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The Saga of 1246 1246

digitalcaffeine writes "The gist of the story is that Katie Tarbox became a victim of an online sexual predator when she was 13. She wrote a book about it in 2000 and Penguin Putnam made the title of the book 'Katie.Com', which unfortunately was a domain name owned by Katie Jones since 1996. Now Tarbox's lawyer is demanding that Jones turn over the domain name. Penguin refuses to apologize, saying that it would be a violation of their free speech to re-title the book and that Jones never trademarked, so they can do what they want with the words."
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The Saga of

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  • by PhuCknuT (1703) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:26AM (#9887945) Homepage
    You're thinking of copyright. Trademarks need to be registered.
  • by mtrupe (156137) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:28AM (#9887966) Homepage Journal
    This could set a frightening precedent.

    Anyone know why the lawyers are going after Katie Jones rather than the register or something? All Katie Jones did was send someone money to register a domain name. The idiotic publisher fogot to check and see if it was taken before naming the book? Huh?

    Katie Jones hasn't broken any laws, so I would guess that the lawyers are just trying to bully her. All this publicity will certainly take the wind out of the corrupt sails.

    My post doesn't make sense because this story makes no sense. This is just crazy!
  • Re:A new shock site? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:29AM (#9887987)
    Yeah, but some dipshit moderator has given me a +1 Insightful, so I ain't complaining!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:31AM (#9888011)
    RTFA. Penguin is a multinational corporation and Katie Jones is from the UK.
  • by doublem (118724) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:33AM (#9888039) Homepage Journal
    Please send your complaints to [], which is the web site of the Penguin book that is causing all this fuss.

    If the author gets flooded with mail about her predatory behavior, something might happen.

    The autor's address is [mailto]

    Penguin couldn't care less.
  • (Score:5, Informative)

    by erick99 (743982) <> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:35AM (#9888061)
    From her website;

    To answer some questions that I've received today, firstly as far as I know the rather aggressive lawyer who contacted me yesterday is not part of Penguin Puttnam but is working with Katie Tarbox on future projects and trying to gain control of my domain name for these projects. She informed me that things would 'only get worse' for me from here if I didn't do something about it - i.e. give it to them.

    Finally, a point about this domain name. When this book launched I had no choice but to take down the content I previously had published on the front page because of the traffic coming to the site and having no choice but to remove it if I didn't want my professional and personal reputation damaged by it. I still use it, although I don't link from the front page of course, and one day I sincerely hope I'll be able to move my content back up where it belongs.



  • Re:A new shock site? (Score:5, Informative)

    by SpooForBrains (771537) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:37AM (#9888091)
    Why doesn't the real (slim?) Katie make a convienient mirror of, say, goatse.

    because her best chance of winning this in court (bearing in mind that there has only been one previous legal precedent and the legality is still a little muddy) is to prove that she is not keeping ownership of the domain to "cash in on" or deliberately adversely affect the book or the publishers' reputation.
  • by imadork (226897) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:38AM (#9888095) Homepage
    The Register article seemed informative but can this really be all there is to this? Is Penguin really so dumb as to steamroller over someone's domain name and not offer even a token sum to fix it? I wonder. If Katie T. and Penguin really are this mean-spirited and greedy then I do hope that someone steps forward and helps Katie J. fund a legal challenge.

    No, you pretty much have it right. This story has been around for a while and very little has changed. You can google for older stories if you like.

    Katie J. is in a no-win situation. If she offers to sell the domain or sue for damages, she'll be accused of trying to profit off of Penguin's book, and would likely lose the domain in a trademark dispute to WIPO.

    But Penguin's use of is directly causing her harm, because she effectively can't use it for its intended purpose because of all the traffic it is getting. And even if she got Penguin to change future editions, the damage is already done -- is effectively useless for anything that is not associated with the book. The only way to remedy this is to sue for damaged caused by Penguin's behavior -- which, as we already discussed, she can't really do.

    This is why I'm not a lawyer. It seems like they're all schmucks.

