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Thursday, January 10, 2008

edstelmach.ca: governing myself accordingly. day 3.

Well, I've spent the last three days governing myself accordingly on this issue and edstelmach.ca. Here's a bit of an update of what's going on...

As was reported in the newspapers today:

Stelmach's chief of staff, Ron Glen, called Dave Cournoyer on Wednesday in search of a resolution to the fight over the domain name edstelmach.ca. Glen had heard Cournoyer might be amenable to settling the issue if he got a call from the premier.
Now, I'm still a little confused about who exactly I'm dealing with. Let me try to work this out:

1) Right before Christmas, I receive a letter from a lawyer representing Premier Ed Stelmach threatening me with litigation for misappropriating Premier Stelmach's personality by owning edstelmach.ca.

2) January 8 - The Premier's Office refuses to comment or become publicly involved with the issue. Alberta Progressive Conservative Executive Director Jim Campbell comments on it, saying the domain issue is theirs.

3) Afternoon, January 9 - I receive an email from the Premier's lawyer saying that he is still waiting to hear from me or my legal representation.

4) Evening, January 9 - I receive a friendly phone call from Ron Glen, the Chief of Staff of the Office of the Premier (which didn't want to comment or be involved with the issue the previous day), asking if there might be a way to amenably resolve this issue.

Understandably, I was a little surprised to get a phone call from the Premier's Chief of Staff. I know that Mr. Glen is a good friend and long time adviser to Premier Stelmach, but I can't help but be a little confused about who is handling the issue on their side of things.

Like I've said before, this has always been something that probably could have been resolved a lot quieter by a friendly email or phone call and not through a threatening legal letter (it's kind of like shooting first and asking questions later). This said, I've never been interested in personally or financially profiting from this, so I will be taking a couple of days to weigh my options.

Here is some recent stories from bloggers and in the news about this story...

- Stelmach the bully in this web prank (Graham Thomson at the Edmonton Journal)
- Province threatens Cournoyer (The Gateway)
- Premier of Alberta threatens to sue blogging uni student for registering a domain with his name in it (BoingBoing)
- Premier Stelmach seeks truce over domain name spat (Edmonton Journal)
- Political Analysts tell Stelmach to 'back off' on domain name dispute (Calgary Herald)
- Expert expects preem to lose domain lawsuit (Edmonton Sun)
- Premier defends efforts to control internet address (Canadian Press on CBC Edmonton)
- Edmonton Sun Letter to the Editor
- Davberta punk's Premier Ed. I love it! (Ken Chapman)
- edstelmach.com (Everybody has to live somewhere)
- Hard not to feel some sympathy for the Premier (David Climenhaga)
- Ed Stelmach threatens lawsuit over domain name (Ben Co.)
- Not an HRC issue, but blogger may be sued (timeimmortal)
- Alberta Premier vs Alberta Blogger (p2pnet.net)
- Alberta Premier threatens to sue blogger over cybersquatting ( The Agenda)
- On making Ed Stelmach look stupid (Cowboys for Social Responsibility)
- Unless you live under a rock (Alberta Tory)
- Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach vs. blogger (Alice the Camel)
- Craig Chandler bids for Stelmach's domain name (La Revue Gauche)
- Hey Ed your domain is available (La Revue Gauche)

The Premier was also questioned about edstelmach.ca during his press conference this morning before he left for the First Ministers' Conference in Ottawa.

48 comments:

Dale Kirby said...

Harry Strom re-direct :) . . . you have a hellava sense of humour. Best of luck.

eugene plawiuk said...

You missed my posts, again. And I even emailed you the links. Guess you are busy with all the media interviews. You are Alberta's version of Britney Spears lol. Anyways I have posted another one on your lawyer pal Tyler Shandro.

Anonymous said...

Weigh your options for a few days eh?

I predict:

Surprise, surprise, you'll turn the name over in a couple days, because you'll announce that you've taught them all an important lesson and you didn't really want the name anyway....

You will then blog on endlessly about it...

When in reality, you will have received legal advice advising that you will lose any and all legal challenges...so, the prudent thing to do is to give up the name.

I GUARANTEE that this is how this will unfold.

Does anyone believe that this blogger will keep the name?

When you give it back, I hope that you realize that you bit of more than you could chew.

There are two possibilities that I see:

1) You were aware of domain name trademark law and you registered it anyway in bad faith.

2) You genuinely had no idea about domain trademark law and registered the name in good faith.

