‘Touchy feely’ Apple Computer in dispute over itunes.co.uk website domian name

“Touchy feely computer giant Apple is taking on former dotcom millionaire Benjamin Cohen over the ownership of the itunes.co.uk website, it emerged yesterday,” Rosie Murray-West writes for The Telegraph. “Mr. Cohen, who is now 22 but shot to fame as the 17-year-old founder of Jewish interest internet site “Sojewish,” said yesterday that he had received a call from Apple’s lawyers while he was in hospital for a “minor operation”. He said that the computer company, which declined to comment, offered him a ‘tiny’ amount of money for the website name itunes.co.uk, which he had registered for his own music business during the dotcom boom.”

Rosie Murray-West writes, “Apple launched the iTunes.com music downloading website in the UK in June after it had proved popular in the US. Mr Cohen said that he had registered the itunes.co.uk website ‘innocently’ as one of a series of generic domain names to forward to a network of websites for his internet company CyberBritain. He said that Apple has now issued Nominet proceedings. Nominet is the organisation which regulates internet domain names in the UK. He added that Apple had threatened to take CyberBritain to the High Court. ‘I don’t have to sell it to them,’ he said, adding that he would have probably done so if the company had approached him. ‘There is something to be said for a direct and friendly approach.'”

Full article here.

35 Comments

  1. There is something to be said for a direct and friendly approach.

    I’m willing to cut him some slack, and give him the benefit of doubt here, but c’mon the only reason his domain is worth the price of a turd is because of Apple’s hard work. I think he should sell it to them for a fair price, and if not I think Apple has the right to take it from under him.

    I detest squatting and do not believe it should ever result in anyone pocketing an extra red cent.

  2. If he had innocently registered the name before Apple announced the name iTunes then (morally at least) Apple does not have a case. If it was after then it is a simple case of domain name hijacking and Apple can feed him to the lyons.

  3. He claims that he registered the name for his own music business. I just don’t buy the idea that he creatively under his own inspiration happened to choose the same name for his music venture as Apple did.

    If you go to the webpage, you will see that is has nothing to do with music. It seems very likely that, as twilightmoon states, he is trying to make money off of Apple’s success. Fine. Make yourselfsome money by selling the name to Apple, just don’t try to act like an innocent victim.

  4. yo check it

    January 9, 2001
    Apple introduces iTunes for the Macintosh, a program that converts audio CDs into compressed digital audio files, organizes digital music collections, and plays Internet radio.

    BUT it was leaked in fall of 2000!!!!!

    now this dude says he was smart enough to pick up the name itunes.co.uk, well check this out:

    he registered it in 2000 so he got word that apple was putting itunes out! so he’s just a leach finding off of apple’s success, he’s probably flat broke

    FYI:
    Domain Name:
    itunes.co.uk

    Registrant:
    CyberBritain Group Ltd

    Registrant’s Address:
    Lower Ground Floor
    155 Armhurst Road
    London
    London
    E8 2AW
    GB

    Registrant’s Agent:
    TUCOWS INC [Tag = TUCOWS-CA]
    URL: http://www.opensrs.org

    Relevant Dates:
    Registered on: 07-Nov-2000
    Renewal Date: 07-Nov-2006
    Last updated: 21-Oct-2004

    Registration Status:
    Registered until renewal date.

    Name servers listed in order:
    ns0.register1.net 80.253.109.2
    ns1.register1.net 80.253.108.3

    WHOIS database last updated at 06:15:01 08-Dec-2004


    (c) Nominet UK 1996 – 2004

  5. I’ve changed my mind on this. I do think this guy should lose.

    He registered between Apple applying for a trademark and the announcement of iTunes,

    I think if he’d registered beforehand, I’d be more inclined to be on his side.

    The other thing which I think is important is that the address is just being used to get you to a different site that doesn’t even mention iTunes. This guy has no iTunes product of his own. If he did, and there would be a detrimental effect on his business – or an inconvenience to him personally, then I’d say he was entitled to keep it.

    The softly softly approach would have been more sensible too. I was accused of squatting by some American who ran a small local news/information site for a town in Florida. He demanded my domain name by going straight to Nominet without approaching me first. Unknown to him, I had the .co.uk address that matched the name of my company that had been registered in the UK in 1993. I didn’t have a web-page at the time, I was just using the domain for email.

    I’d want to see what kind of business this guy has based exclusively on the iTunes name before making my mind up fully, but on the face of it he seems to have none and is simply squatting.

  6. I love it – “touchy feely” Apple sends a squatter a letter – while the squatter happens to be in hospital – and he’s all upset. Very touchy feely. Methinks he dost protest too much. Come on, the squatter is a business man. He knows his way around, just sell your domain for a reasonable price and be done with it.

  7. Dear lord — you’re all AWFULLY supportive of “the man.”

    By which I don’t mean the man at all, but rather the company. You get the idea.

    He got there first, YEARS before they had any kind of announcement to introduce the product in UK. It’s *such* a generic name (the “i” prefix, while now loudly associated with Apple, has been around almost as long as the “e” prefix for internetty things).

    They’re going to get it. But they should absolutely be required to pay a fair price for it. Predicting trends and positioning so as to take advantage is a capitalist staple. Buy low, sell high comes to mind.

  8. Surprised,
    in the gold fields you lost your claim if you did not work it for a year. He does not use the domain (he’s had 4 years to do something with it) for “tunes”. It’s just a redirector site, to funnel traffic into other sites. And the domain name is misleading. No tunes. No i.
    He was there first. So what? The same argument is used by people who, early in the morning, block lounge chair at the hotel pool with their towels, hours before they go to the pool. Really annoying. Throw away his stupid towel and take a seat, Apple!

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