Beck v. Eiland-Hall

Beck v. Eiland-Hall
Beck v. Eiland-Hall

WIPO headquarters in Geneva
Court World Intellectual Property Organization
Full case name Mercury Radio Arts, Inc. and Glenn Beck v. Isaac Eiland-Hall
Date decided October 29, 2009
Citation(s) WIPO Case No. D2009-1182
Transcript(s) Beck v. Eiland-Hall
Judge(s) sitting Frederick M. Abbott (arbitrator)
Case opinions
Complaint denied.
Defamation, Freedom of speech, Parody, Satire, Trademark

Beck v. Eiland-Hall is a case filed before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2009 by political commentator Glenn Beck, concerning the satirical website "". The site was created by Isaac Eiland-Hall as a parody of Beck's style of commentary. The site name came from Internet discussions which were based on a joke originally used by comedian Gilbert Gottfried at a 2008 comedy roast of Bob Saget, where Gottfried jokingly implored listeners to disregard the (non-existent) rumor that his fellow comedian raped and murdered a girl in 1990. Internet posters contrasted the meme with Beck's style of arguing, by requesting Beck "prove that he didn't" commit the act in question. Eiland-Hall created a website about it, which launched on September 1, 2009, and had 120,000 page loads within its first 24 hours.

Attorneys representing Glenn Beck's media company Mercury Radio Arts requested the domain registrar of Eiland-Hall's website to delete the site. They filed a complaint to the WIPO under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) asserting that the domain name of the website was itself defamatory and claimed trademark over the domain name for its use of "Glenn Beck". Marc Randazza represented Eiland-Hall and filed a response brief to WIPO comparing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court case Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, and asserted that the website's domain name was "protected political speech", and "satirical political humor". The brief explained the connection between the website and their view on Beck's style of interviewing, where he asks his guests to prove a negative. Randazza asserted that Beck's action of going to the WIPO in an attempt to get the website taken down was in contradiction to his prior statements saying he prefers United States law over international law.

Randazza sent a letter to Beck's attorneys, requesting that Beck stipulate to the U.S. Constitution during the WIPO case. Beck filed a supplemental filing in the case, and argued that the domain name was misleading and could lead individuals to believe it contained factual information rather than criticism. Eiland-Hall filed a surreply which said that Beck "attempted to silence a critic by circumventing (and thereby devaluing) the First Amendment". On October 29, 2009, the WIPO ruled against Beck, concluding that Eiland-Hall was making a political statement through use of parody in a "legitimate non-commercial use" of the Glenn Beck mark. Eiland-Hall wrote a letter to Beck in which he voluntarily turned over ownership of the domain name. He kept the website active at and

Commentators analyzed Beck's actions with respect to the "Streisand effect", and noted that Beck's actions with regard to the website have served to increase attention to the site itself. Representatives of Public Citizen, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Citizen Media Law Project agreed that Beck's trademark claim in his complaint over the website was "preposterous". A journalist for The First Post observed that Beck's claim that a website's domain name was itself defamatory "looks like a first in cyber law". After the WIPO ruling, Online Media Daily noted that a ruling in Beck's favor may have encouraged other U.S. subjects of satirical websites to circumvent the First Amendment to the United States Constitution by taking claims to WIPO rather than airing them in U.S. courts. The assistant director of the Citizen Media Law Project commented on the conclusion of the case, "It's good to see that this WIPO arbitrator had no interest in allowing Beck to circumvent the guarantees of the U.S. Constitution."[1]




Glenn Beck in 2007

On August 31, 2009, a post on the Internet discussion community Fark applied a joke originally used by comedian Gilbert Gottfried at a 2008 comedy roast of Bob Saget, to instead refer to Beck.[2][3][4][5] At the roast of Saget, Gottfried had jokingly implored listeners to disregard the (non-existent) rumor that his fellow comedian "raped and killed a girl in 1990".[6][7] Gottfried repeatedly warned the audience at the roast not to spread the rumor; which did not exist prior to the comedian's pronouncements.[2][6][8][9] Mediaite reported that the Internet group "Anonymous" was associated with the spread of the meme.[10] The internet posters contrasted the meme with Beck's style of arguing, by requesting Beck "prove that he didn't" commit the act in question.[10] The meme spread to social media websites including Encyclopedia Dramatica, Reddit, Yahoo!,, YouTube, Twitter, and[10][11][12] A variation of the Googlebomb technique was used, to have Google give "Glenn Beck murder" as a search suggestion when searching for "Glenn Beck"; Google later censored this suggestion.[13]

