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Top 10 Stories of 2011: #2 Activision battles for domain

Modern Warfare 3

Activision won rights to the domain in early September, bringing a saga that dragged on for months to a close.

My coverage of the whole affair from beginning to end drew thousands of thousands of page views, along with mentions from nearly every major video gaming news site and blog.

It was Activision’s decision to file a domain dispute over that earned the number two spot in the Top 10 stories of 2011.

The coverage began in January 2011, when I wrote about Activision missing out on several Modern Warfare domain names, including 

In May, information and dates were leaked on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 to Kotaku

Shortly after the online buzz started, the owner of put up a website and literally gained thousands of fans on Facebook overnight.  Then the website abruptly went offline for days, in what appeared to be a response by the owner to Activision’s lawyers. 

When the site came back online however, the same owner launched a revamped website that lashed out at Activision, in a series of statements and videos, throwing support instead to Call of Duty’s biggest competitor – Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 3.

Still, at this point, no one else was covering it.

It was my story on re-directing to EA’s Battlefield 3 website in July that started drawing attention by sites like Kotaku.  The move to forward the domain proved embarrassing for Activision.

What followed were a series of breaking stories that continued to draw massive traffic.

In mid July, Activision officially filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum that I got my hands on. 

After the complaint was filed, Go Daddy removed the privacy service on the domain, revealing the identity of the owner.

In September, Activision triumphed and the domain was ordered transferred.

By October, the domain resolved to

If Activision decides to release a Modern Warfare 4, it may want to handle things a little differently.  As of today, doesn’t belong to Activision.

News Video Games

Finally, points to official Call of Duty MW3 website

Modern Warfare 3

The domain name is finally being re-directed to the official Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 website.

Activision won rights to the web address in early September, after online taunting by the previous owner Anthony Abraham who had lashed out at Activision in a series of statements and videos that appeared on the then website.  

Things came to a head in July when Abraham re-directed the web address to Electronic Arts’ official Battlefield 3 website, prompting Activision to file a complaint.

Activision’s trademark attorneys at Millen, White, Zelano & Branigan, P.C, took control of in late September.

As of yesterday, the domain points to

Discussion: Kotaku and Game Rant

Disputes National Arbitration Forum News Trademarks Video Games domain name battle ends with an Activision triumph

Modern Warfare 3

The domain battle between Anthony Abraham and Activision over has come to an end.

A three-member panel of the National Arbitration Forum has ordered the domain name transferred.

Earlier this year Anthony Abraham launched an unofficial fan site for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, attracting thousands of Facebook fans in a matter of days.

In late June, Abraham began lashing out at Activision, the publisher of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, in a series of statements and videos that appeared on the website, and throwing support instead to Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 3.

Activision eventually filed a complaint (read here) which revealed the identity of the Battlefield 3 fanboy.

According to the decision posted online, Abraham argued that the term “modern warfare” is generic and is not monopolized by Activision.

Activision was required to prove that is identical or confusingly similar to its trademark, that Abraham has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain; and the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

The three-member panel ruled in Activision’s favor today, having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy.

Here is a copy of the decision by the National Arbitration Forum so you can read all the details.

Discussion: Game InformerJoystiqNeoGAF, CVG,, MCV, Ubergizmo, The Escapist,, 1UP, Tiscali, Gamespot, FZ, Kotaku and Gaming Union

News Video Games

Another twist in story, still not owned by Activision

Modern Warfare 3

The ‘not owned by Activision’ story took another twist today as the producer of the video displayed on the homepage of the now ‘anti Call of Duty’ website, posted a message on the YouTube video saying, “I did not create”

I’ve been following the story of even before it was officially revealed that Activision was planning to launch its next Call of Duty Modern Warfare game called Modern Warfare 3.

Way back in January, rumors were already circulating that the next Call of Duty game title would be Modern Warfare 3.  But as I wrote back then, Activision didn’t own

By mid May, information and dates were leaked on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 to online gaming magazine, Kotaku.  It was announced that Activision was developing what could turn out to be its biggest installment of a Call of Duty game to date, but surprisingly, it didn’t even own the matching domain name.

