With all the discussion and things brought to light with the CQD.com case, I took a look back at some domain thefts that were covered by publications outside the domain industry.
The Huffington Post took a rather bleak stance with the following headline, “When Hackers Steal A Web Address, Few Owners Ever Get It Back”
Jonathan Askin, a technology law professor at Brooklyn Law School, was quoted as saying, “It’s a serious problem without any legitimate recourse,”
They delved into the theft of MLA.com which reads a lot like the CQD.com case. The owner Michael Lee also ran a graphic design firm like Rebecca, in his 50’s and said the theft had damaged both his professional and personal life, just like Rebecca. Also like Rebecca, Mr. Lee saw the 3L.com as his retirement nest egg.
Lee did not get control of his name for over a year, Stevan Lieberman came to the rescue and the domain is currently under Lieberman’s name in the whois. Lieberman in addition to his law practice owns Escrow.Domains and Digital Candy.
From the article:
Several recent victims interviewed by The Huffington Post said they got little or no help from domain registrars like GoDaddy,or HostMonster. Victims also said they couldn’t get help from local law enforcement or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as ICANN, a California-based nonprofit responsible for managing the Internet address system.
In many cases, victims can’t even file a lawsuit to recover their stolen web addresses because most states don’t have laws that recognize domain names as property, said Jonathan Askin, a technology law professor at Brooklyn Law School.
In another part of the article Lee shares an exchange he had with GoDaddy.
“The case is pretty clear,” Lee wrote in an email to GoDaddy after he lost. “I’ve owned the domain since 1997. I parked [it] with GoDaddy for two years. Someone hacked my account and now it is gone. Your job is to bring it back to where it was.”
But Fuller, the GoDaddy spokesman, said the company can only go so far when a customer’s website is stolen because GoDaddy must follow rules created by ICANN. Fuller said GoDaddy could not returnto Lee because someone had transferred it to , a lesser-known registrar based in the Bahamas, and refused to transfer it back to GoDaddy.
“We have little recourse in this type of situation, and cannot ‘force’ a gaining registrar to return a domain,” Fuller said.
Luckily for Lee he got his name back.