By Scott Nyman
Anyone following college football this past year will remember the big conference shake-up of 2010. The Big 12 lost two schools, dropping to ten schools represented. The Big Ten picked up one of those schools, the University of Nebraska, bringing the Big Ten’s total number of schools to twelve. That’s right, the Big Ten used to have eleven. The Pac-10 also picked up a former Big 12 school, the University of Colorado which, along with former Mountain West Conference University of Utah, brings the Pac 10 to twelve schools. Let’s recap. Twelve in the Pac 10. Twelve in the Big Ten. Ten in the Big 12. Got it? Okay.
After acquiring its new schools, the Pac 10 announced that it would change its name to the “Pac 12.” Through out its history, the former Pac 10 has stood out by using names that correspond with the number of teams included therein, as evidenced by prior names such as “Pacific-8” and “Big Six.” It seems, however, that the transition to Pac-12 will not be without its difficulties.
According to Whois.com, the domain www.pac12.com has already been privately registered to another party, masked through the Canadian registrant “Contactprivacy.” Fellow news postings and additional coverage of this story have stated that the website provides links to the “Tupac 12 pack,” a compilation of hits from the deceased rapper. As of the writing of this article, I was only able to find the banner title “Tupac Lives!” and a blank white page.
The lack of functionality or content for the present www.pac12.com could mean two things. First, the servers could be overloaded in light of the recent publicity and news coverage. Second, the lack of content could be due to a DMCA takedown request from soon-to-be Pac 12 Conference as it gears up for litigation to protect its trademarks and copyrights from its potentially cybersquatting opponents.
The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act provides that a person shall be liable in a civil action by the owner of a mark, including a personal name which is protected as a mark under this section, if, without regard to the goods or services of the parties, that person (i) has a bad faith intent to profit from that mark, including a personal name which is protected as a mark under this section; and (ii) registers, traffics in, or uses a domain name that in the case of a mark that is distinctive at the time of registration of the domain name, is identical or confusingly similar to that mark, or in the case of a famous mark that is famous at the time of registration of the domain name, is identical or confusingly similar to or dilutive of that mark. 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d)(1)(A)
The ACPA continues, stating nine factors used in determining bad faith. The likely relevant factor VIII considers the person’s registration or acquisition of multiple domain names which the person knows are identical or confusingly similar to marks of others that are distinctive at the time of registration of such domain names, or dilutive of famous marks of others that are famous at the time of registration of such domain names, without regard to the goods or services of the parties.
If I were the owner of the Pac12.com domain name, I would consider a hasty settlement with the soon-to-be Pac-12 Conference. Any hopes to get rich off selling the domain name for an exorbitant amount may be crushed by the reality of legal fees incurred while defending him/herself in what looks to become a vicious litigation battle. Either way, Tupac will be watching from the afterlife. And by afterlife, I mean his new identity as Miguel Sanchez, the mysteriously wealthy gentleman with the secluded estate in Tahoe.
The website, “www.pac12.com” appears to be working again. Also, Whois is now showing that the domain information is now lists Austin Linford of Draper, UT as an administrative contact.
PAC-12 has provided us with an updated version of their conference logo. The current logo is below: