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How is a "Domain Name" legally defined?

Is it considered a database?

     
9:29 pm on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Greetings,

We're having a legal discussion with our lawyer regarding domain names and a hijack. We're not sure if domain names are considered a "database". If it's considered a database, then a hijack would be considered a "database hijack", or if it's considered an email it might be considered an "email hijack". Legally, where do .com domain names stand? Are they a database or are they something else?

Thanks in advance!
10:26 pm on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hire a new lawyer and register your domain name as a trademark. Not necessarily in that order. There will then be no question what your domain name is.
10:29 pm on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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This type of question has been around for a while
Is a Domain Name Property? [circleid.com...] (2005 blog post)
There have been various judgements since then, some of them contradicting each other.
10:41 pm on Dec 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Short answers to your questions (and you may need a new lawyer if they think it is possible that a domain name is a database)

Is a domain name a database? No

Do the records of domain name registrations live in a database? Yes

Think of registering a domain name like a lease, you lease the rights to use the domain name, you don't own it though, you just have exclusive rights to it.

If you let it lapse and someone else registers it then you may be screwed, if the domain name is your trademark then you would have legal recourse to recoup it but the person using it wouldn't be guilty of anything unless they were squatting it.

If someone hacks the Whois database and change the domain to their info then that is something else.

I am not sure what you mean by hijack though. If you mean just squatting on a name you own the trademark to in the hopes you will pay them big $$ then that is just called Domain Squatting.

Can you explain what exactly you mean when you say "hijack"
12:31 am on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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1:13 am on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Legally, where do .com domain names stand?

That depends on any applicable law and/or legal decision in yours or your registrar's jurisdiction...and/or your registrar's contract. In the absence of the first two, the third will have to do...for now.

David
4:02 am on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your answers!
Ok, more details here: One of our domains was hijacked, the login/password data was stolen and the whois data was changed. There's a local law where if you get info from a database there's a penalty, which is worse than any other penalty. Our lawyer was trying to make the hijack fit into that law.
11:32 pm on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Sigh, I rather suspected that's what why you asked. Sorry to read what happened.

If you think about it, anyone can argue on anything. Just a matter of convincing the powers-that-be of the merit of your argument, especially if something "tangible" like a law or decision applies to it.

Has the domain name been recovered since then? Any update on the part of your registrar?

David