Isaac Eiland-Hall, a 34-year-old computer science student in Panama City, Florida,[14] saw the discussion on Fark using the Gottfried joke applied to Beck and created a website about it as a parody of Glenn Beck's style of political commentary.[3][4][7][8][9] Eiland-Hall used the domain name registrar eNom for his site.[15] The site was launched on September 1, 2009,[3] and received over 120,000 page loads within its first 24 hours.[3][16] The website asserted it did not believe the charges to be true.[7] Eiland-Hall wrote on the website, "We are definitely accusing Glenn Beck of using questionable tactics in order to spread his message and garner higher ratings. You see, we believe Beck uses tactics like the top part of this site ... and he uses them with no disclaimers, with all apparent seriousness."[17]

Originally, the website displayed a small text disclaimer at the bottom stating that the site was satirical.[3] Eiland-Hall later placed two disclaimers at the top of the site which prominently described it as a form of parody.[4] The disclaimer at the top of the website's main page stated: "Notice: This website is 100% parody", and it included a link from the top to a larger disclaimer at the bottom of the page.[9][13] The website stated, "But we think Glenn Beck definitely uses tactics like this to spread lies and misinformation".[7][18] This statement was a criticism of Beck for sometimes challenging those he opposes to prove a negative.[19] The disclaimer emphasized this last point, stating: "Read the last sentence again. That's the point. Read it a third time..."[20] Eiland-Hall told Politics Daily: "Based on the energy of that first Fark thread where it all began – where it started before I got involved – it seems to be a cathartic release of frustration for many, including myself. So I suppose that makes it worth it, if nothing else."[6] In an interview with Ars Technica, Eiland-Hall stated "just felt right" to create the website.[3][21] He said it was "using Beck's tactics against him", and a manner of "directing all this frustration" around Beck's form of commentary into actions.[3][21] Eiland-Hall's website inspired copycat parodies.[22]


Beck initiates legal action

By September 3, 2009, attorneys representing Mercury Radio Arts, Glenn Beck's media company, had requested the domain registrar of Eiland-Hall's website to delete the site.[3][16] Beck's lawyers called the site's location a "highly defamatory domain name".[3] They demanded that the domain registrar revoke the WhoisGuard privacy protection service of the website, and turn over the contact information of the then-anonymous Eiland-Hall.[3] The registrar, NameCheap, refused.[3] On September 4, 2009, Beck's lawyers sent another letter to the domain registrar, repeating their requests, and noting that they had read the website's contents: "We also note that it appears you contacted the individual, as he states on his website hosted on the Defamatory Domain that 'my webhost is taking some flak over this website, so if he gets shuts me down, it may take a bit to get rehosted.'"[3]

The second letter to NameCheap stated: "Despite our letter yesterday demanding that you delete the Defamatory Domain, suspend and/or terminate your provision of WhoisGuard privacy protection services to the unknown individual who sought to register the domain, and provide us with information identifying the unknown individual, we note that as of Friday, September 4, 2009 at approximately 6:35 EDT, the Defamatory Domain remains active."[23] The domain registrar changed the nameservers of the website without telling Eiland-Hall.[3] After Eiland-Hall contacted the registrar, he was permitted to move the nameservers back.[3] Eiland-Hall subsequently registered alternate domains, including "", and "".[3]

In an interview with Gawker on September 9, 2009, Eiland-Hall stated that Beck's attorneys "have gone after the domain registrar, the hosting service, and even the data center that houses the servers on which his site lives".[23] "They basically tried to contact every level to shut it down. My hosting service isn't happy with the situation, but they're standing by me until they get a court order," said Eiland-Hall.[23] He told Gawker that he wanted his identity to remain anonymous.[23] Gawker reported that they attempted to obtain a statement from Beck: "We contacted Beck's personal publicist, who declined to comment but confirmed that Beck believes the site to be defamatory and is trying to get it taken down."[23]

