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Help! Former Domain Name Owner Threatening Legal Action. Need Advice.

Located in Legal Discussion, started by steely, Aug 30, 2016

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  1. steely

    steely Established Member

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    Hi domain friends. I picked up a law domain name (Last Name + Law .com) in a GoDaddy Closeout in April 2016. It's been parked with Voodoo since then with a For Sale sign. I just got a disturbing e-mail from apparently the former owner. Here are some excepts in italics:


    You have unlawfully retained and are now holding for ransom my domain name, ********law.com, which has injured my business and is in violation of the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act of 1999 (ACPA), which carries substantial penalties, including but not limited to monetary damages and attorney fees.

    If you do not agree to return my domain name to me within 48 hours of today, I will have no option other than to commence legal action against you, and potentially others associated with you, without further notice.



    I have to admit, I'm worried. Is this person bluffing, or could they really take legal action against me? If the worst they can do is file a UDRP, I'm less worried. Can they do anything more? Could I be arrested? I know that may sound like a ridiculous question, but......what's the answer?

    Also, if this individual was to file a UDRP, what happens if I lose? How is the domain transferred away? Is it simply removed from my account, or do I need to then perform a transfer?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
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  2. canswift

    canswift Top Contributor VIP Gold Account ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Just to clarify: the former owner let the name expire, and you picked it up in GD closeouts? Nothing against any law in you doing that. However, there are multiple Google searches showing former domain owners foaming at the mouth when they see "their" former domain (which they let expire) now listed on Huge Domains.

    Rip Off Report and the BBB have some complaints against Huge Domains for the exact scenario as above. These complaints have usually resolved with the original owners having to buy back their former name and in one case apologize to HD for calling them cybersquatters. There was only one listed case I found where HD appeared to hand a name back and that's when the domain in question was a trademarked name.
     
  3. Mahogany

    Mahogany Top Contributor VIP

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    IMHO, I'd ignore him and a blog on the domain to piss him off further.
     
  4. aramyus

    aramyus Established Member

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    Are there many 'LastName law' businesses throughout the country ? If yes, I think you are probably safe. If LastName is a very unique name, you may be in trouble because you can sell to only one end user.
     
  5. The Durfer

    The Durfer Top Contributor VIP Gold Account

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    its a scam, to fishy
     
  6. carob

    carob Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    This came four months after the domain was let go by the owner? Have they made any offer at all or just this threat?

    Sounds fishy, especially the 48 hour part designed to induce panic.
     
  7. Asfas1000

    Asfas1000 Top Contributor VIP

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    Re the 48 hours....and assuming you have not replied, how can they even be sure you read the email. Some people check their email once in a week. This particular part looks like a bluff.
     
  8. Kate

    Kate Domainosaurus Rex VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Mess with a lawyer ? Wonderful advice... it's like daring him to take you to court.

    Under ACPA you can be fined to the tune of up to 100K per infringing domain. It doesn't happen often but it could.
    I doubt the name is worth fighting for. You sure had a good reason to pick this domain, and maybe it is one that the lawyer could actually grasp even if he doesn't like it ?
     
  9. steely

    steely Established Member

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    Thanks for all of the advice. I've decided to give the domain name back to him. I paid less than $20 for it, and it's really not worth fighting in court for. I read up on the ACPA, and it sounds like he actually might have a case against me. Not sure though. And the prospect of being fined 100k! And lawyer fees. Absolutely not worth it for me. Domaining is not my day job....and you could argue that it shouldn't be my night job either, since I've gotten myself into a mess here. Maybe I should just stay away from Name+Law domains. One more thought. He might be bluffing, because I have this domain name for sale via GoDaddy Premium for $895 BIN. I think this is a very reasonable price. So this person would rather use his time, energy and resources to take me to federal court when he could just buy it back for $895? Anyway, I've decided to give it back to him.
     
  10. Haris

    Haris Best Domainer Of The End-Times VIP

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    as far as I know, you won't have to go get a lawyer and fight for a domain in court, once he files a UDRP or lodge some case against you, only then give the domain back to him!
     
