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Sued For Loaner Domain Name

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by dcanfield, May 21, 2005.

  1. #1
    Just curious, If I have A domain name registerd to myself and I "rent" it out to someone to use and then they get sued for copywright infringement could I be held liable and sued also? The only thing in my name is the domain name, I don't supply hosting, content or anything else except for DN.
     
    dcanfield, May 21, 2005 IP
  2. mjewel

    mjewel Prominent Member

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    #2
    There are a lot of variables- such as, do you have a revenue sharing agreement where you have a financial gain by allowing the copyright infringement?

    Are you renting it out to a party you have no association with (i.e. no attempt to skirt liability)? If so, then your risk would probably be minimal- but you would probably have some responsibility to take action once you were informed of the infringement since the domain ownership ultimately is under your control.

    If someone did sue, they would almost surely name the owner of the domain as a party to the suit. The details of the "rental" arrangement would determine your liability.

    If you mean "trademark", not copyright, then that is a different story. If the domain name itself had "trademark" - "tradename" issues, then your liability would probably be a given.
     
    mjewel, May 21, 2005 IP
  3. briandunning

    briandunning Active Member

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    #3
    Simple answer: we live in a litigious world. Anyone can be sued for anything by anyone at any time. Whether it has merit or not has nothing to do with the fact that you will still need to pay a lawyer to deal with it. You have to be willing to live with this truth if you want to get out of bed each morning.
     
    briandunning, May 21, 2005 IP
  4. dcanfield

    dcanfield Peon

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    #4
    Thanks for the input. Even though I would not be attempting to skirt the law, The cost of lawyer fees are extravagant.
     
    dcanfield, May 21, 2005 IP
  5. noppid

    noppid gunnin' for the quota

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    #5
    It's like a car, lend it out and your bud crashes, you pay.
     
    noppid, May 21, 2005 IP
  6. mhdoc

    mhdoc Tauren

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    #6
    In the real estate world this kind of issue is handled by splitting the interests in a property and having title to the various parts held by different entitites.

    For example, the land and building might be held by a family limited partnership. A management company with few assets leases the property from the partnership and rents it out. If someone slips and falls in the parking lot they will sue the management company. However, since the management company has no assets that doesn't work so well, especially if their lease with the partnership has a clause that says their lease is automatically voided if they get sued.

    This seems close to the domain registration business model. Hold the domain in a limited partnership and lease it to the operating company. Make the lease terms ugly with the right to increase fees etc. If someone successfully sues and is awarded a judgment against the operating company that terminates the lease of the name.

    Obviously, I have omitted a lot of complexities and costs, but the 80/20 rule holds with litigation too. Certainly it is possible to penetrate these kind of arrangements, but is it worth the time and cost where there are so many easy targets who have all their assets in their own name.

    Even something as simple as putting assets into a living trust, which you can do yourself with Nolo Press software, may be enough to protect you in many cases.

    However, you have to do this stuff BEFORE you get sued!
     
    mhdoc, May 21, 2005 IP
  7. Smyrl

    Smyrl Tomato Republic Staff

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    #7
    Do hope you have had him take down the sit and have appologized profusely to offended party.

    Shannon
     
    Smyrl, May 21, 2005 IP
  8. dcanfield

    dcanfield Peon

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    #8
    :) It has not happened but I is something I could forsee possibly happening.


    Thanks for you input mhdoc, greatly appreciated!
     
    dcanfield, May 21, 2005 IP