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28 Nov 2000
Judge orders returned to original owner
Martin Stone, Newsbytes

In a case involving what is arguably the hottest address on the Web, a judge has ordered a multimillionaire sex-site operator hand over the domain name to a San Francisco entrepreneur.

A Reuters report said that US District Judge James Ware ordered Stephen Cohen, who has turned the site into a multimillion dollar pornography business, to surrender the address to San Francisco businessman Gary Kremen, who registered the address in 1994, at the dawn of the Internet's mass-market age.

The report noted that the judgment establishes a landmark in addressing the issue of Internet claim-jumping. According to Kremen's lawyers, Cohen took control of the address in 1995 by presenting forged ownership documentation to Network Solutions Inc., overseer of Web address allocations, now a unit of VeriSign. Through a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, Cohen then turned into a "multimillion dollar sex empire." The site reportedly receives as many as 25 million hits a day, and could be worth as much as $100 million.


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