Either way, you lose the name.

Anonymous said...

Even if Dave gives Stelmach the domain name, Stelmach still loses. He looks heavy handed and like he doesn't have a clue what he's doing. Threatening to sue a 24 year old university student was a very bad idea from the get go. I think Stelmach should really question the type of political and communications advice he's getting, because if this is any example, the advice he's getting is questionable at best.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave, Global news is reporting that your former employment for the Alberta Liberals is a '...new development...' I guess no one at Global has ever read your blog or any other media in the past couple days because they all mention that.

Keep up the good work Dave!

'Peg City Kid said...

I say have your name legally changed to Ed Stelmach.

Anonymous said...

Graham Thomson's column is gold!

Ba-da-bing!

daveberta said...

Yeah, I'm a little confused as to why my former employment with the Alberta Liberals is a new development as well. I've never hid it, in fact I made it public on this blog in May 2007 (http://daveberta.blogspot.com/2007/05/in-spirit-of-accountability-and.html) and have had it posted on my sidebar since then. Not to mention that it was mentioned in probably every second news story since Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I'm pretty embarrassed to have taken a PC sign on my lawn in the last election after this scandal. What business does Ed Stelmach have suing a blogger over something as small as a website address? Doesn't he have bigger and more important things to deal with?

Stelmach doesn't have a leg to stand on. If he did he would have sued you by now. He send Ron Glenn to make a truce offering because he knows their case is weak and and how bad this has made them look. Even if they win, they still lose.

Arinn said...

i think it's awesome that you bought the domain and the premier is losing his cool over it. i've been keeping up with the story for the last week and a bit and congratulations! it takes some guts to stand against a lawsuit so i think it is great that you are holding your ground.

Anonymous said...

Just heard you on the radio dave. Don't let them push you around. Even coming from Ottawa, this has to be one of the most ridiculous threats I have ever seen a politician do (and there are some pretty dumb politicians in Ottawa).

Don K.
Ottawa, ON

Anonymous said...

BOING BOING BOING BOING.

Edward G. Hollett said...

Free advice is worth what you paid for it so take this for what it's worth.

If the domain was open and all you did was redirect to your blog, then there is really no reason for the Premier to be using clumsy legal tactics to threaten you. They don't have a case.

They screwed up. They now have a national PR fiasco on their hands.

Option 1: Call the premier's chief of staff back and tell them there is a simple and amiable way to resolve it.

Have the Premier's lawyer withdraw the letter without prejudice. The small fortune he's likely paying them in billable hours and the national embarrassment is punishment enough.

Leave the link where it is - or better still point it to Peter Loughheed's entry or Ralph's at Wiki.

I doubt very much they will proceed with the law suit at this point since the costs are horrendous both politically and financially based on the thin case. It's commonplace for lawyers to try a few threats up front especially when their case is weak. 'Govern yourself accordingly' is code for 'I have jack but fancy letterhead might make you wet your pants.'

If at no point you attempted to profit personally from it by drawing an association between edstelmach.ca and the current premier their case is even weaker.

Heck go find every Edward Stelmach in the province and have them sue the Premier for attempting to appropriate their persona by trying to lay claim to a domain with their name on it.

Option 2: If they do sue, then have fun in court. I am sure there are lawyers who will take the case on, pro bono, all the way to the SCC just to make the point.

Don't cave in.

Anonymous said...

1. This is not something that the Premier of Alberta should be spending time worrying about.

2. Why didn't the PC party handle this from the beginning. This would have made it an organizational vs. an individual issue, not personally involving the Premier into this. Instead, this is a very public and personal legal threat with PREMIER Ed Stelmach's name all over it.

3. It is pretty sad that no one in the PC party registered edstelmach.ca it shows how out of their element the PC party is in 2008 and the new internet age.

4. Dave was not cybersquatting. He didn't and hasn't tried to profit off of the domain name. Ed Stelmach threatened him and Cournoyer hasn't tried to sell it to him or hold it ransom. Redirecting it to the Harry Strom Bio is satire at its best.

5. Do you think Ed Stelmach would have sent the letter if Rick Mercer had registered the website? No. Because they believed they could bully daveberta into giving the website name. It looks like Dave is smarter than that and knows what political bullying looks like. Like Stelmach said of dave today, "He's very political and very politically savvy as well."

