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Domain name dispute
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Posted May 2, 2011 at 9:02AM
We are a small charity. Our website was set up by a volunteer who now has nothing more to do with the charity. The website is maintained by another volunteer. The first volunteer registered the domain name to himself and now, as a reseller, charges our charity £120 for hosting it. We asked him almost a year ago to transfer the name. He made a huge fuss, was verbally aggressive in his response but eventually said he "might get fed up and give it back". We've waited. Nothing. We asked him again last week but his only response was to ask why we are starting "this nonsense" again and didn't we have anything better to do. It's a .com and I've looked on the ICANN website to find out what to do, but can't find suitable guidance. Can someone please give me step-by-step instructions on how to appeal to get the name returned to the charity. Thanks.
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Posted May 2, 2011 at 9:30AM
You asked for advice about this almost exactly a year ago, and at that time my advice was that before you embarked on a protracted domain name dispute procedure you should get a solicitor to write to this man.
The basis of your claim to the name is that the third party has no rights or legitimate interests in it, and that shouldn't be too difficult to demonstrate. Presumably the name reflects the name of the charity, and as you have been running a website on the name for some time your claim is substantial.
You may have documentary evidence to show that when the name was first registered the person concerned was a volunteer, and my claim would be that as such he acted as the charity's agent when he registered the name. He was acting on your behalf, not as a private individual, and now that he is no longer associated with the charity he has no claim to the name.
Hit him with a solicitor's letter - it may do the trick, and if it doesn't you have the ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy to fall back on.
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Posted May 2, 2011 at 1:28PM
Many thanks for your reply. I'll pass this on to the charity administrator and recommend we send the letter.
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Posted May 2, 2011 at 7:00PM
"I'll pass this on to the charity administrator and recommend we send the letter."
I recommend that it is sent by Special delivery. Before you see the solicitor, get full details of the IPSTAG for the new host. I assume that you are going to transfer the hosting away from this man, in which case you'll need to provide the new IPSTAG so the solicitor can ask for an immediate retag of the name in his letter.
This is a horse and cart kind of process - you want to have the registration details changed to yourselves,and you want the name transferred away from the current host. Make sure you have new hosting arrangements set up first, and then get the retag. Then the registration changes can be made. You need to make sure that this person will actually change the registration details - hence the solicitor's letter. You may need to have an email exchange with the man afterwards, to discuss the details of the move and the registration changes.
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