July 26, 2004
Fringe candidate watch

Say what you want about Texas, our perennial candidates are a non-stop laff riot.

A federal judge has fined John WorldPeace, a local lawyer and perennial candidate for high office, $25,000 for using the names of two Houston-area car dealerships as Internet addresses for Web pages that recruit clients for lawsuits against the dealerships.

U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal also ordered last week that WorldPeace stop using Internet domain names similar to the trademarks of Bill Heard Chevrolet of Sugar Land and Landmark Chevrolet of Houston, both owned by Bill Heard Enterprises Inc.

WorldPeace, who legally changed his name from Kenneth Wolter, could not be reached for comment.

He obtained the addresses billheardchevrolet.org, billheardchevrolet.us, landmarkchevrolet.org and landmarkchevrolet.us and offered to sell them to the dealerships for $50,000 each.

Rosenthal's order stated that WorldPeace used the sites to disparage Bill Heard Enterprises, recruit clients to sue the company, obtain leverage in lawsuits and coerce the company into purchasing the domain names.

I can't even begin to fathom what he was thinking. Someday, some political scientists will team up with psychologists to do a definitive study on fringe candidates and their followers. In the meantime, I'll just shake my head at stuff like this.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 26, 2004 to Show Business for Ugly People | TrackBack

Not to defend Mr. Wolter, er, WorldPeace, but this judgement against him worries me. By the judge's logic, shouldn't Greenpeace also be fined and forced to give up their DontBuyExxonMobil.Com website?

Posted by: Mathwiz on July 27, 2004 10:14 AM

No, I think it's different. WorldPeace appears to have engaged in cybersquatting, while Greenpeace is engaging in protest. Had he claimed those domains to air grievances against the car dealerships, I think he'd be on firm ground, but registering them in order to sell them at extortionate rates doesn't strike me as protected speech.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on July 27, 2004 11:19 AM