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  #1  
Old 12-13-2003, 11:37 AM
TheHS TheHS is offline
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Legal question


I am getting crazy emails from some guy's attorney saying that one of my clients stole his domain.

Quote from lawyer:

The party now illegally controlling <domainremoved.com> is using your DNS to redirect traffic away from my client, stop its emails, and to otherwise profit from the criminal taking of my client's property. Therefore, your company though its DNS is assisting the perpetrator of a fraud as the hijacker is redirecting traffic and intercepting emails through your DNS.


I'm not sure whether I am actually assisting this person in fraud. I don't know if he got the domain fraudulently but I am also not sure how using my DNS nameservers would implicate me.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

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  #2  
Old 12-13-2003, 04:56 PM
interactive interactive is offline
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Well this is an online message board so I highly recommend not taking any legal advice from it.

However, if I were in your shoes:
I would contact my client telling him that I'm receiving emails claiming that he stole XXXXXX.tld domain. Then I would contact my lawyer to make sure that I can in no way be held in court for any wrong doings. Then I would go on with my life.

Possibly research the domain further.

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  #3  
Old 12-13-2003, 05:48 PM
JayC JayC is offline
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Personally, I'd ignore anything like that that arrives in email. Essential legal communication will arrive in the mail or be handed to you personally.

Even beyond that, a real communication from a lawyer on an issue like that would likely cite specifics as to which laws or precedents you should be aware of and exactly what action they're requesting.

My advice: If you're nervous, run it past your lawyer. Otherwise, block future emails from him and forget about it.

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  #4  
Old 12-13-2003, 05:52 PM
TheHS TheHS is offline
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Thanks JayC. I've dealt with lawyers before and they are pretty specific and right to the point. The email seemed like gibberish trying to incite some fear, but the thing is a consultation with a decent lawyer costs alot of money and if its bogus then its alot of money wasted.

Thanks.

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  #5  
Old 12-13-2003, 05:55 PM
sightz sightz is offline
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I think I will set up a Spamassassin rule that filters any emails containing the words law offices, lawyers, DMCA, or cease and desist.

If I legitimately never see these questionable emails from "lawyers" I'm OK, right?

  #6  
Old 12-13-2003, 06:04 PM
JayC JayC is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by sightz.com
If I legitimately never see these questionable emails from "lawyers" I'm OK, right?
Perhaps, except in the case of the DMCA (assuming you're in the US), if you want to take advantage of the safe harbor provisions. In that case, you have to register a contact person with the copyright office, and I believe that email is considered a valid contact method under the Act.

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  #7  
Old 12-13-2003, 06:11 PM
DynamicHost DynamicHost is offline
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I would have to agree with the above. If your client "hijacked" the domain and he is the owner as far as the WHOIS record is concerned, you have no liability to suspend service and depending on your TOS have a liability to maintain it. If the WHOIS lines up then the lawyer should be contacting the domain registrar and the listed owner. If someone is storing a stolen car in my garage then I'm not giving it back until the police tell me its stolen or the owner AFAIK moves it, I see this as a bit of a similar situation. From the wording of your letter it almost seems like the lawyer is a bit of a fake, although you never know I suppose.

Cheers,
Matt

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  #8  
Old 12-13-2003, 06:54 PM
itshosted itshosted is offline
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If this lawyer had a legal leg to stand on, why wouldn't he refer to the UDRP @ ICANN & put the domain in dispute. Sounds like a scare tactic to me.

  #9  
Old 12-13-2003, 07:00 PM
Tina J Tina J is offline
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Why would an attorney email you? Every legal document I've ever received comes through the mail...and generally registered mail or hand delivered.

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  #10  
Old 12-13-2003, 07:38 PM
frozen frozen is offline
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I would email him back and ask him for his name, law office, what state he has bar in and his companies telephone number so your lawyer can get in touch with him(Just to see what the response is).

Again, what's allready been stated, legal documents come through the mail or are hand delivered in the US.

About the DMCA, though they do send you an email first, they are still required(and will) to snail mail you any legal documentation before actually can take any legal action against you.

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  #11  
Old 12-14-2003, 10:38 AM
TheHS TheHS is offline
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I've done a bit of research, not sure if I really need a lawyer, but what would domain hijacking be considered under the law? fraud, it doesn't sound like trademark infringement or anything like that.

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  #12  
Old 12-14-2003, 10:46 AM
AussieHosts AussieHosts is offline
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Re: Legal question

Quote:
Originally posted by TheHS
Any advice would be much appreciated.
Reply with your local weather forecast for the next 14 days, and request something in writing if they need any additional information.

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  #13  
Old 12-14-2003, 10:50 AM
TheHS TheHS is offline
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haha ok, thanks plesk6host.

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  #14  
Old 12-15-2003, 01:31 AM
JayC JayC is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by TheHS
I've done a bit of research, not sure if I really need a lawyer, but what would domain hijacking be considered under the law? fraud, it doesn't sound like trademark infringement or anything like that.
It really depends on the details. If they're saying that your customer somehow fraudulently took posession of the name (as in the well-known sex.com case, where one party submitted deceptive information to the registrar in order to take control), it's not actually trademark infringement. Still it's more likely a DMCA matter than anything else -- and in any case has nothing to do with you if your only role is that you're hosting the site.

You're probably right that you don't need a lawyer at this point. Sounds like someone just blowing smoke -- other than the fact that it's worthwhile to educate yourself on the issues, I wouldn't worry about it unless you receive some official documentation... which is pretty unlikely to happen given the information you've posted here.

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  #15  
Old 12-15-2003, 02:20 AM
cdgcommerce cdgcommerce is offline
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I would email him back and ask him for his name, law office, what state he has bar in and his companies telephone number so your lawyer can get in touch with him(Just to see what the response is).

I agree 100% with Frozen... he is RIGHT ON with the above!

If you do the above, I'd be very much surprised if he responded back to you.

I'm no lawyer and hence I'm not offering any legal advice here - but I can tell you that if someone sent me a letter written in that way and mentioning phrases like "profit from the criminal taking of my client's property" --- that doesn't sound like legal-ese
but rather I'm-pretending-I'm-a-lawyer-ese to me.

Plus, as many others have mentioned - if a lawyer is really retained by someone to pursue an issue... you'd be getting a certified letter in the mail on that law firm's letterhead stating the specific infractions and the demand for redress.

No real lawyer worth their salt who is hired to litigate is going to send a little e-mail by itself and expect to bully someone into submission.

Anyways, that's just my two cents and how I would view it if I were in that same situation.

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