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Filing a Domain Name Dispute? 227

Posted by Hemos
from the how-do-you-do-it dept.
0backlash0 writes "I work for a not-for-profit that's involved in community media especially radio, television, and increasingly, the internet. We exist by and for the community, which is to say that we're not a large organization. Someone has registered a domain name that we used to own: kdhxfm88.org The name appears to be registered in "bad faith". Because of our size, we can't exactly afford to hire a team of lawyers to take care of this for us. What can we do and how do we do it?"
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Filing a Domain Name Dispute?

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  • The ? is... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by modemboy (233342)
    can you afford a better lawyer than the person who took your domain?
    • Re:The ? is... (Score:2, Informative)

      by zaren (204877)
      If you follow the "buy this domain" link from below the porn ad that now graces the page that appears at their url, you see:

      "Any Offer Below $550.00 USD Will Be Ignored!"

      I've run into a similar problem where a domain name I created for a small business expired and someone snarfed it up. At least in my case, the squatt - err, "opportunists" - will consider an offer of $150.

      I'm about as out of luck as you, because I screwed up and forgot to re-reg the name when it expired. You can either cough for for a domain resolution, pay them their extorti - err, transfer fee, or sit it out, wait for the name to expire, and try to snarf it back out from under them.
  • "used to own" (Score:1, Insightful)

    by mrbill (4993)
    If you let the domain expire, and someone else registered it, I say you're going to have a hard time *taking it back* from its now-rightful owner.
    • That would have been my question: Why "used to own", what happened?

      Alex
      • Re:"used to own" (Score:2, Interesting)

        by aka-ed (459608)
        I can't say what happened in his case, but I initially got my domain from registerfree.com (the price was right). When they folded, I found that my domain belonged to Tucows. God knows why.

        I wrote to them, never received a reply...when it came loose a few months later (I guess nobody wants aka-ed), I snapped it up again.

        Things like that happen. In my case, the issue wasn't worth lawyers and $$$ just to find out what had happened, though a lot of mail users at mail.aka-ed.com (5 friends, who now only use me for spam!) were pissed off.

    • On the other hand, even though taking it back from someone after you've let it expire seems crappy, kdhxfm88.org isn't likely to be a domain that is useful to anyone but that radio station. If another station has those same call letters and number (which would defeat the purpose of call letters) then this guy is out of luck.

      But if they accidentally let it expire and some squatter snapped it up, then they should get it back.

    • Re:"used to own" (Score:5, Informative)

      by startled (144833) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @07:55PM (#2540756)
      How the fuck does this qualify as insightful? Let's look at it again, in instant replay:

      "If you let the domain expire, and someone else registered it, I say you're going to have a hard time *taking it back* from its now-rightful owner."

      No, he's not going to have a hard time taking it back, because according to ICANN's UDRP, these other people are acting in bad faith-- they are not the "rightful owner" that you mistakenly assumed. The rules are easy to search, and are here: http://www.icann.org/udrp/udrp-rules-24oct99.htm [icann.org]. But I'll quote it for you, since I'm sure no one will actually go read it.

      Describe, in accordance with the Policy, the grounds on which the complaint is made including, in particular,

      (1) the manner in which the domain name(s) is/are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

      (2) why the Respondent (domain-name holder) should be considered as having no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name(s) that is/are the subject of the complaint; and

      (3) why the domain name(s) should be considered as having been registered and being used in bad faith


      So, seems pretty clear-cut here. Gee, you think the porn site's name isn't confusingly similar? You think they have legitimate interests in the name? You think they somehow weren't registering in bad faith?

      As long as I'm apparently the only person who bothered to do some research on this first, including the original submitter, why don't I point out the procedures spelled out in detail here [wipo.int]. Note that the single largest roadblock for a small non-profit is going to be the $1500 fee. Is the domain name worth $1500 to you? If so, read up, and you'll probably get it after a few forms and a money transfer. If not, use one of the gajillion other names available to you that's easier to remember than kzhszdfwelsdafjsdfzlldfm.org or whatever.
      • If the original owner does not have a registered trademark or service mark, the UDRP won't help them. Simple as that.

        The original question didn't mention the existence or lack thereof of a relevent trademark or service mark.

        The UDRP doesn't say whether the trademark has to be registered or not. (This is a flaw in the UDRP, IMHO). It seems quite likely that the arbitrator or a court would interpret trademark to mean registered trademark.
        • I agree with all of that. Which is why the submitter would have had a lot more luck reading the stuff I linked to and interpreting the results with a much higher knowledge of his own situation, than asking us, who (so far as I've seen from the comments) don't know any more than a quick google search for "domain name arbitration" and the contents of their question.
        • The law recognizes unregistered trademarks. Accordingly, I don't see why a court would take "trademark" to mean only a registered trademark.
        • You're Both Wrong (Score:2, Informative)

          by hubbabubba (309496)
          The UDRP doesn't require a registered trademark. There is what's known as a "common law trademark" and it is just as valid as a registered one. If you have been using the name in commerce (broadly defined), you probably have a common law right to it. Celebrities, for example, have a common law right to their own name, even though they may not have registered it as a trademark.

