Disney, through the Jim Henson Company, is the owner of the domain name muppetfucker.net. There is nothing at the address, but… why? io9’s Beth Elderkin investigates and finds the answer to be the obvious one: a guy registered the domain long ago and the muppet people made him give it up on pain of expensive legal action.
Austin resident Noah Lee started going by the DJ name Muppetfucker in 1995, after he and a friend of his came up with it and thought it was funny. He used the name for six years, and owned several MuppetFucker domain names, including MuppetFucker.net. Lee told io9 the Jim Henson Company likely found out about Muppetfucker after he performed at SXSW in March 2001 and got a review in a local weekly magazine. A few days after the review came out, Lee got a cease-and-desist letter from the Jim Henson Company, which demanded he stop using the name Muppetfucker and hand over all domain rights.
“The day the letter showed up, I walked to my mailbox and opened it up, and when I pulled out that Kermit letterhead I knew right then it was over,” Lee told io9.
Whatever trademark registrations surround the word “muppet” must be quite shopworn by now: in the UK, the word is a common euphemism for “idiot”.
Good news, though! Fragglebugger.com is still available.
UPDATE: After my writing about this and posting it to twitter, someone purchased fragglebugger.com and redirected it here. Thank you, internet hero! May Disney’s lawyers be as stupid as Jim Henson’s.