The Haiti Hoax

An impressive fake video is making the rounds of the Internet; it purportedly shows a French government official announcing that the Republic would repay the enormous sum Haiti sent to France in exchange for independence in 1803. The video is hosted at http://www.diplomatiegov.fr/, a domain name very similar to the French Foreign Ministry site, which is at http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/. This is a fascinating example of using Web 2.0 technologies, and frankly a bit of trickery, to get people to think hard about old grievances and Haiti’s current crisis. Fun question: how would a domain name dispute under the UDRP turn out here? What if American law under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (15 U.S.C. 1125(d)) were to apply? This isn’t entirely hypothetical – the French Foreign Ministry is considering legal action. Unwise, as the Barbra Streisand effect likely applies here: better to let sleeping hoaxes lie…

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