  • by interiot (50685) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:38AM (#9888099) Homepage
    Now that Penguin has released the book,'s owner could potentially ask for an arbitrarily high selling price, since the book's title can't be changed anymore, so Penguin may be hesitant to negotiate at this point. The proper thing to do would have been for Penguin to offer a smaller price BEFORE the book's cover was finalized.
  • Usefull contacts (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andy_R (114137) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:42AM (#9888144) Homepage Journal
    if you would like to let penguin know what you think of their strongarm tactics, you might find the following information useful:

    Penguin Books Ltd, Pearson Customer Operations
    Edinburgh Gate, Harlow, Essex, CM20 2JE
    Fax: 0870 850 1115

    Penguin Group (USA)
    375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014

    Penguin Group (Australia)
    250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, VIC 3124
    Tel: 61-3-9871-2400
    Fax: 61-3-9870-6086

    Penguin Group (Canada)
    10 Alcorn Ave., Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario, M4V 3B2 Canada
    Tel: (416) 925-2249
    Fax: (416) 925-0068

    Penguin India
    11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi 110 017, India
    Tel: 91-11-2649-4401
    Fax: 91-11-2649-4402

    Penguin Ireland
    25 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
    Tel: 00-353-1-661-7695
    Fax: 00-353-1-661-7696

    Penguin Group (New Zealand)
    Private Bag 102-902, North Shore Mail Centre, Auckland 1310
    Albany, Auckland, New Zealand
    Tel: 64-9-415-4700
    Fax: 64-9-415-4703

    Penguin South Africa
    24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, 2169, South Africa
    Tel: 27-11-327-3550
    Fax: 27-11-327-6574
  • Re:Stupid... (Score:4, Informative)

    by doublem (118724) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:43AM (#9888155) Homepage Journal
    You didn't read the article.

    They did look it up first, they just went ahead not caring that they were about to vaporize someone else's server.

    no one's going to go to ""

    As the article states, the woman who owns receives a LOT of traffic and email from people who think her site is affiliated with the book. She even gets e-mail from pedophiles.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:45AM (#9888181)

    Maybe Penguin should have thought about that before releasing the book?

    Who says they didn't? The book was originally going to be called, but it was changed at the last minute. was a porn website at the time., on the other hand, is a relatively inoffensive personal domain. A personal domain that, at the time, linked to the owner's online chat business website. The subject of the book happens to be a girl getting harrased via online chat.

  • Re:Makes no sense (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:53AM (#9888262)
    hmmmmmmm...maybe the fact that microsoft IS trademarked???? (I am in no way condoning what Penguin has done, just pointing out the flaw in your argument)
  • by digitalcaffeine (787048) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:54AM (#9888273) Homepage
    Other new sources for this story:,4273,4 048410,00.html ms_rack.html
  • by jbash (784046) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:57AM (#9888306)
    Trademarks don't necessarily need to be registered. See [] for a brief summary of common law trademark rights, but also do a google search common+law+trademark+and+internet&btnG=Search [] What you'll find is that trademark law is actually a lot more complex--and often contradictory--than you think.
  • by vidarh (309115) <> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @09:58AM (#9888311) Homepage Journal
    You automatically get trademark protection through use. Registering a trademark just makes it easier to enforce. The problem, though is that trademark protection is restricted to similar areas of business and overlapping geographic areas for the most part. The former clearly does not apply here, and wouldn't have even if the trademark had been registered. However trademark law isn't what they should be looking at here.

    Anyone want to bet that if I wrote a story about sexual abuse and published it under a title that happened to include Penguin's lawyers phone numbers or e-mail addresses, I'd get instantly sued?

    The bullshit about trademarks is just an attempt to confuse the issue.

  • Re:Makes no sense (Score:5, Informative)

    by finkployd (12902) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:01AM (#9888342) Homepage
    When the book was written, the domain "" was not registered. Therefore anybody was/is allowed to use the words "" as the title of a book. (This is confirmed bt the fact that the owner of the domain never did anything against the publishers of the book.)

    WTF? WAS registered at the time the book was written. The it has been registered since 1996, the book came out in 2000. Grab a calculator and do the math.

    How does a single women failing to embark on a lawsuit against a multinational publisher confirm that a domain name was not registered when the book came out?

  • Full history (Score:5, Informative)

    by potcrackpot (245556) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:03AM (#9888353) Homepage
    OK, everyone seems a little confused about this - like, why now when the book was published in 2000?

    For those that don't RTFA:

    - In 2000, this book came out, and Katie Jones asked Dutton (subsidiary of Penguin) to change the title, as she had the domain name and they were hijacking it; as a result of the book title, KJ was receiving emails both detailing peoples abuse at the hands of paedophiles, as well as abusive emails from paedophiles themselves. See here [] and here []. KJ took loads of stuff (including pictures of herself and family) off the site as a result - and Penguin ignored the request. I can't find the original slashdot article, although I'm sure there must have been one.
    - Now, four years later, Jones gets a nasty letter, and this slashdot story is posted. This is caused by KT doing some thing about teaching kids about online safety (whether for money or altruism I don't know) - and them calling it Source [].
    - It seems the lawyer, one Parry Aftab, has a website [].

