It Could Happen To YouBy: Elena Fawkner
No, I'm not talking about the warm and fuzzy movie that was on cable the other night with Nicholas Cage and Brigitte Fonda. I'm talking about another type of experience altogether - one of the decidedly cold and nasty variety.
You know what cybersquatting is, right? It's when someone registers a domain name that heretofore has been someone else's trademark, with the intent to hold the name for ransom. Sometimes these people identify trademarks in the market place and snap up the domain name figuring that, sooner or later, the owner of the trademark is going to want to register the domain name and may even be prepared to pay handsomely for the privilege.
Other times, and this may even be worse, these trolls seize domain names that have lapsed due to their owners failing to renew them in time. When the former owner tries to renew they soon learn to their horror that someone else has gazzumped them and are demanding several hundreds or thousands of dollars to return their property to them. As reprehensible as this practice is, there's nothing new about it and the courts are chock-full of cases brought by the outraged victims.
But put *yourself* in the shoes of the poor person who has unwittingly allowed her domain name registration to lapse only to find that "Dave Web" is now the rightful owner and wants $550 from you to give it back.
Now put yourself into these size elevens ... not only has Dave Web kidnapped your domain name, the very one that used to point to the site containing all of your hard work for the past three years, the domain name that is synonymous with your hard-earned reputation, not only that ... it now points somewhere else.
To a porn site.
We have now graduated from "mere" cybersquatting to criminal extortion. Not to mention criminal defamation.
This, believe it or not, is what happened to Jan Tallent-Dandridge just this week. Many of you will know Jan as the publisher of Rim Digest (www.rimdigest.com). You may also be familiar with her other websites, a www.marketingwarrioress.com and www.jtdbizopps.com, although if you tried to visit the latter site today, you'd get a rather unpleasant surprise. This is the domain name hijacked by Dave Web.
To give you the background to this sorry tale, I asked Jan's permission to reprint her email to me
My primary motivation in writing this article
is to help get the word out about what has
happened to Jan so that, hopefully, those
who do not know her will realize that she
is, in fact, an innocent victim in all of
this and not some nefarious person who gets
her kicks from enticing people to visit a
porn site when they thought they were visiting
an internet marketing site.
In terms of what constitutes “bad faith”, the Act provides that the court may consider factors (among others) such as:
A common problem is identifying the culprit. In Jan Tallent-Dandridge’s case, for example, the only information about the perpetrator is:
Call me skeptical, but somehow I doubt that’s
a real name and address. Fortunately, the
Act has anticipated this problem:
© 2001 Elena Fawkner
The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.