Interlectual Property

Back in 2008 I wrote about the importance of taking care of any Scouting related internet domains. This has been brought home to me recently as I have been trying to get a website closed!

The three Districts in my area come together to run a Gang Show called ‘Screamline’. This was the first Scout Gang Show to be produced outside of London in 1934. Although it was last produced in 2007 for the Scouting Centenary, it is hoped to be staged again in 2014 for its 80th birthday. When it was announced that it was going to be staged, I thought I’d have a quick look at the website that was set up for it in 2007. It was still running, but on closer inspection, it didn’t look right.

Digging a lot deeper it turned out that the domain expired early last year and wasn’t renewed by the person who had originally registered it as he had, by this time, left Scouting. A few months later, someone else bought the domain, copied the content from the original site, presumably from the Internet Achive, and set it up again but to be used for advertising and spamming on Twitter!

The domain was up for renewal last month and I’d hoped that I would be able to buy it. Sadly, about an hour before it expired, it was renewed.

Basically, the good name of the Gang Show was being potentially damaged by some unknown spammer! I tried to find out who they were, but they’d hidden their identity via an anonymity company in London. However after a phone call to them, they put me in touch with the domain registrar in Canada. I also found out who the hosting company was in America and emailed them both to ask them to take the site down because of the damage to the Show’s reputation and (this is the bit that they take notice of!) the copyright infringement (they’d nicked the old site effectively).

The hosting company totally ignored me, but the company that registered the domain did take the site offline (after about 4 weeks of nagging). Unhappily, a few days later the site came back online with the same advertising stuff, but without any reference to Screamline or any of the actual Gang Show site.

At least the connection between the site and the Gang Show is now broken and the Show’s reputation won’t be associated with spam. It was just a shame I wasn’t able to get the domain back!

This does show that letting domain registrations slip can result in unscrupulous people getting hold of them and using them for dodgy ends and potentially damaging the good name of Scouting.So the message is clear, make sure you keep hold of any domains you register, if you don’t you may not know what they may end up showing!

I haven’t put a link to the site as I don’t think they should get any more traffic to their site. But if you do a search it isn’t hard to find it!

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