Ron Paul Found Guilty of ‘Reverse Domain Name Hijacking’




Ron Paul committed “reverse domain name hijacking” when he sought control of the RonPaul.org domain name in bad faith, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has ruled.

Ron Paul had filed a cybersquatting complaint with WIPO in early February 2013, calling on the UN agency to confiscate RonPaul.org from a group of long-standing grassroots supporters.

This week, WIPO rejected Ron Paul’s complaint, asserting that the supporters were running a political fan-site and thus had legitimate rights to the domain name.

Ron Paul had originally registered RonPaul.org in 1999 but lost control of the domain name in August 2012 after failing to pay the annual renewal fee. His supporters quickly secured RonPaul.org to keep it in the Ron Paul community, and offered it to Ron Paul as a free gift in January 2013.

Instead of accepting the gift, Ron Paul filed a complaint with WIPO asking it to confiscate the domain name.

In his complaint, Ron Paul willfully misrepresented his supporters’ offer, alleging that they would give him RonPaul.org only if he paid them $250,000 for a different domain name, RonPaul.com. That claim was easily disproved by the letter Ron Paul submitted as evidence: his supporters’ offer clearly stated that RonPaul.org was a free, unconditional gift with no strings attached.

Ron Paul also wrongly alleged that his supporters had tried to sell him RonPaul.org back in 2010, at a time when he still owned the domain himself.

After rejecting Ron Paul’s complaint, WIPO went on to assert that an attempt of “Reverse Domain Name Hijacking” had taken place:

Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

Respondent has requested, based on the evidence presented, that the Panel make a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. In view of the unique facts of this case, in which the evidence demonstrates that Respondent offered to give the Domain Name to Complainant for no charge, with no strings attached, the Panel is inclined to agree. Instead of accepting the Domain Name, Complainant brought this proceeding. A finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking seems to this Panel to be appropriate in the circumstances.

Ron Paul’s supporters are puzzled as to why Ron Paul decided to use WIPO, a UN agency, in an attempt to confiscate the domain name instead of simply accepting it as a free gift. “We’re expecting to wake up any minute now and find out that this was all a big misunderstanding”, said Tim Martin of RonPaul.org.

The supporters at RonPaul.org are represented by Booth Sweet LLP of Cambridge, MA.

Download the Decision (PDF)

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23 Comments:

  1. The following things are going on: after the entire race allegations he is most definitely very conscience about avoiding such a situation again; remember, if and when he would have acquired the website, he would be endorsing fully all the content on it and if by chance there could be something perceived to be racist, he would be scrutinized. It would be harder to dodge a second bullet regarding race allegations - he no longer is sheltered by his army of supporters.

    After look at the Jesse Benton fiasco it is highly plausible that Ron Paul may not be handling his lawyers properly either. Therefore they could have used the UN as an avenue without him recognizing the magnitude of what was happening, providing this was the case and he was made aware of it after it happening, it would be even further problematic if he was to make a u-turn. As so, it would have most certainly made more sense if he just acquired the website.

    Lastly, I would like to stress that you are overstating the extent to which he has done wrong; just as I do not in any shape or form endorse his actions, likewise, I do find myself unable to do so without equally appreciating your oversimplification of the situation. Whilst I may be wrong, and I will acknowledge if I am, however, we have yet to hear Ron Paul's side of the story. Thus, you should refrain from jumping on to conclusions and sugarcoat your assertions.

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  2. You guys could just give Ron Paul this domain and move your whole site to RonPaulFans.com or something similar. Instead you valued your "email lists" at hundreds of thousands of dollars and tried to sell him that and the website. That's absurd.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  3. In light of a LIFETIME of integrity and heroism that (very likely) no one reading this can match, I'll just assume there's more to this story than I've read here... I'd sure like to hear Ron Paul's side.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  4. I've always loved the good doctor, but I don't understand why he didn't simply pay the $250,000 and take the free website. It would have been a well deserved "thank you" to the site owners for all the unpaid campaign work they did on his behalf.

    And, even if the site owners made a profit, good for them. Some people make hamburgers, some people deliver newspapers, and some people decide to profit off of promoting something good. Like Ron Paul. Liberty. Freedom.

    The site owners did nothing wrong here in my view.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  5. I have been a major fan of Ron Paul since 2007 but for the first time this has me asking "who is the real Ron Paul?" The fact that he could appeal to a UN body for ANYTHING really makes me start asking questions... like is he under outside influence (i.e. mind control) of those who wish to damage the libertarian movement... or does he personally have an ulterior motive... So far I believe in his message 100% but after this I'm going to be wondering what's really going on behind the scenes in his organization.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 7

    • Most likely it's Ron Paul's lawyers who suggested using WIPO based on professional experience rather than political consideration. Out of four (or five now, I think) providers, WIPO is one of the more established ones in resolving domain name-trademark disputes where the complainant and respondent are in two different countries.

