Litigation over ownership of the iTunes.co.uk domain name continues, with former owner CyberBritain preparing to file for a Judicial Review this week.
The company hopes that the courts will decide if the existing decision (which awarded ownership of the contested domain to Apple) taken by Nominet's Domain Name Resolution service is, "fair and in accordance with natural justice and the Human Rights Act (1998)", said benjamin Cohen, managing director of QiuickQuid.;
Nominet's decision regarding the case - which attracted global publicity - is available on the UK domain regulator's website. It makes interesting reading.
No Mac cultist
Even Nominet's choice of expert (Claire Milne) in this case was contentious, the report reveals that on December 18 Cohen wrote demanding that Nominet's expert, "should not be an Apple Mac user, because in the view of the Respondent there is a "cult" associated with the products of the Complainant, which attract fanatical users".
Despite not being a Mac user, the expert in the case declared: "On the balance of probabilities, I find that the Domain Name, in the hands of the Respondent, is an Abusive Registration on the grounds of its use in a manner taking unfair advantage of, and being unfairly detrimental to, the Rights of the Complainant."
Among other facets the evidence includes an account of CyberBritain's attempt to sell the domain name to Apple competitor Napster.
Napster alliance attempted
"On 14 October 2004, Mr Benjamin Cohen of the Respondent sent an email to Napster enquiring "Will you be running an affiliate programme for napster.co.uk as you do for napster.com? We have a lot of traffic for some legacy music domains that we own but no longer operate including itunes.co.uk (originally an MP3 search engine in 1999)."
Five days later Napster replied, advising Cohen contact its affiliate programme management company Commission Junction. Cohen responded by asking if Napster wanted to buy the domain, which Napster declined. He then redirected the site to point at Napster, a move Apple complained about and which was later reversed.
Apple offered to acquire the domain for $5,000, Cohen refused and asked for £50,000. Apple declined.
Later papers filed by CyberBritain claimed that because Apple is under investigation for alleged illegal pricing practices, "to allow the Complainant to rely on any reputation in 'iTunes' would be to reward it for these practices."
On the offer to sell to Napster, CyberBritain argued: "The offer to sell the Domain Name to Napster was not intended to be made known to the Complainant and was not part of an attempt to extract or extort money from the Complainant."
Nominet's full report has been available online since March 2005.