Even the United Nations isn't immune to Madonna's rule over the pop music world. The Queen of Music has convinced the governing panel that only she has rights to the Internet address www.madonna.com, the U.N. announced Monday.
Although New York businessman Dan Parisi had initially registered the Internet address, the U.N.'s World Intellectual Property Organization ordered the so-called cybersquatter to turn it over to Madonna.
In her complaint filed in July, Madonna argued that the site, originally a porn site, tarnished her name and trademark. The WIPO arbitrators found that Parisi had registered the domain name in bad faith and that he had no trademark right to the name Madonna.
The explosion of domain name registration on the Internet has created a fast-evolving and often murky area of copyright and intellectual property law. The WIPO's fast-track arbitration system has resolved similar disputes in the favor of companies including Christian Dior, Microsoft and Nike, and celebrities including Julia Roberts and the rock band Jethro Tull.
Pop star Sting, however, did not win his case for the domain www.sting.com, which was already registered by someone else. The WIPO found that sting was a "common English word."
You could argue that Madonna has a common meaning apart from the singer's name and image. In the WIPO's eyes, however, the pop superstar has co-opted it.