April 5, 2005
USA Today reports that ex-convict Stephen Cohen has lost an appeal
against a court ruling, and Cohen must now pay $65 million to Gary
Kremen, the man who originally registered sex.com. Cohen effectively
stole the domain name in 1995, and used it to front a lucrative porn
Kremen, of San Francisco, originally registered the name in 1994. But Cohen, an ex-convict, took the name from Kremen the following year by sending a forged letter of transfer to Network Solutions (which subsequently became part of VeriSign).
Cohen then ran a highly profitable porn portal until November 2000 when a court awarded Kremen the return of the domain name.
Cohen has paid nothing to Kremen, and Kremen says that a warrant is out for his arrest. But according to the fascinating article by USA Today, Cohen is now in Europe, making what he describes as a "very comfortable living" in the European casino and construction industries.
The case was last decided by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in 2002. That judgment, published in full the following year, upheld a district court ruling in part, reversed it in part, and in part remanded it to the lower court for further proceedings.
Cohen then tried without success to get the Supreme Court to review the case; and last month it appears that it ended up back with the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, possibly ending one of the internet's longest-running domain name disputes.
Kremen also sued VeriSign for the initial blunder, a case that settled last year with the company paying Kremen an undisclosed sum.
Source: The Register
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