When I was initially looking to acquire a geodomain name, I was assured by a number of people that there would not likely be any issues regarding owning a domain name that comprises the name of a city or town. In the 5+ years of owning at least two geodomain names, this has proven to be true, with nary a complaint received. Unfortunately for one guy, this isn’t the case.
Staci Zaretsky shares an interesting story on the Above the Law legal website concerning the WestOrange.info geodomain name. WestOrange.info is owned by a person named Jake Freivald who had built a “rudimentary” website about the town of West Orange, New Jersey. According to the article, “it doesn’t look like a site that’s sponsored by West Orange in any way, shape, or form — unless the town hired middle schoolers to create its online presence.”
That apparently didn’t stop the town attorney from sending Mr. Freivald a cease and desist letter (C&D) for attempting to “confuse and conflate the Township’s official domain name and Web site.” In response to this legal letter, Mr. Freivald’s attorney, Stephen B. Kaplitt (who represented him pro bono), sent a very funny response. Both of these letters can be read on the Above the Law article.
Receiving a C&D letter from an attorney can be concerning for a domain owner (and sometimes intimidating), and many simply hand over the domain name in question to prevent legal action from being pursued. It’s great to see that the owner of the domain name was represented, at no cost, to reply to this threatening letter.