Owning a Celebrity Domain Name
I have seen many people selling the domain names of celebrities, athletes, politicians and other famous people. These people typically sell the names under the guise that they can be built into fan sites. Since fan sites may not generate revenue, it’s a form of expressing freedom of speech and protected under the First Amendment. While it may be true that owning a fan site on a domain name that uses the celebrity’s name is perfectly legal, by selling the name (or even buying it), the burden of bad faith may may be met, as the seller is profiting from the celebrity whose name made that domain name worth something.
If someone sells the domain name of a well-known person, they are presumably profiting from that person’s good name. By this virtue, bad faith may be claimed by the celebrity, putting the domain name in peril. As some WIPO panels have recently ruled, a change in ownership can be likened to a new registration. Because of this, buying the domain name of a famous person could be the precurser to a UDRP ruling.
Of course I am not an attorney, so this isn’t legal advice, but just my opinion and general domain advice.
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