Six things to know if your Facebook username has been squatted

Summary:Mike Arrington couldn't get his name as a Facebook username when registration opened on 6/12/09. Here are six things you should know if you're in the same boat.

Six things to know if your Facebook Username has been squatted
Here are some things to bear in mind about username squatting on Facebook.

  1. I'm guessing Mike Arrington can get this fixed with a phone call or two. (via Dave Winer) If you're not him...
  2. You may have missed the fact there was, before username registration opened up, a form to complete for "preventing [your] trademarks from being registered as usernames." That form is now closed, and links off instead to Facebook's non-copyright IP Infringement Form. (Given its wording and stated purpose, I doubt it would have helped with non-trademark-registered individual names anyway.)
  3. Facebook (like Twitter, etc.) is not ICANN, and the UDRP has no application to its vanity URLs. Facebook's terms of service, however, mandate that users not "take any action on Facebook that infringes someone else's rights or otherwise violates the law."
  4. Many jurisdictions, (including California where Facebook is headquartered), restrict or prohibit unauthorized use of a person's "name, image, likeness or other unequivocal aspects of one's identity."
  5. It's not "squatting" if someone else happens to share an individual's name and was able to register it or a variation.
  6. All that said, it seems one's first recourse as the victim of a username squatter is the aforementioned non-copyright IP Infringement Form.

I'd be interested in hearing about people's experiences with this — whether it turns out to be streamlined and effective or frustrating and a pain. Let me know and I'll update.

Previously: Chris Pirillo is socialsquatted; does the law care?

Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Denise Howell is an appellate, intellectual property and technology lawyer who enjoys broad industry recognition for her expertise on the intersection of emerging technologies and law. For further details please see her professional background and speaking schedule. Denise's career is characterized by her passionate engagement in intell... Full Bio

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