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Thread: Legal Question

  1. #1

    Legal Question

    If a company has been paying a webdesign company to update and host their site and also purchase and their domain name and decided they no longer wanted to use the webdesigners services and move to another service provider, Can the webdesigner deny them the right for them to ask him to tranfer ownership of the domain name to their company ? It appears a company that wants to move to my services is trying to get their old domain name back from the designer who purchased this domain name for the intent of using it to host their site but he says that the domain name is his and they were only renting it all this time. The issue is they never thought to ask for tranfer of ownership of the domain name after he they picked the doamin name and he bought it for them and setup their account.
    www.webspacedepot.net
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  2. #2
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    Your situation is similar to this recent thread: http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=692986

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by wsdepot View Post
    Can the webdesigner deny them the right for them to ask him to tranfer ownership of the domain name to their company ?
    In a word, yes. What you asked here happens every other day.

    All in all, it's a contract issue. Hope things work out somehow.

  4. #4
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    Did you buy the domain and give him money for it? If you did then he has no right for it..

    It sounds like he is mad you found some one else for the services you wanted him to do.
    Jason

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by whmanaged View Post
    Did you buy the domain and give him money for it? If you did then he has no right for it.
    Probably one thing that's been widely believed is we own something just because we paid for it. It doesn't always happen that way, especially if there's an actual contract involved and it spells out the terms.

    In the case of domain names, we never own them even if we paid. We pay to rent them, just like we rent an apartment or any other commodity or service.

    Now one issue here is what rights do both parties have, much more agreed upon. While we can all have our opinions on what rights each party has and doesn't have, the only ones who really know are the actual parties involved.

    Then again, people dispute other people's rights every other day. That's what courts and mediation panels are for.

  6. #6
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    You really should never let your web hosting company or your web designed put "their" name on the registration of your domain. The owner of the domain should have it registered.

    Often many web designed we find do this without their client knowing with these "privacy regsitrations". They actually register them in their own name but privacty protect it so the client never knows. When the clien leaves.... wow... are they surprised then!

  7. #7
    You need to contact the registrar and submit a "change of administrative contact" request.

    Typically this involves sending them a copy of all documents and information you have to support ownership of the domain. This includes and invoices or contracts or anything else that shows your customer paid the hosting company FOR THE DOMAIN NAME.

    If there is no legal record of your customer paying for the domain registration, or a contract that shows the domain was registered FOR THEM, or the whois info has NONE of their info... then your customer is basically screwed since there is absolutely nothing to indicate their story is true. (Even though we all know it most likely is true.)

    The registrar is not going to take away the domain name from the legal registrant simply because they feel sorry for your customer. You need to build up your case against the hosting company and then send in all the paperwork.

    If you don't have legal right to the domain name, then the only option you have is to wait for it to expire. It's unlikely the current owner will renew the domain (since it will cost them money), and you can try to put a backorder on it to get it, etc.

    So... contact the registrar, and explain the situation. They will tell you what you must do to convince them who is the "real" owner.

    Good luck!
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zan View Post
    In the case of domain names, we never own them even if we paid. We pay to rent them, just like we rent an apartment or any other commodity or service.
    That's false. You do in-fact own a domain name when you register it from a registrar under your name, albeit for the contract term. You have the right to sell, rent, or do whatever you please with it. A registrar cannot just take your domain name away, even if they wanted to...because you own it for the contract term. This is fundamentally different from renting or even leasing.

    ====

    In the OP's case, unless the domain ownership was in the contract for said company, then you can't really argue the case. I suppose, depending on the country, that you could actually argue that domain ownership was IMPLIED. You may have a case there. You can also try the Registrar, but if the domain is what they now called "Locked", then you aren't going to get it from whoever the contact is, because as far as the Registrar knows: the contact owns the domain name.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dotRoot View Post
    That's false. You do in-fact own a domain name when you register it from a registrar under your name, albeit for the contract term. You have the right to sell, rent, or do whatever you please with it. A registrar cannot just take your domain name away, even if they wanted to...because you own it for the contract term. This is fundamentally different from renting or even leasing.
    You are also free to keep renewing the domain for all eternity if you wish, Rental agreement's never give you that option.
    I could tell you a joke about UDP. But I'm not sure you would get it!

  10. #10
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    The rights & wrongs don't realy matter in the real world.,
    Smile nicely offer them $50, and hope,
    if you can't negotiate from that position, wait until it expires, or grap an 'alternative' ie. olddomainname.net to replace olddomainname.com

    You might also want to check out the copyright/ownership of the design work
    some designers try to hold onto that also.

