Lucasfilm has acquired Tatooine.com
(was: Lucasfilm wants Tatooine.com)
If you're here because of all the recent hoopla about the Tatooine.com domain name, welcome. The supportive emails and postings on various message boards have been very encouraging.
The poll to tell me your opinion on the subject is closed. The results are available.
LucasFilm acquires Tatooine.com on May 15, 2000
As of May 15, 2000, or thereabouts, all Internet traffic for Tatooine.com was handled by Lucasfilm servers, with the final transfer of the domain to a Lucasfilm IP address. The long, sad story is finally over. Good bye, Tatooine.com, and (sad to say), good riddance.
Tatooine.com handed over to Lucasfilm in the week of January 24,
On January 21, 2000, I sent a letter to Lucasfilm, in order to comply with their 10-day deadline.
A representative of Lucasfilm and I spoke on Friday, January 21, 2000, about their letter, and my reply back to them. We settled the dispute amicably, the end result being that I would hand over Tatooine.com to Lucasfilm and I got certain technical concessions that I am not at liberty to discuss. This was not my first choice, but the transaction was handled in a rational and civilized manner. Transfer of the domain will take place within the next week or so, once Network Solutions is provided with documented proof of my agreement to the transfer.
Uh, it is weeks since January 24, when you said the domain would be handed over -- yet Tatooine.com still goes to your site? Huh?
Yes, that was one of the technical concessions - that hits to Tatooine.com, for some period of time, would continue to come to me. This period will expire soon, so if you have a link on your site to one of my pages at Tatooine.com, please be sure to change it to SaltyRain.com, sooner rather than later. Thanks!
Now that you had to hand over Tatooine.com, I have a Tatooine domain I would be willing give (or sell) to you. Are you interested?
You have got to be kidding, right? After all this, the last thing I want is to have to do it all over again! Frankly, I wouldn't wish it on anyone, and if you currently have a Tatooine domain, I wouldn't grow too attached to it.
To answer a few questions:
A representative of Lucasfilm sent me an email on January 12, 2000 (a copy can be found here) that told me to stop using Tatooine.com, a domain name that I have owned since March 1997, when I registered the domain with Network Solutions. I received the letter (which came regular mail, not certified) on January 18, 2000.
Are you a cybersquatter?
No. A cybersquatter is someone who registers a domain name with the express hope of selling that domain to someone. I had no desire to sell Tatooine.com. I had three years of web pages, email addresses, and links from other sites based at Tatooine.com. If I had intended to squat on the domain name, I would have contacted Lucasfilm about selling the domain long ago. That was never my intent.
An Article at News.com said you wanted $2500 for the domain. True?
The reporter for news.com and I were talking after a brief interview, and he asked if I had placed a value on the domain - would I sell it to Lucasfilm? I did tell him that I had calculated, conservatively, the amount of time it would take to move all my links and emails to a new domain. I also have a published rate for work I do for web design and programming; I used that estimated time and rate to come up with $2500. This was not an offer to Lucasfilm - just speculation on my part.
The News.com article says that Lucasfilm is fighting for the right to Tatooine.com - but isn't it you who is fighting?
Heh. That's a matter of opinion, I guess. All I wanted to do is use Tatooine.com to serve up my pages. I didn't want to use it in a movie, or market action figures, or get into any other aspect of Lucasfilm's business. I used to write headlines when I was an editor in college, and "Lucasfilm" draws more attention than "Steve Mount".
Come on, you can't tell me you wouldn't sell...
I'm not an idiot. My intention was to hold on to Tatooine.com - I cared for and nurtured it for nearly three years. But despite the parental tone, it isn't a baby - I have three of those already, thank you. So when I got a reasonable offer, I had to seriously consider it. The tone of the Lucasfilm letter set this off - if they had been more amiable, I would have been, too.
Seems like you're just trying to draw attention to yourself.
I can see your point of view, but I didn't start this - once it was started, being of limited means (I don't have a lawyer or PR firm), I turned to the best resource I know - the Internet, and netizens. The media has picked up on the story, and for that I'm grateful - the press is a powerful thing, as evidenced by the 1st Amendment. Probably the best chance that I have to hold on to my domain name is to publicize my plight. I don't apologize for accepting any invitation for an interview. Again, I didn't ask for this. But this is what I have.
I have been and continue to be grateful to all the people who have come to the site to express their opinion about Lucasfilm's actions and my response to them.
Some one emailed me about you, and I haven't seen anything in the media. Who is publicizing your plight?
The story got picked up by News.com after I sent them an email. News.com is a tech news feed for a lot of different web sites, including Yahoo!, ABC News, and Netscape. It has also been picked up by lots of Star Wars sites, including Jedi.net, JediNet.com, TheForce.net, Yavin4.com, StarWarsEmail.com, Episode-II.co.uk, and NewsDroid.com. SciFi.com picked up the story, as did Domain Portal. The story is also of interest to geeks of all stripes, and it has been seen on GeekNet.com, Dyno.org, Hacksec.com, and several non-English sites, including those in Portuguese, Italian, Icelandic, German, and Hungarian, among many others (including lots I couldn't figure out!). Apparently, a blurb appeared on ZDTV, a cable station in the US. I don't get ZDTV, so I cannot tell you what they said. I have been interviewed by a couple of local TV stations (WCAX and WVNY) and on a local radio station (WKDR). I also spoke to KISW in Seattle about the issue on Friday, January 21.
Episode2.co.uk mentioned Tatooine.com when it reported on a harsh new copyright policy at Lucasfilm's Star Wars Site. The owner of the DeathStar.com domain (used for email only) also let me know he got a similar letter from Lucasfilm - I wonder if this is a small piece of a big new push to get rid of all fan sites, or at least cull the herd. Paramount did something similar with Star Trek sites a few years back...
One thing that has struck me is how a lot of these sites just grab news from various sources, and make no attempt to contact me to get original quotes or even to verify the story - good thing it is true!
A couple of places have set up sites of a protest nature. If there are others, let me know - my battle is over, but I'd be happy to lend moral support to anyone else in this situation. Some people who frequent a newsgroup I also frequent set up Free-Tatooine.com and put a nice graphic on the page. Thanks guys. Fans on the Web.com put up a page listing other sites that might expect similar problems (the page is tongue-in-cheek, and uses PG-13 language).
Isn't Tatooine a real place on Earth? How can they trademark that?
According to a New York Times article I quote on my About Page, Tatooine is a derivative of Tataouine, a town or village near where the desert scenes had been shot for Star Wars. I do not know if perhaps Tatooine is an alternate English transliteration of a Tunisian name - if so, there may be something to that argument.
This site is boring.
Well, some people like it - but that's also part of my point. This is not a Star Wars site. It is a personal site used for many different things. The notion that my use of the name causes consumer confusion is silly, as is the notion that I might be somehow hurting Lucasfilm financially. I understand that Lucasfilm sent me a standard form letter that is designed to handle any situation, and not my particular case.
I see something called Mos Eisley on here - what is that?
Mos Eisley is a gathering place. It is the descendent of The Mos Eisley Spaceport, a BBS that ran in the mid-1990's. I was looking for a domain name, and tried several derivatives of my name, such as mount.com and mountain.com. They were taken. I decided to try a Star Wars or Star Trek-themed domain name, and started to look for names of planets from each. At that same time, MES went down, I picked it up and put it on the Web. At that point, the choice was obvious - Mos Eisley is on Tatooine. Tatooine.com was free, so I registered it. Mos Eisley is not a Star Wars place, any more than Tatooine is a Star Wars site. We do discuss Star Wars to an extent, but that's as far as Star Wars content goes.
What other things are at Tatooine.com?
I track gasoline prices in Chittenden County, Vermont; I post photos of my family; I post copies of my programs for download; I publish fiction and poetry I've written; I have web pages for classes I teach at CCV; I track the episodes of several TV series; I host the web pages for the 1989 UVM graduating class, and I do other things like test CGI programs and HTML code I've written for clients.
Last update: 23 Mar 2000