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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Viacom International Inc. v Emperor Sedusa
Case No. D2001-1438
1. The Parties
Complainant is Viacom International Inc. ("Viacom"), doing business
at 1515 Broadway, New York, New York 10036, U.S.A. Complainant’s authorized
representative is Barbara A. Solomon of Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, P.C.,
866 United Nations Plaza, New York, New York 10017, U.S.A.
The Respondent is Emperor Sedusa, whose address is P.O. Box 2573, Ryan’s Place,
High Street, St. Johns NA, AG NA, Antigua and Barbuda.
The Respondent originally named in the Complaint was Jester Media whose address
is P.O. Box 2573, Ryan’s Place, High Street, St. Johns NA, AG NA, Antigua and
Barbuda, the same address as that given by Emperor Sedusa who is listed as the
administrative, technical and zone contact for Jester Media in the WHOIS printout
obtained by the Complainant on December 7, 2001.
Subsequent to the filing of the Complaint but prior to the commencement of
the proceeding, the Complainant established by contacting the Registrar Intercosmos
Media Group, Inc. ("the Registrar") that the Respondent is Emperor
Sedusa, the owner of Jester Media. The Complainant prepared an amendment to
the Complaint on December 28, 2001, and forwarded copies of the amendment to
the Respondent, the Registrar and the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name in dispute is <mtvasia.net>.
The Registrar with which the disputed domain name is registered is Intercosmos
Media Group, Inc. d/b/a DirectNIC located at 650 Poydras St., Suite 2311, New
Orleans, LA, 70130, U.S.A.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed pursuant to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution
Policy ("the Policy"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution
Policy ("the Rules") and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain
Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("the Supplemental Rules").
The Complaint was received on December 7, 2001, by the Center by e-mail and
in hard copy on December 11, 2001. The Center acknowledged receipt
of the Complaint on December 11, 2001.
The Complainant also sent the original Respondent Jester Media a copy of the
Complaint by e-mail and courier on December 7, 2001. A copy of the Complaint
was also sent by facsimile and first-class mail to the Registrar.
On December 13, 2001, a request for Registrar verification was forwarded to
the Registrar. On December 13, 2001, the Registrar confirmed receipt of the
Complaint by e-mail. The Registrar advised the Center that the current registrant
of the domain name was Sedusa, Emperor. However, the Registrant’s details appear
as "Jester Media" whose address is P.O. Box 2573, Ryan’s Place, High
Street, St. Johns NA, AG NA, Antigua and Barbuda. The Administrative Contact,
Technical Contact and Billing Contact are shown as Sedusa, Emperor.
On December 19, 2001, the Center forwarded an e-mail to the Registrar requesting
the Registrar to confirm whether Sedusa, Emperor is the current registrant of
the <mtvasia.net> domain name or whether the registrant is Jester Media
and requesting the Registrar to provide the Center with the contact details
of the current registrant.
On December 19, 2001, the Registrar advised the Center that the current registrant
is Emperor Sedusa, with his company name being Jester Media.
The current status of the domain name is active and paid in full.
On December 21, 2001, the Center advised the Complainant by e-mail that the
Registrar, Media Group, Inc. had advised that the Registrant is not Jester Media
which is the name of Registrant’s company. The Center requested the Complainant
to file an Amendment to the Complaint listing the Registrant as the Respondent.
The Complainant advised the Center in an e-mail dated December 21, 2001, that
publicly available databases continue to list Jester Media as the domain name
holder and as a result, the Complainant was unable to amend the Complaint. The
Complainant requested the Center to advise on how to proceed.
On December 27, 2001, the Center responded to the Complainant by attaching
the e-mail communication received by the Center from the Registrar providing
details of the current Registrant.
On December 27, 2001, the Complainant contacted the Center that according to
the attachment to the Center's e-mail, the domain name is owned by Jester Media
and Emperor Sedusa is listed as the individual at the organization. Complainant
queried the need to amend the Complaint since they appeared to have named the
On December 28, 2001, the Complainant filed an Amendment to Complaint which
it delivered by e-mail and courier to the Respondent Emperor Sedusa, by facsimile
and first class postage to the Registrar and by e-mail and courier to the Center.
On January 8, 2002, the Center compiled a Formal Requirements Compliance checklist
and confirmed that formal requirements had been complied with.