    There's a good summary (almost as good as this one) here [], and suprisingly, on CNN [].

  • by imadork (226897) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:05AM (#9888373) Homepage
    From TFA: Ever since the book was published - four years after she had first been bought it - Katie Jones has received masses of email and heavy traffic to her site but wants none of it. She has had to pull her own content off visible pages on the site, and has posted instead a protest blog about how the book's publishers - Penguin - have effectively made it impossible for her to use her own property. On top of this, Katie runs a chatroom business in the UK, and had used the site as a homepage to, among other things, post pictures of her baby. Considering the context, it was impossible for her to mention either on her homepage. What is especially upsetting to new mum Katie is the content of the thousands of emails sent to her email address. Many tell tales of sexual abuse, many ask for advice, but many more contain sick and offensive comments from those who find paedophilia amusing or exciting. ... As Katie herself explains: " belongs to me, it's associated with my professional and personal reputation and if they can hijack it like this then what kind of precedent is that setting for other companies or people to do the same to other peoples domain names?" She neatly sumises: "It's akin to publishing a book with my home phone number as the title, or my home address." If Penguin doesn't behave more responsibly, it may quickly find public opinion turns against it.
  • by gorbachev (512743) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:06AM (#9888379) Homepage
    She (Katie Tarbox) is, btw, answering to Emails sent to that address.

    Just got a reply from her.

    She seems to be in the opinion that she has no control over this, and it's Penguin Putnam who is at fault. Kinda of a cop out, if you ask me, and sidestepping the issue discussed in the article about her lawyer trying to intimidate Katie Jones to hand over for free.

    Proletariat of the world, unite to kill Big MultiNational Corporations
  • Re:Makes no sense (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mantorp (142371) <mantorp 'funny A'> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:09AM (#9888421) Homepage Journal
    the poster meant not registered as a trademark
  • by Necromancyr (602950) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:12AM (#9888456)
    If you haven't read the Register article, you should still head over to the page for the book and make sure you vote up the comments telling this story and why not to buy the book & vote down the others. 282535/qid=1091544986/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-735100 1-1544757?v=glance&s=books [] While being molested is a horrible horrible thing, using it for your own personal greed and to hurt others is horrible as well.
  • by nukem1999 (142700) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:12AM (#9888463)
    Direct from
    To answer some questions that I've received today, firstly as far as I know the rather aggressive lawyer who contacted me yesterday is not part of Penguin Puttnam but is working with Katie Tarbox on future projects and trying to gain control of my domain name for these projects. She informed me that things would 'only get worse' for me from here if I didn't do something about it - i.e. give it to them.

    The "only get worse" part is enough to qualify it as a demand in my book.
  • Re:Makes no sense (Score:5, Informative)

    by sludg-o (120354) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:15AM (#9888502) was registered in the DNS system in 1996, not at the copyright office. Huge difference. Still, I'm pulling 100% for the original owner of the website.
  • by frostman (302143) * on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:16AM (#9888519) Homepage Journal
    At this point the best hope for justice is a publicity backlash. Penguin is already well on their way to getting more negative publicity than they can stomach over this screw-up.

    We should all write (preferably in dead-tree form) to Penguin, and to their corporate masters, Pearson.

    Be polite but be firm. Ask specific questions and ask specifically for a reply (this will keep the letter alive and consuming resources in the bureaucracy much longer). Make it clear that this arrogant action, if uncorrected, will negatively affect your purchases and recommendations in the future.


    Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
    375 Hudson Street
    New York, NY 10014


    Pearson Headquarters
    3 Burlington Gardens
    London W1X 1LE, United Kingdom
    Phone: +44-20-7411-2000
    Fax: +44-20-7411-2390

    Or, if you're in the US and just feel like ranting, try Penguin Customer Service: (800) 631-8571
  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

    by 3terrabyte (693824) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:17AM (#9888532) Journal

    1) Go to and vote YES on all the negatives reviews where it askes "Did you find this review helpful".

    2) Write your own negative review.

    3) Write and tell her she should quit victimizing someone else on the internet. The cycle of abuse must stop!

  • Re:Makes no sense (Score:3, Informative)

    by sonamchauhan (587356) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <cmanos>> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:18AM (#9888537) Journal
    No, rather he was simply wrong. See what he says:

    "When the book was written, the domain "" was not registered."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:18AM (#9888542)
    Her (the lawyer's) blog: []
  • by Hobbex (41473) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:19AM (#9888561)
    But having read the notice on, it doesn't sound like she would've accepted (and I doubt Penguin would have offered some astronomical sum).

