GENEVA (Reuters) - American actor Morgan Freeman, winner of this year's best supporting actor Oscar for his performance in "Million Dollar Baby," won a cybersquatting case in a ruling by an international arbitrator Tuesday.
Freeman was found to have common law rights to the contested Internet domain name (morganfreeman.com), which had been registered by a Saint Kitts and Nevis-based web site operator.
The operator, identified as Mighty LLC, misused the celebrity's trademark to lure surfers to its web site in "bad faith," independent arbitrator Peter Nitter said in a ruling.
The ruling was announced by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a United Nations agency which promotes protection of trademarks and patents, and whose arbitration center resolves disputes over domain names.
Freeman, who has appeared in more than 50 films in a career spanning four decades, joins the ranks of entertainers including Julia Roberts, Spike Lee, Madonna and Eminem who have won their cases under WIPO's fast-track, low-cost procedure.
Ownership of the domain name is transferred within 10 days unless the loser launches a court case challenging the decision.
Freeman won his first Oscar in February for his supporting role in the boxing drama "Million Dollar Baby," which also won Oscars for best director, best picture and best actress.
Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.
NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at. Hundreds of new articles daily. [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I only wish I had the financial wherewithall to file suit against the guy who is cybersquatting on the domain name I used for a several years (internet-history.org). The _very day_ that that the domain name slipped away by accident the fellow (in Geneva, CH of all places) grabbed it, knowing full well it was in use. He knew what he was doing ... and I thought that the .org domain was such that his p*rn and commercial stuff would not be allowed (which is true if you look at the PIR charter). But it seems the PIR charter, etc is subservient to the ICANN rules, and ICANN could give a damn less about regular web sites; their whole thing is the large, commercial sites. I wish I had the money to get a lawyer who would dismantle the whole setup. Alternatly, the guy who is cybersquatting on internet-history.org said he would 'gladly' release it back to me if I would pay his blackmail rate of eight hundred dollars (and of course the fees the ICANN pirates would charge in addition.) PAT]