can I use Justin Biber in my domain name - will I be sued

27 replies
I want to sell his stuff. Can I get sued for using his name and making money from the site?


What would be an alternative to taking advantage of celebrity named domains.
- Acronyms (JB Website Store)
- Nick Names


Anyone with experience?
#biber #domain #justin #sued
  • Profile picture of the author Filosophy
    Banned
    Yes, you can get sued. Yes, it's a bad idea. No, you shouldn't use it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Miguelito203
    Originally Posted by ProfitFromMyDomain View Post

    I want to sell his stuff. Can I get sued for using his name and making money from the site?
    First, let me state that I'm not a lawyer, so I assume no liability due to any actions you might take based on what I"m about to tell you. Secondly, if you're talking about promoting his stuff from Amazon or something like that, you can't create a domain like "justinbieberclothes.com." His name and likeness are considered like intellectual property and are copyrighted or trademarked or whatever the case my be.

    If you have a site like "coolclothes.com" and want to create a page for Justin's stuff, then that's okay. The url would look something like "coolclothes.com/justinbieberstuff/...." Do you see the difference? It's kind of like if you were to promote something by a celebrity on a free site like blogger or something. The name can't be part of the main url, but it can be part of the url through the creation of a page. I should also mention that if you violate copywright and/or trademark laws, you can be sued and what not, so you have to be careful.

    Joey
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  • Profile picture of the author Jack Hunter
    We live in age where big companies seem to sue little guy for whatever they can trying to extort money.

    So they would threaten you, just to see what happens.

    Harry Potter, Twilight, and all these fads have ton of court cases where they sued people over things like that. I doubt any lawsuits went anywhere at all.

    In China they actually have guy writing continuation of Harry Potter, its being mass marketed, as infringing as you can get, and nobody can stop it.

    This is just one example, so you understand, its normal. If you want a piece of action, you gotta fight for it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_d..._Potter_series
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    • Profile picture of the author curiozities
      The bigger question is, why do you even want to?

      Seriously, as some of the other Warriors on this thread have noted, you could run into legal trouble. Your domain name seller might not even allow it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jack Hunter
        Originally Posted by curiozities View Post

        The bigger question is, why do you even want to?

        Seriously, as some of the other Warriors on this thread have noted, you could run into legal trouble. Your domain name seller might not even allow it.
        What are you talking about? Find a single domain reseller who will TURN DOWN money for a domain.

        And what if your name was Justin Bieber too. Do you think there is just one Justin Bieber, and because he is famous, ... what should all other Justin Biebers do?

        There is nothing wrong with buying domain named whatever you want. Legal problems arise depending on how you use it. For example, if you bought boogle.com and skinned it to look like google.com to grab mistyped traffic. But you could get google.ninja domain, make it about cosplay, and Google doesnt get a say about it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Cali16
      Originally Posted by Jack Hunter View Post

      We live in age where big companies seem to sue little guy for whatever they can trying to extort money.

      So they would threaten you, just to see what happens.

      If you want a piece of action, you gotta fight for it.
      And they may also sue you. They're not necessarily doing it "just to extort money". Celebrities and companies also sue to protect their name and reputation, which is completely understandable.

      Telling someone to "fight for it" (in this case) is just bad advice all the way around.

      To the OP: I'm not an attorney, but I'm pretty sure the domain isn't your only concern in this scenario. If you decide to sell T-shirts, for example, with JB's name or image on the front, that could also potentially lead to legal problems if you haven't obtained the proper permission to do so. The bottom line is that you can't just go around making money off a celebrity's name. Sure, people do it all the time. But some get caught and end up getting sued or at the very least, have to shut down their business and take a loss. Why take the risk?

      If you're going to pursue this, you should consult with an attorney first. Better to be smart now than sorry later. Hiring an attorney to fight a law suit at some point could get very expensive very fast.

      (Again, I'm not a lawyer so please don't construe my post as "legal advice" in any way.)
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      • Profile picture of the author snic15
        As long as you are the own of property no one can sue you
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  • Profile picture of the author leilapearse
    Banned
    Yes! Don't you think of any other names that can be used as your domain name? Know this, there are several important precautions to take when buying a domain name...
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  • Profile picture of the author rotface
    Some celebrities are ok with it, some aren't. I've worked in this niche a while.

    I would not recommend Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber. Justin Bieber took ~6 months before they issued c&d.
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    • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
      Originally Posted by Rotface View Post

      Justin Bieber took ~6 months before they issued c&d.
      What exactly did you have on the site? Is there an archive.org cache that we can see?
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  • TO EVERYONE!

    What would be an alternative to taking advantage of celebrity named domains.
    - Acronyms (JB Website Store)
    - Nick Names


    Anyone with experience?
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    I would have invented Google and Microsoft if I was born earlier.