    If you ever get into a domain dispute, the most important thing to do is claim that the domain is not for sale. If you mention that you are willing to sell the domain for a reasonable market value, then you will be labled a cybersquatter and they'll take you to WIPO arbitration and win. It is stupid, but that is how it works.

    I think Ms. Jones mentioning that she is not rich implies that she probably wouldn't turn down a reasonable offer. (Who here wouldn't give up their homepage domain for $20-30K?)
  • KatieT reply (Score:5, Informative)

    by illumnat (754343) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:21AM (#9888588) Homepage
    I sent of the following email to KatieT

    I am sorry to hear about your situation and what happened to you, however, I am also very sorry to hear about the unfortunate situation with your lawyer attempting to hijack the website of Katie Jones.

    You and your publisher have no right too simply appropriate a domain name that has been in use since 1996. Using the deep pockets of a publishing company to abuse the rights of an individual who lacks the wealth to fight off the corporate lawyers is nearly as bad as sexual abuse... Both situations are about taking something away from someone who is powerless to fight back.

    Please do the right thing and call off your lawyers' strong arm tactics and let Katie Jones have her life and website back.
    and got the following response:
    I appreciate your thoughts and understand them completley. It is not posted on my web site, but this issue is between Katie Jones and Penguin Putnam. They own the name as a published book and decided to call it that. I can do nothing in my power to change it. I would suggest if you would like your voice to be heard and a chance that something is done about it, direct your sympathy to Penguin Putnam. Best, Katie Tarbox
    Here's the customer service number for Putnam USA: (800) 631-8571

  • Re:Retitle (Score:4, Informative)

    by iphayd (170761) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:23AM (#9888611) Homepage Journal
    Actually, the only domain name left is www.clownpenis.fart.

    Really, there is no other name left.
  • by SquarePants (580774) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:25AM (#9888636)
    In most countries a trademark does not need to be registered to have legal effect. However, in order to gain trademark rights over a name you must make "trademark use" of it. In the U.S. this means you must make "use in commerce" of the mark (I have no idea about the law in the UK but assume it is similar.)

    Not knowing exactly how the "" name was used on the original site, it is difficult to tell whether it constituted "use in commerce." However, US courts have repeatedly held that the mere use of a domain name on a website does not necessarily constitute "use in commerce."

    The U.S. courts have generally equated a domain name with a telephone number. That is, it is not considered a trademark unless it is promoted as such and identifies particular goods or services. Using the telephone analogy, just because a company has had the same telephone number for years does not mean they have trademark rights on it. On the other hand, some companies have given their telephone numbers trademark significance through promotion (i.e., "1800CONTACTS", "1800FLOWERS", etc.)
  • by dasmegabyte (267018) <> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:30AM (#9888675) Homepage Journal
    Well, you could look that question up. Here's the answer straight from the horse's ass: the US Patent and Trademark Office [] FAQ:

    "Use of the TM and SM symbols may be governed by local, state, or foreign laws and the laws of a pertinent jurisdiction to identify the marks that a party claims rights to. The federal registration symbol, the R enclosed within a circle, may be used once the mark is actually registered in the USPTO. Even though an application is pending, the registration symbol may not be used before the mark has actually become registered.

    The federal registration symbol should only be used on goods or services that are the subject of the federal trademark registration. "

    The FAQ clears up a lot of misconceptions the average slashdotter has about copyright and patents, and we'd have a better environment here if everybody would just RTFFAQ.
  • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:31AM (#9888686)
    "King of the Hill" (a cartoon on FOX) did a similar thing, though I think they've since sold the site.

    The title was "Transnational Amusements Presents: Peggy's Magic Sex Feet"

    It was an episode about Peggy's feet; she felt ashamed of having a mans-size-14 or something like that.

    So, someone cons her into having her huge friggin feet videotaped on a fetish site (stomping on rotten fruit, getting hit with a pingpong ball paddle, etc). They mention the url in the episode, it was like "" or something.

    Going to it showed the same stuff the episode showed, in the same animation. I thought it was a hoot they did that.

    Because "King of the Hill" is usually more tame than FOX's other cartoons (Simpsons, Futurama, etc), it was just full of a bunch of stupid stuff.