    Good Luck
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian-de-vie View Post
    The rights & wrongs don't realy matter in the real world.,
    Smile nicely offer them $50, and hope,
    if you can't negotiate from that position, wait until it expires, or grap an 'alternative' ie. olddomainname.net to replace olddomainname.com

    You might also want to check out the copyright/ownership of the design work
    some designers try to hold onto that also.

    Good Luck
    The real problem is you are not owning the domain, but paying a rent for the name. I doubt there can be much done on this, if the provider rejects your request.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by dotRoot View Post
    That's false. You do in-fact own a domain name when you register it from a registrar under your name, albeit for the contract term. You have the right to sell, rent, or do whatever you please with it. A registrar cannot just take your domain name away, even if they wanted to...because you own it for the contract term. This is fundamentally different from renting or even leasing.
    As much as I'd like to believe that:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan541 View Post
    Rental agreement's never give you that option.
    Better start reading your registrar's agreement if you haven't done so. Unrealistic expectations tend to create otherwise avoidable problems.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zan View Post
    As much as I'd like to believe that:



    Better start reading your registrar's agreement if you haven't done so. Unrealistic expectations tend to create otherwise avoidable problems.
    If you have a registrar that can just take your domain name without your approval or do anything else while its still under your name, then you should be reporting them to ICANN.

    As a matter of fact, to do so they'd need to transfer it to themselves regardless of ANY terms of service they have with you.
    You can read about ICANN's transfer policies here: http://www.icann.org/transfers/

  14. #14
    At the risk of drifting this off-topic:

    Quote Originally Posted by dotRoot View Post
    If you have a registrar that can just take your domain name without your approval or do anything else while its still under your name, then you should be reporting them to ICANN.
    http://icann.org/announcements/announcement-06mar07.htm

    In summary, registrars are obligated to provide the following customer service related services pursuant to the Registrar Accreditation Agreement:

    • Registrars must adhere to consensus policies (http://www.icann.org/general/consensus-policies.htm) e.g, Inter Registrar Transfer Policy, Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, Whois Data Reminder Policy, Whois Marketing Restriction Policy, Restored Names Accuracy Policy and the Expired Domain Deletion policy.
    • Registrars must timely populate Whois data
    • Registrars must timely submit updated registration information to registries.
    • Registrars must provide public access to Whois data.
    • Registrars must require all Registered Name Holders to enter into a registration agreement that includes specific provisions.
    • Registrars must investigate reported inaccurate contact
      information.


    ICANNís mission does not include resolving consumer complaints that fall outside of the RAA. Complaints about a registrarís performance that cannot be resolved with a registrar and fall outside of the terms of the RAA may be addressed by private sector agencies involved in addressing consumer complaints (i.e. The Better Business Bureau http://www.bbb.org/), by law enforcement agencies or by governmental consumer protection entities (i.e. The International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network http://www.icpen.org/). ICANN does not address consumer complaints pertaining to the following matters:

    Spam complaints
    Website content complaints
    Failure to timely answer phones
    Failure to timely respond to e-mail messages
    Over billing/ Multiple billing
    Computer viruses
    Even though lots of people expect ICANN to do more than what's stated above, ICANN isn't some consumer agency. They may address certain complaints, but they won't necessarily resolve them for you if it's outside their scope.

    Quote Originally Posted by dotRoot View Post
    As a matter of fact, to do so they'd need to transfer it to themselves regardless of ANY terms of service they have with you.
    You can read about ICANN's transfer policies here: http://www.icann.org/transfers/
    Transfer it to themselves regardless of any terms of service, then including their transfer policies? Sorry but...I don't understand what you're getting at.

  15. #15
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    I'm getting at that a Registrar absolutely can not just take your domain away from you and do as they will.

    And you absolutely can in-fact complain to ICANN about an issue such as that. They will not handle complaints like Billing issues or the like. They only handle complaints where the Registrar violates ICANN's terms...which ironically is stated in your quote.

  16. #16
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    OK, taking a step back from the heat,
    there seems to me to be some confusion
    re: the difference between Owning and Controling.
    In the Domain reg. / legal / real world they are not the same.
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  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by dotRoot View Post
    I'm getting at that a Registrar absolutely can not just take your domain away from you and do as they will.

    And you absolutely can in-fact complain to ICANN about an issue such as that. They will not handle complaints like Billing issues or the like. They only handle complaints where the Registrar violates ICANN's terms...which ironically is stated in your quote.
    Ah, now I understand. From those, I mainly agree with you.

    Of course, it's the party's burden to somehow prove the registrar is potentially violating ICANN's terms. There are very few, specific and limited cases where a registrar can take the domain name from its registrant, but they definitely can't do it just like that without having a darn good reason.

    Anyway, we're kinda drifting away from the OP's thread. I hope s/he somehow works that out.

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