Domain name theft – man charged in possible world first case

07 08 2009

A United States man has been charged in what is thought to be one of the world’s first cases where a suspected domain name thief has been prosecuted.

The accused allegedly hacked into an online account belonging to one of the owners of the popular domain name. He then purportedly moved ownership of the domain to himself and then resold it via eBay.

The man was charged with felony charges of unlawful taking or deception, identify theft and computer theft. Each of the three counts carries a maximum sentence in the United States of 10 years in prison.

A civil suit by one of the legitimate owners of is also pending. The owner claims he has spent 30 months and US$500,000 trying to reclaim the domain name. The civil suit is filed against the alleged thief, the group that runs the on-line account system that was hacked and the person who bought the domain name, Mar Madsen. Mr Madsen did not know P2P was stolen when he bought it for US$111,000. He still retains the domain name today.

The case has further raised concerns about specific laws protecting domain name owners and the industry’s failure to provide domain name owners with deeds.

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