  • Please explain more.. If you used to own it then why did you let it expire if you were using it?
  • by saynt (19633)
    If you owned the domain name and then let your ownership drop, especially if it wasn't simply a failure to pay in time, you might have some real trouble getting it back. You need to be able to show that you meant to keep the domain name and that it was lost through some error.
  • If you gave it up, that was for a reason right? If the guy starts saying he represents the radio station, fair enough, suehis misrepresenting ass, but otherwise, who cares. You have the domain you want.
  • RIAA (Score:2, Funny)

    by FraggleMI (117868)
    Hurry up and call the RIAA quick! They have lawyers!
  • Bad faith? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Why is the name registered in "bad faith?" While Id like to support you, you fail to give any details. Just because they registered that domain name does not mean it is in "bad faith." And, if you are such a small organization, what reason would someone have for registering the domain name? Its obviously not money.

    Companies immediately say anyone who registered anything to do with their name registered it in "bad faith." I think you need to get everything uneder control before you go spouting off allegations.
    • Why is the name registered in "bad faith?"

      This is what the domain points to...

      EURO TEEN SLUTS

      165,000 Barely Legal Teen Movies
      160,000 Uncensored XXX Teen Pics
      25 LIVE "Just 18" Fuck Shows
      1000+ Spycams in Toilets,
      Showers, Gyno Clinics
      LIVE Sex Chatrooms and Messageboards
      10,000+ Swingers & Escorts Waiting online.
      Erotic Teen On-line Magazines
      + much more...

      I'd say that's probably 'bad faith'.

      HH
    • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @07:30PM (#2540567) Homepage Journal
      Like the subject says, the site [kdhxfm88.org] now offers porn, not exactly a service to an public FM radio station. I'd call a .org site doing that a bit of a stretch, particularly because they're using the association of the radio station to sell porn.

      IIRC there's something in the ICANN guidelines about .org registers now necessarily being a non-profit, etc, etc. Perhaps someone could shed more light on this. Appeal, by all means.

    • Re:Bad faith? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mdpowell (256664)
      In addition to spewing porn (and popup windows), the domain also has a link where you can basically "bid" (offers less than $500 explicitly ignored) for the domain.

      Looks like bad faith to me.

      If someone registered the .org of my university's .edu and did this sort of thing, I'm sure the university would either 1) cave in and buy the domain or 2) sue their bad faith pants off. This registration seems to serve no purpose other than to frustrate the previous owner of the domain and/or collect a high price for squatting.

      --mdp
      • Perhaps at least consulting with an attorney on this matter would be wise, since the new owner is missusing it and obviously trying to profit off the sale of an .org domain, I expect some damages may be worth pursuing? Perhaps someone could recommend a good lawyer or firm to do this, as some will do this work for a percentage of award.

        Owner's appears to be in Armenia, but has an Idaho area code in the phone number.

        Organization:
        Buy This Domain
        Web Master
        5 Tpagrichnery St., # 33
        Yerevan Yerevan 375010
        Armenia
        Phone: 208.978.3555
        Fax: 208.978.3555
        offer@NameRegister.com

        Domain Name: kdhxfm88.org
        Created on: 06/29/2001
        Expires on: 06/29/2003
        Record Last Updated on: 10/14/2001

        Administrative Contact:
        Buy This Domain
        Web Master
        5 Tpagrichnery St., # 33
        Yerevan Yerevan 375010
        Armenia
        Phone: 208.978.3555
        Fax: 208.978.3555
        offer@NameRegister.com

        • Re:Bad faith? (Score:3, Informative)

          by GreenHell (209242)
          Yah... I've got the strange feeling that the 'company' which owns this domain isn't from Armenia, but rather put that there to make it seem harder to get a hold of him.

          "And what makes me say that?" you ask. Well, I did a little search on google and came up with this discussion [gigalaw.com] about someone else who had (roughly) the same problem. Now... if you move through the responses, you'll find this response [gigalaw.com] which lists the contact information about the guy who owned this other domain name. Now the name of the company is different, but if we scroll down, we'll see this:

          Administrative Contact:
          Master, Web admin@segod.com
          NameRegister.com
          5 Tpagrichnery St.
          #33
          Yerevan, AM 375010
          AM
          208.978.3555
          208.978.3555


          and this:

          Domain Auctions
          5 Tpagrichnery., # 33
          Yerevan, ARMENIA 335010
          AM

          Same address, same number, different company name... but if you keep going down, you'll find this:

          Administrative Contact:
          Web Master admin@segod.com
          http://x.segod.com
          5 Pechatnikova St., #33
          Yerevan, 375010
          AM
          Phone- 208.978.3555
          Fax- 208.978.3555

          Same phone number, same zip/postal code, same street number & apt number, but different street name. Now, I'm no statistician, but I seem to think that the odds of this happening are very low to be almost non-existent. That, and the area code for Armenia is (374-2) according to a 1998 web page with contact info for a company that is located on Tpagrichnery St. Oh, and the fact that Pechatnikova St. only pulls up matches involving domains being bought after they lapsed.

