Cincinnati.com featured an article about a supposedly stolen domain name. I say supposedly because the domain was never owned by the Arts Council.
“The nonprofit Springfield Township Arts and Enrichment Council was finalizing its plans to go live with its new website last week and got a shock: the domain name it had selected, startslocal.org, was no longer available.”
The domains startslocal.com, startslocal.net and startslocal.info were also gone and registered using a whois proxy service at Go Daddy.
All 4 domains are redirected to Stop the JEDZ!, a group “Dedicated to stopping the proposed Joint Economic Development Zone in Springfield Township”. The domains were registered on the 26th of December.
“At its Jan. 28 meeting, Springfield Township Trustees directed township law director Laura Abrams to pursue possible legal action for cybersquatting.”
“Registering or using a domain name with the bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else is called cybersquatting”, Abrams said.
“Abrams told trustees it was unlikely that the startslocal.org domain name was obtained by coincidence and without knowing that that name was the mark of the arts council.”
Kimberlee Flamm, chairwoman of the Arts and Enrichment Council, said the group has discussed using the domain “startslocal.org at public meetings and on township literature. She said a misunderstanding with the web designer about who would purchase the domain name led to the domain being available.
Over at the Stop the JEDZ! website Kyle Hufford is having fun with this:
“And another Cybersquatting article…
Just posted today, I believe this will also run in next week’s printed edition of the Hilltop Press.
Here’s some highlights that we found rather enjoyable…
Kyle Hufford … is the president of the Stop the JEDZ group. He would not confirm or deny he or his group bought the domain names. “No comment,” he said.
When asked if such a transaction wouldn’t show up on campaign finance reports, he said “not if it were done by a private individual.”
“It shows a certain level of incompetence to publish a website before you own it,” Hufford said.