Home page logo

Politech mailing list archives

FC: Pacifica tries to grab WBAI.net using ICANN dispute process
From: Declan McCullagh <declan () well com>
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001 20:35:49 -0500

The website in question is related to discussions of WBAI 99.5 FM, a Pacifica affilate, but disclaims any relationship with the network or the station.

See also:



CONTACT:  Patty Heffley <patty () inch com>
Tel. 646-489-5963


In what has become a tiresome pattern of attacks on free speech and First
Amendment advocates, a law firm representing the Pacifica Foundation has
threatened legal action against a woman who has maintained the wbai.net
website in New York City since 1997.

Epstein Becker & Green has been in the news lately, but in ways that are
less than favorable to their clients.  Epstein Becker & Green is the law
firm retained by the Pacifica Foundation to defend itself against multiple
lawsuits charging that the directors of the Foundation sit on the
Foundation's board of directors illegally.  Plaintiffs have filed those
lawsuits based on their concerns about the apparent efforts to liquidate
the radio broadcasting assets of the Pacifica Foundation in apparent
violation of state and federal law.

Patty Heffley, a multimedia producer in New York City and a member of the
group Coalition for a democratic Pacifica-New York chapter, has maintained
the WBAI Listener Network website http://www.wbai.net continuously since
1997.  The website has a long track record in support of First Amendment
rights, Free Speech Radio in the United States and worldwide, and the
discussion of issues related to WBAI 99.5 FM, the New York affiliate of
the Pacifica Foundation.

Important issues discussed on the website wbai.net include announcements
of listener-sponsored events in New York City concerning the conflicts
between the Pacifica National Board and their five affiliates, the pending
lawsuits against the Pacifica Foundation, and the documented union-busting
efforts carried out at WBAI by the recently fired former General Manager
of the station, Valerie Van Isler.

CdP-NY has verified reports that Epstein, Becker & Green advertises their
skill at interfering with union drives in the workplace as a selling point
for their clients.  In an extraordinary demonstration of stretching legal
ethics to their breaking point, Epstein Becker & Green attorney and staff
member John Murdock currently sits on the board of directors of the
Pacifica Foundation.  Plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits against the
Pacifica National Board allege that Mr. Murdock sits on the board
illegally, in apparent violation of California state law and in apparent
violation of the bylaws of the Pacifica Foundation itself.

Ms. Heffley received a letter from Pacifica's lawyers -- the same law firm
that employs Mr. Murdock, a member of the Pacifica National Board -- via
email on Friday (see below). It's rather strange that after years of this
site operating as part of a listener network (wbai.NET), Pacifica decided
to attack wbai.net now, claiming that wbai.net infringes on their
trademark!  If there is any site that has hurt WBAI's name, it's the
"official" www.wbai.org site, which has completely wiped out all
information on the current crisis from its site in recent weeks.

Even cursory review of the relevant case law, as well as the relevant
guidelines posted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers (ICANN) at <http://www.icann.org/udrp/udrp.htm> suggests that the
operators of wbai.net are engaged in fair use of the domain name wbai.net.
Thus the efforts by Epstein Becker & Green appear to be a clumsy attempt
to intimidate Ms. Heffley into closing down a site with a long record of
support for the very principles now under attack by the Pacifica
Foundation, which is a client of Epstein Becker & Green.  Ms. Heffley
fully intends to fight for the right to use the domain name wbai.net to
support people working for Free Speech Radio in New York City, throughout
the Pacifica network, and around the globe.

WBAI has always been more than a corporate name. It has also been the
voice of listeners.  wbai.net represents some of those voices and right
now is an especially critical time for them to be heard. It's pretty clear
that the Pacifica Foundation is annoyed with the contents of the website
wbai.net. But it's also clear to anyone who simply looks at the page that
this is NOT a page belonging to WBAI management. This page is, and will
continue to be, for the listeners. This latest clumsy attempt to
intimidate Ms. Heffley verifies that individuals running Pacifica perceive
Free Speech as a threat, rather than as a cornerstone of the mission of
the Pacifica Foundation.


Date: Fri, 09 Feb 2001 17:27:17 -0500
From: "Daly Temchine (Fred Kriesel)" <FKriesel () ebglaw com>
To: <patty () inch com>
Subject: Patty Heffly desist letter - <pacifica.DOC>
Mime-Version: 1.0 Status: RO X-Status:

Confidentiality Note:

This e-mail is intended only for the person or entity to which it is
addressed and
may contain information that is privileged, confidential or otherwise
from disclosure. Dissemination, distribution or copying of this e-mail or the
information herein by anyone other than the intended recipient, or an employee
or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, is
prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please call the Help
of Epstein Becker & Green at 212-351-4701 and destroy the original message and
all copies.

February 9, 2001


Patty Heffley
WBAI Listener Network
New York, NY 10011

Re: Unlawful use of the WBAI Trademark

Dear Patty Heffley:

We are counsel for Pacifica Foundation, owner of the trademark and trade
name, "WBAI."  Use of this mark by our client dates back many years.
It just has come to our client's attention that you have registered the
"WBAI.net" domain name with the InterNIC organization through Network
Solutions, and that you are maintaining a Web site with that domain name.
Such domain name registration, and use thereof, constitutes blatant
trademark infringement, unfair competition, dilution, and other causes of
action under state and federal law. In addition, your domain name
registration and Web site use restricts our client from conducting business
on the Internet under its own name, is likely to cause confusion, and
dilutes the distinctive quality of our client's famous marks, among other
wrongs. Recent court decisions have made clear that the manner in which you
have registered "WBAI.net" and misappropriated our client's trademarks
constitutes a clear violation of our client's rights.
Accordingly, on behalf of our client, we hereby demand that you immediately
cease all use of any domain name, on or in connection with your Web sites,
or otherwise, that infringes our client's trademark rights; effect transfer
of the domain name to our client by completing the appropriate template of
Network Solutions; and that you relinquish all rights to the domain name.
In the absence of your response in accordance with the foregoing by February
14, 2001, appropriate action will be taken against you to enjoin your use of
the domain name and retrieve the domain name from you. We will also consider
seeking temporary, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, as well as
damages for the harm suffered and which continues to be suffered by our
client, together with attorney fees because of the wrongful deprivation
caused by your illegal use of our client's registered trademark and trade

Very truly yours,

Daly D.E. Temchine

cc:  Pacifica Foundation

POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
You may redistribute this message freely if it remains intact.
To subscribe, visit http://www.politechbot.com/info/subscribe.html
This message is archived at http://www.politechbot.com/

  By Date           By Thread  

Current thread:
  • FC: Pacifica tries to grab WBAI.net using ICANN dispute process Declan McCullagh (Feb 14)
[ Nmap | Sec Tools | Mailing Lists | Site News | About/Contact | Advertising | Privacy ]