          So, not only does a low-life, porn displaying, domain auctioner have your domain, but he seems to be a low-life, porn displaying, lying domain-auctioner.
  • BAH! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Narril Duskwalker (530445) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @07:21PM (#2540485)
    Nothing like sufing slahsdot at work and having a URL that takes you to Euro Teen Sluts on the home page.. Thanks Guys!
  • by vrmlguy (120854) <samwyseNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday November 08, 2001 @07:24PM (#2540509) Homepage Journal
    Looks like you're probably hosed. The p0rn site that seems to own it now won't want to let it go cheap. (1) They got it so that they could try sell p0rn to everyone who bookmarked it when it belonged to the radio station. (2) They're probably pretty happy that they're being slashdotted right now, because that's more people that they can try to sell p0rn to.

    Your best bet is arbitration, since the domain pretty obviously has nothing to do with their real business.

  • by plaisted (449711) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @07:27PM (#2540529) Homepage
    I for one would have liked a warning that the current owners had set up a porn site on there. The post naturally makes one wonder what is currently on the site, and some people are going to check it out who would prefer not to end up at a porn site.
  • by Rackemup (160230) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @07:28PM (#2540538) Homepage
    kdhxfm88.org

    What the hell kinda domain name is that? hard to remember, hard to spell correctly and no sex appeal.

    In all the vastness of the universe and all the possible domain names to choose from, you picked that one? Maybe it's time to let it go and find a new domain name, any lawyer looking at that one is just going to laugh and ask why you'd want it back.

    • kdhxfm88.org
      What the hell kinda domain name is that? hard to remember, hard to spell correctly and no sex appeal.


      Seems obvious to me KDHX is the radio call sign, they are located on the FM dial at 88 Mhz...

      Any other questions ?
    • KDHX is community radio in the St Louis area, 88.1 FM. A bright spot in the wasteland of corporate owned radio. Personally I never listened to anything regularly but the Saturday night Reggae show, but it was a fantastic show, and one I couldn't get anywhere else.

      In any case, knowing the call letters and number for the station means it isn't hard to remember at all.

      As far as why they need anything but kdhx.org, that is a mystery they ought to explain. I would suspect the link being a porn site has something to do with it (I'm sure it can't do much for their reputation, being considered "fringe" around town anyway), but that's really a different problem.

      • An interesting note: Any radio station at that frequency would have to be non-profit. The FCC has reserved frequencies below 92 MHZ (88-92) for non-profits only.

        88.1 is the first FM broadcast band frequency (even though I have seen radios go as low as 87.5), and 107.9 is the last frequency (I haven't seen a radio that tunes above that).

        Here in Las Vegas [lasvegas.com], we have radio stations at both extreme ends of the dial, and they both rule.
    • Maybe yes. Maybe no.

      FM (frequency modulation) is a mode of radio broadcast. The given frequency is expressed as a number. 88.1 for example. Compare to AM.

      In the US, radio stations can be assigned "call letters". KDHX would be a typical example of these "call letters."

      .org is a high level domain, for use by non-profit pornographers.

      Thus, with a little imagination it can be supposed that kdhxfm88.org was meant to serve as a useful mnemonic for an FM radio station, found at 88.n whose call letters are KDHX and which may have functioned as a non-profit of some sort.

      - The Nattering Pedant
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Apparently you are missing something.

      This particular domain name is very easily for me to remember. In the Saint Louis area, where I am from, anyone that listens to 88.1 on the FM dial will certainly have no problems remembering this name because they hear it whenever they listen to KDHX, that great community radio station. This domain name is effective for market that it was originally targeted for.

      You do make a good point however: Throughout most of the world this domain name makes absolutely no sense, further substantiating the claim that this domain was registered in "bad faith".
  • Oh come on! (Score:3, Funny)

    by PopeAlien (164869) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @07:28PM (#2540540) Homepage Journal
    This whole story has got to be extremely clever spam from that porn-shop.. You let the domain lapse, its gone, and now the new owner has hordes of horny geeks checking it out. I'm no conspiracy theorist, but hey this is too much.
  • It's theirs now (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wee (17189) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @07:29PM (#2540554)
    You said it all: "Someone has registered a domain name that we used to own." You used to own it, didn't renew your registration for whatever reason, and it went back up for "sale". It has new owners now. Unless you have some legal claim to the name, I don't think there's much hope for you getting it back.

    Back when I worked at Qualcomm, I was going to register eudora.org when it's renewal came and went unnoticed and unpaid. But I was told that I'd likely have to give it back at the drop of an even semi-legal hat (or not even: "Give it up or pack your office" would have worked just as well). I was going to use the domain for all the tech support junk, plugins, etc that didn't make it on eudora.com for whatever reason. It was going to be a community-type site, not for profit or anything. As far from "bad faith" as you can get. I was told that the intent of the site wouldn't matter and that they would almost certainly get it from me.

    IANAL, but I think unless you can show that you had a claim or that your business will be hurt or whatever (think Coke registering pepsi.biz) then you probably won't be able to get it back. You could try the nice guy route, though. Ask them if they would sell it to you (throw in a 50% "finder's fee" for them) and offer to host whatever email accounts hey have for a year while they transition (careful of spamming, though). Probably won't work, but it never hurts to be nice anyway. Sadly, I think you're S.O.L.