On January 8, 2002, the Center forwarded Notification of the Complaint and
Commencement of Administrative Proceedings, together with a copy of the Complaint
and Amendment to the Complaint to the Respondent Emperor Sedusa, by e-mail and
post/courier. The Notification, Complaint, and Amendment to the Complaint (without
attachments) were copied to the Complainant and the Registrar by e-mail. The
Center advised the Respondent that the formal date of the commencement of the
administrative proceeding was January 8, 2002, and that the last day for sending
a Response to the Complainant and to the Center was January 28, 2002.
On January 29, 2001, the Center notified the Respondent that the Respondent
was in default and attached a formal Notification of Respondent Default.
The Complainant elected to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel.
The Center appointed Ross Carson as the single member Panelist. Mr. Carson duly
submitted a Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality. On February 20, 2002,
the Center forwarded Notification of Appointment of Administrative Panel to
Also, on February 20, 2002, the Center e-mailed the Transmission of Case File,
Complaint, and Amendment to Complaint to the Panelist and forwarded a hard copy
by courier. The date scheduled for the Panel’s decision is March 6, 2002. The
language of the proceedings is English.
4. Factual Background
Complainant submits that Viacom, through its wholly owned division MTV Networks,
operates several well-known television programming services. One of the best
known is MTV: Music Television ("MTV"). Within the United States,
the MTV programming service is a 24 hour-a-day, 7 day a week programming service
that features primarily music-related programming including music videos, interviews,
documentaries, entertainment information, and news. Marks, including MTV in
block letters, MTV in a stylized format, and MTV: Music Television in a stylized
format (collectively the "MTV Marks") are used to promote MTV and its programs
and are firmly associated with Complainant
Complainant advises that the MTV programming service first aired in the United
States in 1981. MTV is seen in 139 different territories worldwide and in over
365 million households.
Complainant submits that its MTV programming service is advertised worldwide
on television, in newspapers and magazines, and on billboards and other outdoor
advertising. In all advertisements, the MTV Marks are prominently shown.
The MTV Marks appear in off-channel advertising worldwide and on-air at the
beginning of all programs on the MTV channel. The MTV Marks are also seen on
the set of many programs as well as in connection with station identifiers.
In addition, the MTV Marks are the core element of on-air commercials for the
programming service. These commercials have been recognized by the advertising
industry for their innovation and excellence.
Complainant submits that the MTV Marks are also used in connection with programs
that MTV produces including, among others, "The MTV Video Music Awards,"
"MTV Movie Awards," "MTV Spring Break," and "MTV Unplugged."
These shows are aired worldwide, including in Japan.
5. Parties’ Contentions
(i) The Complainant submits that the <mtvasia.net> domain name is identical
or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s MTV marks.
The only deviation is that Respondent has added the geographically descriptive
term "asia" as a suffix. Consumers are likely to believe that the
domain name <mtvasia.net> is related to Complainant’s MTV Asia programming
service or the <mtvasia.com> website operated by Complainant.
(ii) The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate
interests in the domain name <mtvasia.net>.
(iii) Respondent is not using the domain name in connection with a bona fide
offering of goods or services nor is Respondent making a legitimate non-commercial
or other fair use of the domain name. Respondent is using the name to divert
traffic to hardcore pornography websites thereby tarnishing the mark in violation
of UDRP 4(c)(iii). Respondent’s use of the domain name is not legitimate or
bona fide but was done to mislead consumers and tarnish the MTV marks.
(i) Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant submits that the <mtvasia.net> domain name is identical
or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s MTV marks
Complainant submits that the only deviation is that Respondent has added the
geographically descriptive term "asia" as a suffix. Consumers are
likely to believe that the domain name <mtvasia.net> is related to Complainant’s
MTV Asia programming service or the <mtvasia.com> website operated by
Complainant submits that it has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over
the last 20 years in advertising and promoting its services and merchandise
under the MTV Marks
Complainant advises that it owns trademark registrations in over 100 countries
for the MTV Marks. At pages 5 and 6 of the Complaint, Complainant has provided
details of several of its U.S. Registrations, registered since at least as early
as 1984. The list of registrations includes the following:
MUSIC TELEVISION (Stylized)
television broadcasting services in Int’l Class 38
MUSIC TELEVISION (Stylized)
posters, bumperstickers, calendars, decals in Int’l Class 16
MUSIC TELEVISION (Stylized)
of tv programs; music shows; live concerts; tv news shows in Int’l Class
television broadcasting services; production of tv shows in Int’l Classes
recordings featuring music and television programming and sound recordings
featuring music in Int’l Class 9; Television broadcasting in Int’l Class
38; Production and presentation of TV news shows, sports events, fashion
shows and others in Int’l Class 41; disseminating information on news,
entertainment, sports, fashion etc. via the Internet in Int’l Class 42.
