I posted this same message at several webmaster forums, which raised the question of whether or not this is actually a trademark infringement.
To this I responded:
I know this is very typical (remember all of those Columbine domain names that popped up at eBay within days?). This certainly does fall under cybersquatting. However arguably, since Aaliyah is a name.
That argument is practically a moot point, since the seller registered and listed Aaliyah.cc with intent to profit from her name. His auction even states "OWN THIS GRAMMY NOMINATED SINGERS DOMAIN NAME AND USE FOR FAN CLUB OR DRIVE THE UNBELIEVABLE TRAFFIC TO YOUR PRESENT SITE OR SELL BANNERS FROM THE TRAFFIC!!!
". A trademark does not have to be registered for it to be recognized.
Of course Tom.com isn't infringing on Tom Cruise. It's lightly absurd that would have anything to do with this, given the seller's own item descript and the fact that Aaliyah Haughton only went by "Aaliyah" in everything that she did (albums and movies). I highly doubt many people knew her last name until now.
Believe it or not, but this news incident generated huge amounts of traffic. The websites of Aaliyah, Blackground Entertainment, and numerous Aaliyah fan sites were reportedly down for days because of the heavy traffic. One Aaliyah fan site, which was able to remain open, received well over a hundred thousand people this week (until traffic began dwindling again).
Yes, it could very well be great for a fan site or memorial. But this seller clearly registered the name because he saw he could make a quick buck out of the publicity of a horrific plane crash in which nine people died. Essentially, he is profiting from their deaths. He is not just profiting from them, but the hundreds of thousands of people accessing Aaliyah sites this week in mourning of some one they felt they knew. More information at the older articles here
To quote eBay:
If you are selling a domain name that appears to be infringing, it may be ended early by eBay. We do not permit the offering of infringing domain names, and we may end them to protect our users and eBay from potential liability. You may also expose yourself to serious legal liability from the owner of the relevant trademark or personal name.
I am also contacting Blackground Records.