    -B

    • Unless you have some legal claim to the name, I don't think there's much hope for you getting it back.


      I think that a legal claim on a radio stations call letters and numbers is pretty obvious. This is not some ambiguous name like "clearwater," its pretty specific to that one radio station.

      If the person who registered it wants to start a community site to discuss whats on that station, then MAYBE they would have a chance. But really, its a porn site now. So obviously, a legal claim has a good chance.

  • by td (46763) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @07:30PM (#2540563) Homepage
    You already own kdhx.org, and if that's not enough, neither kdhxradio88.org nor kdhxradio.org nor kdhx88.org is currently registered. You don't really need kdhxfm88.org, so if you forget it, the squatter will have wasted his money.

    (I see that he's put a porn pointer at the address . Is that what you're really upset about? That's a different question than the one you asked. If you're a nonprofit and you can't afford a lawyer, find out what `pro bono' means.)
  • by Kengineer (246142) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @07:31PM (#2540570)
    Hah, well that porn site will be slashdotted in a few seconds, so this whole discussion is really a moot point :)
  • If your domain name was a trademark, copyrighted, or otherwise protected as intellectual property (shudders), then you could fight this. The fact is, though, that the domain got dropped. Everyone around here hates it, but there are companies that look for opporunities like this and "snatch" up domains as soon as they become available again.

    On the plus side, if you don't do anything, the current owners will likely drop the domain in June 2003. If you can wait that long, you can be pretty sure no one's going to snatch it up again. If you absolutely want the domain back, there's a link on the current site (not the Euro Teen Sluts link) that will let you buy the domain back from them. Maybe it's worth just paying the price to get it back. I just don't know.

    Probably the best thing you can do is change domain names completely. Don't ever speak of this older domain; and don't ever let any domain you want to keep expire. It would be pretty bad if mothers, kids, and grandparents went to the current site. Then again, maybe Euro Teens are what they're after...

  • why not just think of a better domain name to use? That one seems pretty sucky anyway. How about dropping the "88" or perhaps using a different TLD like kdhxfm88.tv?

    Any particular a p0rn site would pick up your old domain? Seems like a silly thing to do to a non-profit to begin with.
  • YHBT.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Stormie (708) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @07:35PM (#2540611) Homepage

    I betcha this "0backlash0" character is actually the guy that currently has the domain registered and is running the porn site on it. He's invoking a slashdotting to get his banner ad hits up. :-)

  • well if your idea is to get exposer I think this would eb the best way to do it kdhxfm88.org is too long and klunky to remember as opposed to KDHX88.FM just because your a non profit doesn't mean you HAVE to have a .org TLD. you better hurry up and register it before I do and charge you double. I ran into the same thing, when I let the registration on my web page run out, last I checked it's now a porn site. grrr now my good names stained... ahh well
  • Simple Steps. (Score:3, Informative)

    by JustJoking (535170) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @07:37PM (#2540624) Homepage
    The first thing you should do is send them a cease and desist letter. Send it registered, and let them know of your copyright. Let it be clear that they could be liable for up to $100,000 in damages. Here is an example: http://www.ejacking.com/letters.cfm It helps to find out if they have any other names hijacked. This works for most US citizen's who have an ounce of intelligence. If this doesn't work you need to start the process at icann. http://www.icann.org/udrp/udrp.htm
    • The first thing you should do is ignore anyone who doesn't know the difference between copyright and trademark and who doesn't realize that there probably isn't a registered trademark at stake, since the original story mentions that the radio station is poor...
  • Check register.com. It looks like the Armenians have your precious .org. Good luck fighting that international battle! It seems to me you'd be better off getting the .com version, while it's still available.
  • Easy! (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by Zen Mastuh (456254)

    We'll bug the shit out of them until they give it up. Just copy & paste this script & hack away...


    while( 1 ) {
    wget kdhxfm88.org
    }

    ...or something like that. IANAL, but the script is pro bono. Behold the awesome power of 500,000+ registered slashdot users!

    • Re:Easy! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Fnkmaster (89084)
      Bug the shit out of them? Dude, they'd just think they were getting crazy hits and then they'd NEVER give the domain back. Furthermore, these pr0n people usually make money PER hit because there are tons of links to other pr0n sites and banner ads and all that crap.


      I realize bombing them with script requests would just be toasting their bandwidth, but they'd think they were getting more viewers. Best thing to do would be NOT to visit their page to discourage this sort of despicable squatting.

      • Yeah, I agree. After reading the other posts, I think we've all been had. This is all a publicity stunt perpetrated by Mr. Armenian 0backlash0 to get more hits for his pr0n site.

        Enjoy your American dollars while they last, Mr. Armenian 0backlash0!!!

        • Re:Easy! (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Very nice... except for the fact that Mr. Armenian seems to be from Idaho. :)

          See this comment [slashdot.org] and this response [slashdot.org] to it.
        • Re:Easy! (Score:2, Informative)

          by chris_mahan (256577)
          I've got to say I agree... They also have www.yohoo.com (same Euro Sluts image, description and links) and this lady at work (mid 50's) typed it accidentally (like yahoo, but worse)...She got all flustered...

