The Russian government is challenging an American company because of their use of the word "Russia" in the name of the company website. If this is true, it means that RussiaBlog or Johnson's Russia List will have to change their names.
First of all, the Russian government's ridiculous position contradicts common sense and the free market -- domain names at .com hosts are not state property; and secondly, the Kremlin had no interest whatsoever in this subject until the new channel Russia Today started its work.
Russia Today is an English language 24/7 news channel, managed by the Kremlin and paid for by the Russian taxpayers. The channel's website is www.rttv.ru, which isn't that good of a name for such a "big" endeavor. It would be logical that if someone wants a product they should pay for it (for example the web-name www.paintball.com was sold at an auction for $130,000). I guess it would be logical to assume that there's no money in Russia Today's budget to purchase the domain legally, and that's why the Kremlin is sticking it to businesses with this so-called "administrative resource" red tape.
For more on this story, please read the article below.
WASHINGTON, January 31 - Russiatoday.com, one of the oldest and most prominent English language Internet sites providing breaking news about Russia, has been asked to prove that it has authorization from the Russian government to use the name, "Russia".
The request came from Sergey Frolov, General Director of TV Novosti/Russia Today TV, a Moscow-based media company licensed by the Putin government.
RussiaToday.com was launched in 1996 in advance of the Russian election campaign held in April of that year. It has been operating continuously ever since, and has become a widely used Internet source for breaking news about Russia. Russiatoday.com is owned and operated by European Internet Network (EIN), a publication of the Internet Product Development Group, Inc., a Maryland USA corporation.
In 2005, RIA Novosti, a Russian government controlled media company launched "Russia Today" as a TV program and russiatoday.ru as its web site. Gina Fratto, President and Publisher of EIN, protested the infringement by TV Novosti on the Russia Today brand name.
In response, Sergey Frolov demanded by letter that EIN prove it has the "authorization of the Government of the Russian Federation to use the name 'Russia'."
"Thousands of companies the world over will be quite surprised to know that they need an official stamp of approval from Moscow to use the name 'Russia'," said David Rothstein, CEO of EIN. "This is a ridiculous position and a brazen attempt to steal a prestigious brand name we have been building for 10 years."
"It marks another example of Russia's slide away from a free press and toward government control of the media," he said.
Mr Rothstein added that the Internet Product Development Group would do everything possible to protect its brand name "and everyone's right to use the word 'Russia' without permission from the Russian government."
A copy of EIN Publisher Gina Fratto's letter to Svetlana V. Mironyuk dated January 17, 2006
A copy of Sergey Frolov's letter to Gina Fratto dated January 20, 2006
A listing of Russia Today's archived pages
About EIN News:
Indexing thousands of articles from over 25,000 online news sources and news sections, EIN News provides the most comprehensive and up-to-the-minute information available on the web regarding world affairs.
EIN News is a resource for global professionals who need to follow the latest developments in every country's economy, business, industries, politics, international relations and other topics such as human rights, religion, terrorism, and much more.
EIN News is a unique media monitoring service for all who need to, or want to, think globally.
Unlike Google News, EIN News focuses on pre-set newsfeeds edited by a team of experienced editors. It is published by the IPD Group which specializes in media monitoring services.
About the IPD Group, Inc.:
The Washington, DC-based IPD Group, Inc. provides niche-focused Internet data mining and searching tools to corporations, institutions, and professional individuals. The company makes online research more convenient, rapid and affordable.
The IPD Group's media monitoring and newsletter services are designed as alternatives to high cost services such as Lexis-Nexis.
"Google or Topix.net offer a form of free news," says David Rothstein, CEO of the IPD Group. "On the other end of the spectrum, companies such as Lexis-Nexis charge thousands of dollars a year. We fit well in the niche-market data-mining space used by professionals."
The IPD Group's publications include:
-- EIN News - http://www.einnews.com/pr
-- U.S. Politics Today - http://www.uspoliticstoday.com/pr
-- EU Politics Today - http://www.eupoliticstoday.com/pr
-- Healthcare Industry Today - http://www.healthcareindustrytoday.com/pr
-- Music Industry Today - http://www.musicindustrytoday.com/pr
-- The Inbox Robot - http://www.inboxrobot.com/pr