    In any case, at least they weren't liable for anything. Nice to see that even a moron like FOX can think ahead.
  • Re:Stupid... (Score:2, Informative)

    by elhaf (755704) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:38AM (#9888757) Homepage
    I don't guess you've heard the saga [] of 867-5309 then.
  • by silentbozo (542534) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:39AM (#9888766) Journal
    Whoops, forgot to close the quote on the URL: refused to acknowledge Katie Jones since 2000 []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:43AM (#9888812)
    She can be reached via e-mail at and for time sensitive issues or for media on a deadline, at 201-463-8663 (her U.S. cell phone).
  • Re:Makes no sense (Score:5, Informative)

    by recursiv (324497) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:52AM (#9888912) Homepage Journal
    A lot of people seem to have trademarks, copyrights, and patents confused. You seem to be among them. I'm no expert, but I will attempt to explain away your confusion.

    Copyright is for creative works.
    Trademark is for recognizable "marks" (symbols or brand names or slogans)
    Patent is for devices and inventions.

    The one you are looking for is trademark.
  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

    by Walterk (124748) <`gro.mca' `ta' `telbud'> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @10:53AM (#9888924) Homepage Journal
  • Re:No due diligence (Score:2, Informative)

    by j0eshm0e (720044) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @11:00AM (#9889010)

    Regarding your seven figure comment, I really think that can't happen in the current US judicial realm.

    Microsoft vs small kid in western Canada named Mike Row who comes up with domain. He 'asks' for money after million-dollar Microsoft lawyers bait him some. Judge will find proof of cybersquatting because money was asked for. Microsoft would have won summarily if not for the bad press.

    See any similarities? As soon as money is talked about she'll have her domain ripped from her. Katie Jones is in a world of hurt right now. She has a domain that has been hijacked in every sense of the word by a multi-million dollar company. One way or another, she is going to walk away from this the loser.

    Nine times out of ten the underdog loses.

  • Re:Makes no sense (Score:5, Informative)

    by thehomeland (750151) <mike&thehomeland,org> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @11:05AM (#9889075) Homepage
    You do have legal copyright on anything you create, without having to file it with the copyright office. If proof can be found that you published it beforehand (and webpublishing counts) then you own legal copyright to the name (not necessarily trademark, though). However, this still prevents me from writing a book called "" about a bottlecap collection (or whatever) and suing for millions.

    Technically, although copyright may not protect names per se, the total website as a whole, which includes the name "" falls under a published/created body of work in text, and is copyrightable. If a book is copyrightten, regardless of trademarking the title, the title is copywritten along with the content therein. Katie Jones clearly has legal precendent to utterly smear Penguin Putnam into the ground for using her name, but mercifully she just wants the whole mess to go away. I'm (a) putting great hesitation before buying any Penguin Putnam book now because of their overboldness upon the innocent (an ironic charge indeed) and (b) glad I am not Putnam who should have otherwise backed off long before they lost so much business.

    What next, are they going to sue Linux for having a penguin logo? Who came first, I wonder?
  • Re:trademark process (Score:3, Informative)

    by rfc1394 (155777) <> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @11:09AM (#9889116) Homepage Journal
    IANAL, but it would seem that there's absolutely no protection against what Penguin did at all. They might as well have used her address or phone number.
    I'm not a lawyer either, but as far as the domain name, you are correct; I think domain names are public items. But she is a private citizen, and thus publishing her phone number or address would be invasion of privacy and actionable with big-time damages.
  • Thank You (Score:5, Informative)

    by nsedley (802989) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @11:52AM (#9889616)
    As a friend of Katie Jones and the guy who hosts the domain...... Wow, you Slashdotters are an amazing bunch. No other site that has carried the story has generated a response as big the one from Slashdot. I thought my server had died earlier today, the amount of traffic it recieved was so large, and all from Slashdot. Thank you for taking an interest in this issue.
  • Re:Do NOT do this (Score:5, Informative)

    by rduke15 (721841) <> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @11:58AM (#9889696)
    According to Katie Jones [], it is not Penguin but Katie T.'s lawyer who is bullying her to give up
  • by tpconcannon (619066) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @12:07PM (#9889807) Homepage Journal
    Mr Nissan registered the site [] for his computer business. Nissan Motors came along later, and put up enough of a legal struggle, that Mr. Nissan had to change his website, so that it cannot be used for commerical purposes, namely, Mr. Nissan's computer shop. The whole story is here --> []
  • by bonkedproducer (715249) <> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @12:24PM (#9889991) Homepage Journal

    I call BULLSHIT! Society doesn't make fucking victims - stupidity does. I had a pretty shitty home life growing up, in the poorest of neighborhoods, broken home, all that shit - I didn't end up like the majority of my peers (in jail, broke, living off handouts from honest taxpayers) because I realized at an early age that I was responsible for my own actions, and the consequences thereof. I am sick and tired of people giving kids a green light to fuck up because they are young - were you that stupid as a teen?