          So I'm thinking someone's trying to generate traffic...
  • Are you sure this isn't just a scheme to get yourself slashdotted?
  • by lscotte (450259)
    Someone has registered a domain name that we used to own

    If you no longer own it, then you no longer own it. Period. Whether or not it was registered by the other party in good or bad faith is irrelevant if it's no longer yours.

    In other words: The original owners of the domain should have made the payments to keep it registered.
  • Do your homework (Score:2, Informative)

    by hubbabubba (309496)
    It's called the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) [icann.org]. Read it, understand it, then file a claim if you still think you have grounds. You might just get lucky.

    And don't mind the naysayers -- the UDRP doesn't say jack about whether or not you *used* to own the name, but it spells out in fairly clear terms the grounds upon which a challenge can be brought. In relevant part ("you" and "your" refer to the party you want to file against):

    (i) your domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and


    (ii) you have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

    (iii) your domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

    In the administrative proceeding, the complainant must prove that each of these three elements are present.


    You don't necessarily need a lawyer, though it helps. Maybe you can get a local IP specialist to do it for your group pro bono. It will also be helpful for you to read some of the decisions [icann.org] already made, particularly any that seem to fit the facts of your situation.

  • by treat (84622) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @07:51PM (#2540734)
    The vast majority of the responses I have seen are saying that it will be difficult if not impossible to get your domain back. This is simply not true. The party that has the more "legitimate" need will win. Legitimate means corporate or profitable. Surely the porn-peddling domain hoarder will not be able to win over someone who controls an organization with a name very similar to the domain. Not when you consider all of the past domain disputes and how they were decided.
    • Agreed. Not to mention an organization which seems to have an implicit trademark on the letters "KDHX". At the very least the two names are confusingly similar, which I'm fairly certain is grounds for legal action. (Anyone know radio law? Are the call letters assigned to a station their property?)
  • *I* suspect that the poster of this message is the current owner of the domain himself; and that he made up a story that would be Slashdot-worthy in order to intentionally Slashdot(verb) his own p0rn site; and therefore drive up his traffic and hopefully gain some income.

    ...sounds like something /I/ would do, at least...
  • I am from St. Louis and a kdhx listener. Personally I don't understand why you need the name anyway. Anytime I need to look up a playlist I go to kdhx.org. I would never have thought to go to kdhxfm88.org nor would I be able to remember all of the extra garbage when I know the station is just kdhx or 88.1. Not that the name doesn't make sense it's just not practical. Basicaly I don't really understand why this is an issue when you own the most important domain name for the station, and probably the one that gets the most traffic anyhow. On the other hand, I bet kdhx sure got slashdotted today. -peel

    computers never make misttoks -- Atari 800

  • This kind of thing has been happening with increasing frequency recently, and in many instances the subsequent holder of the domain name is a porner trying to catch those who go to the name thinking that it's still what it used to be.

    When the name previously was used for childrens materials my guess is that a case could be made that the second person is intentionally targeting children - and the existing legal system has plenty of cauldrons of boiling oil for those kinds of folks.

    There are several useful resources: There's Carl Opendahl's "Considerations for innocent domain name owners"http://www.patents.com/dno.htm [patents.com]

    And then there's the collection of things by Ellen Rony at http://www.domainhandbook.com/media.html [domainhandbook.com] In particular see: Pornography Takes Over Financial Site for Children http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/26/technology/26NET .html [nytimes.com]

  • even though you used to own it i think you are still out of luck. i too work at a non-profit radio station, but we are owned by a university. we have wkdu.org and a year or so ago i went to get .com and .net. unfortunately they had been registered (i pretty much just got beat out). i emailed the owner and asked what he wanted for them. he told me $20,000 or something. i explained that we are noncommercial and out annual budget is usually about $35,000. he then wanted to negotiate a price, but i stopped emailing him. granted "wkdu.???" is much less specific than "kdhxfm88.org" so they are probably hoping that 1) you have $$$$ and/or 2) your listeners will flock to a site that might be yours.
    as for the legal options, what did they decide about people snagging copywritten names (like fritolay.com or something specific)?
    i suggest emailing them to see what they want. i would personally not pay it when you can come up with some other valid URL. the fact that it's your old site means they should have picked up traffic from bookmarks and maybe search engines. if this is recent, then they are probably still getting hits from your old users.... so if they want a lot now, i assume it will go down later.
  • Past case (Score:4, Informative)

    by GreenHell (209242) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @08:22PM (#2540885)
    Ok, if you check out this comment [slashdot.org] you'll find out that the domain is owned by a company called Buy This Domain. And that they're listed as being in Armenia, but have an Idaho area code.

    Now, I was browsing around google, and I came up with this [wipo.int] WIPO doc, dated August 14, 2001.

    It deals with a case sort of like the one mentioned here, where the complaintant (sp?) let the domain lapse for some reason, and another company bought it up. Ok, so I can hear you saying "What does this have to do with this case?" Simple, the defendent was Buy This Domain (then using a different street name, but otherwise the address is the same), seems after being given the notice that the domain was going to be disputed, they offered to give it back to the original owner. That's right, they gave it back.

