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Does the registrant leagaly own the domain name?

Discussion in 'Domains and Hosting' started by warmbells, May 20, 2014.

  1. warmbells

    warmbells Guest

    Hi,

    I have been registering a domain name for 15 years and paying for the registration myself all that time, the site and domain were loaned to the charity, who now want a new site done by someone else but want to keep the same domain and they have told my hosting company that the domain is legally theirs, in the 15 years of the site they have not paid a penny for hosting or domain registration. I believe the new professional webmaster told them they could keep the domain for their new site.

    Tia,

    Gerald
     
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  3. I'm H

    I'm H Affiliate affiliate

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    Hi Gerald,

    I have to deal with cases like this alot, But generally im on the side of the company/charity owner.

    Is the "registrant" details in the Whois in your name or theirs ? What TLD is the domain ?

    If the domain is registered in your name and they really havent paid a penny for it at all then its legally yours regardless of whether they have been using it.

    If the Whois details is in their name , its legally theirs especially if its linked to their business. You have to remember that all the marketing and branding they have done over the past 15 years is all linked to that domain, if i was you and you truly havent charged them a penny over the years and done it out of the goodness of your heart then come to an agreement to at least get the registration fee's back. I doubt they would fight over that, write it off as an experience and ask for a little compensation for your service so you don't feel so hard done by.

    I know if i was advising them and some web guy or IT guy had their domain registered in his own name i would be doing everything in my power to get that business/charity what is really rightfully theirs unless you took the time to write out a contract to protect yourself and them.

    Anyone with a website should ALWAYS control the domain them selves so they have options, other wise you have situations like this where one party is going to come off worse.

    You should also be aware that if its a .co.uk domain and the whois details are in their name, they dont need to contact your host, they can take it from you with out your host or your agreement.

    If you'd like to post more details i can probably be a little less Vague on where you stand.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2014
  4. warmbells

    warmbells Guest

    I have not charged a penny in all the 15 years for hosting and domain registration,
    I have been the registrant for all the 15 years and it has always been in my name in whois, I also have all the email confirmations of payment for hosting and registration from all the different web hosts and domain providers I have dealt with in all that time. It is a .net TLD

    Gerald
     
  5. I'm H

    I'm H Affiliate affiliate

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    Hi Gerald,

    Ok have you had any other payments for other services you may have done ? You say they have been "loaning" the site/domain so i would assume there was some money changed hands at some point.

    Do you have your emails from the start of your loan agreement , was there a buy out clause ? cancellation clause ? Did you or them at any point mention the ownership of the domain ? Emails are more than just a verbal agreement and anything in writing can be used in court i believe.

    With the domain being a .net i would say you certainly are holding all the cards, the whois details in your name means you own it.

    I would still recommend trying to come to an agreement with them compensating you in exchange for the domain though, if its valuable enough to them i doubt they would grumble as legal fee's alone would be excessive imo.

    * I should note im not a solicitor of any kind, my advice is purely down to previous experiences.

    If all the above is correct and the whois details is.....and always has been in your name , i would make sure your Host/registrar is on the same page as you and knows its legally yours, if they are a large company they will follow policy and you will be fine but if they are a small unknown they may get jumpy and believe any official paper work that comes their way.
     
  6. warmbells

    warmbells Guest

    I probably used the wrong word when I said loaned. I went to an AGM of the charity in 1999, they didn't even know what the internet was. I offered to do them a website at no cost at all, but it would always belong to me to which they agreed. It started off with 4 pages and now runs to over 500 pages. I was all hand coded with a text editor, it might not be the best looking site but it still gets a lot of visitors. I have not received any payments for any services to them, I've even been an unpaid trustee. I have run a site on eBay selling items and the monies from the sales were sent to them. I have people I can get in touch with who were at the AGM and thanked me for my offer and heard the terms and the charities response. I am not the first person the charity manager has tried to strong arm into doing something. I have already emailed my Host/registrar as they had been contacted by the charity saying I didn't own the domain, they did, I have made sure the know all the details.
     
  7. I'm H

    I'm H Affiliate affiliate

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    In which case Gerald i cant see anyway they could claim it was theirs if all ownership is yours, always has been and there was an agreement at the start that it all belonged to you. Not knowing the charity in question do you know if they have a trademark ? If so does the domain infringe that trademark ? Thats another scenario of which there would be little you could do to stop it.

    I think the best thing do to to make double sure you are covered is to give Citizens advice a call, they will be able to guide you in the right direction, i would even consider getting some paid advice from someone like Adam Taylor :

    Internet Lawyers | Website Lawyer – call UK Internet Solicitors free

    Ive called him before for some advice and he was very helpful, he specialises in internet, domain, website regulations etc.
     
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