Thursday, May 3, 2007

Identity Theft MySpace Style

To make a long story short, a random guy named Joe Anthony started a myspace page about Barack Obama. Initially he and Obama worked together to update the site but when the campaign decided it wanted total control, Anthony asked them for $39,000 in return. Obama's campaign decided to have MySpace intervene instead, and took control of the name (Joe Anthony got the 160,000 friends though). It's really interesting how politics is changing these days with the advent of myspace, youtube and blogging popularity. It reminds me of the episode of the Simpsons in which Lisa starts the Red Dress Press after Mr. Burnes buys all the mass-media outlets :-)

A similar thing happened to my brother, jazz guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. A fan started a MySpace page about Kurt and was responding to people's messages as if he was Kurt. Eventually MySpace intervened there too, and transferred control of the site to Kurt's management team.

1 comment:

dave hiller said...

I'm a little bit on Joe Anthony's side on this one. He wasn't simply squatting - he was using the domain to really support Obama as best he could. He also wasn't misrepresenting himself, and in fact had the campaign's approval to manage the site.

Instead, it seems like the campaign did a couple of things in bad faith. First, they didn't take over the site as soon as they found out about it, but instead let him continue to put a lot more work into it and make it more valuable before they took it over. Second, when they decided they wanted complete control over the site, they told him to propose an amount, and after he said $39k, they didn't counter-offer but instead just took the site from him.

It is going to take a while to sort out the rules for this sort of thing though.

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