updated 8/27/2004 2:15:46 PM ET 2004-08-27T18:15:46

Movie director Spike Lee won control of the Internet domain name www.spikelee.com in a ruling released Friday by a United Nations body.

An arbitrator from the World Intellectual Property Organization ordered the transfer of the domain name to the filmmaker, who had complained that it was being used illegally.

The ruling said the registered owner of the name -- Mercedita Kyamko, of Angeles City, Philippines -- had no rights or interests in the name and was using it in bad faith.

Lee's lawyers told the arbitrator that the domain linked to a pornographic Web site, www.clubhongkong.com.

Kyamko did not file a defense.

Anyone can register a domain name for a few dollars, which has led so-called "cybersquatters" to file for famous names to make a fast buck from those who want the names. Some names are worth millions of dollars.

In its ruling, the U.N. panel noted that Kyamko had a history of registering celebrity domain names, including www.carlossantana.com, which also redirected visitors to the pornographic site.

The Mexican music star won back his site after U.N. arbitrators decided that Kyamko was "using the name in a parasitic fashion."

Actors Kevin Spacey and Pamela Anderson, "Jurassic Park" author Michael Crichton as well as singer Celine Dion are among many celebrities who have won their domain names from other cybersquatters through the WIPO process.

The U.N. arbitration system, which started in 1999, allows those who think they have the right to a domain to get it back without having to fight a costly legal battle or pay large sums of money.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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