Alberta premier threatens to sue over domain name
Premier Ed Stelmach is ready to take legal action against a university student who bought the rights to the domain name edstelmach.ca.
Dave Cournoyer, who writes about Alberta politics and other issues on his blog daveberta.ca, bought the rights to the domain in April when he noticed no one had registered it.
Anyone who visited edstelmach.ca was initially directed to the daveberta site, which generates about $20 per month in advertising revenue.
On Dec. 3, Cournoyer received a letter from Stelmach's lawyers, accusing him of stealing the premier's persona. It demands that the blogger hand over the domain and the advertising revenue generated from it to Stelmach or face litigation.
"This constitutes an invasion and impairment of our client's exclusive right to market his personality," reads the letter from law firm Walsh, Wilkins, Creighton LLP.
"Our client is entitled to the amount he would reasonably have received in the market for the permission to use his name."
"It seems a little heavy-handed that the first reaction from so-called nice guy premier would be to send a high-priced Calgary lawyer against a 24-year-old university student," Cournoyer said to CBC News Tuesday.
Stelmach was on vacation and officials in his office refused to comment.
Jim Campbell, the executive director of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, said the premier is just protecting his name but admits the party should have registered the domain a long time ago.
"The situation might have been a little more amicable had someone picked up the phone or sent me an e-mail," said Cournoyer, who has no intention of giving up the domain.
"I don't take well to threats from politicians, so I'm going to be seeking advice from a lawyer on what my options are."
Cournoyer is studying political science at the U of A and describes himself as a communications co-ordinator for the Alberta Liberals on his blog.
The address edstelmach.ca now takes people to the Wikipedia entry for Harry Strom, the last Social Credit premier of Alberta.
With files from the Canadian Press