WIPO complaint

In September 2009, lawyers representing Beck and his media company Mercury Radio Arts filed a complaint to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP), against the privacy service for Eiland-Hall's website.[4][7][9] WIPO is a Switzerland-based agency of the United Nations.[5][7] The rules of WIPO's Arbitration and Mediation Center were created by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).[18] The privacy service for the website revealed the identity of the site's owner in response to Beck's complaint.[9]

Beck's complaint asserted that Eiland-Hall "is attempting to mislead the public regarding the nature, origin and affiliation of the Web site".[4] Beck argued that the domain name of the website could be confused with his trademark, "Glenn Beck".[9] The complaint described the website's domain name as "defamatory" and asserted it "infringes on Beck's trademark interest in his own name".[3][12][13][23] Beck did not claim libel or defamation as point in the complaint itself, which instead focused on the legal issue of trademark.[15] The complaint asserted that the website was "plainly libelous, patently false, not authorized by Mercury or Beck, and is likely to cause confusion for consumers".[19]

Beck's complaint asserted that the very nature of the domain name of the website itself was an example of a bad faith registration.[4] The complaint argued that Eiland-Hall could have no legitimate interests or rights to the website's domain name.[9] As of September 2009, Beck was still in the process of trademarking use of his name for "goods and services", including usage of the name "Glenn Beck" on merchandise.[3] Eiland-Hall told The Daily Beast, "I was a little surprised that Beck, of all people — after making such a big deal about how international bodies should never be able to trump the U.S. Constitution — would take this to an international organization. But as I felt confident I would win, I wasn't too worried about it."[14]

Eiland-Hall response

Brief filed by respondent (September 28, 2009)

Eiland-Hall retained First Amendment rights lawyer Marc Randazza to represent him.[7] According to Randazza, Eiland-Hall sought out legal representation after receiving "threatening letters" from lawyers representing Beck.[7] On September 28, 2009, Randazza filed a 17-page response brief on behalf of his client.[9][18] The response brief asserted the website's domain name is "protected political speech",[7] and "satirical political humor".[4] According to Randazza, the website was being used for satire purposes, and the website's owner was not attempting to make a profit from such satire.[19]

Randazza wrote: "Only an abject imbecile could believe that the domain name would have any connection to [Beck]".[8][24] Randazza wrote that the website's domain name could not be confused with the "Glenn Beck" trademark, except to "A moron in a hurry".[9] This phrase refers to a legal concept where a reasonable person could become confused or deceived.[25]

He wrote: "We are not here because the domain name could cause confusion. We do not have a declaration from the president of the international association of imbeciles that his members are blankly staring at the Respondent's website wondering 'where did all the race baiting content go?'"[8][16] Randazza further explained the "moron in a hurry" argument, with respect to this case: "It is specious at best for Mr. Beck to assert that his fans, or the public as a whole, would confuse Respondent’s website with Mr. Beck himself — unless of course it is Mr. Beck’s view that his fans and the average internet user are in fact hurried morons."[16]

Randazza asserted that Beck had not sufficiently showed he has trademark rights over his name, "Glenn Beck".[9] The response asserted that Beck was actually trying to have the website taken down because he did not appreciate the criticism.[4] "We are here because Mr. Beck wants respondent's Web site shut down. He wants it shut down because Respondent's website makes a poignant and accurate satirical critique of Mr. Beck by parodying Beck's very rhetorical style," wrote Randazza in the response brief.[4][16] Randazza argued that Eiland-Hall does have legitimate rights to his website's domain name because of its use as criticism of Beck and as part of the Internet meme that had started on the Fark website.[9] "The Web site is a legitimate criticism site, consists of political satire, and thus the Respondent has legitimate rights in the domain name. Mr. Beck's attempt to censor this criticism is improper and should be rejected," wrote Randazza in the brief.[12]

The brief gave a brief history of Internet phenomena, including video parodies of the German film Downfall, memes based on the film 300, "Hitler Hates Kanye West", "All your base are belong to us", "Mr. Spock Ate My Balls", and the "Gerbil story" involving Richard Gere.[5][8][12][19][26] Randazza traced the website's origin, explaining the internet meme's roots in the Gilbert Gottfried joke: "The meme is a parody of from [sic] Glenn Beck’s own argumentation style mated with a Gilbert Gottfried routine performed during the Comedy Central Roast of “comedian” Bob Saget. During Gottfried’s speech, he kept repeating (in his trademark nasally voice) that there were rumors that Bob Saget had raped and killed a girl in 1990...".[19] Randazza then spelled out the "humor equation" of Eiland-Hall's website: "The humor equation is simple: (Outrageous Accusation) + (Celebrity) + (Question Why the Celebrity Does Not Deny the Accusation) = (Confirmation of the Falsity of the Accusation + Laughter)".[5][19]

Request to stipulate to US Constitution and First Amendment (September 29, 2009)

The Eiland-Hall response brief cited a clip of Beck interviewing United States Congessman Keith Ellison, a Muslim from Minnesota.[4][19] Beck requested that Representative Ellison prove he was "not working with our enemies".[4][19] "No offense and I know Muslims, I like Muslims, I've been to mosques, I really don't think Islam is a religion of evil. I think it's being hijacked, quite frankly. With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying let's cut and run. 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. And I know you're not. I'm not accusing you of being an enemy. But that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way," Beck had said to Ellison.[12][27] This was an example of Beck's style of interviewing, where he challenges his guests to prove a negative, to "prove you didn't do...".[19][27] Randazza concluded "Quite simply, Beck’s shtick is simply a cheap imitation of Gilbert Gottfried, sans the humor."[19]

Randazza's argument compared the case to the Supreme Court of the United States case Hustler Magazine v. Falwell.[5][19] Randazza wrote: "Beck’s skin is too thin to take the criticism, so he wants the site down. Beck is represented by a learned and respected legal team. Accordingly, it is beyond doubt that his counsel advised him that under the First Amendment to the United States’ Constitution, no action in a U.S. Court would be successful. See, e.g., Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988). Accordingly, Beck is attempting to use this transnational body to circumvent and subvert the Respondent’s constitutional rights."[19] In the legal brief, Randazza pointed out that Beck's action of going to the WIPO in an attempt to get the website taken down was in contradiction to his prior statements saying he prefers United States law over international law.[24] "[Beck’s] got good lawyers. I’m very impressed with his attorneys. He’s got to know if he tried to file it in U.S. courts he would have gotten creamed," said Randazza in a statement in Orlando Weekly.[2]

On September 29, 2009, Randazza requested that Beck voluntarily ask that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution be applied to the arbitration case, despite its international setting.[9][28][29] Randazza made this request because Beck's political commentary favored the United States Constitution over international law.[28] Randazza's September 29, 2009 letter to Beck's attorneys cited statements by Beck himself, where Beck indicated he preferred United States law over international law.[28] These quotes by Beck included the statement: "Once we sign our rights over to international law, the Constitution is officially dead."[28] Randazza's letter concluded: "I hate to presume anything about anyone, but I presume that Mr. Beck will agree to this stipulation. It would be an interesting day indeed if Mr. Beck preferred to risk that a panelist would apply French law to a case between two Americans over a matter of public discourse... I am certain that neither party wishes to see First Amendment rights subordinated to international trademark principles, thus unwittingly proving Mr. Beck's point. Lest this case become an example of international law causing damage to the constitutional rights that both of our clients hold dear, I respectfully request that your client agree to stipulate to the application of American constitutional law to this case."[28][29]

Audio interview of Marc Randazza on WPRR radio program Declaring Independence (October 8, 2009)

On October 8, 2009, Randazza was interviewed about the case on the WPRR radio program Declaring Independence.[30][31] Randazza explained why Beck did not file a libel lawsuit in the United States: "...the average citizen only has to show a low level of wrongdoing in order to prevail in a libel action. But a public figure, somebody who has purposely seized the limelight and who has access to the media, has to show something called actual malice. And that means you have to show that it was knowingly false or that it was a reckless disregard for the truth. Now, that might even seem to fit here, however, the Supreme Court has ruled that when in the context it is not really a serious statement of fact, actual malice cannot be proven."[31] He cited as an example the Hustler Magazine v. Falwell case that was popularized in the film The People vs. Larry Flynt.[31]

