Saturday, March 10, 2007

Our Response To NY MTA

A week ago Friday I received an email from the NY MTA that you can see in the previous post. This Friday the certififed, return receipt required letter arrived. It said exactly the same thing. I though it might be a good idea to post our response, which I hope is a true Biblical and loving response. Here it is:

March 9, 2007

Senior Associate Counsel
Metropolitan Transit Authority
347 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017-3739

Subject: Your Letter Dated March 3, 2007

Dear Mr. xxxxxxxxx:

I received your certified letter in today’s mail. Thank you for your earlier email and this letter, bringing to my attention problems you feel exist with the Mission to America web site I have responded to your email and present the same response here. As I stated in my email I hope this can resolved in a Biblical, loving, respectful manner.

1. Your first demand was: ”Change your website address so that it does not include MTAinfo.”

A) Your letter does not mention which web site you feel our site infringed. In researching the ownership of domains I see that the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority
owns the domain This is a URL that is very similar to our URL. However, I would like to point out that Mission to America (MTA) registered and began using FOUR MONTHS BEFORE your organization registered We have not misappropriated your address. It is the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority that has taken a domain name that is similar to our existing domain name.

B) Please see*/ This will show you a history of our use of this domain. You'll see that it has always represented our organization, Mission to America (we are commonly known as MTA), and has historically not had any transit related material or images. It was only recently that I changed the header of the web site, after receiving an email from a gentleman who said, "My wife was looking for bus information and ran across your web site. She immediately knew it was for me.” The gentleman had some questions he wanted to ask. I thought that the idea of a "bus ride to heaven" would be fun and added some transit related images in the header, plus an image of Jesus on the cross. Please note that two of the three transit images were of the Moscow (Russia) transit system and are not related to your organization in any way. I regularly travel to Russia as a missionary and took the photos myself.

C) Prior to our purchase the domain was not owned by anyone, and was available for the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority to purchase. However, the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority did not register it and thus must not have considered worthwhile, of possible conflict, or otherwise of value.

D) A quick search of Google shows there are many "MTA" domain names in use that are not related to the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority. For example:

Are all of these misappropriating your web address? There are many organizations using the MTA acronym and which have a MTA related internet domain name. Unlike our web site, some of these are transit web sites with content very similar to yours increasing the likelyhood of confusion. The MTA acronym is used to represent many organizations, including our organization and, as others do, used as a part of our web site address. We are an evangelical Christian organization that does not run buses or trains. There is no possibility of confusion between us and the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority. I see no reason for us to stop using the domain name.

2. Your second demand was: “Remove from your website all terms, imagery, information and any other references to the MTA or to its services.”

Our web site had only one image that could be related to the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, and no references to your services. The image was there because, when I did a Google image search for "buses" it appeared near the top of the list. We secured the permission from the photographer and combined it with two images of the Moscow transit system and an image of Jesus on the cross, to create our header.

Our web site had no other references to the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority. The content of the web site focused on the Good Person Test; the fact that we all have broken God's laws in one way or another (“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23); that we thus must pay a penalty for breaking God's laws (hell) (“the wages of sin is death” – Romans 6:23); and that for those who accept this gift, Jesus as paid their penalty on their behalf. (“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16)

At no time was there any intent to misappropriate anything from the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority. The site was clearly a Christian web site, not a transit web site.

However, you are concerned and I am happy to address those concerns. Our message is about Christ, and there is no need to be "cute" in our presentation of our message. So I feel the loving response is to change our web site, which I have done.

Thank you for your letter. I was glad to hear about your concerns and I hope that I have addressed those concerns in a satisfactory manner.

May the Lord Bless You,
Mission to America
P.O. Box 974
Tualatin, OR 97062



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