  11. Haris

    Haris Best Domainer Of The End-Times VIP

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    is the "Name+Law" trademarked? is it a very unique name? check google and zfbot for related domains.. i have experienced this, sometimes they threaten you with court cases and sometimes they beg.. internet is filled with scam
     
  12. frank-germany

    frank-germany domainer since 2001 / musician VIP

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    if he wants to he can sue you even after you have given the domain back to him
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  13. steely

    steely Established Member

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    Oh great! And he is a lawyer, by the way........gulp.
     
  14. kmnsh

    kmnsh Top Contributor VIP

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    Hi,

    Seems an effort of useless threatening. As they let the name expired (intentionally or not), you got it undergoing proper procedure, nothing to worry about, imo.

    Just ignore.
     
  15. steely

    steely Established Member

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    The Last Name is not particularly unique. I purchased the domain, because I noticed 3-4 other end users who had the same last name and were in the law field. In fact, the same domain name I have, but in .net extension is taken, and is an active law website.
     
  16. frank-germany

    frank-germany domainer since 2001 / musician VIP

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    I have send you a PM
     
  17. golan

    golan GolanMedia.com VIP

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    I hope you asked for a nice compensation at least.
     
  18. korganian

    korganian Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Just sell it to one of the other lawyers with that same name and let them fight it out!
     
  19. Haris

    Haris Best Domainer Of The End-Times VIP

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    What does it tell you? Why is the 'lawyer' threatening you with a legal action but not taking legal action against .net owner and the other people using similar domains?
     
  20. Mahogany

    Mahogany Top Contributor VIP

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    So he'd spend all that energy, money and time taking you to court verses paying $1k... I know some lawyers that make more than that a day... It was a scar tactic. Play the devils advocate!

    In his profession time is money. I respect your decision to play it safe but he bluffed you brother.
     
  21. Kate

    Kate Domainosaurus Rex VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Of course, why not ? Since he's a lawyer he could even file the case himself. Cost: filing fee + some spare time. Then he can file for monetary damages. Provided that you live in the US, the judgment against you is enforceable.
    Living abroad ? Expect to be arraigned at the airport if you ever visit the US and have defaulted on the judgment.

    That doesn't mean they are not concerned about their name and reputation.

    Ok, so this your motive. You could just say sorry, I am domain speculator, I was not targeting you in particular etc.

    But I think you did the right thing. Because it's harder to sell a name when they are legal claims or TM issues against it.
    And I think some of the comments here are irresponsible. This is not a game. Legal threats should never be underestimated. Pick your battles wisely.
     
  22. hookbox

    hookbox Top Contributor VIP

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  23. alcy

    alcy Top Contributor VIP

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    I agree.. .but at same time.. if this was a scam.. aren't you just encouraging guys like him to keep doing this stuff to others.. I mean what if we're next.. where or how do you stop the vicious circle from spinning? there's gotta be a way.. or a trick to run a "scammer test" on this... in a 100% conclusive manner. thoughts?
     
  24. DNGear

    DNGear Domainnaut VIP

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    Put it with a BIN 495 and send him a link to buy.(if its not trademarked)
    Please Ignore his warning.
    What would he do if someone from other country bought?
    Please remind him, UDRP costs him more than 1000 USD.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  25. jideofor

    jideofor Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Lol, OP, calm the hell down. I wouldn't give him the domain name if I were you. I am willing to buy that domain name from you for $20 if you are want to give it to him for free. Dude, he is just bluffing.

    What I think you should do is enlighten him on how you got the domain name, let him know that godaddy does auction off domain names that are not renewed by previous owners and therefore, it is no fault of yours for buying what Godaddy, whom he entrusted his domain name on, decide to sell. If he so pleases to sue anyone, it should be Godaddy.

    Since Godaddy sells domain names that isnt their, those screaming illegality or pushing the OP into giving the domain name to the said owner should have thought of that.

    DUDE, DO NOT GIVE THAT DOMAIN NAME TO ANY OWNER... STAND YOUR GROUND! if you wish to give it to him for free, I am willing to buy it from you as stated above. I will really love to fight this owner and let's see how it ends.
     

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