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U.S. Internet domain squatters busy

Oct. 18, 2004 at 2:14 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- There's a new twist in speculating on Internet domain names involving posting negative information about political candidates, the Washington Times reported.

Looking not so much for profit, but for political satisfaction, Susan Payne of Maryland became involved in the campaign duel between Maryland Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen and his Republican challenger Charles Floyd.

Floyd owns several sites with variations of Van Hollen's name, and has used them as attack ads, the Washington Times said Monday.

Floyd used the same tactic. But Payne, registered as an independent, bought more than 30 domain names -- including Floyd4congress.com -- for $10 each. She then told the Floyd campaign she will post negative information she has found about Floyd unless he removes the negative Van Hollen sites.

Elizabeth Rader, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property and Internet law, said she advises such domain owners to post disclaimers and links to real sites, and disclose the site is intended to be a parody.

"There's a lot of stupid people out there -- they could probably find some people who believed it was real," Rader said.

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