6. 'You have to do whatever you do to protect your name, which you know mom and dad gave it to me for free.' is what Stelmach said today. Maybe in 1950 this was the case but Dave is the clear owner of edstelmach.ca. Ed Stelmach is not entitled to it simply because he is Premier of Alberta. He is a public personality, not a trademarked bottled water company. Plus, unless he's the only Ed Stelmach out there i'm not sure how strong his case would be that he is entitled to it.

CfSR said...

If I were in your shoes, I'd do a couple of things.

It's redirect the domain to my favourite article on the whole absurd situation. Today's Graham Thompson piece is the one I'd chose.

And then I'd offer to sell the domain to the Premier.

Tell the Premier's staff to name the price they would pay.

Pick a charity.

Promise to give 100% of whatever they give you to that charity.

See if his guys are as cheap as they are stupid.

Anonymous said...

Michael Geist has offered his expert opinion.

Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa law professor, said Cournoyer may be able to keep the name if it goes before the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA).

"It can be very hard for an individual, even a premier, to be able to successfully win back a domain name under the .ca process," said Geist, who sat on the board for six years and helped draft the policy.

First, it is difficult for a politician to argue that their name is a trademark, Geist said. Second, under CIRA policy you can register a domain name for the purpose of criticism, like Cournoyer is doing with edstelmach.ca.

Geist added that Stelmach may have a better chance by launching a tort action, but that's expensive and lengthy and there's no guarantee of success.


http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/cityplus/story.html?id=c149b4a2-28e5-44a5-89e6-0caafb4b5121

Saskboy said...

Glad to hear that Geist thinks you can win, if Ed won't back down.

Anonymous said...

Is Dave Cournoyer the next Rod Love?
Calgary Herald, Published: Thursday, January 10, 2008

Re: "Stelmach threatens to sue over web address," Jan. 9.

University student Dave Cournoyer has accomplished a marketing miracle, having made nearly $8 a month marketing Ed Stelmach's persona.

The Tory brain trust who managed to lose the seat Ralph Klein held for many years should offer this fellow a job. Who would have thought that a persona like Ed's would be worth so much?

Ed, don't sue -- this could be the next Rod Love.

Bob Cameron, Calgary

http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/letters/story.html?id=8e48a93d-3092-4b36-881e-7450e83f5336&k=87764

Anonymous said...

According to the story from The Edmonton Journal, "the premier thinks many Albertans are on his side in this case of identity theft..."

I guess Ed's misguided belief shows how clueless Ed and the Conservatives really are about this whole issue. But then again, Conservative leaders have a long precedent of not knowing (or caring) what Albertans really think and want.

Anonymous said...

you're clearly fat, gay and socially inept. a drama queen looking for attention for your mediocre "blog".

Jafo said...

All this free advice from the "anonymous" as well as confusing messages from Stelmachs people too.

Curiouser and curioser

Anonymous said...

The most curious comment I've seen so far is the one from the person calling Dave "fat" (two posts above mine). Clearly this person has never seen Dave....

deb said...

I wonder if Ed is going to try and sue other people that have the same name as him.

Anonymous said...

What a great reminder this has all been of what a dud Premier Ed is. I'm sure this wasn't the media cycle Stelmach and crew wanted as the lead up to their election "throne speech". I wonder if this will have enough traction to carry on throughout January?

thx1138.6 said...

Dave, by now you are wondering if you are the mouse that roared or the idiot who isn't going to be able to get a job once he's out of University. "Oh you are that Dave Cournoyer."

You might be thinking 'hey this could lead to a minority government in Alberta or better even... a change in government.' Most likely you are little nervous and wanting a bit of justice.

While I am no legal expert I am very knowledgeable in CIRA regulations and dispute policy. I also have first hand experience dealing with a copyright dispute over a .ca name and how it was resolved. As such I do not believe you have misappropriated the premier's identity simply by registering the domain name nor by using it as you have. Even if this were the case CIRA regulations only deal with copyright and trademarks. Prior use and personal identity are not criteria that can be used to claim a .ca domain from someone.

Now there are certainly a lot of anonymous friends of Ed who are calling you names and suggesting their opinion is a fact. Facts are what courts try to determine and until the Judge pounds his gavel the opinion of Ed's friends is no more fact than mine. Until a Judge decides, advise is all you are going to get from anyone. I have read what few CIRA disputes made it to the courts along with a few ICANN level disputes as well. All I can tell you is a judge will decide (if he not in league with the premier) objectively on the facts and CIRA's regulations. It is my OPINION, therefore, you are the rightful owner of edstelmach.ca.

