The Right To

Virtual Countries Inc. demands between $5 and 10 million for it

As reported by Reuters on Friday South Africa has decided to fight for the right to the domain name in New York next month. Director General of Communications Andile Ngcaba said the Seattle-based Virtual Countries Inc. had registered the name and had demanded between $5 and 10 million for it. Virtual Countries has collected more than 30 Internet domain names named after countries.

The government has decided to fight the comapany which has filed suit to defend its claim to the name. ``We filed a case with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and at the same time they (Virtual) filed a case in New York. The case is on April 16,' Ngcaba told a gathering to launch a new digital broadcasting advisory body. He said that the company were determined to fight the case.

According to Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri only three African countries have their own names on the Web.. Cawe Mahlati, a member of the new advisory body, said her business services company was fighting on behalf of South African musicians trying to regain control of their names on the Internet.

Source: Reuters