NET NEWS: Animal Activists Win Domain Name Battle

Science  30 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5475, pp. 2279
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5475.2279c

PETA–that is, People Eating Tasty Animals—has lost its domain name (, the culmination of a 4-year battle with the better known People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). A federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, ruled on 12 June that the site owner, Mike Doughney, was guilty of trademark infringement and cyber-squatting—snapping up someone else's name in hopes of selling it.

In 1996, Doughney, a suburban Maryland Internet entrepreneur, set up what he calls a “parody” Web site, which describes itself as “a resource for those who enjoy eating meat, wearing fur and leather, hunting, and the fruits of scientific research (and more!)” (Science, 19 January 1996, p. 297). PETA, presently at,/, promptly complained, and the name “” was put on hold by the domain name registrar, Network Solutions Inc. Then last year, PETA sued under the newly passed Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, arguing that Doughney was misleading people and profiting from the PETA name.

Doughney, co-founder of a group called the Domain Name Rights Coalition based in Herndon, Virginia (, says this is a free speech matter, and he's appealing the ruling. He's not all that interested in animal rights these days, he says. But his PETA site, now at, still gets hits even though he hasn't updated it for 4 years.

Navigate This Article