NEW YORK, NY – An arbitration panel ruled in favor of the owner of a Glenn Beck parody site.
Isaac Eiland-Hall of Florida was tired of TV host Glenn Beck’s “I’m just asking the questions” attitude. He decided to create a site that would put Beck’s style to the test.
The website was controversially called glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com
The joke originates from comedian Gilbert Gottfried’s act at Bob Saget’s Comedy Central Roast. During his bit, he repeatedly stated “Bob Saget raped and murdered a girl in 1990,” which is absolutely false.
A commenter on news site Fark.com asked, “Why haven’t we had an official response to the rumor that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a girl in 1990?” The joke spread to other sites, and eventually became Eiland-Hall’s chosen domain name.
Glenn Beck did not find this funny, and filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization, claiming it improperly used a trademark and that the domain name was being used in bad faith. Eiland-Hall’s lawyer filed a response that stated, “The Web site is a legitimate criticism site, consists of political satire, and thus the Respondent has legitimate rights in the domain name.”
The response also referenced an interview an interview Beck conducted with Congressman Keith Ellison, a Muslim, in which he used the same exact tactic: “I like Muslims, I’ve been to mosques… And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview because what I feel like saying is, sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.”
The panel ruled in favor of Eiland-Hall, stating:
“In the present context, this Panel considers that if Internet users view the disputed domain name in combination with a visit to Respondent’s website, the “total effect” is that of political commentary by Respondent, capable of protection as political speech by the First Amendment under the Hustler Magazine standard. Respondent appears to the Panel to be engaged in a parody of the style or methodology that Respondent appears genuinely to believe is employed by Complainant in the provision of political commentary, and for that reason Respondent can be said to be making a political statement. This constitutes a legitimate non-commercial use of Complainant’s mark under the Policy.”
Upon winning the complaint, Eiland-Hall decided to voluntarily hand over the domain to Beck, explaining, “I want to demonstrate to you that I had my lawyer fight this battle only to help preserve the First Amendment. Now that it is safe, at least from you (for the time being), I have no more use for the actual scrap of digital real estate you sought.”
However, a mirror site can be found at http://didglennbeckrapeandmurderayounggirlin1990.com/