I just got an email from Patrick O'Keefe, a friend that I've known through the web for years. His story got my blood boiling and I want to share it.
Updated:Â Patrick will not have to give up his site (for now). Â
Patrick owns a Mariano Rivera fan site at MarianoRivera.com. Here's the banner - notice the "unofficial" part. Rivera is a relief pitcher for for the NY Yankees.
Just recently he was contacted by SFX Baseball, who represents Rivera. Without any other contact, they have accused him of cybersquatting and creating the site to...
trick people into coming to this website instead a website operating with Mr. Rivera's approval.
they "demand" that I immediately cease and desist my use of the domain name and give it to them. They want written confirmation saying that I will do it by 5:00 PM on August 10 or they'll... well... do what they need to do without any further notice to me.
Now, I am not a lawyer, but I imagine that Patrick may end up having to give up the domain - but it's not about that. This article has more info on the personal name/domain name issue.
What gets me (and Patrick) is the automatic accusation of unethical behavior. The lawyers came to him having ruled, judge and jury, that he is a thief or criminal. Maybe the sports and music lawyers should get together - strongarming is sooo 1980.
Patrick and his site are completely legit, as he says:
It's not like we're selling forged autographs, trying to trick people into something or passing ourselves as official. This is a good fan site. We've been in operation since April 4, 2004 - that's 3 years and nearly 5 months. We are the largest (and perhaps only) Mariano Rivera fan site on the internet.
Again, this isn't about the legal case - it's about being cool - you know, like The Fonz. I get so frustrated when I hear about lawyers reacting this way. Haven't we moved on yet?
To blindly throw around offensive boilerplate letters and try to throw us up against the wall like a typical cybersquatter is completely, completely inappropriate. I don't know why they couldn't have approached us respectfully and asked nicely? Maybe thanked us for what we've done and offered to work with us or something.
He is a fan with nothing but good intentions to support an athlete - and they treat him like a criminal? Patrick's site is about the best, most wholesome and legit site Mr. Rivera has on the web right now.
I wish Patrick the best in fighting this. More than anything, I want to bring light to tactics that I sincerely loath. I have no love for people that work this way. Patrick deserves better. Pass it on.
More on this story here.