Complainant advises that these registrations are valid, subsisting and in full
force and effect. Complainant has attached as Exhibit B copies of or information
concerning Complainant’s U.S. trademark registrations for the MTV Marks.
Complainant advises that in 1995, Complainant launched the website <mtv.com>,
which is consistently ranked as the number one music content site among teens
13-17. In the year 2000, the average monthly audience was 7,708,363. This website
is available to any consumers in Antigua with access to the Internet. These
same consumers can access Complainant’s other websites including <mtvasia.com>,
which was launched on May 21, 1999.
Through MTV Networks Asia, known as MTV Asia, a joint venture of MTV Networks
and Universal Music, Complainant provides programming under the MTV Mark in
more than 130 million homes in Asia. Among the five programming services operated
by MTV Networks Asia is MTV Southeast Asia, which was launched on May 5, 1995.
The channel is available in 10 Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia,
Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Vietnam. This channel alone
reaches more than 20 million households. MTV is Asia’s most watched music channel
with more than 200 advertisers and 40 sponsors. Under the terms of the joint
venture, Complainant owns all rights in the MTV Asia mark. Complainant has attached
as Exhibit C to the Complaint a trademark License Agreement relating to MTV
Complainant has registered or applied to register its MTV Marks in over 25
countries in Asia. A printout showing the status of these marks is attached
as Exhibit D to the Complaint.
Complainant submits that Complainant’s MTV Marks are famous and that their
fame existed long prior to Respondent’s registration of <mtvasia.net>.
Complainant has attached articles attached as Exhibit E to the Complaint. In
a December 13, 1999 article in The New York Times, MTV was named as one
of the 100 "most powerful corporate, media and product brands in the 20th
Complainant advises that in proceedings before WIPO, panelists have repeatedly
recognized the fame of the MTV Marks. See, e.g., Viacom Int’l Inc. v. Bryan
Dulsky, WIPO Case No. D2000-0961 (noting
that Viacom’s MTV trademarks are famous); Viacom Int’l Inc. v. Sung Wook
Choi and M Production, WIPO Case No. D2000-1114
(noting that the MTV Marks are well known, enjoy an "extensive reputation"
and are famous).
(ii) Respondent has no Rights or Legitimate Interests in <mtvasia.net>
On September 9, 2001, Respondent registered <mtvasia.net>. As of that
date, Complainant had been using its MTV Marks in the U.S. for 20 years, had
obtained numerous federal trademark registrations for its marks in the U.S.,
had registered its marks worldwide and had been using its mark in Asia for over
There has never been any relationship between Viacom and Respondent, and Respondent
has never been licensed or authorized to use the MTV mark in any manner, including
in or as part of a domain name.
Numerous facts exist here to show that Respondent can demonstrate no legitimate
interests in <mtvasia.net>. First, the domain name was registered after
Complainant had obtained numerous U.S. federal trademark registrations for its
MTV Marks, after the MTV Marks had been used worldwide, and after Complainant
had established an Internet presence available worldwide at <mtv.com>
and <mtvasia.com>. See Viacom Int’l Inc. v. mtvmp3.com, WIPO
Case No. D2001-0275; Guinness UDV North America v. Lewis, WIPO
Case No. D2001-0621; Chanel, Inc. v. BuyBeauty.com, WIPO
Case No. D2000-1126.
There exists no relationship between Complainant and Respondent that would
give rise to any license, permission or authorization by which Respondent could
own or use the <mtvasia.net>. Under the circumstances, Respondent cannot
show any legitimate rights or interests in the names. See Guerlain S.A. v.
H.I. Investments, WIPO Case No. D2000-0494
(no rights or legitimate interest found where complainant has not licensed or
otherwise permitted respondent to use its trademark or to apply for a domain
name incorporating its trademark).
