domainwatch.org

Friday January 6 2006

Nominet wins data mining case (Chesley Rafferty + Bradley Norrish)

Filed under: Bradley Norrish, Chesley Rafferty, UK Internet Registry — Josh @ 7:18 am

from: http://www.vnunet.com/2148077

” …

Nominet wins data mining case
Fraudsters ’scraped’ WHOIS database to send misleading domain name notices

Ken Young, vnunet.com 05 Jan 2006

Nominet UK, the national registry for all .uk domain names, has been awarded more than AUS$1.3m in damages following a data mining scam that led to thousands of Nominet registrants receiving misleading domain name notices.

Legal firm Pinsent Masons said that the case goes back to January 2003 when Nominet discovered that its WHOIS database, which lists domain names and their owners, had been illegally mined.

Details of registrants were “scraped” from the database and 50,000 registrants received misleading notices from an unknown “UK internet registry”.

The unsolicited notices resembled invoices and tried to sell .com names to the holders of .uk names.

Nominet warned its registrants to disregard the notices, and began an investigation which led to Chesley Rafferty and Bradley Norrish and three of their companies (Diverse Internet Pty Ltd, Internet Payments Pty Ltd and Seychelles-based UK Internet Registry Ltd).

In September 2004 Rafferty and Norrish, together with their three companies, were found liable for copyright infringement and breaches of Australian fair trade laws by copying data from Nominet’s WHOIS service, and issuing misleading domain name registration notices.

Nominet has been awarded damages for copyright infringement of AUS$810,953, with additional damages of AUS$500,000 to reflect the “flagrancy” of the breaches.

The latter award is one of the highest additional damages awards ever made by the Australian courts, according to Nominet. The defendants are also liable for the costs of the proceedings.

“We take the protection of our intellectual property and copyright ownership very seriously, both as the core of our business and in protecting our .uk registrants from domain name scams,” said Nominet chief executive Lesley Cowley.

“This judgment not only recognises the value of Nominet’s domain name register, but underlines the responsibility of legal systems worldwide in tackling internet scams.

“By fighting, and winning, this case we are very clearly showing that scamming is a serious industry issue which will not be tolerated.”

Struan Robertson, editor of Pinsent Masons’ Out-law website, explained that the case was a civil action rather than a criminal proceeding.

“The WHOIS database is in the public domain, but you are not entitled to scrape it and use it in this way. They may also have been ‘passing off’ by pretending to be a Nominet representative,” he said.

“It was copyright infringement on a large scale but, because it is a civil action, there is no threat of a custodial sentence in such a case.”

… “

Domain scammers hit for $2.3m for UK sting (Chesley Rafferty + Bradley Norrish)

Filed under: Bradley Norrish, Chesley Rafferty, UK Internet Registry — Josh @ 7:14 am

from: http://networks.silicon.com/webwatch/0,39024667,39155298,00.htm

” …

Domain scammers hit for $2.3m for UK sting
‘Renew now or lose your website’ fraud costs them dearly…

By Will Sturgeon

Published: Tuesday 03 January 2006

Two scam artists who duped victims with bogus demands for domain name registration have been hit for AU$2.3m (£980,000) by an Australian court.

Brad Norrish and Chesley Rafferty copied personal information from the Whois listings of Nominet, the dot-uk domain registrar. They then contacted around 50,000 domain owners and told them they must pay a fee or risk losing their domain.

The pair were found guilty of “flagrant” disregard for Nominet’s copyright and ordered to pay AU$1.3m in damages to the registrar, after it was forced to close down its Whois database. They were also hit with AU$1m in costs.

Lesley Cowley, CEO of Nominet, said the company takes “protection of our intellectual property and copyright ownership very seriously”.

Cowley said in a statement the need to protect its customers is also paramount and praised the international co-operation which had secured the conviction.

She said: “By fighting, and winning, this case we are very clearly showing that scamming is a serious industry issue which will not be tolerated.”

… “

Amende de € 1,4 million pour deux fraudeurs (Bradley Norrish + Chesley Rafferty)

from: http://www.domainesinfo.fr/article.php?art_id=813 (French)

Translated into English by Google: http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.domainesinfo.fr%2Farticle.php%3Fart_id%3D813&langpair=fr%7Cen&hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&prev=%2Flanguage_tools

” …

Amend € 1,4 million for two defrauders
4 Jan 2006

An Australian court has just sent a very clear signal to the swindlers: to give false opinion of expiry or recording of domain names is a serious, detrimental act and severely punished.

To have usurped the law from the copyright, two defrauders have just bailed out of a fine of 2,3 million Australian dollars, that is to say a little more than 1,4 million euros.

