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Porn baron forced to give up sex

Domain name must be returned, says judge

One of the most valuable domain names on the web, sex.com, is to be transferred from the porn baron who stole it, to the entrepreneur who originally registered it, after a US court found in his favour.

Back in 1994, Gary Kremen registered the domain sex.com, but did not set up a site using the name.

One year later, convicted bankruptcy fraudster Stephen Cohen, upon his release from prison, allegedly forged transfer documents and filed them with Network Solutions, the domain name registry. The name was transferred from Kremen to Cohen.

Cohen contends that he purchased the name legitimately for $1,000 (£707.45) from a company called Online Classifieds.

That company belonged to Kremen, who vehemently denies that he parted with the name.

Cohen then used an offshore company to set up a porn empire which lawyers say received up to 25 million hits a day and could be worth $100 million (£70.51 million).

For the last two years, Kremen and Cohen have been battling in court to try to resolve the issue of who really owns the name.

On Monday, District Judge James Ware found that it had been taken from Kremen by fraudulent means and ordered the name to be transferred back to him.

Usually, domain name disputes of this kind turn on who owns the intellectual property in the name, like madonna.com (which she won) and sting.com (which he lost). But this was more a case of straightforward theft.

A spokesperson for Nominet, the registry for .uk domain names said: "I am not aware that there has been anything like this in the UK. Because Nominet runs on not-for-profit model, if money changes hands, we don't even know about it. As far as we are concerned, all domain name transfers are free."

Kremen was reported as saying: "I'm like a little guy, so I feel pretty good about it".


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