By Eriq Gardner
We're still not sure why Twitter has become such a popular service for celebrities. But we have a message for public figures who haven't yet jumped on board the craze: go to the Twitter web site right this second and register your name.
Why might celebrities (or their representatives) wish to stamp their name on Twitter? If they don't, it's inevitable that some regular person will register it and pretend to be that celebrity.
Everyone in entertainment and media should take this threat seriously.
In the late 1990s, website domain squatting became a huge problem until the World Intellectual Property Organization created something called the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy to arbitrate disputes. But at the moment, no resolution forum exists to properly adjudicate Twitter tussles. Perhaps the best that any aggrieved individual or organization can do is try to make some sort of trademark infringement claim. We're unsure how effective such a lawsuit might be.
Plus, it'd be really damn expensive.
That was the big problem in the 90s when squatters like reporter Joshua Quittner registered the domain name McDonald's. In many of the cases, it simply became a lot cheaper to pay the squatters to go away rather than to take them to court. The same thing is happening right now. Two weeks ago, CNN had to pay an individual
to recover the Twitter name, "CNNbrk."
How long until we start seeing more of these cases?