domain name placed on hold

If you do a "whois" right now, you'll see that the InterNIC's domain name record has the following notation:

Domain Name: PETA.ORG Domain Status: On Hold Pending Server Activation

Presumably this is because the InterNIC's database wasn't set up for a 'Domain Status' that equals "On Hold Pending Domain Name Confiscation."

While the domain name remains on hold, please set your bookmarks and links to this location:

The dispute process is not in any way finished; the domain name is simply being placed on hold until the dispute is resolved through other means.

InterNIC: unresponsive and clueless

On March 25 I received a letter from Network Solutions Inc., the "InterNIC Domain Name Registrar," informing me that they had received a formal complaint alleging that the domain name is identical to a registered trademark. Following the policy laid out in their so-called "Domain Name Dispute Policy" this letter named four choices, from which I had thirty days to select one:
  1. produce a certified copy of a trademark registration for that domain name, and keep the domain name after posting a bond;
  2. relinquish the domain name;
  3. accept the assignment of a new domain name and a 90 day transition period;
  4. refuse all of the above, resulting in the domain name being placed on "hold" until the dispute was resolved.
My attorney delivered a letter to David Graves, Network Solutions' lawyer, on April 19, requesting an extension of the deadline for my response to this letter. While taking note of the Roadrunner case, the letter also pointed out that "PeTA" was attempting to use the InterNIC's policy to settle a political dispute, and that appeal to the InterNIC should only be considered a method of last resort.

This last point is quite relevant, being that my attorney's letter to "PeTA" requesting a meeting to discuss this matter was ignored, and appears to have immediately prompted "PeTA's" formal complaint.

It appears that David Graves and Network Solutions, following "PeTA's" fine example of businesslike conduct, ignored my attorney's letter completely, despite the fact that we requested a response, one way or the other, before any action was taken. Without further notice, the domain name was taken out of service sometime during the evening of May 2.

We already know, given that Network Solutions is already being sued as a result of its policy, that this policy is arbitrary, it is unfair, it places small businesses and individuals at an incredible disadvantage, and it blatantly favors slow-moving large businesses who are only just now figuring out that the Internet is a valuable medium. But that's not all...

The suit brought against NSI by Roadrunner Computer Systems has brought an interesting detail to light. In NSI's Answer and Counterclaim NSI discloses that its domain name policy, which is central to my dispute, has been "approved by the National Science Foundation," an agency of the United States Government. This policy is not simply a business decision on the part of a private business, instead, it is possible that this policy is an extension of U.S. Government policy. In that case, different rules may apply.

The "Tasty Animals" web page has been widely recognized as a work of political satire and commentary. My ability to produce and exhibit this work has been affected by the actions of NSI, which may be acting as an agent of the U.S. Government. This may well be a matter of constitutional law, and not trademark law, and it is quite possible that my free speech rights have been infringed as a result.

Needless to say, this matter is being studied by more than one attorney at the moment. Watch this space for further developments.

And as for the fine folks like Steven Ragland over at "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals," who have temporarily taken a back seat in recent events, here's a message for them. Perhaps it's quite appropriate that an organization, whose obvious goal (besides enriching itself, of course) is to expand the government's power to the point that many activities of everyday American life become illegal, would rely upon a flawed, unworkable, unjust, and in some cases, unconstitutional policy expressly approved by the U.S. Government to attempt to confiscate this domain name from me. Does "PeTA" really wish to encourage the U.S. Government to deny me my right to speak? Is this the image that their organization wishes to present to the public?

"PeTA" has no legal grounds whatsoever to make even the slightest demands of me regarding this domain name registration. If they disagree, they can sue me. And if they don't, well, perhaps they can behave like the polite ladies and gentlemen that they evidently aren't, and negotiate a settlement with me. (Dropping voice-mail messages on me demanding that I "voluntarily relinquish" the domain name doesn't constitute an invitation to negotiation, and "PeTA" has pointedly ignored my explicit request for a meeting.) Otherwise, "PeTA" can wait until the signficance and value of a domain name drops to nearly nothing, which is inevitable as each new web search engine comes on-line, because that's how long it's going to take for this dispute to play out.

Recent Usenet News Articles

Domain Name Dispute Links

In other news...

More advertising for this web page ;-) appeared last month in the form of a massively crossposted Usenet article from apparent PETA-phile Lisa Seaman. Apparently Ms. Seaman expected to send a small flood of hate mail in my direction, but as expected and as usual, hate mail continues to be a very tiny portion of the messages I receive at the 'eats' address.

Meanwhile, there have been a few minor incidents of harassment. I'll skip the details and only say that the mail and phone calls others have received will have no effect whatsoever on my activities here on the web, and that anything I do here is entirely within the acceptable use policies of my employer and internet provider.

People are always asking me...

"How about a section on pets?" In response to all your suggestions for pet-related links, I've just added a "Pets" section. The true goal of the "animal rights" movement is the elimination of all interaction between humans and animals - including your right to own a pet. Please don't hesitate to mail me more links for this section.

"... and a section on fishing?" Given "PeTA's" planned harassment of fishermen this summer, this section is quite overdue.

"Where do we get the bumper sticker?" Good question. Though it seems a number of entrepreneurs across the U.S. have produced various forms of "Tasty Animals" bumper stickers, there hasn't been one directly associated with this web site. That may change. I have two bumper sticker designs in the works which I'm considering producing and selling so that I can at least break even with this web site. Please send your comments about the designs, to

Mike Doughney, Editor
May 12, 1996

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