      It just happens that WIPO is part of the UN, making it an arguably convenient excuse for some people to put political color in an otherwise civil dispute between two parties. I understand, though, that Ron Paul's actions is creating some rather...disillusionment among those who believe/d in his causes.

      Edit: ooops, it turns out I already commented that here. But anywho, hope this gives an idea.

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      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. Give up the site and start something else with your time. The people posting here are amazing.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  7. If i remember correctly, this was all Lew Rockwell's doing. I don't think RP even knows what a domain name is ...

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

    • This would explain a lot. There is no reason why RP has to have his name as the url for his new ventures, except that it plays into the disgusting personality cult society we have. Witness LewRockwell.com v. many other url choices that deliver a liberty message. Nevertheless, blaming Lew or RP's lawyers is ridiculous. RP is to blame and I'll never view him in the same way after this attempt at theft.

      Even though I do appreciate all he's done, I really started to have my doubts about PR when he backed away from his original stand of separating school and state in the run up to the 2008 election--as if that would have gotten him over the hump.

      Moral of the story, nobody's perfect.

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      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  8. the 1st comment I saw on here had it mostly right(who was that Dan..ha & im Dan) ...any way,if Dr Paul would have excepted it as a Gift,he would be responsible for everything done on that site while it was not in his control,long story short it could be a BS racist news letter story all over again,somthing on the site maybe could be takin out of context to look racist against my kind...but its all pointless,Dr Pauls body of work out weighs any of this nonsence

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  9. If he accepted the site as a gift, he would take responsibility for, and endorse everything on the site, even in the past. If he went through the other channel, he can always say, if there was something questionable on the site-it wasn't me.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  10. More than likely his legal team did this on his behalf without his knowledge. Lawyers are after whatever money they can bill regardless of how it helps or hurts their clients.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  11. This seems odd. Which means all the information is not completely known. To me, for someone like RP to suddenly violate his beliefs would only, in my mind, indicate one of a very few options.

    1. Complete and utter infiltration of one or both parties here.
    2. Some kind of threat on RP to do something that he is completely against, which would probably have to be beyond a personal death threat, but family?
    3. PDH (Pain Drug Hypnosis). (which is outlined in the book Psychopolitics - the bible for political control using drugs and mass media control, implemented by some of the Psychiatrists that Advised Hitler). http://members.iimetro.com.au/~hubbca/psychopolitics.htm
    4. Or something worse... He's a douche flopper.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  12. What happened here? This does not sound like something he could have done. Blows my mind. I hope more comes to the surface about this.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  13. I remember when he filed with WIPO, it was the first time I completely disagreed with something he said or did. And it was so out of character for him, to go through the *UN*'s WIPO process, instead of simply accepting the gift from his supporters. Someone must be giving him terrible advice.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

    • Most likely his lawyers told him WIPO was a better choice professionally rather than politically, albeit it can't be helped that some people (for whatever reason) believe there was some political color to that decision.

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      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. Something doesn't smell right about any of this.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  15. This sounds like a troll who set this up to make him look bad. I don't believe this story or its assertions. It seems lately that the status quo is losing control and lashing out in any unethical form they possibly can. Every organization is eventually infiltrated by the corrupt politicians who hold America in a chokehold. Is this the best they could do to make this man, of the highest integrity, have such a minimal shadow cast upon him. I trust Ron Paul before I trust whomever brought this story to light. You obviously are digging deep to try to discredit a pillar of this society regardless if you think your bringing truth to bear, you are off track.

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    Highly rated. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 6

  16. Don't Drone me Bro

    It's selfish to hold onto this site. Perhaps it would be better to put your pride to the side. And, to top it off, bad press and the expected media spin will result, and hinder anything good you thought would come out of this. I'm not sure what you guys are thinking?

    You worked five hard years, great. Good job. We all applaud you for your work. Now, put your ego to the side and give the man the domain as you stated before.

    You are holding back whatever Ron Paul and his team would like to do with this domain for selfish reasons.

    Plus, I'm sure he would have a better webpage design than what you have on here as well.

    Just my two cents.

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    Highly rated. What do you think? Thumb up 23 Thumb down 13

  17. I love the good doctor Paul- but as a loyal Ron Paul supporter i have to hold your feet to the fire sir! You taught me too good for this

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 11

  18. when it comes to who did more to spread the message its Ron Paul not ronpaul.com

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    Highly rated. What do you think? Thumb up 28 Thumb down 3

  19. It makes no sense that Mr. Paul would file that kind of complaint when the group clearly offered him the domain with no strings attached. I'm a supporter of Mr. Paul, but this really throws me off.

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    Hotly debated. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 8

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