Domain Name Wire

Domain Name Wire

  • Breaking: Ron Paul found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking

    1. BY - May 23, 2013
    2. Policy & Law
    3. 43 Comments

    Former congressman guilty of reverse domain name hijacking, says WIPO panel.

    Ron PaulEarlier today I wrote about how Ron Paul lost both of his domain disputes brought before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

    The disputes were filed against RonPaul.com and RonPaul.org and were both heard by the same arbitration panel under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

    The panel ruled that in the case of RonPaul.org, former congressman Paul is guilty of reverse domain name hijacking (pdf).

    The owners had offered to sell RonPaul.com to Paul but also offered to give him RonPaul.org as an alternative if Paul didn’t want to buy the .com. Since Paul filed a UDRP against RonPaul.org after the owner offered to give it to him for free, the panel found the case to be reverse domain name hijacking.

    Respondent has requested, based on the evidence presented, that the Panel make a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. In view of the unique facts of this case, in which the evidence demonstrates that Respondent offered to give the Domain Name ronpaul.org to Complainant for no charge, with no strings attached, the Panel is inclined to agree. Instead of accepting the Domain Name, Complainant brought this proceeding. A finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking seems to this Panel to be appropriate in the circumstances.

    The panel did not find reverse domain name hijacking in the RonPaul.com case (pdf), but determined that Paul did not prove a lack of rights or legitimate interest in the domain by the respondent. As a result, the panel ruled the domain name should remain with its current owner.

    A UDRP arbitration panel will find so-called reverse domain name hijacking when it believes that a case was filed in bad faith in abuse of the administrative proceedings.

    Both cases have a number of unique circumstances and conclusions, and show the convoluted ownership trail for the domains. They’re worth reading.

    There is no financial penalty for reverse domain name hijacking in a UDRP domain dispute.

43 Comments
  • ‘Fan site’, my a$$. How are these people supporters, if they do not give the domain to their supposed fan? Politics is all about money and power.

    • @ Acro – the case decision is very interesting. It acknowledges that they made some money from it, but determines that was a secondary purpose for the site. At the same time, the domain was being leased to another party for profit, so it doesn’t make much sense to me. Both domains have very complicated histories when it comes to who owned it and when.

    • Another point is that he really couldn’t accept the offer of RonPaul.org for free, because he would have been legitimizing their right to own RonPaul.com. Also, had he accepted RonPaul.org and not gone after .com, then the .com site would have gotten spillover traffic from the site he promoted.

      Overall some very interesting circumstances in this case.

  • this is bullshit

    if it were michaeljackson or any other ‘celeb’
    they would have got domains

    because Ron Paul is probably the only decent honest politician you have in the states he got nailed with a reverse hijacking, crazy

  • Ms Domainer says:

    May 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    *

    Very bad decision overall.

    I say this as a definite NON-fan of Ron Paul.

    I just think the rules ought to be applied consistently, not at the whim of a panelist. This DOES sound political, and politics have no place in the UDRP process.

    *

  • Dick Clark says:

    May 23, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    This was a great outcome, and I say that as a die-hard Ron Paul fan who has engaged in activism on behalf of him and his political work for the last twelve years.

    His people had no right to try to bully the legitimate registrants of these domains.

  • My point isn’t about Ron Paul’s action to proceed with a UDRP, but rather, how can one be truly a fan of someone – a political figure in particular – and fight them up as a non-fan. Already, posts on the RonPaul.com Facebook page, state “suits him right, he has the money to buy it.” In other words, the fan card is fake. I would not be surprised if a lawsuit were filed; under the Lanham Act damages of $100,000 can be requested.

  • He better not go up on Rick Schawartz’s wall of shame.

    Personally,…this makes a RDNH nit that bad a thing to me.

    Ron Paul is a hero and true statesman par excellence.

    If Ron Paul is a REVERSE DOMAIN NAME HIJACKER…

    than it must be a good thing to be one.

    Sorry…but the rule of law is DEAD.

    This case proves it!