Respondent is not using the domain names in connection with a bona fide offering
of goods or services nor is Respondent making a legitimate non-commercial or
other fair use of the domain names.
When one types in the domain name <mtvasia.net> one is immediately diverted
to a hardcore pornography site at <www.asianshardcore.com>. See Exhibit
F. Once at that site, an Internet user cannot easily leave. Closing the page
only brings the user to other hardcore porn sites. See Exhibit G.
On November 27, 2001, Viacom sent a demand letter to Respondent by email and
first class mail asking that the domain name be transferred. See Exhibit H.
No response was received to that letter.
Respondent is using the name to divert traffic to hardcore pornography websites
thereby tarnishing the mark in violation of UDRP ¶4(c)(iii). See Exhibits F
and G. Respondent’s use of the domain name is not legitimate or bona fide but
was done to mislead consumers and tarnish the MTV marks. Under such circumstances,
no legitimate rights can be found. World Wrestling Foundation Entertainment,
Inc. v. Matthew Bessette, WIPO Case No.
D2000-0256 (no legitimate interest where domain names used in connection
with porn sites); Madonna Ciccone v. Dan Parisi, et al., WIPO
Case No. D2000-0847 (use of domain name for adult entertainment site does
not create legitimate rights where name obviously selected to trade on fame
of Complainant’s mark.)
There is no evidence to suggest that Respondent is now or has never been known
by the name MTV or MTV ASIA. While Respondent was given the opportunity to explain
why it adopted the domain name, it chose instead to ignore Complainant’s cease
and desist letter, giving rise to the inference that Respondent has no legitimate
(iii) Respondent Registered and Used <mtvasia.net> in Bad Faith
Complainant submits that it has satisfied the final element of the Policy
that the Respondent registered and used the domain name <mtvasia.net>
in bad faith.
Complainant submits that the issue of bad faith is supported by the fact that
Respondent is using the name to divert consumers to pornographic websites. See
Exhibits F and G. Panelists have held this to be conclusive evidence of bad
faith. Madonna Ciccone v. Dan Parisi, WIPO
Case No. D2000-0847; World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc.,
v. Bessette, WIPO Case No. D2000-0256;
CCA Industries, Inc. v. Dailey, WIPO
Case No. D2000-0148; Ingersoll-Rand Co. v. Frank Gully, d/b/a Advcomren,
WIPO Case No. D2000-0021.
Complainant further submits that other evidence supports a finding of bad faith.
First, Complainant submits that Respondent has taken Complainant’s trademark
MTV as the dominant part of its domain names shows bad faith. Chernow Communication,
Inc. v. Jonathan Kimball, WIPO Case No.
Second, Complainant advises that Respondent has failed to respond to Complainant’s
cease and desist letter. Panelists have found this to constitute evidence of
bad faith. Marconi Data Systems, Inc. v. IRG Coins and Ink Source, Inc.
WIPO Case No. D2000-0090; NFL Properties,
Inc. et al. v. BBC Ab, WIPO Case No. D2000-0147;
Playboy Enterprises Int’l Inc. v. BEG Service KB, WIPO
Case No. D2001-0494. Respondent was given the opportunity to explain why
the domain name was taken. By failing to respond, Respondent in effect has admitted
that there was no bona fide reason for taking <mtvasia.net> other than
to profit from Complainant’s fame and reputation.
Third, Complainant submits that the domain name is so obviously connected with
the Complainant that its very taking by someone with no connection with the
Complainant suggests "opportunistic bad faith." See Novus Credit
Services Inc. v. Personal, WIPO Case No.
D2000-1158 and cases cited therein which have followed this reasoning. The
MTV mark is so famous that Respondent had to have known about it. As such the
registration of the mark as a domain name without any color of title or justification
is proof of bad faith on Respondent’s part. See Guinness UDV North America
v. Lewis, WIPO Case No. D2001-0621; Chanel,
Inc. v. Uraina Heyward, WIPO Case No.
Fourth, Complainant submits that Internet users are likely to believe that
the <mtvasia.net> connects to a website associated with or sponsored by
Complainant given Complainant’s use of <mtvasia.com>, MTV Asia and MTV.
