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QLD Ex-Band Member Locked Us Out of Website - Domain Names Dispute?

Discussion in 'Intellectual Property Law Forum' started by Danu, 30 June 2015.

  1. Danu

    Danu Member

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    Hi everyone.
    I have a pretty simple question I think. Here's the brief back story first.

    I'm a member of a band that has recently seen one of our members leave. When we formed some years ago, he was the one tasked with setting up our web site. Now that he's quit, he has decided to not relinquish the access information/license for our site. For context, he also changed the passwords to our primary trading email address and our Youtube account, thereby locking us out. He has also taken merchandise and cash for himself - probably about $400 worth.

    Our primary concern right now is our website ( domain names). The prefix is our band name exactly. He is either holding it out of malicious intent - ie, so we can't use it, or with the intention to redirect traffic through it to some future project he might have in mind. My investigations with auDA reveal these reasons to be a textbook breach of the relevant policies and I am sure we would receive a favourable decision if we proceed with a formal dispute via their adjudicators. The fee for initialising this process is $2000. As best I can tell, there is no cost nor required remuneration of our cost by the respondent in the event he is found in breach and ordered to relinquish the domain license.

    Is there a small claims tribunal or some such thing whereby we could seek a similar order and have any costs of the process ordered payable by the respondent/defendant?

    Many thanks
     
  2. DennisD

    DennisD Well-Known Member

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    Hi there

    This doesn't answer your question directly but is relevant.

    Is the ex-band member the official registrant of the domain? If so it will be difficult to compel him to pass the domain over to you. In that case, try to negotiate a solution if that's on the cards (hopefully so).
     
  3. Danu

    Danu Member

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    Hi Hugh. Thanks for your response.
    Yes, he is the official registrant. He has been unwilling to negotiate.

    I'm starting to think that the proper process would be to seek a resolution via auDA and then sue him for the costs.
     
  4. DennisD

    DennisD Well-Known Member

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    Hi again

    You mentioned, ''I am sure we would receive a favourable decision if we proceed with a formal dispute via their adjudicators.'' A couple of questions spring to mind: what makes you ''sure'' of this? Why is he legally compelled to use the domain for your band?

    Please keep us posted with how it goes.
     
  5. Danu

    Danu Member

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    It appears to be a textbook case of someone passively holding the registration without legitimate interest in respect of the domain name; and/or in bad faith. That is to say, he seeks to use it for his own gain or is simply withholding it from us in order to disrupt our business. Or both. These are straight forward breaches of the relevant domain names policy.

    I'm not clear on your second question Hugh, sorry. He isn't legally compelled to use this domain name .. did I indicate that somewhere? On the contrary, I expect he should be legally compelled to relinquish his administration of the web site, along with the other band assets he has retained. Could you maybe rephrase please?
     
  6. DennisD

    DennisD Well-Known Member

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    Hi again


    Sure thing, please allow me to clarify.


    It seems from what you've said that he registered the domain with the idea of promoting the band.


    The point is that he became the registrant of the domain. As the registrant of the domain he has certain rights. He can use the domain for his own purposes, gains, etc.


    During his time in the band he chose to use the domain to host a website to promote the band. And now that he has left the band he is perhaps considering putting it to a different use which may not coincide with what you or your band would like. This change will likely be disruptive to your band from what you've said. It may also feel uncomfortable to you, as perhaps you felt that the domain was somehow the property of the band in general, not any one member in particular.


    I suppose I was rather struck by the confidence you had that you would certainly be able to recover the domain when sometimes the fact that someone is a domain registrant carries quite a bit of clout. In situations where one party is clearly website squatting with a view of exploiting another party financially, then the outcome may be more clear cut. However, in your situation it may simply be that a registrant is changing their use of the domain in response to changing circumstances.


    All of this may seem a bit odd to you, so please let us know if you'd like any of this clarified a bit further.


    Let's see what other contributors have to say. Let us know how it goes. And good luck!
     

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