    No control or knowledge my ass - it's HER LAWYER not the publisher pursuing this.

    While I agree that it is not right to wish further ills on the author over this, it is not right to support her and her publishers either. A brief look at [] shows that her rough childhood has likely made her a quite well off adult, and the argument that she has no control over the decisions of her publisher are utter bullshit - they need her to be able to promote the damn book, so she has pull. Futher, just because something bad happened to you in the past, being a thief still makes you a thief and if her lawyer (working on her behalf, that she has the ability to hire and fire) succeeds, Katie Tarbow will be exactly that, a thief.

  • by wytcld (179112) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @12:42PM (#9890233) Homepage
    You can neither trademark nor copyright book titles. Books commonly come out with identical or nearly-identical titles. For example there is no legal conflict involved in Heinlein not being the only author to title a book Glory Road []. And if you look at, for instance, the New York or London Review of Books you'll see books commonly coming out on current and historical subjects with titles completely or nearly identical - again, no legal action ensues. Some of these books come out on Penguin, so they know the law here.

    To the extent that you can trademark anything, trademark is based in common law and derives from first use in commerce - and only applies to its use in commerce within the catagory of goods or services it's in (IANAL but I used to be the bureaucrat in charge of trademarks for a mid-sized state). So if you could trademark "" for the sale of books and publications (and you most certainly can't, unless it's the publisher's imprint rather than a book title), and you argue that the Web site is in that category, by common law right of first use wins and you're up the creek without a paddle.

    You also can't take a term already in use in an area and make it your trademark in that area - so you can't just start taking book titles or Web site addresses that aren't yours (and probably aren't trademarkable in themselves) and filing trademarks for books or publication services or whatever based on your appropriating them for your own publishers imprint - you can't call a publishing house "King James Bible" and then demand that all the bible publishers retitle their output.

    What arses! The lawyer making these threats should be disbarred.
  • by Triskele (711795) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @12:50PM (#9890326)
    We get by in Britain quite well where companies do not have the rights of an individual - this is a very American concept probably due to the dominance of the corporations in your company^H^H^H^H^H^H (sorry) country ;-)

    Generally speaking an individuals speech needs protection for we are weak compared to the might and wealth of a company. Most companies can defend much of their rights by leaning on the rights of the individuals who comprise the company (apart from the obvious of outright buying hordes of lawyers, then the courts and the politicians).

    Over here in Britain, we are quite used to separating an individual acting on their own and as an officer of a company.

    Finally, surely freedom of the press is prescribed specifically in both our nation's law books. You may be able to fall back on the cumulative freedom of speech of the writers and publishers while we must fall back on our own consitutional freedoms (which are a bit more complex and historically entwined). Sadly, either way we both get to here what Rupert Murdoch wants us to here and little else besides...

  • Re:Do NOT do this (Score:5, Informative)

    by chimpo13 (471212) <> on Thursday August 05, 2004 @12:56PM (#9890397) Homepage Journal
    And Katie T's lawyer is Parry Aftab, Esq. Her site is []
  • Re:Do NOT do this (Score:3, Informative)

    by networkBoy (774728) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:28PM (#9890788) Homepage Journal
    there's the e-mail ;)
  • Re:Do NOT do this (Score:2, Informative)

    by Commander Trollco (791924) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:30PM (#9890817)
    From the aftab website: The lawyer's Phone # is 201-463-8663. Not that anyone should leave harassing calls or anything.
  • by abb3w (696381) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @01:37PM (#9890907) Journal
    ALL domain names ending in .com need resolution according to Virginian(?) law

    True, so far as it goes; however, Ms. Jones might not need to start her suit there, since she already has her possession-is-nine-tenths. For suit over damages to that conceptual propery, she might also need to use Virginia's legal system. Perhaps a suit even over the bandwidth might have to end up there.

    But I don't know if all roads lead to Virgina (since there is no Rome in Virginia []). It seems she is a legal resident of the UK, so if UK law supports such, she might be able file suit over the emotional distress issue (which someone else suggested) on her home turf. However, IANAL.

  • by quisph (746257) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:10PM (#9891362)
    No you don't. You just can't resist the urge to try to smear a Republican leader.
    He said that he believed it happened during Reagan's presidency, not that Reagan was responsible. Stop jerking your knee.
    You made that up or pulled it out of thin air. If not, tell us what in the world made you think that
    He might have been thinking of Pacific Gas and Electric v. Public Utility Commission of California (1986), which extended "negative" speech rights to corporations. It's neither the first nor the only relevant case, but it did happen during the Reagan years.
  • by peterjm (1865) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:13PM (#9891409)
    Turns out that the administrative contact information for KATIET.COM is bogus, at least the email portion.

    Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
    TARBOX, KATIE (KT6079)
    745 CARTER ST
    NEW CANAAN, CT 06840-5024
    203 966 1828

    I tried to send an email to that address to ask if she would post her side of the story on her site somewhere and had it bounce back. Now I don't know how nsi deals with this sort of thing, but in the past, i've had registrars breath fire down my neck b/c I had old, outdated information in my whois records.

    I'm currently submitting a service request [] with nsi but I'm not sure if this is the right channel to for this. Anyone else have any other contact information for submitting bogus whois information to nsi?
  • Re:Wow (Score:0, Informative)

    by liloconf (560960) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:24PM (#9891532) at Barnes and Noble []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2004 @02:44PM (#9891856)
    Do what you will.
  • (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jetson (176002) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @03:03PM (#9892087) Homepage
    A better example would be Air Canada's failed attempt to force the owners of to give up their domain name when Air Canada introduced the Zip brand of economy airfare as a spin-off of the main-line airline business. It was yet another case of a company choosing a name and advertising it without checking first to see if the web address was available. Air Canada eventually gave up and stopped advertising (good thing, as the web site was redirecting people to the competition at WestJet) and registered instead.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2004 @03:18PM (#9892304)
    God I'm tired of this.. Katie T is nothing but a greedy selfimportant bitch.

    She was NOT raped. She did go and meet a sleezy guy who turned out to be a lot older than she expected... But she did this when she was 17.. not 13 as all the press material implies. Additionally, she wasn't raped at all... Her mom and coach walked in on them while they were kissing and feeling each other up.

    He was eventually charged with crossing state lines with the intention of having sex with a minor.. he was also charged with some bogus CDA seducing a minor over the internet charge. The CDA was overturned later that year.

    The only victim here is
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2004 @03:21PM (#9892345)
    Although all her PR crap makes it sound like she was 13.. She wasn't.. they started talking when she was 13.. Met to shack up when she was 17.. But never got as far as the consentual sex (which would have been legal in Texas and her home state), because people walked in on them... Since then she's produced this victim story to save her image.

    The weirdo DID get convicted.. for crossing state lines to have sex with a minor. The conviction was only possible because the age of consent in his home state (california) is 18. Had he lived in Florida no crime would have been comitted.
  • by wayward (770747) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @03:23PM (#9892385)
    This is an excerpt from her book. []. Here's a description of her town:

    I was in the eighth grade, and for the first time I was really obsessed with my appearance, my status, with fitting in. This is understandable, if you consider that I was growing up in America, and in New Canaan, Connecticut. New Canaan is the richest town in the richest state in the country. The moms all drive Suburbans and the dads all take the train to the city. And by the time they are ten years old, the kids in New Canaan know that the highest-grade BMW is not as nice as the best Mercedes. They know that you should never be seen cutting your own lawn, and that embossed stationery is far superior to lithographed.
  • by tekwiz (709188) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @03:32PM (#9892499)
    Damnit, in NY she wouldn't have even been able to press charges as 17 is the consent age now in this state...well I'm only too happy to see her book with 1 star for most of 200+reviews.
  • by gershbaz (766425) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @03:46PM (#9892676)
    Oy! This all took place when she was 14. She *wrote the book* when she was 17, and it was published when she was 18. Just to clear that up.
  • by Fencepost (107992) * on Thursday August 05, 2004 @04:17PM (#9893073) Journal

    I've gotten the impression that selling, attempting to sell, or even expressing anything other than "The domain is not for sale" in response to an offer would have the potential to seriously hurt any legal case or WIPO case she might be involved in.

    On the other hand, if she wanted to she *might* be able to get away with running her own porn site at that address - as long as she owned it, she'd probably be fine. Of course her lawyer might have a different take on it, she might have no interest in or be opposed to running a porn site, and the fact that she's in the UK might have an effect (what are UK porn laws like?).