Days after news hit the internet, the owner of had a website online with thousands of Facebook fans.

Activision then announced plans for Call of Duty Elite, to coincide with the release of Modern Warfare 3. 

As news outlets ate the stories up about Modern Warfare 3 and Call of Duty Elite, went offline for days, in what appeared to be a response to Activision’s lawyers.

At the same time, the battle between EA’s Battlefield 3 and Activision’s ModernWarfare 3 heated up.   But online, EA had already positioned itself with a website on and, while Activision owned neither nor  In fact, during this time in mid June, EA acquired

Then, just over a week ago, came back online, but instead of being a fan site, the owner launched a revamped website lashing out at Activision, in a series of statements and videos, throwing support instead to Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 3.

The site, which claims to be “Under Seige”, still doesn’t belong to Activision.

Now today it appears the producer of the YouTube video posted on the homepage of who goes by RoboJules, never endorsed the website.  

Titled “Modern Warfare 3 sucks”, a message has been overlayed on the the video (screen shot below).

Modern Warfare 3 Sucks

I’ve reached out the owner of (who also owns the .net) for comment, and will update this post if I hear back.

News Video Games owner lashes out at Activision, voices online support for EA’s Battlefield 3 with parody site

Modern Warfare 3

The owner of is lashing out at Activision, the publisher of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, in a series of statements and videos that appear on the website, and throwing support instead to Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 3 due out two weeks before the release of Modern Warfare 3 this fall.

Up until yesterday the site had been taken offline.  Before going offline the website was anything but negative about Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, racking up over 7,000 “Likes” on Facebook, as the owner looked to be building out a massive online fan website, albeit a site that was confusingly similar to Activision’s own MW3 site.

Now the tone on the website has changed.  In what seems to have been prompted by Activision’s lawyers. 

WARNING — THIS WEBSITE IS UNDER SEIGE, reads a message at the top of the homepage.  Instead of an official trailer video, a video called “Modern Warfare 3” sucks runs on the homepage.

The site’s owner has also updated the disclaimer at the bottom of the site to say, “Modern Warfare 3 .com is a 100% unofficial fan site dedicated to the Modern Warfare series.   IF you haven’t figured it out yet, this site is a parody of Modern Warfare 3. Call of Duty official site.  Modern Warfare is crap. On November 8, 2011, the most over-hyped first-person action series of all-time returns with the copy and paste sequel to the lackluster Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  Check out the E3 2011 gameplay demo featuring the Black Tuesday level for a look at the epic fail of the campaign.  Pre-Order Call of Duty MW3 Today for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC to secure exclusive bonuses only available online for Modern Warfare 3 fanboys who don’t know that Battlefield 3 is the better game.”

Click on other links on the site such as Media, and additional YouTube videos explaining why Modern Warfare 3 will suck are posted.

The Intel page is much of the same, with testimonials that say things like, “Been there , done that. NEXT! The new kid on the block Battlefield 3.”

I’ve reached out to the site’s owner for comment and will update this post if I hear back.

As far as the dramatic change to a parody site showing support for EA’s Battlefield 3, the only conclusion that I can reach is that Activision has contacted the owner about the domain name and website.  While that’s clearly speculation, if they weren’t in touch before, they might be in touch soon.

EA may win the battle when it comes to intellectual property online.  The company already owns and operates and recently acquired  It also owns

Activision, as I’ve pointed out before, doesn’t own or  One can only imagine the online games that would be played if Activision decides to release a Modern Warfare 4 in the future.  As I’ve noted in the past, is one of the most interesting domain registrations by far.  It’s yet another domain not owned by Activision, but in this case, the owners made news headlines when they threatened to hurt a clown if the game development studio behind Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward, didn’t play ball with their demands.

According to the latest Compete statistics released for May, the “rough” estimated traffic to was over 20,000 unique visitors.

Here’s a link to the Modern Warfare 3 Sucks video, in case the website goes offline again.  WARNING: Language is strong.