Supplemental filing and surreply

Beck supplemental filing

Beck submitted a supplemental filing in the case on October 13, 2009.[9] In Beck's supplemental filing, his attorneys asserted that the joke of the Eiland-Hall website is not obvious, and therefore the website's domain name is misleading.[32] "While there is absolutely nothing humorous or amusing about the statement made by Respondent in his domain name that 'Glenn Beck Raped and Murdered a Young Girl in 1990,' the average Internet user finding the domain name ("Disputed Domain Name") in a search would have no reason not to believe that they will be directed to a website providing factual information (as opposed to protected criticism or similar protected speech) about Mr. Beck," wrote Beck's attorneys in the supplemental filing.[32]

Eiland-Hall surreply
Respondent's surreply (October 20, 2009)

On October 20, 2009, Eiland-Hall filed a surreply in response to Beck's supplemental filing.[9] Eiland-Hall's attorney Randazza wrote in the surreply, "An average Internet user might not 'get the joke'. In fact, the average Internet user does not understand any internet memes. That’s the fun of a meme — it is an esoteric inside joke that will leave most people scratching their heads."[32] In Randazza's conclusion to the Eiland-Hall surreply, he noted, "Glenn Beck is the butt of a viral joke. He may not get the joke, but this does not make the joke likely to confuse or subject the domain name to transfer under the UDRP. Glenn Beck's failure to understand these basic principles of law does not make the joke any less humorous, and does not make him any less of the butt. The First Amendment protects Respondent’s right to make Glenn Beck the butt, and his hypocritical attempts to squelch legitimate free speech criticism do nothing to portray himself in a more flattering light. Because his arguments do not satisfy Section 4(a) of the Policy, his request should be denied. Because he has attempted to silence a critic by circumventing (and thereby devaluing) the First Amendment — which he publically [sic] (and in this proceeding) claims to love — he should be deeply ashamed."[33]

WIPO ruling

On October 29, 2009, the WIPO ruled against Glenn Beck in the case.[9][34][35][36] For Beck to have prevailed in the case, the WIPO court would have had to have ruled in Beck's favor on three issues: one, that the domain name could be confused with the mark "Glenn Beck", two, that Eiland-Hall did not have legitimate interests in the name, and three, that the domain name was "bad faith" usage.[36] On the first point, Frederick M. Abbott, the WIPO arbitrator, ruled that the domain name could be confused with the "Glenn Beck" mark.[36] On the issue of profit off Beck's mark, WIPO ruled, "While there is some evidence that at some stage third-party vendors of goods and services critical of [Beck] may have earned some income on sales of t-shirts and bumper stickers embodying political slogans based on click-throughs from [Eiland-Hall's] Web site, the panel does not believe this is sufficient 'commercial activity' to change the balance of interests already addressed."[35] Abbott was the sole arbitrator on the WIPO panel.[37]

Abbott concluded that Eiland-Hall had legitimate interests in the website's name, writing, "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."[36] Abbott did not make a conclusion on the third point, but stated it would not be likely that Beck would have won on the "bad faith" matter.[36] Abbott wrote that the issue of determining whether the website is defamatory would not be an element for WIPO.[36] The WIPO instead limited the scope of the case to a determination of whether the website registrant had engaged in "abusive domain name registration and use".[35]

Letter to Glenn Beck from Eiland-Hall after conclusion of case (November 6, 2009)

On November 6, 2009, Eiland-Hall wrote a letter to Beck, and gave him control of the domain free of charge.[38][39] In the letter, he told Beck the administrative username and password for control of the domain.[40][41] Eiland-Hall wrote that he had made his point, and that the act of filing the complaint exacerbated the situation for the complainant.[39] "It bears observing that by bringing the WIPO complaint, you took what was merely one small critique meme, in a sea of internet memes, and turned it into a super-meme. Then, in pressing forward (by not withdrawing the complaint and instead filing additional briefs), you turned the super-meme into an object lesson in First Amendment principles," wrote Eiland-Hall in the letter to Beck.[38][39] He commented on Beck's actions with regard to free speech,

