Oops: OFA loses fight over Organizing for Action domains

posted at 5:21 pm on April 9, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

After the 2012 presidential election, pundits hailed the superiority of the Barack Obama campaign’s Internet organization and competence.  In their rush to transform themselves into the tax-exempt advocacy group Organizing for Action to push Obama’s agenda in his second term, however, they seem to have forgotten one important detail — registering domain names. An arbitrator has ruled that their oversight doesn’t trump the property rights of Derek Bovard, who took advantage of OFA’s oversight (via Politico):

An arbitrator has denied the organization’s effort to obtain the domain name organizingforaction.net, registered by a quick-moving computer technician in Castle Rock, Colo., on Jan. 18, when the news broke that Obama’s former advisors were launching the group.

Derek Bovard proceeded to configure the site so all the hits were directed to the website for the National Rifle Assn. It was one of three domain names for Organizing for Action that the group failed to register before it launched.

“If they don’t like it, they can buy it from me,” Bovard told the Los Angeles Times at the time.

Instead of just purchasing the domain, OFA chose to force Bovard to give up the domain names through legal action.  That backfired, in part because OFA didn’t even bother to register its name as a trademark until three weeks after Bovard bought the domain:

In a decision issued last week, Karl V. Fink, a retired judge in Ann Arbor, Mich., concluded that Organizing for Action did not provide evidence that the name was “a distinctive identifier” of the group or that it owned any trademarks at the time.

(In fact, the group did not file a trademark registration for “Organizing for Action” until Feb. 7, according to United States Patent and Trademark Office records.)

D’oh! Well, what about using a .org or the much more common .com versions of the domain name?  OFA neglected to secure those, too.  Both are owned by a Florida Republican, whose website offers OFA and its followers a little advice:

But those sites now include a disclaimer stating that they are “NOT affiliated with any 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), or other entity or business that uses the generic phrase Organizing For Action as all or a portion of its name.”

“Organizingforaction.com is not seeking to prevent you from contacting any such entities, businesses, or their websites, or to disrupt their activities,” the disclaimer reads. “Therefore, if you are seeking a different entity, business, or website, it is suggested that you perform a Google or other Internet search to locate it.”

It’s not the only battle they’re losing, either.  National Journal’s Beth Reinhard reports that the gun-control push has gone badly as OFA’s first attempt to impose the Obama agenda:

Although the first votes on gun -control legislation have yet to be cast, by some measures the National Rifle Association has already won.

Obama’s ambitious plans to ban assault weapons and limit magazine capacities are off the table, while the NRA suggested it could support the most likely outcome — expanded background checks — as recently as 1999. The NRA claims that the president’s efforts have triggered a fundraising surge and boosted its membership from 4 million to nearly 5 million. Members of Congress who seemed open to legislation after the shooting deaths of 20 Connecticut schoolchildren are still on the fence, while Republicans are threatening a filibuster.

Perhaps a battle pitting one of the oldest and most aggressive lobbying organizations against President Obama’s fledgling advocacy shop wasn’t a fair fight.

“Fledgling”? This organization has existed in one form or another since 2007.  All they have done is change names, and they haven’t even managed to do that correctly.

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O

f

A

Schadenfreude on April 9, 2013 at 5:24 PM

O bama

f lukes

A merica

Schadenfreude on April 9, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Couldn’t happen to a ‘nicer’ set of charlatanic thugs.

Schadenfreude on April 9, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Messina is one of the creepiest men around, along with Axelturd.

Schadenfreude on April 9, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Justice, sweet Justice.

nobar on April 9, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Derek Bovard proceeded to configure the site so all the hits were directed to the website for the National Rifle Assn.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Bishop on April 9, 2013 at 5:30 PM

So the community organizer isn’t even successful at getting other organizers organized.

fourdeucer on April 9, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Schadenfreude on April 9, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Your name nicely describes my feelings about this post. Heh.

iurockhead on April 9, 2013 at 5:33 PM

The URL now redirects to Ben Carson’s National Prayer Breakfast speech.

steebo77 on April 9, 2013 at 5:33 PM

There are ,many good reasons why they’re called LIBTARDS !

TeaPartyNation on April 9, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Did the administration also sue cpusa.org for taking the other website address they wanted?

Bishop on April 9, 2013 at 5:34 PM

lol, who did they have in their legal team? The original crr6?

