If you haven't heard this popular meme before, then I will be glad to explain. Essentially, this outrageous headline was inspired by the numerous inflammatory attacks Glenn Beck is known to make on his programs, with the concept originating from Gilbert Gottfried's act on The Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget. This joke led to the creation of a website, www.glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com. Apparently, Glenn Beck did not find this funny, despite the site stating it was a "parody/satire, but a valid example of the fallacious reasoning Beck is known for." Beck tried to bring action against the website with the World Intellectual Property Organization, claiming that he has the rights to the trademark and service mark "Glenn Beck" because his name has since "acquired a secondary meaning among a substantial segment of the U.S. public based upon extensive radio and television appearances, live public performances and promotions by the individual identified by the trademark and servicemark."
Mr. Constitution, Glenn Beck, seems to hate the constitution right now, and in particular, the freedom of speech. He doesn't like his name being used in comedy to illustrate a point about his style of commentary, and so he is trying to silence the free speech of a fellow American. Ready for more irony?
Complainant argues that the disputed domain name does not provide an Internet user with notice that he or she will be directed to a protest site, but will instead likely believe that Respondent’s website is intended to provide factual information concerning Complainant.Here is the response of the website owner:
Respondent alleges that Complainant has not adequately substantiated its claim of common law trademark rights, that there is insufficient evidence provided of secondary meaning, and that mere fame does not entitle an individual to trademark or service mark rights in their name. Respondent further argues that Complainant filed its ITU application at the USPTO subsequent to registration of the disputed domain name.If you didn't see it coming, Glenn Beck's claim was denied. So what was Beck's next action to attack somebody's freedom of speech? He continued to push forward, claiming the website violated his trademark infringement. The owners of the website make an interesting point - if Glenn Beck has faith in the constitution, why would Glenn Beck petition an agency of the United Nations, which happens to be a popular target of Glenn Beck's, instead of filing a lawsuit in the American courts? The answer is Glenn Beck knows he will lose. In the multi-pronged attack, Beck sent his goons after the "server hosting guys, the datacenter guys, and the domain name registrar" to try and take down the site, seeing that the WIPO ruled against him. Apparently the domain name registrar caved, forcing the owner of the site to obtain a new one and park it, but it is interesting to see the ruthless tactics Beck employs.
Respondent argues that the disputed domain name is not identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark because no reasonable Internet user would conclude that the disputed domain name would direct him or her to a website sourced, sponsored, affiliated or endorsed by Complainant. Respondent alleges that only a “moron in a hurry” could be confused by the disputed domain name.
Respondent contends that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Respondent argues that the disputed domain name constitutes an Internet “meme” that is a phrase or statement that for some reason (perhaps obscure) acquires a special status among certain Internet users that leads to its continuing use. Respondent provides the following definition: “‘The term Internet meme is a phrase used to describe a catchphrase or concept that spreads quickly from person to person via the Internet, much like an esoteric inside joke’ See Internet For Beginners”. [citation omitted] Respondent states that Internet memes often involve famous people, often are unflattering, and that the truth or falsity of the memes are not especially relevant. Respondent indicates that the potentially unfortunate subject of an Internet meme may have done nothing to deserve the attention other than having become famous.
Respondent argues that the disputed domain name is a meme that is based on the technique deriving from a comedy sketch performed by Gilbert Gottfried on a Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget during which Mr. Gottfried made continuing references to an unflattering rumor concerning Mr. Saget (similar to the one embodied in the disputed domain name), while requesting that those repeating the rumor cease to do so. According to Respondent, Glenn Beck has used a similar technique while interviewing at least one individual on his news broadcast by making an unsupported assertion about his activities, and placing a burden on the interviewee to deny the unsupported assertion. According to Respondent, this technique places the interviewee in a compromised position regardless of underlying facts.
Respondent argues that the disputed domain name is being used legitimately for parody or criticism regardless of whether the Panel approaches the issue using a methodology more favored by panels deciding cases involving non-U.S. parties, or the methodology favored by panels deciding cases involving U.S. parties.
Using the methodology favored by panels deciding cases involving non-U.S. parties, because the disputed domain name clearly signals that it is not sourced, sponsored or endorsed by Complainant, an Internet user would be aware that the associated website presents parody or criticism.
Using the methodology favored by panels deciding cases involving U.S. parties, Respondent contends that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name because it is a meme that is used to parody or criticize Complainant because of his political views, and thus is protected as free speech under the U.S. Constitution. Respondent argues that it is making nominative fair use of Complainant’s alleged mark for purposes of criticism, there is no confusion among Internet users as to whether Respondent’s website is associated with Complainant, and that Respondent is protected even if its speech results in economic harm to Complainant.
Respondent argues that it did not register and use the disputed domain name in bad faith because it did not have a commercial purpose registering and using the disputed domain name. Respondent states that, in prior determinations under the Policy, links to websites selling items have been found not to preclude a finding of legitimate noncommercial or fair use if the overall intention of the website is to communicate a message.
Respondent argues that Complainant fails to distinguish between trademark tarnishment and free speech. Respondent argues that Complainant’s mark is not protected by commercial tarnishment doctrine from speech legitimately conveying a political message.
I suggest reading all the documentation on the new Glenn Beck site, especially the arguments made by the Beck camp. If you are familiar with Beck's views, then to read a legal brief attacking somebody's First Amendment rights is one of the most entertaining reads of all time.