"It also bears noting, in this matter and for the future, that you are entirely in control of whether or not you are the subject of this particular kind of criticism. I chose to criticize you using the well-tested method of satire because of its effectiveness. But, humor aside, your rhetorical style is no laughing matter. In this context of this WIPO case, you denigrated the letter of First Amendment law. In the context of your television show and your notoriety, you routinely and shamelessly denigrate the spirit of the First Amendment..."[38]

Eiland-Hall explained his rationale for giving away the domain name, citing it was a matter of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, "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."[39]

Techdirt reported on November 6, 2009 that had become a dead site.[38] By November 10, 2009, the domain name was registered by Beck's company Mercury Radio Arts, Inc.[40] Eiland-Hall's website was still operational at and[40] He posted a notice at saying, "WE WON!", and wished Beck would feel better as he was then suffering from appendicitis.[42] In a posting to his blog, Eiland-Hall's lawyer Marc Randazza commented, "Free Speech Wins Again."[43]

Beck did not issue a response to Eiland-Hall's letter.[44] A representative of Beck declined to provide a comment to PC Magazine about the conclusion of the case.[35] Lawyers for Beck did not respond to a request for comment about the WIPO ruling from National Public Radio.[40]


Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Corynne McSherry and Paul Levy of the organization Public Citizen commented on the case to Ars Technica, and both stated Beck's trademark claim before the WIPO was "preposterous".[3] Levy noted that domain names in and of themselves could be seen as defamatory, but the statement in the domain name would have to be deemed both false, and a statement of malice.[3] Levy and McSherry thought that Beck's attorneys' filing may have been to ascertain Eiland-Hall's identity, which was anonymous prior to Beck's complaint.[16][21] McSherry said that "I'm not sure of any case where someone has claimed that a domain name was defamatory,"[3] and Jack Bremer of The First Post wrote that the attempts by Beck's lawyers to claim that the domain name of the website is itself defamatory "looks like a first in cyber law".[21]

Media commentators wrote that Randazza's legal brief was entertainingly written, including Paul Schmelzer of the Minnesota Independent,[19] Andy Carvin of National Public Radio,[8] and Andrew Allemann of Domain Name Wire.[24] Writing for Bostonist, Rick Sawyer called Randazza's legal brief "Hilarious!", and classed him among the "most hilarious legal writers" in North Shore, Massachusetts.[26] Eriq Gardner of Adweek pointed out that "this case also makes a political point", referring to Beck's style of commentary exemplified in the interview with Congressman Keith Ellison.[12] Chris Matyszczyk of CNET News commented on the legal issues of the case, and wrote "For those of you with a purely legal bent, the papers offer some interesting trademark and First Amendment issues too. The latter revolve around the idea that given this dispute is between two Americans, it should be handled with respect to the First Amendment. As for the former, is Glenn Beck's trademark merely Glenn Beck? Or is it anything that includes the words Glenn and Beck?"[17] Ed Brayton of ScienceBlogs called Randazza's request that Beck agree to stipulate to United States law "pure genius",[28] and Daily Kos noted, "You have to understand the beautifully tight position that this puts Beck in: if he presses on further with a supranational attempt on trying to get rid of the website, he will continue to look like a gigantic hypocrite, given Beck's reported disdain for international bodies and fetishization (without understanding) of American law."[45]

"It's good to see that this WIPO arbitrator had no interest in allowing Beck to circumvent the guarantees of the U.S. Constitution."

 —Citizen Media Law Project[1]