Del Dolemonte on April 9, 2013 at 5:35 PM

lol, who did they have in their legal team? The original crr6?

Del Dolemonte on April 9, 2013 at 5:35 PM

It was one of those overpaid “navigators”. Fresh out of college with virtually no knowledge of how the real world works.

nobar on April 9, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Thank you Derek for making my day!!

Deano1952 on April 9, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Their big fight isn’t guns, it’s immigration.

12 million new loyal Democrat voters and it’s game over.

blue13326 on April 9, 2013 at 5:46 PM

“It puts the lotion on it’s skin…”

Seven Percent Solution on April 9, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Does Holder know about this?

DDay on April 9, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Instead of just purchasing the domain, OFA chose to force Bovard to give up the domain names through legal action

typical.

MikeknaJ on April 9, 2013 at 5:48 PM

And they wonder why we refer to them as “thugs”. If I want a domain name and someone else has scooped it up before me, I’d be expected to buy it or do without it. But not Obama. He doesn’t apparently believe he’s subject to the same rules as the rest of us.

Murf76 on April 9, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Instead of just purchasing the domain, OFA chose to force Bovard to give up the domain names through legal action.

Just more of that “Chicago style politics”.

So far, they don’t appear very “organized”. But then, that’s just an accurate reflection of this administration and the people crooks in it.

GarandFan on April 9, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Delicious irony having the NRA being the beneficiaries of Obamas incompetence, not to mention we all benefit when Obama fails.

fourdeucer on April 9, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Derek Bovard is one smart dude!

tommy71 on April 9, 2013 at 5:59 PM

To be a fly on the wall to observe the tantrums being thrown.

tru2tx on April 9, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Please sell the name to the NRA. That would be epic.

nobar on April 9, 2013 at 5:59 PM

You should find out what the Obama for America software is doing now. They are a fairly entrenched group and have tentacles everywhere. We underestimate them. A number of progressive tech giants have been busily assembling an arsenal of info and implementing an extensive networking machine. Trust no one.

eaglesdontflock on April 9, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Hilarious!

squint on April 9, 2013 at 6:00 PM

A number of progressive tech giants have been busily assembling an arsenal of info and implementing an extensive networking machine. Trust no one.

eaglesdontflock on April 9, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Google is now in fact a Democrat Party Search Engine.

Del Dolemonte on April 9, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Smart Power.

I meant that Derek guy…

trigon on April 9, 2013 at 6:02 PM

To quote another prominent Democrat:

“The politics has been relentless and that continues,” Sebelius said, according to Reuters. “There was some hope that once the Supreme Court ruled in July, and then once an election occurred there would be a sense that, ‘This is the law of the land, let’s get on board, let’s make this work.’ And yet we will find ourselves having state-by-state political battles.”

morphs into:

“There was some hope (just by us) that once the (OFA announced their intentions) there would be a sense that, ‘(we own it dudes), let’s get on board, let’s make this work.’ And yet we will find ourselves having (domain-by-domain) political battles.”

They really do live in la-la land.

AesopFan on April 9, 2013 at 6:04 PM

After reading the Sebelius thread, it’s nice to see this one.

22044 on April 9, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Man oh man that guy is creepy looking.

John the Libertarian on April 9, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Every time I see a picture of Messina, I imagine him saying “It puts the lotion in the basket or it gets the hose again”…that dude is seriously creepy.

Kevin71 on April 9, 2013 at 6:16 PM

Hmmmm,

What other websites domains could we come up with to *uck with Obama??

redguy on April 9, 2013 at 6:30 PM

What’s OFA all about? Men that like to wear red lipstick?

slickwillie2001 on April 9, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Hey OFA, I’ll sell you stupidbeyondbelief.dum, for a price.

MichaelGabriel on April 9, 2013 at 7:26 PM

…why is there a picture of HotLips leading to the thread?

KOOLAID2 on April 9, 2013 at 8:02 PM

LOL now organizingforaction.net goes to Dr Carson’s prayer breakfast speech.

I love it!

gophergirl on April 9, 2013 at 8:12 PM

LOL now organizingforaction.net goes to Dr Carson’s prayer breakfast speech.

I love it!

gophergirl on April 9, 2013 at 8:12 PM

A W E S O M E !

tom daschle concerned on April 9, 2013 at 10:24 PM

“Organizing for A**holes” is still available…

Colony14 on April 10, 2013 at 6:18 PM