In the past little while, we at BME have received e-mails from many of you complaining about the website at www.bme.com. Your concerns, namely, have centered around the site’s design, and that its links never led anywhere — and certainly not to BME content. This is the most recent version of the website.
More versions can be viewed here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
This was not our website. We did not authorize it. We certainly did not approve of it. Worse yet, after investigating, we learned that this was a pay-per-click site. In other words, when people went to that site looking for BME, if they clicked on any of the bogus links, they put money into the owner’s pocket. This was a classic trademark infringement/cyber-squatting scam. Evidence that visitors reaching BME.com were often searching for ModBlog or BMEvideo can be seen here.
The site’s owner was a man by the name of Greg Ricks. He gets sued for this kind of thing all the time.
Despite the fact that we could have sued him in court, seeking damages, we tried to resolve this amicably.
When that failed, instead of trying to collect money in court, we filed an arbitration before the World Intellectual Property Organization (view the complaint here). They responded (their response is here), and all three judges, including a judge they hand-picked, ruled unanimously in our favor. (View their decision here.)
Immediately after losing the decision, the cybersquatter tried to shake us down for $100,000 in exchange for not filing a lawsuit against us. When we refused to be intimidated, of all things, he sued us. (View his complaint here.)
Now he claims, ridiculously enough, that he, and not BME, is the “real” BME.
Naturally, the cybersquatter has already begun to manipulate the evidence. He tried to scrub the Internet Archive of evidence and gamed the search engines so that things look much different than they have to this point.
During this fight, we’d like to call upon the BME community to help keep an eye on things.
If you see any evidence that you think might be helpful in showing that we are, have always been, and will always be BME, we’d like to know. We have set up a special email address at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to send in anything you might find.
We are prepared to defend ourselves against this frivolous lawsuit through all appropriate means. We will keep you posted as things develop. You made BME the great community it is today and we need your help to keep it that way!
Please take the time to place links to BME on any websites that you can. It doesn’t matter if it’s your MySpace or your personal blog. Anywhere that you can put our links and banners are appreciated!