Criminal Prosecution For Domain Hijacking

from the with-a-bizarre-twist dept

There have been tons of stories over the years of domain names being hijacked. The famous Sex.com saga goes back more than a decade, and involves accusations of a "stolen" domain. However, as a bunch of folks have sent in, for what appears to be the first time, someone has been arrested and criminally charged in such a situation (usually the disputes are handled through civil suits or arbitrators). In this case, it did, in fact, start as a civil suit, back in 2007 (attempts at the time to get police involved went nowhere). However, as new evidence came to light, criminal charges were just recently added, as well. The article linked above is chock full of detailed info on the case, including a good explanation of why these disputes almost never involve criminal charges. Oh, and as an odd side note, apparently the guy who "purchased" the domain from the guy who allegedly hijacked it, is professional NBA basketball player, Mark Madsen, who, when not playing center for the LA Clippers, has a side hobby of domain name speculation. Who knew?


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2009 @ 10:56pm

    Intellectual vs Physical Property

    Reading the linked story, I notice that one of it's main points is an argument that intellectual property should be treated the same as physical property as far as "theft" laws are concerned.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 4th, 2009 @ 11:21pm

    Re: Intellectual vs Physical Property

    Reading the linked story, I notice that one of it's main points is an argument that intellectual property should be treated the same as physical property as far as "theft" laws are concerned.

    First, I was more concerned with the details of the case... but, actually, when it comes to a domain name, I'd argue that it is much more like real property in that it IS rivalrous and exclusive. Only one person can control a domain name at a time, so it's not at all like Intellectual Property. A domain name is a scarce good.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2009 @ 1:10am

    Re: Re: Intellectual vs Physical Property

    Only one person can control a domain name at a time, so it's not at all like Intellectual Property. A domain name is a scarce good.

    Seems to me like it is an example of something that is both an intellectual property and a scarce good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 5th, 2009 @ 2:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Intellectual vs Physical Property

    Seems to me like it is an example of something that is both an intellectual property and a scarce good.

    Hmm? How is a domain name intellectual property? I don't see how it fits into any such definition. The reason a domain name is scarce has nothing to do with "intellectual property." It has to do with the simple fact that it's rivalrous and excludable.

     

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  5.  
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    Christopher Smith, Aug 5th, 2009 @ 7:48am

    Wrong charge?

    It seems to me that if criminal charges are warranted, fraud would make much more sense than theft.

     

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    YouAreWrong, Aug 5th, 2009 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Intellectual vs Physical Property

    I usually give Mike a good lashing, but I have to agree with him on this one.

    If someone makes a copy of an album, the copyright owner only suffered an injury to his exclusionary right. But if someone steals your ipod, your suffering injury to both your exclusionary right and your possessory right. IP doesn't have a possessory right so it cannot be "stolen." There are a number of judges and legal scholars who have said the same.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2009 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Intellectual vs Physical Property

    Hmm? How is a domain name intellectual property? I don't see how it fits into any such definition.

    It is an intellectual property because it is non-physical and exists only as an intellectual construct.

    The reason a domain name is scarce has nothing to do with "intellectual property."

    Agreed. Didn't mean to imply that it did.

    It has to do with the simple fact that it's rivalrous and excludable.

    Agreed, again. However, that does not prevent it from also being intellectual. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    whizzy, Aug 19th, 2009 @ 12:31am

    Domain Name as Intellectual Property

    I fail to see how a domain name can be intellectual property. It is not a creation of the mind, simply a place in space. Surely, in the four dimensional world we now inhabit it is as physical as a three dimensional building. In the same way a building can be office, home, rented out, unoccupied; so can a domain be filled with mail boxes, documents, music and so on; or it can be empty and unoccupied; rented out. It is time to recognise a fourth dimension to our lives.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Whizzy, Aug 20th, 2009 @ 1:37am

    Domain Name as IP

    I fail to see how a domain name can be intellectual property. It is not a creation of the mind, simply a place in space. Surely, in the four dimensional world we now inhabit it is as physical as a three dimensional building. In the same way a building can be office, home, rented out, unoccupied; so can a domain be filled with mail boxes, documents, music and so on; or it can be empty and unoccupied; rented out. It is time to recognise a fourth dimension to our lives.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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