This is not cybersquatting. In fact, it’s being called the first legal case of its kind—theft of an Internet domain name. A New Jersey man pleaded guilty to felony theft by deception in connection with his admission that he stole a company’s Internet domain name, and then sold it on eBay for $111,211.
The domain name, p2p.com, was estimatedly valued at as much as $200,000 at the time that 23-year-old Daniel Goncalves hacked into the popular domain registrar goaddy.com, and then transferred its registration to his own GoDaddy account. Go Daddy records show that the same IP address was used to transfer the stolen domain as was used to log into Goncalves’s Go Daddy account. After waiting 60 days from the date of the transfer, per ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number) rules, Goncalves transferred the domain to another registrar, and ultimately sold it to Mark Madsen, a forward for the Los Angeles Clippers. Madsen had no idea that the domain was stolen. (Full story from newerseynewsroom.com.)
Although 5 years sounds like a long time to go to prison for stealing a “name,” Goncalves’s conduct in this case was particularly egregious (not to mention stupid). Before striking the plea deal with prosecutors, Goncalves was potentially facing 10 years in prison. What’s even more incredible is the fact that Goncalves not only used (presumably) his own computer to complete the transaction, but that it took investigators 3 years to catch him!
Even though the domain was reportedly returned to its rightful owners (a “who is” search only revealed the current registrar, Moniker Online Services, Inc.), it appears that the domain/site remains dormant as of this date.