Displaying posts tagged under "ronpaul.com"
Former congressman guilty of reverse domain name hijacking, says WIPO panel.
Earlier 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.
Former politician denied relief in dispute over two Ron Paul domain names.
[Update: Paul found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking in RonPaul.org case.]
Ron Paul has lost two separate domain name disputes filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization.
The owner of RonPaul.com offered to sell the domain name to Paul, or to give him the .org version for free. The domain owner claimed the value it was seeking in the sale was from its mailing list of Ron Paul supporters.
According to whois, there are two different owners for the .com and .org domains. However, given the communications, they are clearly linked in some way.
Both domain names are owned by groups in Panama.
The decisions have not been posted yet, and I will update the story when they are.I have obtained copies of the decisions. In the case of RonPaul.org, Paul was found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.
It’s possible that the complaints were denied on the basis of laches, in that Paul had not disputed the ownership of the domains while the registrants built of a significant web presence on the domains. It was only after he exited congress that he went after the domains.
Nevertheless, the domain owners have made money selling Ron Paul merchandise and tried to sell the .com domain to Paul.
I’m not aware of any pending lawsuits that would have led WIPO to terminate the proceedings.
Both sides in the dispute have some explaining to do.
For the most part the press has been taking the side of the Ron Paul supporters who have been operating the site for the past 4+ years, apparently selflessly.
There are definitely many things about Paul’s complaint that stink, as the tech press has pointed out. But the same can be said for what’s going on at RonPaul.com.
First, it’s pretty clear that the owners of RonPaul.com tried to sell the domain to Paul. They even posted the letter of their offer on their web site.
The letter to Paul started “This may be one of the most important messages you read this year.”
Sounds like the start of a good sales letter to me.
It then goes on to offer the RonPaul.ORG domain for free. Of course, if Ron Paul used that domain it would boost traffic to the .com.
Then the kicker: you can have the .com and our mailing list for only $250,000. The owners suggest that if Paul used the mailing list to ask for donations he could “easily make back the purchase price in a matter of days”.
The RonPaul.com site justifies it this way:
…Claims that we tried to sell Ron Paul “his name” for $250k or even $800k are completely untrue, and there is little doubt that our mailing list would have enabled Ron Paul to raise several million dollars for the liberty movement this year. It would have been a win/win/win situation for everyone involved.
Yet they posted the letter in which they clearly offer to sell him “his name” for $250,000. They’re just trying to justify it because it includes a mailing list, which they’re getting appraised. And Ron Paul’s team provided an email from someone associated with the site offering to sell it for $800,000+. The domain’s whois record shows that it’s for sale, too.
Perhaps the RonPaul.com site is run by Ron Paul fanatics. Perhaps selling lots of merchandise on the site is just a side business.
But a funny thing happens when a UDRP is filed and you’re using one of the larger whois privacy services, as RonPaul.com was: the true whois gets unveiled.
Where do you expect Ron Paul’s biggest supporters to live?
Middle America? The south?
How about Panama.
Now, it’s possible that the domain is being leased to the people running the site. There’s some mention of that in the case filings.
I’m always willing to give the benefit of the doubt, so I reached out to the site operators. They said to send questions and they’d get them answered pronto.
But then when I asked if the site is being leased and what the deal is with Panama, and who made the offer to sell the site for $800,000, now they say their lawyer wants them to keep quiet and they might be close to settling the case amicably. So they don’t want to respond.
I suspect these are the first “hard” questions they’ve received since the case was filed.
Again, there are some points in this case that don’t look favorably on Ron Paul, but it also doesn’t look good for the people running RonPaul.com.