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    8 Replies Latest reply on Feb 7, 2010 11:36 PM by Play_to_Win

    Internet Web Site owner

    whundt1 Newbie
      Hi everyone
      Here is my question? I am a sub contractor with a company, and do my own advertising. I purchased a Domain Name in Jan. 2006. Putting a lot of work, time and money into it, it starts making me profit. Now since the main company notice that I am successful, they first want me to give them my site. Since I am the owner of the site, I believe it is my property, and I can do what ever I want to do with it?
      Any advise,
        • Re: Internet Web Site owner
          Lighthouse24 Ranger

          There is not really a "cut-and-dried" answer to that. You may own the domain name, yet if the "main company" produces a product or provides a service that is associated with that name, or if that name is recognized as being the source of their products or services (not just in the virtual world, but on any hard copy documentation the company has), you and your business may be prohibited from using it in trade. If that's the case, your best course of action might be to figure up what you spent to establish the domain name and Internet visibility, and then offer to sell the domain to the company at your cost.

          Selling a domain in that way is not an unusual transaction -- some people are actually in the business of establishing domain names for all kinds of things (cars, books, movies, etc.) before the producer/publisher has the chance, and then they offer to sell them when the producer/publisher discovers the name is already registered. Since your intent was to build a business, not squeeze the company for a few thousand bucks, they should be receptive to a reasonable offer to sell.
          • Re: Internet Web Site owner
            I would consult with a lawyer. I would be prepared to answer questions such as

            1. Did you build the site using their resources ie on their servers, database, etc. or on your own?, while you were on the clock or in your personal time at home?

            2. Did you sign any agreements that specify that any works you developed during your contract term are "work for hire"?

            3. Is your site directly competing with their business? Is there a "non-compete" clause in your contract?

            I'm not a lawyer, but those are a few questions I would ask myself.

            Good luck!
            • Re: Internet Web Site owner
              scsurfguy Wayfarer
              Yes, you can do what ever you want with it until you sell it. You bought it, and unless you continue to pay for it then they cannot do anything about it.
              • Re: Internet Web Site owner
                CorpCons08 Ranger
                You really do not have any control over your company itself. You are a subcontractor/subdivision of a main corporation. I'm assuming the main corporation has established some form of paperwork establishing you as a subsidiary? If it is only by word of mouth, well...shame on them. The domain name, if registered by you and maintained by you, by law is yours. They cannot force you to sell the domain to them. Give us some more information, is there paperwork establishing you as a subsidiary?
                • Re: Internet Web Site owner
                  Lighthouse24 Ranger
                  Yes, more info might helpful (because I think some of us are interpreting this question differently).

                  In the United States, "the right to use a name (whether it be a company name, trade name, domain name, trademark, or service mark) derives from actual use of that name." That phrase is firmly grounded in both federal and state statutes. As a general rule, in the event of a conflict, the entity that can show the first documented uses of the name in commercial trade wins the dispute.

                  Do you remember the high profile MTV vs. Adam Curry case? When MTV executives expressed no interest whatsoever in the Internet or in registering as a domain name in the early 90's, video jock Curry did it himself. When the website caught the interest of viewers, MTV filed a federal suit against Curry for trade name infringement. Curry absoutely owned and properly registered that domain name (in fact, he was one of the first "celebrities" to have a website) -- but you can visit and see how much good THAT did him. The options were that he could keep the domain name (but be prohibited by law from using it for anything), or sell it to MTV. He sold.
                  • Re: Internet Web Site owner
                    Play_to_Win Wayfarer

                    I am interested in your situation because I work for companies providing them with domain name registration, hosting, web site design and/or redesign. A question if you don't mind. Did you reserve the domain name as an agent authorized by the "main company" to acquire the domain name for them? My company reserves domain names for our clients for $8.95 and then charges them $10.00 per year for registration services. In our situation, the domain name may be registered in our name but it legally belongs to our client. That process has been revised, we may perform the physical act of registration, but the domain name is registered in the name of the client.