Since Respondent has never been authorized by Complainant to use the MTV Marks,
the very fact that Respondent has registered <mtvasia.net> establishes
bad faith use and registration. See, e.g., Pharmacia & Upjohn
Company v. Moreonline, WIPO Case No. D2000-0134;
Heelquick, Inc. v. Michael Goldman et. al., NAF 92527 (registration of
domain name comprised of complainant’s mark found to be in bad faith since it
can mislead the public into thinking registrant owns the name). By using Complainant’s
mark as its domain name, Respondent is attempting to ride on the fame of Complainant’s
mark and use that fame to divert consumers to its websites for commercial advantage.
The Respondent did not file a Reply or any evidence to demonstrate Respondent’s
rights to and legitimate interest in the domain name, examples of which are
set out in Paragraph 4 (c) of the Policy.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order for the Complainant to prevail and have the disputed domain name <mtvassia.net>
transferred to itself, Complainant must prove the following (Paragraph 4(a)
of the Policy):
(i) the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service
mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) the Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in respect of the domain
(iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The first element which the Complainant must prove is that the domain name
is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark or service
The MTV marks are very well known. In an article in the New York Times, Exhibit
E. MTV was named as one of the hundred "most powerful corporate, media
and product brands in the 20th Century." In earlier proceedings
before WIPO Panelists have recognized the extensive reputation of MTV marks.
Viacom Int’l Inc. v Bryan Dulsky, WIPO
Case No. D2000-0961.
The domain name <mtvasia.net> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s
registered trademarks MTV. The domain name <mtvasia.net> is identical
to the Complainant’s trademark MTV with the addition of the geographical term
"asia". The first and inherently distinctive portion of the domain
name <mtvasia.net> is identical to Complainant’s trademark MTV. The Respondent
has associated the geographical term "asia" with the word MTV to create
a domain name which is confusingly similar with Complainant’s trademark MTV.
The second element which the Complainant is required to prove is that the Respondent
has no right or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name in dispute.
The Complainant has established that the trademarks MTV, MTV design and MTV
ASIA were in wide use throughout America and Asia before the registration of
the domain name in dispute <mtvasia.net>. The Complainant’s uncontested
evidence is that the Respondent has not been authorized by the Complainant to
use any of the Complainant’s trademarks as part of a domain name or otherwise.
The Respondent did not respond to the Complainant’s cease and desist letter
and did not file a Response submitting proof of rights or a legitimate interest
in respect of the domain name. The Complainant has proven that the Respondent
has no right or legitimate interest in respect of the domain name <mtvasia.net>.
The third element which the Complainant is required to prove is that the disputed
domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The disputed domain name <mtvasia.net> was registered many years after
the MTV marks had become renowned in America and Asia. By using the domain name
in dispute the Respondent has attempted to attract internet users to Respondent’s
website and other on-line locations by creating a likelihood of confusion with
the Complainant’s well-known marks as to source. The confusion leads to a hit
on the Respondent’s web site or other on-line locations. Further the subject
matter on the Respondent’s web site and other on-line locations involving pornography
is damaging to the Complainant’s goodwill in its business and trademarks. Madonna
Ciccone v Dan Parisi, WIPO Case No. D2000-0847;
Ingersoll-Rand Co. v Frank Gully, d/b/a/ Advcomren, WIPO
Case No. D2000-0021.
By using the domain name <mtvasia.net>, Respondent intentionally attempts
to attract for financial gain Internet users to the Respondents’ websites and
other on-line locations, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's
trademarks as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the
Respondent’s web sites and/or the goods or services offered therein.
7. Summary of Findings
a) The domain name in dispute is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark
b) The Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in respect of the disputed
domain name. The disputed domain name promotes and suggests a connection or
relationship of the Respondent with the Complainant, which does not exist.
c) The domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith by the
Respondent. The Respondent is using the confusingly similar domain name in dispute
to attract business to the Respondent’s website and associated pornographic
In the Complaint, the Complainant requested that in accordance with Paragraph
4 .i of the Policy, the Panel issues a decision that the disputed domain name
be transferred to Complainant. The Complainant having proved each of the three
elements set out in Paragraph 4 (a)(i), (ii) and (iii) of the Policy is entitled
to the remedy requested. The Panel requires that the domain name <mtvasia.net>
be transferred to Viacom International Inc.
Dated: March 4, 2002