Previous Owner Of Sues French Government After Domain Gets Seized

Image via Shutterstock

A French-born New Yorker, who initially owns, is suing the French government after the domain name has been turned over to the country.

The website has been a “digital kiosk” for tourists since 1994, but now it redirects viewers to the English version of the government’s official site Jean-Noel Frydman, who is the previous owner of the website now wants to regain control.

He mentioned in the lawsuit that the government is well-aware of his website and doings, but was seized by the French after a three-year long battle in court.

Frydman registered the domain in 1994, and the website was up and running a year and half later, according to CNBC. He built the website and often find himself collaborating with the French tourism agency. The website, which was worth million of dollars per year, had information on the French culture and travelling around the country.

Unfortunately in 2015, the French government accused Frydman for building the website in “bad faith” and claimed that the domain belongs to the government. The Paris courts supported the government and transferred the domain name’s ownership to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in March 2018.

Frydman counter-sued, accusing the government of “cyber-squatting” and taking away the domain name of the owner. He said that the French government has no right to the name in the US, and the act has destroyed “20 years of investment of work.”

The lawsuit filed by Frydman included the names of French Republic, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, government tourist agency Atout France, internet company Verisign and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian as the defendants.

The defendants have misused the French judicial system and claimed that they are entitled to take a domain containing the word “France.”

The lawsuit also demanded the government to pay for “lost earnings during this period.” The fee could come up to a substantial amount as the documents stated that the advertising revenue costs millions per year.

[via Newsweek, opening image via Shutterstock]

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