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March 29, 2012

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Comedian Zhou defends domain name

IN a silver grey suit and well-combed hair, local stand-up comedian and former judge of "China's Got Talent" Zhou Libo appeared in a local court yesterday to defend himself in a domain name suit.

Accompanied by two lawyers, Zhou sat down in the defendant seat at Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court, appearing calm and confident. The 45-year-old comedian was sued in a domain name case in which the plaintiff, Yue Tongyu, demanded her ownership of "," which is now owned by Zhou.

Yue said she registered the domain name of "" in 2007 and launched a literature website in 2010 to memorize a famous Chinese writer Zhou Libo, who had the same name as the comedian.

Last September, the comedian complained to the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Center, saying Yue maliciously registered the domain after his name and asking the center to transfer the domain name to him. The center ruled in his favor in December.

Yue didn't attend the hearing yesterday but sent two lawyers on her behalf. She said she registered the domain name because she was a literature fan of the deceased Chinese writer.

"I'm a Beijing native and had never heard about the Shanghai comedian before Zhou and his Shanghai-style Clean Talk became famous in 2007," Yue stated.

But Zhou argued he earned his fame in the late 1980s and his clean talk performances began in 2006.

Zhou said Yue had put the domain name on sale for 100,000 yuan (US$15,873) and handed a related notary letter as evidence to the court. The comedian also pointed out the literary website had been updated only twice after it was established.

Yue denied the accusation and claimed the website was hacked to post the sale notice. Yue told the court the website is not profit-driven and she had no intention of selling the domain name.

The plaintiff asked the court to return ownership of the domain name to her, while the comedian insisted the domain name should be his free of cost.

"It's a serious joke that one Zhou Libo was suing another," the comedian commented.

The intermediate court did not issue a ruling yesterday.


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