In this case, EFF wrote an amicus brief in support of Chris Korpi, who was sued by Julie Collier after Korpi registered the domain name www.juliecollier.com. Korpi and Collier were on opposites sides of a political debate over a California local school board election. Collier sued, alleging that Korpi registered the domain name because he believed Collier was going to run for school board, and after she decided not to run he directed the domain to the site of candidates he—but not Collier—supported. Collier further claimed she was being criminally impersonated and that Korpi intended to confuse website visitors.
Our amicus brief points out that the act of registering and directing a domain name is pure speech. By registering and directing the domains, Korpi claims he was saying “Hey Julie Collier supporters! Consider these candidates instead!” In contrast, Collier alleges Korpi’s message was “Julie Collier supports these candidates.” Either way, Korpi was communicating a political message. In an offline context, everyone would immediately recognize Korpi’s actions as an exercise of First Amendment rights.