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GoDaddy user reviews : Good idea to buy GoDaddy?? Domains = assets ... could it be seized property

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Backdrop:.

In several threads recently, several people have made the point that US judgements don't apply to persons living in foreign countries (or can't be enforced). This got me thinking. When a person is awarded a judgement, it is up to that person to collect his judgement, that means going after the assets of the person he was awarded the judgement from (property liens, wage garnishments). So in the case where a US citizen was a awarded a judgement form a person located in Taiwan, the judgement would be uncollectable.

Facts (or assumed facts):.

Domains are assets and PPC is revenue.

Jurisdiction of the TLDs are located in the US (which is why lawsuits are filed in the US).

The Discussion:.

If a person is awarded a judgement in the US, what is to stop him from going after other assets located on US soil (other domains the defendant owns)? Would there be a way to attached a lien or even go a step farther and obtain his other valuable .coms/.nets./orgs he may own. After all, they are assets and assets could be seized. So if the defendant have 500 valuable .coms, the plaintiff takes them as payment of the lawsuit won. A fair market price could be established. Or how about the the value be just a renewal fee? (I know if that was possible, the value of the domains would only be a renewal fee since that is the only real value that could be attained).

Additionally, if that person is using PPC that is US based, why couldn't the that monies be "garnished". I know once the defendant realizes that his PPC is garnished, he would switch to an offshore company. But someone could be collecting some compensation before that happens.

Object:.

Opening or closing a loophole (it would depend on which side of the lawsuit you are on). I know if I was awarded a big judgement, I would do all I could to collect on it. Then again, if I was on the wrong end, I don't want there to be anything that could touch my other holdings.

I am looking for insight here and a lively point/counterpoint discussion. If you want to add your 2 cents, give reasons why. If anyone would happen to know any legal stance, let us know.

I do realize this currently is not an option, but maybe it is because no one ever tried it...

Comments (8)

Http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4355863.stm http://technology.guardian.co.uk/onl...840564,00.html Bottom line: if there's a will, there's a way. It's just a matter of someone who.

Will do it and stick to it...

Comment #1

Domains are a leased asset. You can't confiscate it for a debt. You can really only lose a domain in a WIPO or a court case forcing a transfer.

Realistically many domainers prefer it this way. Also to say that domains are real estate or property is a problem since new laws may apply. As it is...domains are worthless as property. Basically a domain is selling a leasing contract from one party to another.

As an interesting example. Let's say you claim personal bankruptcy. I do not believe you have to claim your domains as assets since they are leased. You could own http.com and owe $100,000 to a debtor, claim bankruptcy...and not have to divulge the name.

(caveat: I am not a lawyer so only take my OPINION at face value and seek true legal counsel if you are in this situation)..

Comment #2

Although also not a lawyer, I've nevertheless dealt with many legal cases with lawyers who have been involved in my businesses from time to time. That said, while I can't recall this problem coming up (particularly regarding offshore domains being chased by local creditors), I have heard mumblings that certain domains related to large money-making concerns might be regarded in the future as substantial, such as the online sale of video games, for instance.

It's also tied in with intellectual property, which brings to mind a divorce case from awhile back that went to a high court, wherein a lady claimed that she was entitled to half her husband's income AFTER their divorce, because he was now living off his huge earnings as a songwriter, and she'd supposedly given him the inspiration for those songs DURING their marriage while they were poor! The real shocker? It almost became a precedent, because the judges only barely denied her claim!.

So will huge money-making domains that fuel almost all of the revenue to certain companies ever be considered as legal assets (and thereby also as transferable "property") in the future? In certain exceptional situations, I wouldn't entirely bet against it...

Comment #3

Wow..I agree with Bluesman...this is gonna be a weird day. I think the scenario of domains becoming property is a nightmare waiting to happen. I am sure there are some positives about it but there are definite negatives.

Websites can become intellectual property because they carry code and data. A domain itself though is leased. That's like saying if I licensed a patent to produce widgets they could seize the widgets patent...they can't. I am not aware of any high-court proceedings with domains as assets but I would find it very interesting if one came up...

Comment #4

I do not think it is an asset. I think of domain names as an apartment. While the lease is current and the rent for the flat is paid you hold the right to it, the moment it lapses you lose...

Comment #5

This is an interesting thread. Ponder the idea of a great domain being and asset in an irrevocable trust. That is if a domain somehow in the future could ever actually be "owned". Think of you also as the beneficiary with equitable "ownership" of the name. With the language of the trust allowing you access to it's profits and controll of the name. Nobody could ever take it from you then...

Comment #6

While a domain name can't be "owned", the lease on that name can be owned. after all, that's what domainers buy and sell, isn't it? I would see domain names as being traded on the goodwill of their name.

Consider it akin to a business having a lease on a shopfront in a shopping mall - the business doesn't own the shop, but owns the right to use the shop for a limited period (typically a year) with the right to renew the lease at the end of that period. If you sell the business, some part of the sale price is the goodwill incurred by the traffic past the shopfront - more traffic typically means a higher price. It is not unheard of for a business in a low traffic area to buy the lease off a business in a high traffic area and the businesses relocate.

So I think it would be possible for domain names to be treated as assets which could be seized, just as a lease on a shopfront can be seized and sold should a business go under. A good domain name would carry a high degree of goodwill, so it is worth more than just the reg-fee. (Otherwise, why are we all here?) The real difficulty woukld be getting a reliable appraisal of the value...

Comment #7

I am of the belief we lease domains, I have argued this many times. But comparing domain lease to an apartment lease is like apples and oranges... most apartment leases will not let you sell the lease, or even sublet. You cannot make potential profit from an apartment lease. Now domains, that is a different story. It is treated as "real" property.We all say, I own this name and that name, but have you ever said, I own this apartment or that apartment? What is perception and what is real?.

I do agree that if domains are legally defined by the IRS (I would assume after it is legally recognize by law), it would cuase havoc. Then it would be "real" property subject to leins. Imagine this senario if domains were real property... A judgement is against you, a lien is put agianst your domain... and you cannot renew or transfer your domain until the lein is paid. Or worse yet, the leinholder demands posession of the domain (like buying a house via a tax auction, then kicking the owners out). Is this a scary outlook? heck yea.....

Comment #8


This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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