An exemplary judgment for a couple of swindler emblematic. Because Brad Norrish and Chesley Rafferty made much speak about them since two years and half. The two “contractors” had succeeded in plundering the base of data WHOIS of the English register Nominet, thus obtaining the co-ordinates of owners of domain names.

They had used this information to make false opinion and to send them within the framework of mailings of mass to the owners of names. The opinions, seemingly very official, tried to convince the “victim” to pay at the full price is the renewal of a name which it did not even have, that is to say the recording of a name “potentially interesting” for this victim and currently available.

Serious consequences

Approximately 50 000 owners of names would have been concerned with this operation, launched while using companies like Domain Names Australia (DNA) based in Melbourne in Australia.

The consequences of this business had been very serious since Nominet, which carried felt sorry for against the two men in 2003, was obliged temporarily to close its base WHOIS to protect it.

In addition, in Australia, several governmental organizations gathered to prevent this kind of swindle. An interesting initiative at the time when, in France, one has noted for a few months a recrudescence of attempts at frauds. Thus several known companies would have been contacted by so-called registry offices indicating to them that they had just received a request for recording on names attacking the laws the company. The latter then saw herself encouraging to record the names “in a preventive way” by the company in question.

Source:
The Australian

… “

Thursday January 5 2006

Nominet wins damages in data mining dispute (Chesley Rafferty + Bradley Norrish)

Filed under: Bradley Norrish, Chesley Rafferty, UK Internet Registry — Josh @ 8:45 pm

from: http://www.out-law.com/page-6498

” …

Nominet wins damages in data mining dispute

OUT-LAW News, 04/01/2006

Nominet UK, the national registry for all .uk domain names, has been awarded AUD $1.3 million (£550,000) in damages following a data mining scam that led to thousands of Nominet registrants receiving misleading domain name notices.

The case dates back to January 2003, when Nominet discovered that its WHOIS database – which lists domain names and their owners – had been subjected to unauthorised data mining. The details of registrants were ’scraped’ from Nominet’s database and 50,000 registrants received misleading notices from an outfit calling itself “UK Internet Registry”.

The unsolicited notices resembled invoices and tried to sell .com names to the holders of .uk names.

At the time, Nominet warned its registrants to disregard the notices and began an investigation, which traced back to two Australian suspects, Chesley Rafferty and Bradley Norrish, and three of their companies – Diverse Internet Pty Ltd, Internet Payments Pty Ltd and Seychelles-based UK Internet Registry Ltd.

Rafferty and Norrish, together with their three companies, were found liable in September 2004 for copyright infringement and breaches of Australian fair trade laws by copying data from Nominet’s WHOIS service, and issuing misleading domain name registration notices.

Nominet has now been awarded damages for copyright infringement of AUS$810,953, with additional damages of AUS$500,000 to reflect the “flagrancy” of the breaches. This latter award is one of the highest additional damages awards ever made by the Australian Courts, according to Nominet.

The defendants are also liable for the costs of the proceedings.

“We take protection of our intellectual property and copyright ownership very seriously, both as the core of our business and in protecting our .uk registrants from domain name scams,” said Nominet’s CEO, Lesley Cowley.

“This judgment not only recognises the value of Nominet’s domain name register but also underlines the responsibility of legal systems worldwide in tackling internet scams. By fighting, and winning, this case we are very clearly showing that scamming is a serious industry issue which will not be tolerated,” she added.

… “

Wednesday January 4 2006

Domain scam duo fined AU$2.3m (Bradley Norrish + Chesley Rafferty)

Filed under: Bradley Norrish, Chesley Rafferty, UK Internet Registry — Josh @ 7:45 am

from: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/01/03/domain_scam/

” …

Domain scam duo fined AU$2.3m
Oz crooks pommelled over Nominet attack
By John Leyden
Published Tuesday 3rd January 2006 16:53 GMT

A pair of fraudsters who made millions using a domain registration scam have been ordered to pay AU$2.3m (£980,000) by an Australian court.

Brad Norrish and Chesley Rafferty conned victims into stumping up non-existent fees under the threat that they risked losing their domain names unless they paid up. The duo used data from domain name registrar Nominet to produce authentic-looking notices that lent credibility to the trick, the Australian reports.

Up to 50,000 UK website owners were targeted in the scam. Nominet was forced to take the extreme step of disabling its publicly available database as a result of the scam.

Judge Robert French, of a Perth-based Australian Federal Court, ruled that Norrish and Rafferty had flagrantly breached copyright laws and ordered them to pay A$1.3m damages to Nominet plus an estimated A$1m in legal fees.

The ruling brings to an end a two-and-a-half year legal fight by Nominet that began when the UK domain-name registrar sued Norrish and Rafferty in 2003.

… “

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