Clarifying the intent

An analysis of what the Warner Brothers letter really said

We have a copy of that letter.

Alright, we have significant chunks of it. We have enough of it, anyway.

(We’ve double checked this. There is nothing significant missing from our text.)

Let’s see what Warner Brothers mean by ‘asking to clarify’, shall we?

J K Rowling and Warner Bros. are the owners of the intellectual property rights in the “Harry Potter” books. (That’s clear. We understand that.)

Ms. Rowling and Warner Bros. are concerned that your domain name registration is likely to cause consumer confusion or dilution of the intellectual property rights described herein.
(Hardly clear, but it’s legal blah to say that people might think your site, or domain to be accurate, is official.)

Your registration of the above domain name, in our opinion, is likely to infringe the rights described above and we would ask therefore that you please, within 14 days of today’s date provide written confirmation that you will as soon as practicable (and in any event within 28 days of today’s date) transfer to Warner Bros. the above domain name.
(Huh? This says – ‘give us the domain name’. Within 28 days.)

We are prepared to reimburse the registration fee incurred in your registering the above mentioned domain name.
(That’s nice. Apparently, you get a calendar too. Sort of a goodwill gesture. So we hear, anyway.)

If we do not hear from you by 15 December 2000 we shall put this matter into the hands of our solicitors.
(That’s clear. That’s real clear. That’s tanks on your lawn, that is.)

Let’s analyse this missive again.

“Ms. Rowling and Warner Bros. are concerned”

Ms Rowling hasn’t said a word. I’ve written to her agent twice, other visitors to the site have written, and the press have tried to contact her. She hasn’t made a public comment about what’s being done in her name. Now, either she’s distraught with worry over what’s going on – or she’s not all that concerned at all and is happy to let Warner Brothers’ pit-bulls get on with the messy stuff.

We know Warners are concerned – they wouldn’t have sent this letter otherwise.