Beck v. Eiland-Hall

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Other

Date: 

09/04/2009

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

Switzerland

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
In September 2009, conservative talk show host and self-described "rodeo clown" Glenn Beck filed an administrative complaint with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) against the privacy... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Isaac Eiland-Hall

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Location of Party: 

  • New York

Legal Counsel: 

Marc J. Randazza
Description

In September 2009, conservative talk show host and self-described "rodeo clown" Glenn Beck filed an administrative complaint with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) against the privacy service for glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com.  (The UDRP is a policy that website operators automatically agree to when they register a domain name; the policy enables trademark owners to initiate an administrative proceeding challenging the registration of a domain name in "bad faith.")  In response to the compaint, the privacy service revealed the identity of the website operator, whose name is Isaac Eiland-Hall.

The origin of the website is an Internet meme that came into being on Fark.com. The premise of the rape and murder charge comes from a Gilbert Gottfried routine performed during a Comedy Central roast of comedian Bob Saget. During Gottfried's act, he keeps repeating that there are rumors that Bob Saget raped and killed a girl in 1990 and pretends to admonish the audience to stop spreading the until-now-non-existent rumor.  

Picking up on a perceived similarity between Beck's rhetorical style and the Gottfried routine, a Fark user posted this comment in late August: "Why haven't we had an official response to the rumor that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a girl in 1990?"  The joke caught on immediately, and, according to Mediaite, the Farkers took the meme and plastered it all over the web

The next day, Eiland-Hall registered the domain name and posted satirical commentary and links on the site. Picking up on Beck's comments in his famous interview with Congressman Keith Ellison, where he asked the Congressman — a Muslim — to "prove to me that you are not working with our enemies," the website says:

This site exists to try and help examine the vicious rumour that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990. We don't claim to know the truth -- only that the rumour floating around saying that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990 should be discussed. So we're going to do our part to try and help get to the bottom of this.

Why won't Glenn Beck deny these allegations? We're not accusing Glenn Beck of raping and murdering a young girl in 1990 - in fact, we think he didn't! But we can't help but wonder, since he has failed to deny these horrible allegations. Why won't he deny that he raped and killed a young girl in 1990?

Under the caption "A Plea for Help" and title "Don't Leave Glenn Beck Alone!!!!!," an embedded video clip features a mock-crying woman saying, among other things, "everytime people stop teasing him [Glenn Beck], and ridiculing him, and making fun of him, and laughing and pointing and staring at him, a baby ghost gets turned into a human being. Do you want that to happen?" 

The site contains a disclaimer at the top of the page: "Notice: This website is 100% parody" with a link to a full disclaimer at the bottom of the page:

Notice: This site is parody/satire. We assume Glenn Beck did not rape and murder a young girl in 1990, although we haven't yet seen proof that he didn't. But we think Glenn Beck definitely uses tactics like this to spread lies and misinformation.

Read the last sentence again. That's the point. Read it a third time and ignore the name of the site itself, because anyone who believes that we're trying to actually get people to believe Glenn Beck raped and/or murdered is *whoosh* missing the entire point. So don't be dumb like a lot of people are. I greatly expanded this text because so many people *read* it, and *still* didn't understand.

Beck claims in his UDRP complaint that the domain name is confusingly similar to his trademark "Glenn Beck" and that Eiland-Hall has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain name and registered it in bad faith. 

On September 28, 2009, Eiland-Hall filed a response brief arguing that the domain name is not confusingly similar to "Glenn Beck" (except perhaps to a "moron in a hurry"), that Eiland Hall has legitimate rights in the domain name because he uses it to criticize Beck and to participate in an Internet meme, and that Beck has failed to establish that he has trademark rights in his name. 

Update:

10/13/2009 - Beck filed a supplemental brief in response to Eiland-Hall's brief.

10/20/2009 - Eiland-Hall filed a surreply brief

10/29/09 - The WIPO panel denied Beck's UDRP complaint.

11/6/09 - Eiland-Hall voluntarily transferred the domain name to Beck.

Details

Publication Medium: 

Website

Subject Area: 

  • Trademark
  • Anonymity
  • Gripe Sites
Court Information & Documents
CMLP Information (Private)

Priority: 

1-High