French football case brings cybersquatting to the fore

The ongoing battle between individuals keen to cash in on popular domain names and large brands working to protect their identities and stop cybersquatting has once again been brought into focus by a case in France.

Just last year, Swedish football superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic signed for French side Paris St Germain in a multi-million-pound deal.

However, while the club’s Middle Eastern owners offered the striker one of the most lucrative contracts held by any sportsman anywhere in the world, they failed to take the issue of domain names into account.

As such, one eager fan snapped up the rights to and is now stepping up his efforts to profit from his foresight.

According to German publication Spiegel, the unnamed fan has written to Ibrahimovic offering to hand the rights of the domain name over to him, so long as the footballer meets a number of specific demands.

Notably, rather than asking for a large sum of money to relinquish the rights to the web address, the fan, writing in an open letter to the star, has said that he doesn’t “want to bother with lawyers and endless procedures” but would rather set a number of challenges.

These include having the player sleep on his couch for a while and also give him a lock of his hair.

As yet, the German magazine notes, Ibrahimovic has yet to respond to the unusual request and, given that the player’s career has seen him reside in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands over the past few years, some commentators believe he may be willing to let this potential case of cybersquatting slide.

This comes as both individual sports and showbusiness stars, as well as corporations and businesses of all sizes, get set for the upcoming introduction of new top-level internet domains.

The global body responsible for domain names, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, has confirmed that the first such names should be made available and then go live by the end of spring of this year.