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Journal de Mourréal : Satirical web site saved from Montreal UDRP


Journal de Mourréal

A Quebecois newspaper, Journal de Montreal, staged a legal battle against the owner of Journal de Mourréal, a satirical web site.

In 2013, Janick Murray-Hall, owner of the Journal – alias Bob Flanagan – became the editor-in-chief of the spoof web site JournalDeMourreal.com, mocking the Journal de Montréal, a year after launching his Facebook page.

Think of The Onion, only raunchier and Canadian, eh. 😀

In July 2016, Journal de Mourréal considered shutting down to avoid a costly legal battle, but then hundreds of lawyers offered their support pro-bono.

Popular Montreal comedian, Mike Ward, pledged to give the proceeds from an upcoming show, to help with Mourréal’s legal costs.

While the legal battle is ongoing, the UDRP against the domain was just denied, after the case unfolded as a right to free speech and parody.

WIPO panelist, J. Nelson Landry, stated (translated from French:)

The Guidelines are intended to resolve blatant cybersquatting disputes. Or this issue raises more complex issues relating to the interpretation of parody or satire that go beyond the application of paragraph 4 (a) (iii) of the Guidelines.

Therefore, given the complexity of this issue, and the difficulty of deciding whether the parody is present and noting that the Quebec Superior Court was seized by the Applicant on this point and that both parties reside in Quebec, administrative Commission decided not to vote on paragraph 4 (a) ((iii) of the Guidelines.

However, the Administrative Commission provides an opportunity for the Applicant to file a new complaint if new elements should arise following this decision that would clearly an element of bad faith by the Respondent and that the parody was a pretext in this folder.

The UDRP decision itself is a manifestation of the right to create parody, even if it’s done in a manner that mimics its target.

For the UDRP decision against the domain JournaldeMourreal.com read the French text, or the English translation.

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