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Google sues Polish poets over gmail.pl


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#1 Damien R.

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 15:34

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.


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#2 vetFourjays

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 16:25

I'm not sure whether Google or the owners of Gmail.pl are right here.

On one hand, Gmail.pl was registered after Gmail was started which indicates they deliberately registered it in the hope of financial gain (like others have done). Additionally "was surprised to discover that www.gmail.pl was available" indicates that they expected Google to have taken it already.

On the other, they have got no financial gain from it and aren't in competition with Google.

#3 studio57lie

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 16:43

I'm sorry, I am a Gmail and Google fanboy but seriously, you could put this in a different situation and realize the huge deal this is (for "Grupa Mlodych Artystow i Literatow").

Imagine you buy a house. And years later a person from the bigger house says "Hey, move out. Your house looks like ours."

That's just what I think.

#4 primexx

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 21:05

Unless Google's GMAIL is trademarked in the country, the poets should retain their domain names.

#5 Aero Ultimate

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 21:08

It already failed in Britain and Germany... it seems those morons are now trying to sue all sorts of countries just for the fun of it.

#6 Toology

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 02:32

I'll say what I posted as a news comment:

Shouldn't they (the Polish domain holders) have thought to get gmal.pl (without the "i") instead? It's available as far as I can tell.

I don't know how the Polish language works but you omit words like "of", "and", etc. in English when you're writing something like USA. It's not USoA. So why would they get gmail.pl when all the "i" stands for is "and?"

#7 ozgeek

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 03:22

This is like sueing jasonroberts.net for using my full name as their site name. I don't care because there are other Jason Roberts besides me in the world. It's not like that it exploits me.

(no that is not my site lol)

#8 vetL3thal

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 05:00

I doubt this will fly in Polish court.

#9 osirisX

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 05:03

They just wanted gmail.pl for the extra hits.

#10 T-Dawg_08

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 10:26

Google are jerks IMO.

I mean, it's their fault for not reserving it in the first place.

I'm tired of these big companies and their big egos and all that pretence that they think they should own the world or something. (eg. Apple with iPhone and now stupid things like this from Google)

I mean, who are they trying to kid?

#11 rado354

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 11:03

I'm not a lawyer, but I think if they aren't in competition with Google - then it's OK for them to keep their domain (at least in Europe it's like this).

I hate big companies suing poor and unprotected citizens for nothing.
This is not a damn dictatorship :angry:
Pay them $1.000.000 and that's it!

Google are more greedy than RIAA+MPAA together.

#12 WhoCares?

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 07:07

The way I view this is:

First and foremost, it does not matter if the group in Poland bought the domain to intentionally wrangle money from Google or not. The fact remains Google did not buy the domain and lost the right to it.

Second, what is Google trying to prove here? Gmail has been around how long now? Two or three years? It obviously has not affected Google until now that it was important to get the domain until someone else purchased the rights to it. That's like telling a judge "Well I thought about buying that really expensive property over there, but I just didn't act on it until it was too late."

Cmon Google, you have other options and anyone in Poland that wants to sign up for gmail is still going to be able to do so whether you own the domain gmail.pl or not. Leave the little guys alone or pony up and buy the domain from them fairly and legally. Don't try and strong arm them just because you have billions of dollars when they did not intentionally do this to make money from you.

Admit your mistake that Google did not buy the domain and now you are S-O-L.