What all this boils down to is should you keep the name and if so why? There is a principle at stake as well to be sure. The letter from the lawyer needs to redressed and that requires a very public and sincere apology from both Premier Ed and his legal team. It was completely unnecessary and an inappropriate use of public funds. We are not a nation of litigators and this letter is an affront to our collective values as Canadians.

I really like the idea of a charity benefiting from all of this though and so I suggest you think about who you could most help and also show that Ed and his ilk have a heart. A reasonable donation is $10K and going a children's cancer ward or local hospital is a very good idea. The homeless shelter where Ralph embarrassed and shamed all Albertans would be another place to start.

But the choice is yours and I know you have a lot of lawyers, malcontents and Ed's thugs giving you advise 24-7 so talk with your folks and see what they say. Then talk to your friends, the ones that know you best and listen to them. If they are half the guy you have presented yourself to be thus far their advise will be the best of all. Good luck and don't sweat the small stuff.

Svelte Steve said...

dave is a tubby homosexual who jiggles around hospital wards like a queer troglodyte drinking out of used bedpans.

Coalition for a Thinner Canada said...

Check out this website about Dave:

Click here.

Very interesting.

denis said...

Oh, that's mature. Looks like the Young Tories are busy leaving anonymously comments again.

Jim said...

Nice to see that Eddie Stelmach's rapid response team is flooding Dave's blog comments again.

Way to go, guys! You really have a handle on this "new media" thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for the rights of the individual and equality of everyone, but I think you're definitely cyber-squating. I mean your name isn't ed or stelmach or edstel mach. I don't see how you feel you have any privilege to use someone else's name like this.

Is this really what you want people to know you for? Do you really think this will earn you a perceived notion of credibility among new blog readers?

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious - shows how out of touch Stelmach and crew are with today's world. If they had any class, they would have laughed and used the situation to show they have a sense of humour. What sort of communication advice are they getting???

Keep it up, Dave - you are Alberta's Rick Mercer.

Anonymous said...

Wow, keep up the good work. I have been a conservative supporter since I was able to vote and this issue is really showing the conservatives true colors. At this point Ed Stelmach and the conservatives have lost my support.

Hainesy said...

Please, please, please keep the domain name and fight this moron. The "give me what I want or I will sue" approach is one of the worst things in this country and I think if this went to a popular vote of either Albertans or Canadians, you would win hands down. I fully support what you have done and would be willing to contirbute a couple hundred dollars to a legal defence fund if it ever went to that.

The only thing that would make this even funnier than it is, would be if you took the advice of the comment poster above and legally changed your name to Ed Stelmach.

Anonymous said...

What does Craig Chandler think of this?

Neil Diamond said...

If by Alberta's "Rick Mercer" you mean an unshaven tubby socially inept hick with a lisp then you are correct about Dave. This blog is ridiculously bland and lacking in any proper creative drive. No wonder chubs had to resort to hijacking someone else's name in order to draw attention to it.

Someone change Dave's drool cup before he drowns. I can picture big Dave in his wheelchair rocking back and forth excitedly as his colostomy bag splashes around and his head gear pulls so tight it threatens to slingshot his head into the stratosphere with each new post. Quick, someone press the call button and get the nurse in here to clean Dave up.

Jersey Cattle Rancher said...

I came across this intersting link about Dave:

Important information regarding Dave

Quite intriguing!

Anonymous said...

Run for the Liberals or as an independent in Cement-Head Ed's riding of Vegreville. That will carry the issue right through the elcetion.

Show this bully that he cannot push you, a common citizen like all of us, around.

God Bless you and don't give up David! Slay this moronic goliath!

Epsi Hax

Kwil said...

As per the above comments, the domain was registered with the intent of providing criticism of a public figure. Seeing as how that is expressly defined in the CIRA guidelines as a valid interest in the domain, I don't expect any challenge there would succeed.

No attempt was made to convince people that the site was representing premier Ed Stelmach, and in fact, Dave's standard disclaimer makes it quite clear it wasn't representing anybody but himself. So I don't think there's any identity theft criminal concerns either.

It would be difficult to show any type of civil injury to Premier Ed Stelmach, as you can't sue someone for doing something you had the same legal opportunity to do, but did not. With no identity theft, and a legitimate interest in the name, then assuming any revenues raised should have gone to the Premier is like assuming that people living in Amazon have a right to the revenues that domain name has generated. So even if the PR around a civil case wouldn't be disastrous for the Premier, I still don't think Dave has any worries there.

