WARSAW (AFP) - Google has launched legal action against a group of Polish poets, demanding that they give up their Internet domain name gmail.pl, a member of the cultural collective said.
Izabela Krawczyk of GMAiL -- the "Grupa Mlodych Artystow i Literatow," or Group of Young Artists and Writers -- told AFP that Google had turned to the country's IT and telecommunications tribunal to try to stop them using the Web site address www.gmail.pl.
Google charges that GMAiL has no rights to the name, which resembles the US firm's internationally known email service www.gmail.com.
The service is enjoying snowballing global success, encouraging Google to try to snap up variants of the name which use national suffixes, such as .pl in Poland.
Besides turning to arbitrators and the courts to stop so-called cybersquatters from abusing their names on the Internet, companies sometimes pay big money to buy back such domain names.
Krawczyk, however, blasted the suggestion that the poets were looking for a fast buck.
"We didn't buy this name just to sell it to Google. As a matter of pride, we're refusing to give it up," she said.
"We bought the name legally, with our own money. Nobody gave it to us for free. We refuse to be deprived of what we consider is our property."
Krawczyk said that Google had not proposed a financial settlement.
"Their lawyer told me that his client had no intention of paying for something which belonged to him," she claimed.
It was not immediately possible to contact Google's Polish lawyers on Friday.
Krawczyk, a poet and IT fan based in the central Polish city of Lodz, said that at the end of last year her group was surprised to discover that www.gmail.pl was available.
They decided to buy the rights to the domain name in order to raise the profile of GMAiL, which publicises the works of young unknowns who have not yet found a conventional editor.
"Our site has a use. There's no financial gain involved. And we're not competing with the US company," she said.
Google has also faced problems after failing to be the first one to register local versions of its domain name in Britain and Germany.