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Journal of the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association

Volume 1, Number 1 (2000)

Internet Domains Names and the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights 

Pamela G. Browne

Belmont University


There are several intellectual property rights and considerations associated with registering an internet domain name, including the right to publicity, protection against unfair competition, and the principle of trademark dilution. These concepts serve to protect individuals and commercial entities from misappropriation of their identifying characteristics, such as name and likeness; false representation relative to the endorsement of a good or service; and the practice of deceptively naming a website so as to imply an association between itself and another product or person, respectively. In 1998, Jim Salmon became infamous after registering domain names that mirrored the actual names of several high-profile country music artists (including Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Reba McEntire), and linked these sites to a pornographic ‘parasite.’ The artists collectively sued, citing violation of the rights of publicity, trademark infringement, and unfair competition, and the resultant decision in the case of Tim McGraw, et al. v. Jim Salmon laid the groundwork for legal recourse against the violation of these rights relative to the naming of an internet website.

Keywords: internet domain names, internet law, right to publicity, trademark infringement, unfair competition, music industry

Browne, Pamela G. “Internet Domains Names and the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights." Journal of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association 1, no. 1 (2020): 76-83. https://doi.org/10.25101/0.5

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