TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: 11-Sept Police Widow Gets Domain-Cyberburned

Re: 11-Sept Police Widow Gets Domain-Cyberburned

Gene S. Berkowitz (
Fri, 22 Oct 2004 22:49:11 -0400

In article <>,

> "The widow of a hero NYPD Emergency Service detective killed on 9/11
> created a Web site as a loving tribute to her husband -- only to have
> it snapped up by a heartless Internet company that forced her to fork
> over $800 to buy it back, The Post has learned.

> "Kathy Vigiano's gut-wrenching ordeal began in January when she
> discovered that her husband Joseph's memorial Web site -- which she
> filled with personal photos and an emotional letter from one of their
> sons -- had been replaced by ads for penile-enlargement tools,
> sexual-performance drugs and Viagra...


> _____________________________________________________
> Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key
> [to foil spammers, my address has been double rot-13 encoded]

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: The very same people did that to our
> site as well. If you type in
> you get the very same preposterous ads.
> And of course, the guy wants to sell that one also. I **thought**
> there were laws against that sort of cybersquatting, but I guess
> that only pertains for large commercial web sites. Any damn fool
> would know that 'internet history' was discussed there on the site
> which was the property of the Internet Historical Society, which is
> *my* name, and it was a running site for three or four years. Yet,
> that moron simply walked away with it, got the org registrar to give
> it to him I guess.

> I had asked John Levine to take it away from the person and give it
> back to me. John won't do it. I thought he was one of the registrars
> for .org ... so I know how this poor lady feels now as well. But I can
> tell you *I* am not going to pay his blackmail ransom demand. If I had
> any money I would just sue the damn registrar who took it from me and
> gave it to him (I understand he is in some country in Europe. The lady
> should not have paid anything either, just immediatly filed suit
> against the registrar she had used when she first set up the site and
> done it that way. Of course, I have no money to pay any lawyers to
> help me, so that leaves me and high and dry. Maybe
> some attorney doing pro-bono work will be able to get our site back.
> If people would quit paying good money to these charlatans who steal
> the names that netizens use for their web sites, then they would go
> out of business. PAT]

What am I missing here? Where is it actually stated that
"buying" a domain name grants you rights to it in perpetuity?
It's very obvious from the agreements made with the registrars
that you are _renting_ the domain. ICANN insists that no
domain can be registered for more than ten years at a time; that
certainly seems to preclude automatically owning the right to a domain
for life. Of course, by simply renewing it before the term expires,
the rights remain with you.

On the day your "lease" expires, if you haven't renewed, that name
returns to the pool, or is possibly auctioned off by the registrar.

How is this any different from a telephone number? If you stop paying
the bill, the telco shuts off service, and eventually gives (sells) the
number to someone else. Should I sue Verizon to get the phone number
of my childhood home?


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: What you are overlooking is that the
lady did not come close to having her domain name for ten years. She
had it at best for two or three years, it was an active domain name
then it up and disappeared when the registrar chose to give it or
sell it to the penis enlargement man.

What you are overlooking is that very few netizens care much either
way about what ICANN says or thinks should be done. ICANN *only*
represents big business interests anyway, not the small, average
person with a web site. If you don't think that is the case, then
since Microsoft has had their domain name '' well over
ten years, petition the registrars or ICANN to force Microsoft to
give it up and give others a chance at it. Or maybe now that Yahoo has
had their domain names for that same length of time, they can be
forced out. Oh, and you don't hear ICANN complaining that the joker
who registered '' most likely did it knowing full well
that people looking for information on the White House will
unwittingly type '.com' instead of '.gov' ICANN represents big
business only, **not** people like Mrs. Viagino. The government wants
business to control the net; they use ICANN as their tool.

What you are overlooking regards phone numbers is that if a phone
number is listed in a directory and is in active service for no matter
how many years, as your childhood phone number might well have been if
your parents or yourself had chosen to continue living there and were
still referring to that number as your own then one day Verizon
chooses to disconnect it or route it to someone else without so much
as a single notice to you then you *would* have a very actionable
suit against Verizon.

Finally, what you are overlooking is that if the registrar had any
care about people's sensibilities, even if Mrs. Viagino *had*
misunderstood the terms of registration (I do not think she was even
told it had to be renewed, etc) then the registrar might have told
the lady something like 'this is a final notice, the site is being
removed from you; gather up your files, pictures, etc and find some
other place to park them.' Then maybe after two or three weeks shut
it down. Or was the penis-enlargement man in such a rush he could not
spare a week or two for a man killed in the line of duty, leaving a
wife and family behind? Oh, I know it would not matter to ICANN, but
you would think there might have been some courtesy given. PAT]

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