    So, although IANAL, I'd say just begin the proper actions against them, and see if they cave again.
  • I work for a small insurance broker called Dollar Insurance Services Inc. We had this guy squatting on our domain for a while and we could not come to an agreement and he let the domain expire [register.com] on Jan 6th 2001. I have been in constant touch with Network Solutions for last 7-8 months, the only answer I get from them is that the domain is currently blocked and cannot be registered until it is released back into public domain. I asked them that how long do they keep a domain blocked until it is released and their response was that there is no set time period so I should check every day to see its been released. Any ideas from the Slashdot community to get this released other than to just register the one of the .biz or .ws type alternative domains.
  • Advertising..... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 2dor!2d (243717)
    This is one of the better advertising stunts
    I've seen in a while.

    Who posted this message, and why do they want to increase the traffic to this site?
  • An article in the NY Times a couple of weeks ago tells the same story. (The article is archived--you have to pay for it now). The article was about Ernst and Youngs financial website *for children*. If the child went to Moneyopolis.org rather than Moneyopolis.com, they would get the same porn site (Euroteen Sluts). So, maybe you should contact Ernst and Young's legal department. They may have already done the legal research you need and answer your questions.
  • by Ian Bicking (980) <.moc.ydutsroloc. .ta. .bnai.> on Thursday November 08, 2001 @09:04PM (#2541087) Homepage
    Some people seem to think this is a real (if sleazy) porn site that somehow thought that kdhxfm88.org would be a good domain name.

    I think it's worse than that. He's probably putting up something that is specifically meant to be offensive and annoying, to further encourage KDHX (and other domains he registers) to pay him off. I doubt KDHX really cares about the domain -- they let it expire after all. But it's not that they don't get to use the domain, it's that the domain is offensive and slanders their organization. I think they would easily win any case against this guy -- not just to get back the domain name, but a libel/slander suit against him. If they were actually to try to do this, they would want to contact other people who have also suffered this extortion, to pool resources.

    The server appears to just be on DSL (a traceroute stalls on netblock-66.51.198.150.dslextreme.com, which is probably some firewall just in front of his computer). Which makes it seem even less like a real porn site.

    DSLExtreme is a DSL provider in California, apparently. From them you may be able to track down who registered the domain, who is presumably also hosting it. From there you can send a cease-and-desist letter directly to the actual owner, using his actual name, and not falsified information in the WHOIS database. Or if you really felt like it you could sue him (and more power to you).

    Also, you can probably get DSLExtreme (whoever they are -- they seem like a normal sort of provider) to shut down his access. I somehow doubt the site fits in their terms of service. If nothing else that'll stop him for a while, and it'll annoy him.

  • You say kdhxfm88.org being offered for sale, appears to be registered in "bad faith".

    Not nice perhaps, they are obviously people without scruples - but there is plenty of those in Big Business.

    If domain was used to complain about something you said, say regarding public affairs - would you consider that "bad faith" also?

    Do you believe then, that free speech should not be allowed on the Internet?

    You have kdhx.org, though their actions objectionable - they are not even stopping you from using your prefered name.

    Let them waste their money.

    By going to WIPO, you would help those trying to claim control of the Internet.

    Paul Mockapetris, creator of Domain Name System, was asked, what do you wish you had invented?

    His reply, "A directory system for the Internet that wouldn't be controlled by the politicians, lawyers and bureaucrats."

    I have been in contact with various Government bodies (US/UK) and attorneys, about the solution to trademark problems on the Internet.

    Most trademarks share same or similar words with many others.

    The authorities have been giving some trademarks dominance over others - this is against unfair competition law.

    They do this purposefully, as they know how to resolve the promblem.

    The United States Department of Commerce and the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization have both been hiding the solution.

    Please visit WIPO.org.uk [wipo.org.uk] to see how to prevent 'consumer confusion', 'trademark conflict' and stop anybody 'passing off'.

    .
  • Same thing happened to Ernst & Young, the accounting firm which hosts the kids money site moneyopolis.com. They lost .org through a bureacratic snafu, and a pornographer picked it up. This was written up in the NY Times of 10/26/2001; search on "Moneyopolis".

    Their situation was a bit more dire, since a published book directs kids to the hijacked site! I've always felt funny about seeing cyberspace addresses in printed material, and I suppose that incident highlights part of the problem. Books last a long time, while URLs have yet to demonstrate staying power. You can date any publiciation with Cue Cat to within a couple of years. How long for URLs? Ten years? Twenty?
  • the domain is the least of your worries in radio. as a fellow non-profit radio volunteer, i would have to put numerous legal threats that we get every year well above your domain woes.

    keep your insurance up, keep your listeners happy, forget about the rest.

    defamation insurance, a godsend to broadcasters everywhere.
  • by httptech (5553) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @09:08PM (#2541109) Homepage
    I couldn't get my domain transferred to another registrar by Network Solutions because they delayed processing my transfer until after it expired, then told me I couldn't transfer it because it had expired!

    I decided to let the name expire and then re-register it with a better registrar. I thought it wouldn't be a problem, because it was an obscure name.

