Author sues to recover domain pointing to adult content

A 75-year-old grandma was shocked to see what her old domain pointed to.

Picture of scales with the word "lawsuit" imposted on top in a box

A 75-year-old novelist who was shocked to find adult content on her old domain has sued to get the domain name back.

Nelma Jean Bryson has authored many books over the past two decades including an autobiography, a murder mystery and a fairytale.

She used a domain name matching her full name to promote her books. But it appears the domain expired last year and someone registered the domain upon expiration. That person uses the domain to promote graphic adult content.

Local media in North Carolina covered the story, at which point David Weslow, an attorney with Wiley Rein, reached out to see if he could help. Wiley Rein is now representing Bryson pro bono to try to get the domain back.

The firm helped her file an in rem lawsuit (pdf) against the domain name in U.S. District Court in Virginia.

The cybersquatting lawsuit is based on common law rights to her full name as an author.

Bryson hopes the experience and subsequent lawsuit will help bring awareness to what happened and prevent it from happening to others. She stated:

The loss of my domain name has been devasting, and not something I could have ever anticipated or even knew could happen.  Many authors use their name as their domain name to promote their books, and it is more than a simple loss of a domain name that could be replaced when something like this happens.  It is a nightmare when the ripple effect takes that loss into one’s personal and literary lives.

 

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