Assembly, Senate Pass Cyber Piracy Legislation to Protect Consumers and Small Business

June 27, 2007

The State Legislature has passed a bill to stop “cyber piracy”, which is the unscrupulous practice of taking someone’s name, without their consent, in order to profit by selling that domain name for financial gain.

The legislation defines cyber piracy and enables the New York Attorney General to seek injunctive relief and forfeiture from a domain name registrar.

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and Senator Elizabeth O’C. Little sponsored bill

A.6628-B/S.3814-B to prohibit the registration of a domain name that consists of the name of another living person, or a name substantially and confusingly similar, with the specific goal to profit from selling the domain name for financial gain to that person or any third party. The bill provides for injunctive relief and other civil penalties.

Assemblywoman Galef cited an example of a cigar store owner in Westchester County who was upset that he could not register his business on the Internet because there were no available names that contained the word “Cigar”. She added that this owner then discovered that an individual had registered many of the names and would sell him one for $2,500.

Galef stated, “Today in New York, individuals search and obtain the names of newly licensed businesses, and then register domain names identical or similar to those businesses, with the sole purpose of selling the domain names to the business. The small business owner is then obliged to pay for the domain name. These are commonly becoming part of small businesses’ start-up costs. This legislation was designed to put a stop to these unscrupulous practices.”

Senator Little said, “An Internet presence is a must for almost all businesses today. An essential part of attracting and keeping customers is having a web address that is easy to remember and helps point people, searching the web, in the direction of your business. We believe it’s wrong to buy up domain names reflecting the names of existing people or businesses with the intention of selling the names for a profit back to those persons or businesses.”

For more information on this legislation, contact the offices of Assemblywoman Galef at 914-941-1111 or Senator Little at 518-455-2811.