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Still Jeff

6th of May 2000

     As mentioned here earlier this week, the Digital Divas launched a massive Internet campaign known as "Diva and Goliath" to stop Microsoft's infringement on their trademark through the "Microsoft Digital Diva" consumer technology service. The Digital Divas were founded by Dana Whitmire in 1997. They provide computer and Internet assistance from their website and promote the services of their members, all of whom are experienced and successful computer professionals.

     Internet Brothers is delighted to clear the air of any lingering confusion by presenting this exclusive interview with the Digital Divas through their spokesperson Faith A. Kaminsky.


[IB] Can you take us through a Digital Divas timeline?

[DD] October 1997 — Dana Whitmire founds the Digital Divas. The Digital Divas had a website starting at that time. In the beginning, it was hosted on Dana's domain.

June 1998 — the Digital Divas buy the domain name digitaldivas.com.

October 1, 1998 — the first annual Grey Day explodes onto the web, including extensive press coverage.

June 1, 1999 — the Divas launch the D'Zine, providing online articles, tutorials, and web and computer assistance every month — this in addition to the services provided by each member on their own site, and promoted by the Digital Divas.

April 17, 2000 — one of the Divas discovers the "Microsoft Digital Diva" site — which was apparently launched in early April.

April 25, 2000 — The Digital Divas, represented by Moses & Singer (www.mosessinger.com) send a cease and desist letter to Microsoft, with a reply deadline of May 1, 2000.

May 1, 2000 — Having received no response to our claims from Microsoft, the Divas launch their Diva and Goliath Campaign to garner support, contributions to a legal defense fund, and possible legal representation.

[IB] What is the ultimate goal of the Diva and Goliath campaign?

[DD] Our ultimate goal with the campaign is to have Microsoft stop using the "Digital Diva" name in promoting the same services that we supply from our website. We cannot stress enough that this is NOT a domain name dispute. It is a trademark infringement dispute, meaning that it is their use of the Digital Diva name in combination with offering the same services that we offer.

[IB] How is this different from the eToy/Etoys flap?

[DD] Both etoy.com and digitaldivas.com were on the scene first. That is where the similarity ends. In the eToy/Etoys dispute, it was clear that eToy and Etoys were providing completely different services. eToy did not sell toys. We do not seek, as Etoys did, to prevent Microsoft from using the domain name digitaldiva.com — that is really just a possible side effect of this dispute. We are seeking to have Microsoft stop offering competing services under the same name. Etoys sought to prevent use of the eToy domain name solely on the basis of the domain name — not on the basis of a trademark infringement claim or an unfair competition claim.

[IB] In January 2000 Microsoft debuted Stacy Elliott as their "Digital Diva" during Chairman Bill Gates' keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas. Have you had any contact with Ms. Elliott?

[DD] No, we have not. We would also like to note that the digitaldiva.com site was not, to our knowledge, published by Microsoft until April.

[IB] A corporation the size of Microsoft has considerable research resources. Obviously they should, and may have done some trademark and domain searching before launching their project. Is it possible they simply weren't aware of your trademark and purpose? In other words, could this be an honest mistake on their part?

[DD] We really don't think so. We have just posted some screen shots of search results on the main page of our campaign site. The Digital Divas are the first listing in seven major search engines when the term "digital diva" is searched for. Indeed, in the MSN search engine the Digital Divas are at the top of the same search result, and are listed by MSN as the top most popular site for the search on "digital diva." Given these results, it is hard to imagine that a company with Microsoft's resources did not know of our existence.

[IB] Judging from the growing list of links on the Diva and Goliath supporter page, there appears to be quite a backing of your stance in this matter. Are you surprised by the response? Are your servers ready for the load when the story goes national?

[DD] We are extremely pleased by the response of the web community, and we are not at all surprised by it. As a group and individually we have been interacting with and helping members of the web community for many years and we know the sense of purpose and determination that is out there. We are extremely grateful for all of the support we have received. We should note that the Internet Brothers have been amazing and strong supporters of our campaign, and for that we are eternally thankful.

We expect our story to go national this Monday (May 8, 2000), and are taking every precaution to make sure our servers can handle the expected load.

[IB] How can the average webhead help?

[DD] In several ways. Linking to our site and spreading the word is extremely important. Expressing their feelings about this issue to Microsoft wouldn't hurt either. We are not meaning to encourage spam of any kind, however, the MS Digital Diva can be contacted at diva@microsoft.com. Finally, just by signing up for an account with PayPal (www.paypal.com) using our referring link, PayPal will deposit US$5.00 in our legal fund account. Of course, donations in any amount are greatly appreciated. Please see our site for more information on this.

---  end interview  ---

Internet Brothers sincerely thanks Faith and Dana for taking time from their extremely busy schedules to help clarify these points for you. Stay tuned — this story is gathering momentum and beginning to reach critical mass.

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