Facebook Wins 105 Domains and $2.8 Million Damages From “Typosquatters”
Ryan Martin / 4 years ago
It isn’t an uncommon thing for something to fall victim to “typosquatters”, you are just going about your daily business, doing a tactical Facebook check when suddenly you type it wrong and you end up at facebookl.com or one of many other varieties of Facebook-typo domains. Why is this a problem? Well very often these sites hold malware and viruses to capitalise on Facebook’s popularity, or host lots of adverts to cash in on Facebook’s misled traffic. You might think this is totally legal right? Since free speech should dictate that anyone can buy whatever domain they want providing it isn’t already owned by someone. Well that isn’t the case at all because the 1999 Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA for short) has been designed to prevent against this exact thing.
Facebook took out a legal case against 105 domains used by typosquatters under the ACPA and they won the case hands down. They were awarded the 105 domains that were used by the typosquatters and awarded a hefty $2,795,000 in compensation for statutory damages. While the compensation may seem like a lot, it isn’t. In most cases that have been trialed under the ACPA the squatters, spammers, opportunists (or whatever you want to call them), normally have the domains seized from them by ICANN but can’t be tracked down to pay the damages they owe. This is expected to be the case here but on a positive note Facebook gets to redirect these 105 domains to its website and no longer lose traffic, or have visitors get infected from visiting these dodgy sites.
What are your thoughts on Facebook winning this case? Is it a good common sense law? Or is it unfair and giving corporations preferential treatment?