(PRWEB) October 24, 2003
Orlando, FL (PRWEB) October 24th, 2003 Â Storm over unique Internet domain names is brewing in Florida. An Orlando, Florida University, Full Sail, Inc., is suing an Arizona college student, Ryan Spevack, in US District Court. Full Sail is also filing for international arbitration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Sweden. These proceedings are the result of the Arizona student owning and operating a college review web site containing some critical opinions of Full Sail university. The domain and web site in this dispute is http://www.FullSailSucks.com.
The student defending the lawsuit and the international arbitration, Ryan Spevack, remarked, ÂIt is amazing that a school in this country is trying to punish someone for exercising their first amendment right of freedom of speech. People should be able to speak out and even criticize institutions and companies. The public is hungry for opinions and reviews of companies and their products. As a student myself, I want young people to understand the meaning of ÂCaveat EmptorÂ, or let the buyer beware.
The website provides an opportunity for students and other individuals to comment about the Florida school and to express their opinions. ÂIt is supposed to be something like an Educational Consumer Reports type site,Â says Spevack, ÂIt is a way for people to share their experiences so that students or parents shopping for an expensive college degree can make an informed, educated decision. The site is totally non-commercial, and is not designed to stop students from going to Full Sail. In fact, there are also positive reviews and comments.Â
According to Internet law expert Stephen H. Sturgeon, a Washington, D.C. lawyer, ÂWhen the InternetÂs domain name policies were established, there was an intent to permit free and open dialog without censorship or legal barriers. We will see if the decisions in this case support freedom of speech.Â
ÂFull Sail has hired a huge law firm with nearly 1,000 attorneys in 17 offices around the world to attack not only me, but my former web hosting company, and someone who has a quote on the site. The lawsuit is requesting that the court make me pay the school for so-called damages, shut down my website and prohibit me from exercising my rights to freedom of speech,Â Spevack continues, ÂSince the ultimate negative outcome for me is to loose my site, and be forced into bankruptcy and out of college, I consider this a form of extreme legal coercion. Feels like a gun to my head in some ways. Students critical of a college will get the message to shut up or be faced with a crippling lawsuit.Â
The history of sucks.com legal battles has shown that sometimes the site owner can win under the legal pressure exerted by large institutions, WIPO rulings have been a mixed bag of results. These kinds of cases are generally known as SLAP cases, typically favor the party with the most money. This is because they can afford to stretch the case out while the defendantÂs financial and emotional stamina are worn down slowly. This case could definitely have a chilling effect among many college students, and possibly web hosting companies as well.
You can visit the website at http://www.fullsailsucks.com
Ryan Spevack can be contacted at [email protected]
Full Sail can be contacted at