Pensacola Christian College Sues Graduate Peter Gage for Rights to Unofficial Website
A Christian college in Florida has waged a legal war against one of its unhappy alumni, who was able to secure the college’s name as a domain name back in 2001.
Peter Gage, a Pensacola Christian College alumnus, graduated from the school back in 1996. He decided a few years later to purchase pensacolachristiancollege.com as a domain name.
Gage has used the site to dissuade potential students from attending the college, explaining that the Christian values the school espouses are not values people should emulate.
“The fact is, an institution trying to follow God (more or less) is going to have problems, hurt people, and make mistakes,” the website reads. “Many of us have probably seen churches try to enact biblical discipline only to have it end up in courts or with hurt families or misunderstandings, etc. We can't expect PCC to be perfect.
“Unfortunately, PCC throttles the hearts, minds, and spirits of their students and makes no apology for the mess they make in the long run. They won't even own up to it.”
The website has not been updated since 2003, but Gage has maintained registration of the site. Gage clearly marks the site as “The Student Voice,” which has no official affiliation with the school or its actual website, pcci.edu. Its function has been to be an “unofficial” information site for prospective students.
“No, I do not think you should go to PCC,” Gage posted on the website in a frequently asked questions section. “That is my educated opinion, based upon my experience and the experience of thousands of others. The Christianity you are exposed to by the administration is not one you want to emulate throughout your life. The Christian emphasis, godly peer-pressure, and good academics can be found at numerous other good Christian colleges which don't put you through all the garbage.”
The school has obviously suffered “irreparably injury” since the website launched. PCC filed a lawsuit on March 25 in the Florida Northern District Court in order to gain possession of the website and to make Gage pay $100,000 in damages.
“Gage willfully infringed on PCC’s rights in the Pensacola Christian College mark by holding the domain name hostage, demanding that PCC pay him or a charity of his choice the sum of seventy-five thousand dollars in exchange for the transfer of the domain name,” the lawsuit reads.
The college attempted to take legal action back in 2001 when it filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum. Yet the forum, which oversees website disputes, decided in favor of Gage because he clearly identified the site as an unofficial information site unaffiliated with the college and included a link to the school’s actual website.
Gage also registered the domain name as a .com rather than an .edu, which, the forum decided, made it very clear that it was not the college’s website and that Gage had not technically done anything wrong or illegal.
A spokeswoman for the school told FoxNews.com that a settlement may be agreed upon soon as of Tuesday.
“Since that time, our attorney heard from Mr. Gage and discussions began regarding a resolution,” Glenn wrote in an email. “We are waiting on final confirmation since this is in the hands of the attorneys, but are hopeful that a favorable resolution will be reached quickly so we can take ownership of this site.”