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Home > Tech Views > General Computing

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Spelling piracy - errors are money

2. Page 2

Pain Webber Inc. became aware of the situation with their electronic address when an upset customer sent e-mailed them. The Company appealed to Court on the grounds of “Violation against Trademark Legislation and judge Mr. Claude M. Hilton ordered a temporary suspension of wwwpainwebber.com until the issue was resolved. He acted likewise with the Citibank case.

No matter how the Pain Webber as well as the Citibank cases are resolved, the issue still remains a complex one. On the first place, such a comprehensive judicial judgment, banning “spelling piracy” cannot be brought to action. A resolution like the one mentioned above, would constitute an insult to the freedom of expression (all humans are entitled to…making spelling mistakes). And even if so be the case, a big issue is due to arise, an issue having to do with words that differ in spelling by just one letter. The word noble is the same with the word Noble when the letter arrangement changes. Thus, a comprehensive settlement of the issue might do injustice to some. ?he only solution to the problem is an individual examination of each case, and that is an extremely time consuming process. Spelling mistakes in each and every address can be infinite.

Some companies have copyrighted their electronic addresses’ mistakes for fear of piracy to be. For instance, Playboy Inc. has copyrighted wwwplayboy.com, whereas Gillette has acted likewise with www.gilette.com. This practice though, stumbles over the same problem: Companies have to obtain hundreds of addresses to be able to copyright all misspelling cases… “I do hope the problem will completely disappear as soon as search engines [of information on the Internet] acquire artificial intelligence features and are capable of navigating directly to the page we wish to visit, instead of trying to guess the exact electronic address”, professor of Law Mr. Dan L. Burk stated in the “New York Times”. “Yet, the problem will still carry on being in existence for some years…”

By Pashos Mandravelis.

email to P. Mandravelis




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