  • by The Rizz (1319) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @05:27PM (#9893783)
    While the link []in the parent post is getting a lot of moderation done, there are pleny more at that people need to write reviews for, and mod up:

    US: [], []
    CA: [], [], [], []
    UK: [], [], [], [], [], [], []
  • Re:Newsflash! (Score:2, Informative)

    by peeledback (649168) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @05:32PM (#9893825)
    you'are right, she did get slashdotted. from the website ******** Slashdot, amongst other things Wow, I got slashdotted as a result of yesterdays article in The Register. Overwhelmed by the traffic and the number of supportive emails I've received, thank you web community! Reading the /. comments it's great to know that everyone out there believes in this issue. I wanted to address one of the comments that was made on there which quotes an email from Parry Aftab who says that I have a 'hidden agenda' and that I want 'publicity'. Nothing could be further from the truth. This entire situation was foisted upon me. I didn't ask for it and I haven't encouraged it. Failing any kind of acceptance of responsibility on their part, I had hoped it would die down but they've resurrected it. I've always been, and will continue to be, open about the situation. I've nothing to hide, the only agenda I have is that I want to be left alone. As far as publicity goes, I didn't invite it, they did. I would be far happier residing here in anonymity rather than be associated with this book and it's subject matter. How I can be accused of any wrongdoing is beyond me. I should also point out that in my professional life, away from this domain issue, I work very hard to raise the public awareness of online safety issues and donate an enormous amount of my time to doing so. I don't, however, feel that this entitles me to ask for other people to hand over their property . *****
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2004 @05:40PM (#9893921)
    Well, one of the problems is if you read the article at The Register, you'll see that the back of the second publishing run of the book had her email address actually on the back saying the website wasn't affiliated with her. You shouldn't have to change your email address OR your domain just because some book is published.
  • Wasn't stat rape (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2004 @05:47PM (#9894014)
    He was charged with the federal crime of crossing state lines for get it on with a minor.. and the CDA (which was overturned as all slashdotters know)..

    He went to jail for 18months and has been barred from continuing his job selling securities.

    The federal crossing-state-lines-to-get-it-on-with-a-minor charge wouldn't have even held ... cept he was from California where the age of consent is 18. (that law is setup so if it's legal source and dest state then it's okay)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2004 @05:59PM (#9894139)
    Based on the wild shift in rating (from 1.5 or 2 to 3.5) and the reduction in total reviews, it seems like Amazon has deleted some of the Slashdot-inspired reviews.
  • (Score:2, Informative)

    by notthe9 (800486) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @06:44PM (#9894503)
    If you'd take 10 seconds to read ANYTHING, you'd realize the site is not typically a blog, but the main content was replaced with an MT blog because it is lower bandwidth.
  • by Mnemia (218659) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @06:54PM (#9894594)

    I think this story is relevant to the book because it concerns the actual title of the book. It's not just the author or publisher that is being attacked; it's the book itself and its horrible choice of title. Amazon certainly has every right to delete postings on their own website, but I think it's a little misleading to say that they are being impartial or fair if they only delete posts that might negatively impact book sales.

    In this case, though, a lot of the negative reviews seemed to clearly violate the guidelines and the volume of new reviews coming probably just prompted them to stop spending the time reading them and do a blanket delete. I would wait a while for things to calm down and then post an intelligent critique of the book that doesn't violate their guidelines if you want people to be able to read about this side of the story. You'd also probably get a lot more credibility if you read the book or at least commented on the content of it. I'm sure you can find it at a local library if you don't want to give money to the author and publisher.

  • by arafel (15551) * on Thursday August 05, 2004 @06:55PM (#9894599)
    I sent a mail asking that she clarify the boiler-plate response slightly, since it left some things ambiguous. I've just got this reply (fast response!):

    Thank you for your letter. Parry Aftab is not my lawyer and that is something that is not vague. Penguin and I have also worked very hard and I think this will come to end by the morning. I will say that much.
    Best, Katie Tarbox
  • Re:Do NOT do this (Score:2, Informative)

    by SoSueMe (263478) on Thursday August 05, 2004 @08:49PM (#9895529)
    201-463-8663 (her U.S. cell phone

    I wonder if she has text messaging?
  • Let's have a /. 'documention' exercise for the Penguin/Aftab/Tarbox sites, folks. Let's remember that Penguin is the publisher, Parry Aftab is the 'publicist', and KatieT was hard-done-by in the first place!

    Okay, then. To start with:,,,00.h tml?id=0452282535 [] or better yet, use the Search function on that site ?id=katie%21com [] Penguin UK (returns a "Sorry...") []
    Penguin Putnam (USA) search... [] [] []; [] noting the various translations of the book that have all used the same (incorrect) URL/name; []; []

  • Book Title Changed (Score:2, Informative)

    by Canadian FBI (679208) on Friday August 06, 2004 @02:40PM (#9901446)
    According to the latest post at [], Penguin has agreed to change the title of the book to "A Girl's Life Online".

    The press release is at out/press/press76.pdf [].

    Not sure if this whois link will work or not, but was just registered [] yesterday to Katie Tarbox. Probably a smart idea.

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