EXCLUSIVE: UH threatens porn web site with legal action - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

EXCLUSIVE: UH threatens porn web site with legal action for using its name

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii is demanding the operator of a pornographic web site stop using the school's name or face legal action.

The web site, called universityofhawaii.xxx, claims to feature what it describes as "hot nude Hawaiian college girls."  It is full of graphic pictures of men and women having sex on beaches and at other tropical locations.

It's a very different look from the University of Hawaii's legitimate web site.

UH students were upset when a Hawaii News Now reporter told them about the .xxx web site using the UH name.

"It's pretty disgusting.  I guess it's kind of odd to do.  I don't know why they'd choose university of Hawaii," said Joe Leavitt, a UH freshman from Seattle.

"They should definitely stop that," said Justeena Veltre, a UH freshman from Rochester, New York.  "It's not good for our name at all, because we want to look like a good school, and not a school where we have porn."

UH President M.R.C. Greenwood spoke to Hawaii News Now about her concerns Monday.

"This is not a University of Hawaii site.  We are appalled that anyone would use our good name this way," Greenwood said in an interview in her office.

On Friday, the UH sent the web site a cease and desist letter, demanding the site stop using the UH name or face legal action.

 "… it is clear that you are using this name and its association misleadingly and/or for improper purposes, and in bad faith," wrote UH General Counsel Darolyn Lendio in the letter.

"In other cases, this has been used as a mechanism for forcing people to buy their good name back.  We would rather fight it legally than submit to that kind of extortion," Greenwood said.

Other universities have purchased various versions of the .xxx suffix to protect themselves from just this sort of unsavory use.  Each .xxx suffix costs about $100 a year. But UH did not.

"We considered it.  But then when we thought about it, we realized that there are so many names that could have xxx attached to it," Greenwood said. "So this was the decision that we made that we would fight it if it happened but there was no way we could completely buy every name."

If the site doesn't pull the UH references, the university may go after its webmaster using a number of state and federal laws and also will try to recover its legal costs, Greenwood said.

UH senior Garrett Maruyama of Pearl City looked up the web site on his laptop computer after a Hawaii News Now reporter told him about it Monday afternoon.

"It's not really legitimate Hawaii girls.  It's just in tropical settings and is seems like a marketing ploy for their new site that they're trying to get up.  And actually running this story is probably going to get more hits than they ever got," Maruyama said.

Hawaii News Now emailed the web site's webmaster Monday and asked for comment but did not receive a response by early evening Monday.

The new .xxx domain names became available for sale in early December of 2011.

 copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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