  • Jordan K. says:

    May 23, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    “We need to get rid of ‘Big Government'”

    Uses a world wide organization developed by the United Nations and funded by the largest governments on the planet to try to “fight” to get names that he wanted for internet reasons. Was handed an option of receiving the correct webpage (.org) at no cost. Declined. still went big government way. Way to go, Mr. Anti Big Government.

  • Pon Raul says:

    May 23, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    This is the free market, bitches! Domain goes to whoever is willing to pay the most!

  • Maybe Ron Paul should have taken the .org then filed a UDRP for just the .com.

    It does seem a bit extreme to award the RDNH against Ron Paul for RonPaul.com and .org.

    I own a couple politicians names as domain names and I point them to a page that criticizes their actions and I consider this to be an exercise of my first amendment right but this is not what the owner of RonPaul.com was doing.

  • “Over the years, the supporters running the site invested more than $100,000 into the website and its operations.”

    LOL…would love to see those expense receipts.

  • identitee says:

    May 23, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    What IS reverse domain name hijacking? And what is the penalty for it? And what does it mean to be “found guilty” of it?

    What a B.S. article that doesn’t answer any of these questions.

  • Just the first UDRP point alone, the complainant had problems. Apparently they couldn’t demonstrate even common law trademark rights.

    I’d say the RDNH is just about right for the .org, yet not the .com because – as mentioned – it has a rather complicated story among the parties directly involved.

    (And however tempting it probably is to bring politics into this specific discussion, especially because it involved an ex-congressman, it’s not likely to help it at all. Besides, there are other online places – like RonPaul.com itself – where you can have a go if you feel like it.)

  • People like Warren Buffet,Ron paul, this may seem like bullshit but these types realize the strategic value of .COMS. Is the picture getting clearer here ?

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  • conspiracygirl says:

    May 23, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    As much as I love Ron Paul I think he was in the wrong here. He”s not infallible folks.

    It’s funny that so many folks are accusing the owners of his site of not being legitimate fans. Did even one of them think this during the campaign…?

  • So NO penalty for being found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.

    That sounds like Double-Standards to me.

  • @identitee – what you asked has actually been answered elsewhere before, which is why it’s not explained in this article. But so you’d know, reverse domain name hijacking (RDNH) is an event where a complainant tries to grab someone’s domain name using legal or administrative means without a valid claim.

    As this article indicated, UDRP doesn’t have a financial penalty for reverse domain name hijacking. That means little to nothing for some people, although an RDNH decision can be used against the complainant in future, similar disputes.

    In the U.S., RNDH can be remedied using the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA).

  • Towhid Zaman says:

    May 24, 2013 at 4:58 am

    very interesting case & decision. Thanks for the article :-)

  • I too have admired what Ron Paul has said he has stood for in the past but that only makes the point more valid that No One should be able to get away with trying to take away, tangible or intangible, property from their rightful owners without valid legal claims.

  • John Howard says:

    May 24, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Whatever the motions on the part of the respondent, he did buy and use a domain name that clearly and unequivacably pertain to Ron Paul the politician and author, and he offered to sell it to him for a large amount of money. He also sold items on the website, so was in fact trading off his name. Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, the problem with this “reverse hijacking” decision is that it muddies the waters immensively in regards to what is cybersquatting. There now is greater confusion over who and what a cybersquatter is and this will enivitably count against legitimate domain name owners in the long run. The tribunals have made such poor decisions in the past against people who were genuinelt entitled to own domain names, but for some reason they have now made a decision in favour of someone who doesn’t operate in the same spirit of things as legitimate domain name owners. There are people in high places ho are going to have a field day with this decision, and we will all suffer for it.

  • John Howard says:

    May 24, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Further to my earlier post, let me say that to me registering another person’s name is a no-no. I believe it is the most concrete example of domain name cybersquatting you can have – regardless of your motives. Unless the name you are registering is yours, you have no business registering someone else’s name and that should be a benchmark in domain name tribunal law. How must all the people who suffered at the hands of tribunals feel because they registered generic domain names feel when they see this guy using a famous politicians name, and his actions sanctioned by a tribunal? This is cockeyed, to say the least.

