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Microsoft Goes After Mike Rowe For Copyright Infringement

Microsoft Goes After Mike Rowe For Copyright Infringement

by , 10:00 AM EST, January 20th, 2004

If we ran something like the excellent "News of the Weird" feature, this would surely qualify: Microsoft is demanding that a young man named Mike Rowe give up his domain of MikeRoweSoft.com (say it out loud). The reason? Why Mr. Mike Rowe is guilty of copyright infringement, according to Big Redmond. From an article from CNN:

Rowe, a 17-year-old high school senior and Web designer from Victoria, has angered the software giant by registering an Internet site with the address www.MikeRoweSoft.com.

"Since my name is Mike Rowe, I thought it would be funny to add 'soft' to the end of it," said Rowe.

Microsoft, however, is not amused.

It has demanded that he give up his domain name. In November, Rowe received a letter from Microsoft's Canadian lawyers informing him he was committing copyright infringement.

There's more information in the short article at CNN.

The Mac Observer Spin:

In today's corporate-dominated environment, companies have far too much power when it comes to such things as domains. From J.K. Rowlings management coming down on kids with Harry Potter-related domains, to Miller Brewing going after the Miller family, if you have a domain that is covered by a corporate trademark, beware.

With that in mind, we wouldn't at all be surprised to see Mr. Mike Rowe lose this particular domain squabble, but we hope that's not the case.

Furthermore, we think this is an idiotic move on Big Redmond's part. Aside from corporate greed and the desire to control everything possible, the supposed reason for any company to pursue these domains is that if they are allowed to go scot free, a trademark holder could possibly lose its trademark. Company's must protect their trademarks, or they can lose them.

In this case, however, can any argument be made that the use of MikeRoweSoft.com could possibly lead to Microsoft losing its trademark? Nope. This is just some of that good old fashioned corporate greed we were talking about.

It's enough to make you shake your head, and don't think we are just shaking it at Microsoft. Many companies have spent enormous resources in an effort to keep fans from promoting the company or its products. It's sheer nonsense.

That said, we've only heard Mike Rowe's side. It could be that Mikeroweso...er, Microsoft did offer to Mike a fair price for his domain and was refused in the hopes of getting more. After all, Big Redmond spends more on lawyers per hour than what poor Mike could ever reasonably hope to get from them.

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