Only famous people who trade on their name have any chance of winning control of internet addresses containing their name, according to a decision by the World Intellectual Property Center (WIPO).
Publishing executive David Pecker lost the right to gain control of davidpecker.com in a case judged by the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center. It found that Pecker failed to demonstrate that he had rights to the name davidpecker.com other than "broad assertions".
In order to gain control of a domain a person or company has to prove three things. They have to show that the domain is the same or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the person has rights; that the other party has no legitimate interests or rights in the domain, and that it was registered or is being used 'in bad faith'.
In order to gain control of a domain you must fulfil all three conditions, so if the Panel finds one step which you fail it rarely considers the other two.
The Panel found that Pecker could not show that he had a trade mark or service mark right in the name David Pecker, so could not gain control of the domain. Other Panels had found in the cases of famous people that being famous, and therefore trading under your name, did sometimes qualify for that step.
So Woody Harrelson might have a case but not Dave Woodie the garbage man.