There is quite the discussion going on at Namepros with regards to a domain name that was first reported stolen in 2007.
Provenance is important in things like art and domain names. In an interview with Giuseppe Graziano, Nat Cohen was asked the following?
What do you think needs to happen for the domain industry to outgrow its current status and for domains to become a widely held investment asset class, similar to Real Estate?
Part of Nat’s answer was concerned with provenance:
Another issue is clarifying ownership and having a secure chain of title. With the lack of an official historical ownership record, and with the suppression of public ownership information, it is difficult to know whether the person offering a domain name for sale actually is the legitimate owner and that there isn’t someone else who can make a claim to be the owner. Control over the domain name is effective ownership but it is not legal ownership. In real estate there are recorded titles and title searches to confirm a clean chain of ownership. Domain names lack any accurate way to independently verify ownership.
This is something I agree with and have dealt with in some talks with clients. A deal did not happen in June because my client was not happy with the ownership clarity.
Now in the case of ASZ.com the domain was reported stolen in 2007 and Theo at DomainGang has done a good job of tracking all the times where the name was attempted to be sold.
Someone else now owns the name, some have pointed out the name was reported stolen and others wondered why the victim never did anything?
We don’t know what they tried and how long they pursued it. Others have had domains stolen, tried for a time to get it back and then have given up on getting back.
Well what happens to the name then? How long could someone who had their name stolen have to get it back?
Many states have statute of limitations on stolen property. When it comes to art many times these time frames are extended. Getting back art stolen by the Nazi’s has gone on for decades.
Here is a very good article on that topic if you are interested in learning more.
Receiving stolen property and possession of stolen property are treated as separate offenses in some jurisdictions. The distinguishing element is when the person knew that the property was stolen. If the person knew that the property was stolen at the time he received it, the crime is receiving stolen property. If the person did not know the property was stolen at the time she received it but found out after receiving possession, the crime is possession of stolen property.
Documentation is Key to Recovering Hijacked Domain Names
When victims of domain name hijackings contact our Security Team for guidance, we will ask about the circumstances relating to the attack. We’ll ask whether they have contacted their hosting provider, registrar, or law enforcement. We next ask, “do you have any way to demonstrate to your sponsoring registrar that the registration or use of the domain is rightfully yours?”
Sadly, many parties who contact us haven’t considered that they will have to prove that the domain is theirs to use. Some parties contact us only after they’ve already experienced difficulties when they’ve tried to recover their domain names. They’ll ask, “Why is the recovery process so hard?”
I don’t know if at any point it becomes alright? I would imagine with proper proof someone could get their property back.
I am not a lawyer so it would be great to hear the opinions of Mr.Berryhill, Mr.Levine, Mr.Muscovitch and any other legal mind that has an opinion.
Does domaining want to be digital ‘real estate’?
Then apply the rules…SQUATTERS rights. 10 years tending = ownership. Why would you get to pick and choose what aspects of it you like? “digital real estate” – live with it!
For another example, Epik.com says on their landers say, “unlike precious metals, if you lose your domain, it’s easy to get back”. If the domain *was* stolen, it would have been EASY to recover, right? THAT’S THE industry NARRATIVE!
But really now: I always push my gold around town in a stroller. I take it boating, it makes great bait! I just keep losing it!
You want to call it digital GOLD, real estate, all this, well, LIVE with those rules IMO.
Instead the industry picks and chooses the pieces of cake that look best to them! It’s a serious problem. Just like ‘outbound’ is spam. You call it outbound, but it’s unsolicited spam! Selective verbiage to suit you!
If you get an offer for a plural on a domain you just register, that’s spam. HOW is you soliciting to *websites* ANY different?
If a domainer *buys* a domain name for $5,000 which was listed at $2,000,000 then flips it for 6figs, he’s a HERO.
If a domainer receives a $300 offer on a domain priced at $3k, the guy is a LOWBALLER.
Be fair! Look at yourselves!
You make some awesome points lifesavings.online – and your whole post would be a great reality-check blog post even though I don’t totally agree with squatters rights.
I basically have come to the realisation that there’s not much worth in what someone says but rather what they do so I think a lot of the narrative just washes over me. Most people in life tend to be a walking contradiction.
If I had a domain stolen I don’t think I could get on with my life without actively working on pursuing its return. I had a very good domain get cancelled at the registry 2 years ago and for 3 months I was actively working on every angle to get it resolved but if it was a name worth a few hundred it wouldn’t be all that worthwhile to stress too much over.
Interesting to see those who don’t care about stolen domains. That post gives you an idea of who to block. Thx for posting this.
Not your shill says
The sounds of the peanut gallery who couldn’t find their ass are looking for reasons to justify the sale of stolen domains. Thanks Jag.
Charles Christopher says
Something to consider:
There are an increasing number of cases of false deeds being submited to county recorders offices, and homes being stolen using this technique. Basically a “recorder” records documents but does not verify them. So anybody can submit anything.
This activity has recently increased in my state with the Recorders office now providing a service of emailing you when changes are made to your property.
Couple of years back a read a story in Florida about a women who received an eviction notice for her paid off house. She found out a deed was submited and recorded than transfered her home to someone else. They thief submited the document, but waited many months to act. Their action was to SELL the womens home, the “new owner” evicted her.
Here is where is gets even more stunning. The court decided the person who purchased the house was the new owner and their was nothing the women could do about it. However the court also said the women could sue the recorders office for the loss of her home.
So if we do not have these issues figured out for the homes we live in, it is no surprise that we are far from being able to handle the issue of stolen domains. And likely never will. 🙁
In fact, there are even cases where squaters pay off a persons utility bill and are then able to have the address changed on the bill. The home owner does not realize this in time. The squater then gets the homeowner evicted using the utility bill with their name on it, and moves in. At that point the legal mess for the homeowner, while eventually being cleaned up, is overwhelmingly costly and stressful and the squater destroys their home … Having their next victim lined up to live free in their home next, they move out before they get busted.
This is what we get for allowing a pretty piece of paper with pretty writing on it, or bits on a hard drive, to stand in for something else or for some right we have. The more we rely on control of bit on a hard drive the easier it is to redirect that control.