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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Even spelling it incorrectly (as you have done), you would still get in trouble.
    Why risk it? There's no point spending time and/or money on something that can cost you both time and money and trouble.
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  • Profile picture of the author mikfoxx
    Absolutely! You'll surely just looking for a trouble. It's better to be safe and clean with all your actions. Be honest. Remember that you have to build trust with your target niche and for you to do that, you have to be truthful and honest with your motives. Do not act as if you are trolling and scamming someone by your name.
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  • So i'm assuming the best way to go is to use an acronym?


    Can anyone help me out with some legal cases/links. I can't seem to find any. Not particularly on Justin Bieber but on any celebrity or brand name.
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  • I would not advise you to use any celebrity's name in your domain name unless you want to be sued.

    Consult an attorney for more clarification as to what you allowed to do as an affiliate.
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  • Profile picture of the author nurz
    By ‘selling his stuff’ what do you mean? Do you mean posters, shirts and other collectibles for Justin Bieber fans? If you’re a legitimate reseller I don’t think you need to worry about being sued. However don’t use his name as your store name to be safe. I’m not exactly sure if he’s going to sue small stores but who knows what’s gonna happen if your store made enough noise and earn enough bucks to be noticed. You can name your store ‘celebrity knick knacks’ or any other name and then just promote your Justin Bieber stuff in there.
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  • I appreciate the input everyone - THANK YOU
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  • Profile picture of the author Winning34
    I agree with Cali16

    Even if they didn't sue, they would hit you with a cease and desist order which is basically telling you "to take the site down or we'll sue." Likewise where are you going to get photos from? Are you going to pay for those paparazzi shots? You think a photographer will just let you use his photos for free? You think the tabloid press who had to pay $$ for those photos will like you using them for free? Basically what I'm saying is that this sort of site puts a huge target on your back and that's not really a good thing in business.

    Also, the thing is with making a site like this is that you could waste years of your life working on it, adding content, all for nothing. At the beginning, the site will be small so won't be on Justin Bieber's legal team's radar. But then, if / when the site grows, they will find it and bam, you'll have to take it down. So just when the site starts giving you a return on your investment, you'll have to take it down and all that work will have been for nothing. No upside but a big downside.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      They don't have to issue a cease and desist first. They don't have to warn you in any way.

      It is ridiculous to me that people would try to help an obviously clueless marketers find a way to get around using a trademark in a domain.

      In every thread like this (and there's at least one a week) - one or two will give the macho advice of "don't let them push you around" or "you gotta fight for it".

      Keep in mind the tough guys giving this advice WON'T help you in court if that's where you end up.

      taking advantage of celebrity
      Trademark registration is designed to KEEP you from 'TAKING ADVANTAGE OF'....so do it at your own risk and don't come whining here when the lawyers come after you. Celebs like JB have their own flock of lawyers...

      On a common sense note: why would you waste time building and optimizing a site that would never be safe from litigation or take down?
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    • Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

      Here's a quick example of what can happen...

      http://www.americanexpress.com/us/sm...our-marketing/
      THANK YOU!!
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  • Profile picture of the author andorod77
    I would consult with an attorney before taking any further action
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    • Profile picture of the author discrat
      To the OP...why did you come on here and ask this ?

      Clearly, all you wanted to hear was people who might agree with you or who might encourage you.

      There are a few lost souls in this Thread that are doing that.

      But the most credible Warriors on this Thread are saying NO, DO NOT DO THIS !!

      But I have a gut feeling that you will not heed this advice because you are too greedy and you are too set in your mind and this is NOT what you wanted to hear
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      • Originally Posted by discrat View Post

        To the OP...why did you come on here and ask this ?

        Clearly, all you wanted to hear was people who might agree with you or who might encourage you.

        There are a few lost souls in this Thread that are doing that.

        But the most credible Warriors on this Thread are saying NO, DO NOT DO THIS !!

        But I have a gut feeling that you will not heed this advice because you are too greedy and you are too set in your mind and this is NOT what you wanted to hear
        You're right, it's not what I wanted to hear but it's clearly something I have to unfortunately accept. It's a shame, it's such a gold mine of products.
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  • Profile picture of the author ConsciousViews
    I strongly discourage you from using Justin Bieber or anyone famous within your domain name... Chances are it will come back to you. The forces that be will shut down your website and possibly look to sue for defamation or false misrepresentation.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Honestly, if you're not sure and think something bad could happen, just avoid it.. trust me, it really sucks to spend a ton of time and money on something to be told you need to take it down
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  • To Everyone! Just to make it clear. It would have been an amazon site. And i'm not making a justin bieber site. I am doing something else with other names, JB was just an example to get feed back on the idea of pre-marketed names.


    I know it's illegal to use trademarked names. I was only asking for experience and legal cases or at least hoping to get feed back from people with experience and links to legal cases. I came up with 2 ideas both direct and indirect to sell certain products but I wasn't sure if it could possibly come off as false endorsement or infringement.


    As far as infringement goes, I see fan sites everywhere but none of them seem to make money and they all are built on sub domain services like tumblr, blogger etc...That's why I was asking about acronyms.
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