November 7, 2005 | By Cindy Cohn

Law Clinic Power: Homedepotsucks.com keeps domain

We were pleased to see the domain name arbitration decision in Homer TLC, Inc. v. GreenPeople last week. The University of San Francisco Internet and Intellectual Property Justice Clinic handled this case, on a referral from EFF, and won it for the gripe website homedepotsucks.com . EFF gets far more requests for help than we can handle with our tiny legal staff, and law school clinics like the USF's Legal Clinic serve a much needed role, along with the hundreds of attorneys who take cases from EFF's cooperating attorneys referral list.

The decision is one that should have been easy, but the domain name arbitration process, called UDRP, has been notoriously uneven in protecting protest websites. With help from USF law students, though, the gripe site had smooth sailing: "the Respondent created a protest site by adding the classic protest word, 'sucks,' to the end of the protested company?s name to communicate the message about Complainant?s eco-unfriendly business practices and sales of old growth lumber."

The arbitrator then proceeded to find against Home Depot on every point, adding, "'Complainant should not be allowed to stifle truth in the name of brand protection."

Amen. And thanks USF for helping protect free speech online!


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