Commentators analyzed Beck's actions with respect to the "Streisand effect".[20][46][47] The "Streisand effect" refers to a phenomenon by which an attempt to remove critical material from the Internet backfires, instead increasing interest in that material.[48] Jim Emerson of the Chicago Sun-Times commented that the website's disclaimer "hasn't stopped Beck's lawyers from trying to shut down the site – resulting in more blowback and another manifestation of the dreaded Streisand Effect!"[20] Jeffrey Weiss of Politics Daily wrote that by taking legal action, Beck "did the one thing guaranteed to garner the greatest amount of publicity for the site".[6] John Cook of Gawker noted that "Glenn Beck's trying to shut down their web site, ensuring that people will write about it."[23] Mike Masnick wrote about the case on Techdirt, and commented about the effect of Beck's actions on the spread of the meme: "Beck would have been better off just ignoring it. Instead, in legitimizing it by trying to take it down, many more people become aware of the meme – and may start calling attention to situations where Beck (and others) make use of such tactics."[46] Steffen Schmidt wrote of Beck's predicament in an article in the Des Moines Register: "Although the mainstream media has avoided any mention of this rumor, Mr. Beck has quite a task ahead of him. Shutting down one web site is like trying to eradicate Pueraria lobata the dreaded Kudzu vine that is eating the South."[18] The Citizen Media Law Project agreed with Levy and McSherry that Beck's trademark claim over the website was "preposterous", and noted: "Beck is only making matters worse for himself by threatening legal action against the website. Before, it was just another idiot meme among the oceans of idiot memes online. Now, it's creeping through the blogosphere toward the mainstream news. ... And Beck will be wishing he never called his lawyers in. Believe it."[13]

Upon conclusion of the WIPO case, Glynnis MacNicol of Mediaite commented, "So, perhaps one lesson here is: live by the Constitution, put up with Internet by the Constitution."[49] Ed Brayton of ScienceBlogs pointed out, "Ironically, Beck never did respond to Marc Randazza's motion for a stipulation that the panel would have to apply American law in deciding the case, but it didn't matter. He never really had a case even under the standards applicable by this international tribunal."[50] Of Eiland-Hall's decision to turn the domain over to Beck after the conclusion of the case, Brayton commented, "Well played, sir. Well played,"[50] Monica Hesse of The Washington Post commented on Eiland-Hall's decision to keep the website active at the alternate domain name, "In a way, they're continuing to do what they accuse Beck of doing -- raise preposterous scenarios out of thin air, with the idea that even raising the question introduces the issue."[51] Wendy Davis of Online Media Daily commented on the potential impact the case could have in the future, "The decision appears to mark a significant win for digital rights advocates because a ruling in Beck's favor could have encouraged other subjects of online parodies to take their complaints directly to the WIPO rather than U.S. courts, which are bound by the First Amendment. Some U.S. courts have ruled in other cases that parody sites don't infringe in trademark, even if they use a famous name in the URL."[52] and John Cook of Gawker called it the "best part of the whole affair".[53] Citizen Media Law Project assistant director Sam Bayard said of the WIPO arbitrator's decision, "It's good to see that this WIPO arbitrator had no interest in allowing Beck to circumvent the guarantees of the U.S. Constitution."[1][52] He went on to congratulate Randazza, "Congratulations to Marc for this big victory and for his innovative brief that not only won the case, but also brought 'spock ate my balls' into the legal lexicon."[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Bayard, Sam (November 6, 2009). "Glenn Beck's UDRP Complaint Gets The Smack Down". Citizen Media Law Project ( Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  2. ^ a b c Manes, Billy; Bob Whitby (October 7, 2009). "Happytown". Orlando Weekly ( Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Anderson, Nate (September 9, 2009). "Can a mere domain name be defamation? Glenn Beck says yes". Ars Technica (Condé Nast Publications). Retrieved 2009-10-04. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Davis, Wendy (September 30, 2009). "Glenn Beck Urges Parody Site Be Shut Down". MediaPost News: Online Media Daily (MediaPost Communications). Retrieved 2009-10-04. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Emerson, Jim (October 2, 2009). "All Your Beck Are Belong To Us". Scanners (Chicago Sun-Times). Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  6. ^ a b c d Weiss, Jeffrey (September 17, 2009). "The 'Glenn Beck as Murderer' Meme: Vaccine or Infection?". Politics Daily (AOL News). Retrieved 2009-10-04. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hesslam, Jessica (October 2, 2009). "Bay State lawyer takes on FOX yakker". Boston Herald (Boston Herald and Herald Media). Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Carvin, Andy (October 2, 2009). "Glenn Beck Internet Meme Gets Ugly". National Public Radio ( Retrieved 2009-10-04. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Citizen Media Law Project staff (September 28, 2009). "Beck v. Eiland-Hall". Citizen Media Law Project ( Retrieved 2009-10-04. 
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