Friday January 6 2006

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


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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.”

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

from: (French)

Translated into English by Google:

” …

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.

The Australian

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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


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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.

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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


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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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Tuesday December 13 2005

Internet fraudsters must pay (Chesley Rafferty + Bradley Norrish)


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Internet fraudsters must pay
Vanda Carson
December 13, 2005

TWO internet geeks who made a fortune by misleading net users must pay $2.3million, after a court found they flagrantly broke copyright laws in an elaborate scam.

Brad Norrish and Chesley Rafferty were the brains behind a massive operation to copy personal information from 2.2million websites on a UK domain-name register in January 2003.

They used the information to send authentic-looking notices to 50,000 website owners, telling them to pay a fee or risk losing their domain name.

In a decision handed down last week in the Federal Court in Perth, judge Robert French said the award of $1.3million damages plus an estimated $1million in legal costs was justified.

He said their conduct was “flagrant” and that the internet register, called Nominet, had been forced to disable its publicly accessible database, a “drastic” and unique response to a cyber attack on its security systems.

The judgment marked the end of a 2 1/2-year legal battle that began when Nominet sued the pair and their associated companies.

Mr Rafferty, who became bankrupt in October, and the pair’s companies — including Mr Rafferty’s Seychelles-based company — settled the suit before the civil trial in June last year.

Mr Norrish argued he was not liable for breaching copyright and fair trading laws.

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Nominet UK v Diverse Internet Pty Ltd (No 2) [2005] FCA 1773 (7 December 2005)

” …

Nominet UK v Diverse Internet Pty Ltd (No 2) [2005] FCA 1773 (7 December 2005)
Last Updated: 7 December 2005


Nominet UK v Diverse Internet Pty Ltd (No 2) [2005] FCA 1773

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY – copyright – infringement – assessment of damages – infringement of domain name Register Database – copying of lists of registrants and relevant information – basis for assessment – notional reasonable royalty – not limited to entries actually used – additional damages – punitive character – relevant considerations – flagrancy of infringement – need for deterrence – costs of action

Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) s 115(2), s 115(4)
Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) s 601AB(1), s 601AH
Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth)

Nominet UK v Diverse Internet Pty Ltd (2004) 63 IPR 543 cited
General Tyre & Rubber Co v Firestone and Rubber Company Ltd [1976] RPC 117 cited
LED Builders Pty Ltd v Eagle Homes Pty Ltd (1999) 44 IPR 24 cited
CAJ Amadio Constructions Pty Ltd v Kitchen (1992) 23 IPR 284 cited
Prince Manufacturing Inc v Abac Corp Australia Pty Ltd (1984) 4 IPR 104 cited
Sullivan v FNH Investments Pty Ltd (2003) 57 IPR 63 cited

NSD 1040 OF 2003




ACN 096 827 619)

(ACN 097 324 868)





Procedural Orders

1. To the extent necessary, the requirements of the Federal Court (Corporations) Rules with regard to the filing and service of the application for reinstatement of the registration of the Second Respondent and supporting documents be dispensed with.

2(a) The Sixth Respondent reinstate the registration of the Second Respondent pursuant to s 601AH(2) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) for the purposes of enabling the Applicant to obtain and enforce any judgment in these proceedings as against the Second Respondent.

(b) The damages awards made herein shall take effect against the Second Respondent upon the reinstatement of its registration.

(c) The Applicant is to inform the Sixth Respondent when no further steps remain to be taken in relation to enforcement of the judgment against the Second Respondent.

(d) Liberty to the Sixth Respondent to apply for further directions if necessary.

3. All DVDs containing the images of the Respondents’ computer hard drives as held by Blake Dawson Waldron pursuant to paragraph 4 of the Orders of 26 September 2003 and paragraph 4 of the Orders of 24 December 2003 be delivered up to Allens Arthur Robinson for destruction.


4. Damages are awarded in favour of the Applicant against the first, second, third and fourth respondents jointly and severally:

(a) in the sum of $810,953 being damages for infringement of copyright pursuant to s 115(2) of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).

(b) in the sum of $500,000, being additional damages for infringement of copyright pursuant to s 115(4) of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).


5(a) The Respondents are to pay the Applicant’s costs of the proceedings for which they shall be liable jointly and severally other than the costs of the hearing as to liability which shall be borne by the Third Respondent alone.

(b) The costs are to be taxed as one set provided that a supplementary bill may be prepared against the Third Respondent in respect of the hearing as to liability.

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