The Premier of the Canadian state of Alberta, Ed Stelmach, has taken on a young blogger and university student who bought the domain name edstelmach.ca alleging the domain name was registered in bad faith.
Dave Cournoyer, who hosts the popular website ‘daveberta’ bought the domain name in April 2007, around four months after Mr Stelmach became premier.
In December, Mr Cournoyer received a letter from a Calgary law firm representing Mr Stelmach accusing him of misappropriating Mr. Stelmach’s persona and demanding he returns any money he receives from advertising on the site.
Tom Keenan, a University of Calgary professor who specialises in research looking into the social implications of technology said “(Stelmach) probably, underline probably, has basis for complaint, particularly if the guy acted in bad faith, i.e. wanted to tarnish (Stelmach’s) reputation,” according to a report in the Edmonton Journal.
The domain name edstelmach.ca redirects to the daveberta site, which, according to news reports, generates about C$20 per month in advertising revenue.
While the premier’s office has declined to comment, Mr Cournoyer has commented he does not take too kindly to threats and is planning to take his own legal advice on his options.
“The situation might have been a little more amicable had someone picked up the phone or sent me an email,” Mr Cournoyer told Canadian Press.
“I don’t take well to threats from politicians, so I’m going to be seeking advice from a lawyer on what my options are.”
“Jim Campbell, the executive director of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, said the premier is just protecting his name but admits the party should have registered the domain a long time ago” according to the Canadian Press report.