LucasFilm brought us Darth Vader in 1977. Now, Darth Vader (as in the domain name DarthVader.com) is now owned by its rightful owner, LucasFilm. Tucows Domain Portfolio Vice President Bill Sweetman commandeered the domain name when it was not renewed by its current owner–and promptly arranged for the domain name to be given to LucasFilm.
In a joint press release this week by Tucows and LucasFilm, Mr. Sweetman said, that the “moment I spotted DarthVader.com in a list of deleting domain names, I knew Tucows had to find a way to get this iconic domain name into the right hands. I knew I was its only hope…”.
Fusible originally noticed that the DarthVader.com domain name changed hands back in September 2012, and posted about it.
According to Fusible:
For more than 10 years, the name was owned by the same individual named Ron Koskinen, before going into Whois privacy in early July 2012. Of course, while it would have been impossible for Lucasfilm to register the name in the 70s, and very few companies registered names in the 80s, the studio could have picked up the name somehow in the 90s or 2000s. Lucasfilm has owned and operated StarWars.com since the nineties, according to Whios History and the website Archive.org.”
I reached out to Tucows and found a little bit more about how the DarthVader.com domain name made its way from its former owner to Tucows and then over to LucasFilm. According to Michael Goldstein at Tucows, the DarthVader.com domain name expired and was renewed by Tucows at the end of our 40-day Expiry Grace Period. It was held for the duration of the subsequent 30-day Redemption Period. The former owner had over 100 days and many email reminders to renew it.
I also asked Mr. Goldstein about whether or not a pre-release domain name auction was involved in any way, and he confirmed that it was not involved. Tucows paid the ‘normal’ registration fee for the domain, not an “inflated price” for it.
After successfully acquiring the domain name, Tucows donated the DarthVader.com domain name to Lucasfilm. In exchange, Lucasfilm agreed to make a sizeable donation to the Tucows Elves Project. This annual charitable effort is organized by Tucows staff and provides toys to the children of lower-income families in the Parkdale neighborhood adjacent to the Tucows Toronto office.
“We’re thrilled to be the new owners of DarthVader.com,” said Miles Perkins, Spokesperson for Lucasfilm, “and we are even more excited about supporting such a worthy cause. We regret having to refuse Bill’s request that we deliver the children’s toys in the Millennium Falcon. It was heartbreaking having to explain to him that it’s not real.”
On a side note, this still has to be one of my favorite all-time Darth Vader scenes: