First Criminal Arrest for Domain Name Theft in U.S.

DomainNameNews reports on the first criminal arrest for domain name theft in the United States.
According to the story:

Daniel Goncalves, the 25 year old law firm computer technician arrested on Thursday, reportedly hacked in to the Angel’s [the domain name owners] AOL email account, used that information to retrieve the login details for the [the stolen domain name] from the [domain name registrar] domain account. Goncalves performed an internal “domain push” transfer, which in effect transferred the domain name to another Godaddy account that he owned….
In late 2006, Goncalves put the domain name up for sale on and on September 24, 2006 the auction for the domain closed in the amount of $111,000.

The article goes on to explain why so few of these cases are prosecuted.

Cases of domain name theft have not typically involved a criminal prosecution because of the complexities, financial restraints and sheer time and energy involved. If a domain name is stolen, the victim of the crime in most cases would need experience with the technical and legal intricacies associated with the domain name system. To move the case forward, they would also need a law enforcement professional who understands the case or is willing to take the time to learn….
Additionally financial restraints play a major role. Often times the rightful owners of these domains simply can’t justify the thousands of dollars in legal fees necessary to handle a case like this….
Attorney Paul Keating told DNN that most cases of domain theft recovery that he has dealt with have been complicated at best. The real problem stems from the fact that domain names aren’t considered property.

Source: VLLB Linkblog

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