    Well, this same scumbag who took your old domain now has my old personal site, and is using it for porn ads. Apparently he is using a bot to repeatedly check for newly expiring domains, hoping to capitalize on the traffic from people's old bookmarks/search engine listings. I'm calling this "expire-squatting".

    I filed a complaint with the FTC because of this and because he was using hostile "mousetrapping" javascript code to force open new windows whenever you close one. The FTC had previously shut down another one of these jerks [ftc.gov], so I thought it might help.

    Well, the FTC sent me back an email saying that they don't investigate individual complaints, but will act if they see a pattern of fraudulent behavior emerge.

    So, go report this at the FTC website [ftc.gov], and maybe you can push this over the threshold for FTC action.

    • Actually, if you check some previous posts (including some of mine) you'll see that this guy definately has a pattern of this behaviour.

      The ones I can remember being mentioned off the top of my head are: Moneyopolis.org, rafaelhotels.com, and an educational site owned by an New Zealand (or Austrailian, I forget) governement department (actually a typo site in this case.)

      Do a search on google for more info on this guy, and I'll bet you'll find a lot more people who have had this happen to them. And don't let his Armenian address scare you, if you look at his area code, it looks like he may actually be from Idaho.
      • Cool. I've also discovered he is typo-squatting on "mindsrping.com" also. I was pretty sure he was doing this widely. I was glad to see this article posted; but I wasn't too surprised.
    • If this guy has sucked up so many domains, he's probably pissed off some folks along the way. Perhaps you should attempt to locate some of them and concentrate on filing coordinated UDRP complaints against him. In many of the judgements I've read about, the defendant loses because he doesn't bother replying.

      Um, and it might help if folks don't visit this site anymore. My guess is that this guy is getting paid per ad view, so the more hits he gets, the more money he makes. Would one of the admins consider updating the original post to point this out to folks just finding this thread?

    • Happened to me also.

      I registered the domain jonnydigital.co.uk over two years ago with FreeNetName, a company who figured they could make money by giving out free domains. The only catch was that you had to dial into their ISP at least once every 90 days or you lose the domain - not a problem, since I was careful to dial in every few months - and they charge £95 (about US $135) to buy back the domain or transfer it to a different domain.

      Unfortunately, I slipped up and lost the domain. I didn't mind because by that stage I had moved my site to jonnydigital.com [jonnydigital.com], and the domain was going to expire in two weeks anyway so I was pretty confident that I could buy it back dirt-cheap with another company when it expired.

      It would seem that they've renewed my domain and they're now squatting it. It's been registered by Freenetname again [www.nic.uk] under a different name. I know it can't have been registered by another freenetname user because the company has stopped giving out free domains.

  • Google! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @09:30PM (#2541199) Homepage
    I strongly recommend you use Google to find any sites on the net referring to that domain. Most likely, many of them are outdated URLS, and that is what this pr0n site is depending on for traffic. Get those links cut, and cut the traffic, and they'll be less likely to hang onto the address.
  • The same guy also reregistered the old Cambodia Airlines website (http://www.royal-air-cambodge.net/) and turned it into a porn site (no need to check it and give him more traffic). Whoever it is is consistently snapping up many expired domains. I wrote a bit about on my website here-> http://www.angkor.com/AngkorMain.shtml#latest
  • by HEbGb (6544) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @10:55PM (#2541511)
    If it is, it's one of the more ingenious.

    Sumbit a phony story to slashdot, making up some bogus story about a stolen domain name, set up a porn ad on the domain, and wait for the hits to roll in.

    Pretty smart. I bet these folks made a bunch of money from the posting of this article.
  • by sammy baby (14909) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @11:18PM (#2541578) Journal

    I'm currently involved in a domain name dispute, as a guy who has been accused unfairly.

    Contrary to what some of the folks here seem to be saying, you do have a legitimate beef. Especially since these guys are clearly intending to sell the domain - hence, the nondescript porn and the "click here to buy this domain" link.

    Ask around any lawyer friends you know, and see if they know anyone who does trademark / domain name dispute cases. Then contact that person and ask if they know anyone who would be willing to take such a case on a pro bono basis, or for a "de minimus" fee.

    As a final note: brush up on ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy [icann.org]. The policy makes it pretty clear that a domain can be considered registered in bad faith if:

    (i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or...

    (iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.

    The "click here to buy" link is clear evidence of (i), and the selection of name is a pretty clear evidence of (iv), unless these people are seriously going to make an argument that they just liked the name.

    Oh - IANAL, but I know far more about the law now than I ever wanted to.

  • Take a look at ICANN's approved providers [icann.org] list for domain name dispute resolution. The same page links to their Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy.

    The big problem here, which a few other people touched on, is that it costs from $1250-$4000 to petition for a domain name dispute. (The different providers set their own fees.)

    This is ridiculously expensive for not-for-profits and individuals, but chump change for big companies. What would make much more sense is a pay scale depending on who you are and who you're going up against...obviously, we don't wnat to make it trivial for every yahoo to claim they have a stake in coke.com for something like $19.95, but it's hardly logical that a broke organization should need to cough up $1250 to fight a porn operation.

