From: [email protected] (Adam Curry)
Subject: MTV SUES CURRY
Date: 10 May 1994 03:44:36 -0400
Last update: May 10 1994
I had planned to keep the following quiet until more information
was available, but since several journalists have already caught
wind of it, I decided to get it out into the open so my side of
the story is heard as well.
The domain I maintain and operate on the Internet, mtv.com was
founded approximately one year ago. At that time I registered
mtv.com with the InterNIC, purely because it was a cool address to
have, and it was available. What a great "vanity plate"!
The site quickly became a frequently accessed "hangout" on the
net, with an average of 35000 accesses daily from Mosaic clients
alone. During the start up months I had many conversations with
executives at MTV Networks about my endeavours, which btw, were
all financed out of my own pocket, and vps from MTV Programming as
well as Viacom New Media were aware of what I was doing on the
internet, and although they stated "MTV has no interest in the
internet" they gave me their blessing and supported my efforts.
This was enforced when I set up several email accounts on mtv.com
for use in MTV's on-air programming. Ever sionce the summer of
'93, [email protected] was used for trivia quiz questions, that were
then aired on MTV's "Most Wanted" a program I hosted at the time.
Solicitations were made on the air, and the address was shown on
the screen. For MTV's annual Valentines video dedications, viewers
were offered the choice of calling in their dedications, or
sending them via email to [email protected]
I never charged MTV Networks for this service, I purely saw it as
a cool feature to introduce to MTV's programming, spreading the
"gospel", so to speak.
Then I started to get a lot of press about mtv.com, and some
people started to wake up at 1515 Broadway (MTV's HQ in New York
City). And I was served with a "Cease and desist" on the use of
mtv.com. MTV's attourneys claimed that there could be "confusion"
for users of the internet, when connecting to *anything* that had
the letters mtv in the adress, and then receiving music and
entertainment information. I was obviously hurt by this move, but
did see what point they were driving at, an asked if we could
settle this matter amicably.
The situation cooled down for a couple of months, but when I
resigned on-air from my job as a VJ, which MTV chose not to air
btw, things started to get ugly.
Long story short, MTV Networks has filed a lawsuit against me, for
copyright infringement of their "trademark", that being their
"MTV" call letters, as well as having information onlie that was
MTVN "property". In this case they are refferring to several press
releases I put up on mtv.com, such a an announcement about Beavis
and Butthead's "experience" cd release. Understand that MTVN sent
me these releases over their own internal computer network for
this very purpose! Again, I was only doing this to promote the
channel, not for my own personal gain..after all...mtv.com is free
access for all, no charge.
Throughout all of this I have offered to maintain the site
specifically for mtv, but again they said "we're not interested".
Ofcourse I have no problem whatsoever removing all refrences to
MTV Networks and it's projects from mtv.com, no that I don't work
there anymore gives me even more reason to want to do this, but
the kicker is they are moving for an injunction to make me stop
using the internet address mtv.com!
This is ofcourse totally unacceptable, I registered the domain
name, and I don't plan on giving it up. Sure MTV and their parent
company Viacom have a vast legal team, but david also nailed
goliath, so I have faith. In the long run, everyone knows that the
only *true* winners will be the lawyers.
There are many different viewpoints on this situation, but I feel
that the use of mtv in an addressing scheme can't be seen as an
infringement of intellectulal propert laws, and a search of the
InterNIC database shows at least 15 domain names registered with
mtv in the address. Irony is that I incorporated a company called
ON RAMP, Inc (tm) and onramp.com was already registered to someone
else, but I'm not suing them :)
It appears to me that MTV has their mind set on the address
mtv.com, maybe not for now, but posibly for future use, and I feel
extremely used, in that I built up quite an audience for that
address, and they are basically saying "thank you very much, you
A pre-motion hearing is scheduled for this thursday morning at
11am, wit the honourable Judge McKenna presiding, in an attemp to
get an injunction to make me stop using the address mtv.com. I
will update the situation as it unfolds.
Adam Curry, [email protected]
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