Glenn Beck Meets Internet, Loses

Maybe Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990, and maybe he didn't. Wherever the truth lies, it's clear that the World Intellectual Property Organization has decided that he can't stop the internet from asking the question.

Because he is an idiot, Glenn Beck tried in September to shut down glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com, a satirical site that used Beck's insidious "I'm just asking the question" pose to advance the Fark-inspired meme that Beck may have raped and murdered a young girl in 1990, because, well—have you ever heard him deny it?

The proprietor was anonymous at the time, but he's come out of the closet as Isaac Eiland-Hall, a Florida computer programmer who was sick of Beck's posturing and enjoyed funny things on the internet. Beck complained to a WIPO arbitration panel that the site was defamatory and infringed on the trademark he holds over his own name. Late last month, his complaint was denied.

The arbitration panel's decision renders in hypnotically robotic, lawyerly prose a precise distillation of what is wrong with Glenn Beck, and it's worth quoting at length. Here's what Beck's lawyers said about the trademark:

Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the GLENN BECK mark.

And here's what Eiland-Hall responded:

Respondent alleges that only a "moron in a hurry" could be confused by the disputed domain name.

And here is the panel's magnificent summary of Beck's rhetorical style and why his site constituted a satire of that style:

Respondent argues that the disputed domain name is a meme that is based on the technique deriving from a comedy sketch performed by Gilbert Gottfried on a Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget during which Mr. Gottfried made continuing references to an unflattering rumor concerning Mr. Saget (similar to the one embodied in the disputed domain name), while requesting that those repeating the rumor cease to do so. According to Respondent, Glenn Beck has used a similar technique while interviewing at least one individual on his news broadcast by making an unsupported assertion about his activities, and placing a burden on the interviewee to deny the unsupported assertion. According to Respondent, this technique places the interviewee in a compromised position regardless of underlying facts.

The best part of the whole affair is that, after Eiland-Hall won at arbitration, he sent a letter to Beck with the site's admin username and password and said, essentially, "Here you go you big crybaby. You can have your precious web site. I don't want it any more."

It bears observing that by bringing the WIPO complaint, you took what was merely one small critique meme, in a sea of internet memes, and turned it into a super-meme.

[snip]

It also bears noting, in this matter and for the future, that you are entirely in control of whether or not you are the subject of this particular kind of criticism. I chose to criticize you using the well-tested method of satire because of its effectiveness. But, humor aside, your rhetorical style is no laughing matter. In this context of this WIPO case, you denigrated the letter of First Amendment law. In the context of your television show and your notoriety, you routinely and shamelessly denigrate the spirit of the First Amendment. The purpose of the expressive freedoms embodied in the First Amendment is not to simply permis the greatest possible scope of expression, but also, in doing so, to also [sic] strive for excellence in the conveyance of ideas. Rather than choosing to strive for excellence and civic contribution, you simply pander to the fears and insecurities of you audience. And in the process, you do then, and us all, a great deal of harm.

[snip]

Now that it is safe, at least from you (for the time being), I have no more use for the actual scrap of digital real estate you sough. I will transfer the domain to you now.

So glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com is no more. But a mirror still lives here, so Glenn Beck still loses anyway, as is his wont.