Friday, July 25, 2008

WIPO orders Narnia domain transfer, makes 11-year-old cry

A Narnia-like battle has erupted over a domain name that one party argues will leave an 11-year-old child without a birthday present thanks to greedy, powerful rightsholders. Control of the domain,, was taken away from its original registrant this week by the World Intellectual Property Organization and awarded to the estate of C.S. Lewis, author of the popular The Chronicles of Narnia series, a decision that the original registrant is referring to as "scandalously one-sided."

Scotland natives Richard Saville-Smith and his wife, Gillian, originally registered in September of 2006, not long after the "sunrise period" for trademark owners to register .mobi domains had closed. Allegedly, they registered the domain in order to give their then-nine-year-old son—a huge Narnia fan—the gift of an e-mail address with "narnia" in it for his 11th birthday. Why 11th and not, say, his 10th birthday? Supposedly, the couple wanted to give it to their son on May 20, 2008, to correspond with the release of the second Narnia film in the UK.

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