07/28: We're Being Threatened by SFX Baseball (Mariano Rivera's Agent)

Posted by: Patrick
Update: This situation has been resolved for now. Read more.

Hey all,

I just wanted to go ahead and confirm that we were, in fact, being threatened by SFX Baseball (the people that represent Mo), as reported by the Pride of the Yankees blog. I've submitted the letter to Chilling Effects and I hope to link to it soon, but I thought I'd touch base and explain what is going on and what I'm thinking.

On July 26, I received a letter from SFX Baseball, dated July 20. The person writing the letter identified himself as legal counsel for SFX (not Mr. Rivera), but is writing me on behalf of him. Allegedly, my actions violate the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. Among other things, they say that this website is not a "bona fide offering of any goods or services" and that my intent in creating this site was to trick people into coming to this website instead a website operating with Mr. Rivera's approval.

In line with that, they "demand" that I immediately cease and desist my use of the domain name and give it to them. They want written confirmation saying that I will do it by 5:00 PM on August 10 or they'll... well... do what they need to do without any further notice to me. And that's pretty much the summation of it.

What strikes me most about this is the accusations of unethical behavior here. I registered the domain name because I wanted to create a Mariano Rivera fan site and it was the best domain available. End of story. Our intentions are good. Our intent was never, at any point in time, to trick people into thinking this was Mariano Rivera's official website. At the top of every page, it says "Unofficial Mariano Rivera Fan Site". In the subject line of the home page, it says "Unofficial Mariano Rivera Fan Site". It says it in other locations, as well. We have never said, in any way, shape or form that we are otherwise. We've worked hard on this site and we've put many hours in. Why? Because we're Mariano Rivera fans and Yankees fans.

While I am fully aware that it is typical boilerplate - I don't care. It's not like we're selling forged autographs, trying to trick people into something or passing ourselves as official. This is a good fan site. We've been in operation since April 4, 2004 - that's 3 years and nearly 5 months. We are the largest (and perhaps only) Mariano Rivera fan site on the internet. We have covered nearly every appearance he's made since we launched. It is unacceptable for us to be threatened in this fashion and to be treated as if we are thieves. This is what bothers me the most.

Please keep in mind that I am not saying that I have a legal right to the domain name, necessarily. Not at all. I'm just speaking from the heart on the issue. I don't know what I am going to do, yet. Even if I thought I did have some sort of right to fight, I'm not sure that I would. For one, I don't even have the money to fight. I've never had an attorney in my life. I just don't make that much money, yet.

But, for two, this is a Mariano Rivera fan site. If he really, really wants the domain, I'm more or less inclined to give it to him. We are here to support him (not SFX Baseball, however). And that's what kind of stings about this. Please note that I am sure that Mo has no idea that this is going on or that this is what his handlers are doing. Not this specific case, anyway. They are employed to represent him and this is part of what they do. If Mo was aware of this specific instance and how they approached us, I am almost certain that he would be disappointed. This action, by his reps, does not affect my feelings toward Mr. Rivera at all.

Above all, I'm most disappointed in the way they approached us. It doesn't take much time to see what this site is about and how it's a good thing for Mariano. To blindly throw around offensive boilerplate letters and try to throw us up against the wall like a typical cybersquatter is completely, completely inappropriate. I don't know why they couldn't have approached us respectfully and asked nicely? Maybe thanked us for what we've done and offered to work with us or something. I don't know if they realize what a real cybersquatter is. But, if you failed to register your client's domain name for the first 7+ years of his career and then you suddenly decide that you want it another 5 years later after a good fan site has been operating on it for 3 years and 5 months, you should be happy that it's in the hands of a fan, rather than an actual cybersquatter because then you'd be looking at someone who cares nothing about your client and would be more inclined to simply give it to you. They, apparently, failed to recognize this and just decided to treat us all the same. It's terrible.

So, where to from here? Well, I've passed the letter around a bit. I don't have an attorney, like I said, but I do have some friends that have a legal background or may be able to help in some way. So, I'm getting feedback. (If you are an attorney and would like to offer your advise, please feel free to contact me and I'll send you a copy of the letter). I'll keep you updated as this progresses. In the mean time, continue to stay tuned for the latest Mo news here at MarianoRivera.com.

Thank you for reading.

Comments

Adrian Padill wrote:

Ask Mariano Rivera if it's okay I believe he'll say something differant.Love this site.
07/29 19:12:24

franklin Gomez wrote:

I think that MO will be ok with this web page....dont worry patrik..we are with you.
07/30 10:58:48

Lee LeFever wrote:

Man, I can see why this gets to you Patrick. It's not the legal issue, it's their tactics. Strong-arming is so 1980.
07/30 17:46:03

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