Country music star Conway Twitty died in 1993, but ownership of the ConwayTwitty.com domain name lives on.
Now the question is who has rights to the domain name. Royce Inman registered the domain and operated the domain as a fan site. But Conway Twitty’s estate claims it should be the rightful owner of the domain. The estate is suing Inman and asking for $250,000 in punitive damages.
But this isn’t a straightforward case. Apparently in 1997 the estate allowed Inman to sell some Conway Twitty merchandise. After Inman purchased the ConwayTwitty.com domain name the estate reached an agreement with him over ownership. According to the estate, Inman was allowed to use the domain but the estate could request a transfer of ownership at any time.
When the estate contacted Inman requesting a transfer of ownership he agreed to transfer the domain in return for royalties. Inman also posted the site for sale on GoDaddy’s TDNAM for $50,000. This is one of the first times I’ve seen a domain listing on an aftermarket site be used in a court case.
What do Conway Twitty’s fans think about this scuffle? ConwayTwitty.com currently features a message board about Conway Twitty. This message sums up the sentiment:
The state of conwaytwitty.com
Posted on January 13, 2006 at 10:23:07 AM by toddivy
Wow, what has this come to. Just found the following article in the nashville paper. This comes as shocking news. I have followed Conway’s site for many years and have enjoyed reading the posts and all the tribute to his honor. It has been nice hearing from the Twitty family who also use this site. It is a shame that they have to stoop to this level for a guy who has been a family friend for so long and has done so well to keep Conway’s memory alive. Guess it goes to show what coming into money can do to a person (or in this case, family) who not so long ago was on the other side of the fence. Makes you wonder what Conway would say if he were still alive. Just my 2 cents.