|CCF is one of
a shadowy trio of tax-exempt front groups run by Washington lobbyist
Richard Berman. That trio also includes the American Beverage Institute,
which fights laws designed to curb drunk driving, and the Employment
Policies Institute, which is opposed to raising the minimum wage,
particularly in the labor-intensive restaurant industry. CCF used
to be named the Guest Choice Network, which was founded with seed
money from Philip Morris. Berman controls all the organizations, which
operate out of Berman's for-profit business, Berman & Co. The
current funders of these groups are not disclosed, but Berman's groups
are associated with executives from table-service restaurants like
Outback Steakhouse, Chili's, and Pizzeria Uno.
Center for Consumer Freedom deceives the American people every day
of the week by posing as a consumer group, when it's really a front
group that does P.R. dirty work for the restaurant and tavern industry,"
said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. "But even
I was surprised that Rick Berman and his henchmen would stoop so
low as to stop young kids from getting valuable nutrition information.
I'm never surprised, though, by the goofy and low-brow tone of his
efforts. Berman's a real bottom-feeder."
CSPI filed complaints
under ICANN's dispute resolution policy. ICANN is the body charged
with regulating the Internet domain name system. This is not the
first such defeat for CCF, whose registration of the domain name
cspinet.com was successfully challenged in January 2002. Also that
month, Berman's group had to turn over the domain name chefscollaborative.info
to its rightful owner, Chefs Collaborative. In that decision, the
panel found that CCF "has engaged in a pattern of registering
domain names with the intention of depriving political opponents
that own a mark from using that mark in a corresponding domain name."
the latest ruling, "[I]t appears that [CCF] attempted to create
confusion among Internet users looking for [CSPI's] websites."
While one of the sites at issue, cspinot.com, criticized CSPI, CCF
redirected traffic from smartmouth.org to the kid's section of the
American Dental Association's (ADA)'s web site. According to CSPI,
that helped show that CCF acted in bad faith, merely intending to
confuse the young visitors trying to reach Smart-Mouth.org.
for Consumer Freedom has absolutely nothing to do with consumers,
but it has everything to do with maximizing profits for major restaurant-and-bar
chains," Jacobson said. "It's totally Orwellian. CCF's
client companies want consumers-and their kids, evidently-to have
less information about their food choices, not more. CCF is anti-parent,
anti-kid, anti-health, and anti-truth. The restaurants that fund
CCF should be ashamed."
The decision of the National Arbitration Forum panel in Center for
Science in the Public Interest v. Guest Choice Network (FA021000128796)
is available at www.arbitration-forum.com/domains/decisions/128796.htm.
The Center for
Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is a nonprofit health-advocacy
group based in Washington, D.C., that focuses on nutrition and food
safety. CSPI is supported largely by the 800,000 U.S. and Canadian
subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter and by foundation
helps make learning about healthy eating fun for kids. It lets kids
see for themselves how their favorite restaurant foods stack up,
and teaches kids how industry marketing practices influence their
Center for Science in the Public Interest
1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW #300
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 332-9110 ext. 370