    This is near and dear to my heart right now, because there's an anti-muslim hate site at projectgutenberg.com (I'm the CEO of Project Gutenberg [gutenberg.net] (the real site), and we really don't have the dough to go through the domain dispute process.

    • Greg
  • If this domain is so important to you, why didn't you notice that it had been deactivated 40 days before anyone was given a chance to "steal" it from you?
  • Here's your answer. You're in a pickle. I am/was in a situation where known domain name pirate Jung Hochul (with prior arbitration judgements against him... he lost in the clubmed case) registered the domain waxman.com in a very sketchy way with help from someone inside NetSol. (Representing trademark holders waxmancandles.com I negotiated with former owners (company that bought Waxman camera and ceased using the Waxman name). During NetSol's "holding period" after a name expires the domain somehow slipped beyond their control. hmm.) Anyway, Mr. Hochul (no it's not his real name) wanted seven thousand USD cash for it last time we had contact. [wipo.int]

    So I went the route of a proper dispute, and came upon WIPO Arbitration.

    The gist of it is, if you don't want to deal with Lawyers and lawsuits, and you want to get your domain back the "right way" you have to go into arbitration.

    Here's the scheudle of fees from WIPO: http://arbiter.wipo.int/arbitration/fees/ [wipo.int] If you want your domain back, you'll have to deal with the cost of arbitration. All the arbitration companies that NetSol works with want the same cash outlay. (It's fixed.)

    I didn't have the cash to deal with it the right way, and I decided other ways, so that was that.

    I hope you have better luck.
  • The website for the TCL Consortium http://www.tclconsortium.org/ [tclconsortium.org] (Scripting language) has been hit by the same people. I beleive that site was pretty well established until recently. They must make a habit of scooping up expired .org. More evidence in your favour. Clearly not in good faith.
  • Because they've done it thousands of other times. If you approach them with a lawsuit they'll probably hand it over to avoid the hassle. remember, they don't really want your domain that bad.

    I manage the links for an educational portal, and with around 100,000 links in the database you're going to see a lot of domains get dropped. It seems like every week or so that I get an email from an angry parent or teacher who is outraged that we link to porn sites, when it turns out that we were linking to a perfectly legitimate site that went under and the domain was bought up by porn-mongers.

    The strategy is this: buy up a thousand sites that went back on the market for around $12 each, redirect them to your porn sites so you are getting bookmark and search-engine traffic from the old site, and if one out of a hundred ex-webmasters who was willing to give up his domain but is not willing to see it turned into porn actually buys it back for 100x the price of registering then you are breaking even. If someone threatens a lawsuit, give it up and call it a loss.

    I really hope more people start challenging crap like this.
  • Pro Bono Publico (Score:2, Informative)

    by rocketlawyer (535374)
    You or someone, with the blessing of the KDHX/Double Helix Board, should contact a law firm that does trademark work. When you call ask to speak to whoever coordinates the firm Pro Bono program. Most law firms of any size have a formal or informal pro bono program. A local St. Louis firm is more likely to be willing to help than a national firm.

    Explain who you are, that you represent a penniless non-profit public interest organization and explain what has happened. If that firm can't help you, ask them to refer you to another firm that might be able to help.

    Most states have guidelines for the amount of pro bono (from the Latin, pro bono publico, for the good of the public) work that a lawyer should do each year. Trademark attorneys are no exception to this. This work is done at no cost to help the indigent, charities, and public interest organizations.

    If by some bad luck you should happen to contact a firm that isn't interested in helping you, keep looking, you'll find one before long.
  • A while ago I tried to register a (.CA) domain with Register.com. They showed it as available, so I paid my money (March 6/2001) and waited for confirmation in the next few days as instructed. Each day I checked the domain's availability on Register.com (by using their search facility); each day it was listed as "Available". As early as March 6, I filed an inquiry with Support. More than a week later the domain was still showing as available. Perhaps a week and a half later I did a search on a Canadian registrar, which showed the domain as "UNAV". I thought perhaps that was my registration that had become pending. Register.com still showed the domain as available. I inquired with Register.com's customer service who set about investigating.

    Then a few days later I found (at the Candian registrar) that it was now registered to another party in British Columbia. But the registration info looked phony...there was a bogus phone # and a bogus zip code. The descriptor fields looked bogus, as if they were trying to make a wan attempt at justifying their existence : they claimed it would be for "imaging purposes" (months later, there is no imaging purpose visible whatsoever).

    At this point the WHOIS record had a Date-Approved field of March 20/2001 - 2 weeks after my initial registration . Though the latter refunded my money, I started feeling cheated.

    I began wondering whether it was possible that some party in Canada had "hijacked" my registration attempt in transit, determined that a valuable domain was available, and set up a bogus registration complete with contact information and dummied-up purpose in order to claim it.

    Is what I am imaging even at all possible ?

    Are .CA domains registered completely electronically, or is there a human somewhere in the loop ? What are the procedures for registering a domain dispute ? (I found some body at one point that seemed as if it would govern .CA disputes, and sent them an email, but never received a reply and put the issue to bed until I saw this article).

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