutes a legitimate non-commercial use of Complainant's mark under the Policy. It equally appears that Respondent is making nominative fair use of Complainant's mark in the sense of using it to identify a well-known public figure (in a manner that does not use more of the mark than is necessary and does not create confusion as to Complainant’s sponsorship of Respondent’s activities). In making such findings, the Panel makes no assumptions as to the potentially defamatory nature of any of the content on Respondent’s website, which is beyond the scope of the present Policy proceeding.
Bravo Panelist Abbot! It's good to see that this WIPO arbitrator had no interest in allowing Beck to circumvent the guarantees of the U.S. Constitution.
Congratulations to Marc for this big victory and for his innovative brief that not only won the case, but also brought "spock ate my balls" into the legal lexicon.
Update: Eiland-Hall has voluntarily transferred the domain to Beck, writing that he "has no more use for the actual scrap of digital real estate" now that his criticism has been made and his First Amendment argument has been vindicated.