Do You Own – And Control Your Domain Name? You May Be Surprised!

All too often, website owners are lax in nailing down ownership and control of valuable domain names, and as a result, are often required to litigate these issues costing them thousands. The case of Dawson v. Brandsberg illustrates these costly mistakes and how to avoid them.

Dawson v. Brandsberg – The Facts

The dispute was between a website operator and developer regarding rights to a domain name that consist of the operator's name: "". Plaintiff Dawson and his real estate firm (the website operator) hired Defenders Brandsberg (the website developer) to develop a website. A key fact is that there was no written agreement concerning possession or use of the domain name.

Other important facts include:

* Plaintiffs requested Defendant to register the domain name at issue;

* Defendant developed the website associated with the domain name; and

* Plaintiffs paid for the initial registration of the domain name, plus development, hosting, and maintenance fees for the website.

Occasionally, the business relationship soured, and the Plaintiffs bought to transfer the domain name and the website to another internet service provider. The Defendant refused to transfer the domain name and the website, and essentially held the domain name hostage.

Dawson v. Brandsberg – The Decision

Dawson welcomed suit against Brandsberg in the US District Court in Virginia under the Cyberpiracy Provisions of the Lanham Act, Section 43 (d), 15 USC 1125 (d). Dawson v. Brandsberg, 2006 WL 2915234 (WD Va., Oct. 10, 2006). Plaintiffs argued that the federal cyberpiracy prevention strategy was applicable, and that it protected the domain name and imposed liability for a bad faith registration with the intent to profit from the registration. Plaintiffs also argued that it had a non-exclusive, implied license to use the domain name, given that Plaintiffs had paid for registration, development, hosting, and maintenance of the website.

Defendant Blandsberg argued that:

* Plaintiff's name was not a proper trademark because it was not distinct at the time of registration of the domain name,

* Defendant had registered the domain name and developed the website with the intent to sell it to Plaintiff at a later date, and

* Plaintiff had no copyright or implied license in the website.

Defendant Blandsberg filed for a motion to dismiss most of the counts of the suit. The Court rule in favor of Plaintiff Dawson denying the motion. The Court seemed to rely heavily on Plaintiffs' arguments regarding the implied license, stating "Even assuming that Brandsberg created the website, if Plaintiffs have no license to use the website or domain name, the creation would be valueless."

Conclusion: Lessons Learned

Do not rely on oral agreements; get it in writing! Provide not only for ownership of the website, but also of the domain name.

Provide that your domain name be registered in your name, not in the name of the vendor.

Also, note that control over the domain name is very important, and control goes with knowledge of the ID and passwords to the domain name account with …

Here Are Four Common Steps to Auto Fix It For Me Computer Software Programs:

1. You turn the PC on, it loads through and then reports it cannot find the C Drive

This sounds like a fault hard disk, swap it with another from a working PC, if the problem resolves this way then your drive is bad.

The hard drive is found inside the case, it will have a ribbon attached to the mainboard and one of the power leads from the PSU. It is fixed with screws into the case, undo these, whip out the cables and get yourself a new disk.

Sometimes a reboot will give your disk a little more life, if a reboot does help, then make sure you backup your data straight away and get a new disk in there! This is a best case scenario, normally if the C Drive dies you lose all your data, if you can save it this way then you were lucky!

2. No activity when turning the computer on

You hear nothing, no lights start frantically flashing at you, nothing appears on the screen? First things first, check that it is plugged in!!!

Okay enough of the sillyness, the thing is plugged in, it now seems like the PSU (Power Supply Unit) has died a horrible death! The PSU is a box normally at the back of your computer held into the case by 4 screws and has a fan blowing bad air out of the back! There is also a wiring loom that comes from this dreaded box into the main board of the pc. It is this wire that feeds electricity to all of the components inside your PC! Unplug all these power wires and unscrew the PSU, you can now take it to the PC Store and show the guys there, they will then get you a new one!

3. Regular Blue Screen Errors, sounds like a memory problem to me!

You are using your PC, happily writing documents or surfing the Internet, when BAM, Blue Screen of Death is telling you there was a fatal error and your computer needs to be put into the retirement home. Fear not, 9 out of 10 times this is just unfortunate and unavoidable, but a restart will cure it. However, if you keep getting this regularly then you may have a RAM (Random Access Memory) problem. This is again easily fixable using other memory sticks. If you have a PC that works fine, try swapping the memory sticks to see if this remedies your problem. You can get memory testers that can tell you if your RAM is bad, try running one of these. If you do end up with a bad RAM stick, then nip down to the store and buy a new one!

RAM sticks fit into the main board normally not far from the processor. Just flip the little switches at either and and pull the old one out, line up the new one with the slots and push down. Once you hear a click at both …