  • Actually, Ron Paul is a moron and does not deserve to hold this nations highest office! If he is so smart and savvy as his boot lickers say, then why didn’t he grab the domain names in the first place? No, Paul is jsut looking for any controversy he can to keep his sorry ass in ther limelight! Go luck with the nomination next time RP!

  • Another theif exposed. I had such high hopes for this guy but in the end he is still worthless like everyone else that runs our county.

  • Sudo Bash says:

    May 24, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I think it played out exactly how it should have, Ron Paul was trying to intimidate / strong arm the domain owners into forfeiting their property. I liked Ron Paul until I heard about this, you better believe I will stand up for my rights if someone tries to take my domains away.

  • Agree w/ Sudo because of his strong arming tactics.

  • Charles M says:

    May 24, 2013 at 11:18 am

    So much nonsense being said in these comments. Ron Paul’s case was open and shut. This is not a private property dispute. A URL is a license by a private organization. ICANNS own rules say that it is not permitted to register a famous person’s name and make money off it. Yet thats exactly what Ronpaul.com’s owner did. The fact that this case was ruled against him is purely political. The hatred of Ron Paul by establishment-types is almost palpable. Especially with the growing success of the Foreign Policy Institute.

    Someone said Ron Paul should sue under the Lanham Act. I would recommend he go one step further and find anyone and everyone who bought memorabilia from the website, and file a collective lawsuit against the owner. Proceeds from the sales were supposed to go to Ron Paul’s campaign, and yet the site owner didnt give a dime towards the election. Its what makes the whole canard about the owner being a “supporter” even more ridiculous. During the election campaign, the owner was actually ATTACKING Ron Paul for his “isolationist” stance. Apparently the Australian who owns the site is a neocon.

    The real winners from this case are the lawyers, who are going to run wild with this judgment.

  • did I read that correctly, they offered it to him for free, and still he brought the action and lost?

  • AllAmerican says:

    May 24, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    First of all, I’ve heard of situations like these. People go out and buy domain names first and then sit on them so that they can extort a huge amount of dollars from people who might actually need them.

    Ron Paul didn’t hijack anything, The original owners did by taking out a web domain with Ron Paul’s name on it. Even if the guy’s name really is Ron Paul, I bet you he offered to sell the domain to the congressman at an INSANE price and then threw in the .org as a freebie.

    Now that Ron Paul Congressman is fighting for it, they try to run him name through the mud.

    This is just capitalism at it’s dirtiest. Its not the first time I’ve seen it and it won’t be the last. Those people are jerks and it’s sad that they target just a fine congressman.

  • Let me clarify a few things for some of you. Ron Paul’s political campaigns have been largely funded through the ideas and efforts of grass-roots supporters who devoted countless hours to spreading his ideas to as many people as they could. Had they not done this few people would even know his name, as the media was determined to ignore him, and even publicly admitted this.

    The time and effort put into the campaign by the owners of ronpaul.com was enormous. Neither Ron Paul nor his supporters ever claimed during the campaign that these people were not legitimate fans. Their merchandise benefitted Ron Paul because they were products that promoted Ron Paul’s campaign. To suggest that Ron Paul was harmed by this is bizarre.

    It was only AFTER the campaign was over that RP wished he had the domain name. It was only after the campaign was over and after RP publicly stated that he wanted the domain name that some people started saying the current owners had no right to use this name and were improperly making money off the Ron Paul name. There are other Ron Paul sites that contain the Ron Paul name and which make money from advertising but I don’t hear any whining about those. Where is the outrage, hmmm…?

    If this domain name is indeed critical to Ron Paul’s future plans then he should just buy it already. It’s too bad that he didn’t buy it when it was first available but in the free market when you snooze you lose. It’s a harsh lesson sometimes.

  • to me registering another person’s name is a no-no.

    Other than what UDRP, ACPA, or whatever applicable law allows, you can’t really stop one from registering another person’s name as a domain name, anyway.