So yeah, I don't think there's any reason Dave has to give the name over.

But that doesn't answer the question of whether he should anyway. I would suggest that if he does keep it, he does so in the context of a page that actually lists his criticisms of Premier Stelmach. That not only works toward the original intent of the site as registered under CIRA, but also serves the purpose of providing useful information to those who are looking to research the Premier. Overall, I think this would be the better option, as it provides more value to the general public.

If, however, he wants another flash of publicity, then I think THX1138.6 has the best idea. Affirm that he has a legitimate use for the site in criticizing the premier, but is willing to give it over for a significant donation to a specific charity. The homeless shelter identified is a good one, as would be such things as the Pembina Institute, Public Interest Alberta, or the Calgary OutLink.

Anonymous said...

That last article linked was super informative. I read through it several times.

Dave's the one on the fence, right?

Glen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glen said...

Re: "Stelmach threatens to sue blogger: Lawyers demand university student give up claim to edstelmach.ca," The Journal, Jan. 9.

I would like to clarify some points raised in this article regarding the registration of edstelmach.ca; specifically comments about Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) policy.

Dot-ca domains (webnames) are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. This policy ensures dot-ca domain names are distributed in a fair, accessible manner to all Canadians. As there may be multiple people sharing the same name, we are unable to make judgments about who has a more legitimate usage of the domain name. In cases where registered trademarks are at issue, CIRA has a policy designed to facilitate resolution of domain name disputes; as edstelmach.ca is a proper name it would not fall under this policy.
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In addition, CIRA does not monitor or enforce standards on the content of dot-ca domains. This opens issues of censorship or defining what constitutes acceptable use. There are mechanisms within civil and criminal law -- such as libel, slander, hate, or obscenity laws -- to allow plaintiffs or law enforcement to pursue action against domain holders.

We encourage people who feel their name or identity is of value, such as celebrities and political figures, to be proactive in registering and managing domain names to ensure that they are not registered by someone else.

David Hicks, director of marketing and communications, Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), Ottawa

AKA Ed has no case.

Chuck Bailey said...

Dave Cournoyer

You are a cheap opportunist - using the most private of information (a person's name) to your advantage and against that person. No one should have to protect their name. No one!

You have the mistaken opinion that a person who chooses politics is intitled to fewer rights than the rest of us.

Get over your ego trip!

Ben said...

I wish I could get Neil Waugh (Kneel in front of Ed Waugh...nah, that's just me being juvenile...) to explain what a sticky-up haircut is. I'd like one of those.

M Walsh said...

Its simple - those who think its OK for Dave Cournoyer to use this domain name are not principled people. They are bullies who would use any tactic to better someone else.

A principled person would realize how wrong this is regardless of political stance.

I agree with Chuck, Dave Cournoyer is a ego driven opportunist looking for more than his 15 minutes of fame. Dave, you're pretty cheap and childish.

Hmmmer said...

I liked what Mr. hollett said and I agree. They got jack and now they are really freaked.

They underestimate the power of the web.

The post from "anonymous"(Thursday, January 10, 2008 5:56:00 PM) is weak as well. Sounds like an old conservative.

My view is, you own edstelmach.ca a web site id, not Ed Stelmach, his real persona.

I think the argument could be made that they are not the same for the obvious reasons.

He and his lawyers can go pound sand.

I would never hire a law firm so stupid as to advise a law suit rather than a friendly phone call.
Man did Ed ever get BAD advice eh!

You're a free man in your own democracy, act like one!

Good for you Dave.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the legal ramifications, look at the comments to see how this is playing. A small group of core assholes choose to defame Dave, while the majority see the humour and political intelligence of the move.

To the crazy so-cons that are attacking Dave - find a sense of humour!

Hmmmer said...

I didn't realize Ron Glen, the Chief of Staff of the Office of the Premier called trying to find a solution.

There is none. It's a non issue. Dave owns the domain name. That's it.

What true conservatives should be concerned with is the use of time and money spent over this.
They are right(no pun)to inquire as to who pays for this.

Certainly not the tax payer.

The Ed persona should pay for this out of his own personality.

Hmmmer. Things that make ya' go hmmm?

Anonymous said...

I hope Ed Stelmach is enjoying his 15 minutes of fame.