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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Intellectual Property/Domain Name Case: RPGLife Site Dispute

So, this isn't terribly interesting or relevant to RPGs overall, but I came across this somewhat novel example of copyright/intellectual property and internet domain names. Essentially, a medical site established as having "distinct" intellectual property terms including "RPG" and "RPG Life" had filed a complaint that the website rpglife.com had registered a domain name "in bad faith", to simply squat on the name.

An international arbitration found otherwise, and RPGLife, owned by an American, dealt with the more universally "generic" abbreviation for "role playing game". Apparently the Indian claimant did essentially NO homework on the term and believed "RPG" to be their own distinct term. How the company's legal team missed this rather common usage is perhaps explained in that the Swiss arbitration also noted that this was not the first claim the Indian company had made in this manner, and found that company itself, to have a history of making such claims of intellectual property violation "in bad faith". Interesting.

Amusingly, the current owner of RPGLife offered then to sell their domain name to the Indian company, who in the article was said to be considering the purchase. Currently, rpglife.com redirects to RPGShop.com, an online retailer for role-playing game materials, so apparently the Indian company RPGLIfe decided the asking price was too high, though the value wasn't revealed. The article was published in Times of India in Feb of 2014, however, so it is possible there are still negotiations over the domain name.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/RPG-Life-loses-battle-for-domain-name/articleshow/30593959.cms

On a personal note, I was a member of the now apparently defunct roleplaying game site RPGLife, as well as RPGBomb and RPGArchive, all of which are now redirecting to other things, indicating perhaps a lessening or at least increasingly focused avenue or venue for role playing game interaction, which to me is probably not overall a positive sign, as it probably means less variety - plus rpgarchive had a ton of free adventures people wrote and submitted (myself included) for a variety of systems and genres, and that is all apparently gone now.

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