    Despite everyone’s opinions, the fact is the panel decided against Ron Paul in this UDRP action. He can sue under ACPA if he still wants to, of course.

    The real winners from this case are the lawyers, who are going to run wild with this judgment.

    Other than the ambulance-chasing type, it’s somewhat funny that lawyers need (prospective) clients to tell them what exactly they want.

  • Stupid decision, but it seems that the complaint was handled stupidly, so what do you expect?

    LeClair Ryan. That’s what you get when you say “oh, we need a big firm.” No surprise that Booth Sweet PWNED those dipshits. Booth Sweet is a couple of smart guys with the ability to use agile thinking and arguments. LeClair = typical straitjacketed big firm.

    Paul deserved to lose, if for no other reason than wanting brand name instead of quality.

  • WipoSucks says:

    May 26, 2013 at 10:48 am

    @Jeff, if this case does not go into Rick’s Wall of Shame, the List will be worthless.

    The reason that it is a good decision is this: when the domains were first registered they were used for a legitimate use, Ron Paul knew about it, that is why RP did nothing about it then.

  • DNS index “rights” are NOT PROPERTY, you RENT it from the UN-and-government blessed monopoly chartered to ICAHN. Every true Ron Paul supporter knows from his history he would not file this in bad faith, therefore every comment against him to that effect is a troll or a paid shill. If he refused to make off with the millions he could have made in Congress or by kissing the behind of Wall Street, why would he deal in bad faith on this?

    These guys promised buyers that a big part (10%?) would go to the Ron Paul campaign, and they gave squat. They demanded money for the dot-COM because even the judges that decreed this unrighteous decree of “bad faith” did it in political bad faith, exposing themselves and the ones who have now damaged their own property.

    Those guys will fade away with their subscribers dropping off, and this was their chance to take what they could. But now Ron Paul probably will not “buy” it. Their subscribers will fall away and eventually they’ll try to settle something.

  • therefore every comment against him to that effect is a troll or a paid shill.

    Whoa, that’s quite a big comment (or claim) to make. To think it’s actually possible to disagree with someone without favor/s.

  • Valarie Weinhaus says:

    June 5, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I wonder if those people were IRS agents… hmmmm…

  • This is just another bunch of crap by the big government lovers. They still hate Ron Paul when he is retired.
    If this had been a democrat or a mainstream republican nothing would have been said. Double standards exist here.

  • This news story needs to be corrected. Mr. Paul was *not* found *guilty* of anything. An adjudication of guilt is a decision by a criminal finder of fact that a person is responsible for committing a crime. None of that pertains here.

    Mr. Paul made a civil request of an administrative fact-finding body. That body stated that it was “appropriate” to find that Mr. Paul had engaged in “reverse domain name hijacking.” This body was not empowered to make any findings of a criminal nature. It was not deciding whether Mr. Pail had violated a criminal law. To state that he was “found” guilty is not only incorrect, it is extremely misleading.

    Please correct this news story at your earliest convenience.

    Thank you.

  • Robert Hauser says:

    July 12, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Hasn’t the guy got anything more pressing to do with his time? Merlin Miller wouldn’t have stooped this low and that is why I voted for him instead of RP

  • Fred Bichl says:

    July 15, 2013 at 3:56 am

    In case anyone is wondering, Ron Paul stands for “I got mine — Screw you”.

  • “every man has a “property” in his own “person.”…except for your own name?

  • valleyforge says:

    August 10, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    If Paul had taken the .org offer and then filed a case on the .com url I would imagine that would have been similarly dismissed on the theory that he was trying to undo a private deal. So damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Seems like he took the principled approach of saying he wouldn’t cut a deal with a hijacker and was absurdly scolded for not doing so. Perhaps WIPO could enlighten us how one is to act in these situations. Instead, they’ve given future hijackers an instruction booklet on how to get away scot free. Hijack two domains then offer back the less valuable one. Whether they accept or not you win.

Leave a Reply