NEW YORK, NY – It’s going to be a sad day for all domainers if and when Mrs. Heidi Powell loses ownership of her domain name “HeidiPowell.com”. Some of you may have read my original article on this topic earlier this month and some of you may not. Some of you may have even helped contribute to Heidi’s GoFundMe campaign to help her fight this nonsense legal battle – but again, some of you may not. Now I don’t know exactly how big the domain community is – but it is sure bigger than the measly 27 people who have made a contribution to help.
I think it would be great if anyone who has not yet contributed already – would do so, because in one way or another, it’s going to set some legal precedent that I am confident none of us want to see. It’s just a bad situation, getting worse.
I for one am very hopeful that Heidi Powell is going to maintain the right to continue using HeidiPowell.com as she has been for the last twelve years – because that’s the right thing to happen here; but the right thing is not always what plays out in the court room, and that’s why it is important to take an extra few minutes and think about what it going on here.
Someone who has every right to operate their very own domain name, which is the “exact spelling” of their legal name, is at risk of their domain name being stolen from them in an attempt to utilize the legal system to simply “take” or even “steal” something away from its rightful owner – and I don’t like it one bit, and you shouldn’t either.
HeidiPowell.com belongs to Mrs. Heidi Powell who lives with her husband Kent Powell in Washington State. She has owned the website address since 2005 and currently uses the domain and has been awarded the right to continue to use the domain after some other Heidi Powell who lives in Arizona wanted it and tried using a cyber-squatting claim against its original owner – that didn’t work.
Now, wishful and relentless Heidi Powell from Arizona has been working on a new different strategy, even sneakier than the first, to steal the domain name and she has lawyer’s hard working on this. These lawyers are working diligently making offers to a court [or trustee] in an attempt to convince them to go back in time, re-open an old case, and label the domain name an “asset” so that it can be determined to have been unlawfully excluded from a disclosure of assets in an old bankruptcy proceeding, where at the time, the domain name had no value and no legitimate reason to have been claimed an asset in the first place.
What’s that old saying? Money Talks…
Wishful and relentless Heidi Powell as well as her husband Chris Powell, are popular fitness trainers with a television show on a major network and likely have a decent amount of money to play games in this case – on the other side of the court room is original owner Heidi Powell and her husband of 37 years, ordinary folks, senior citizens in fact.
Fitness Trainer Heidi Powell first offered $10,000 to the bankruptcy court to reopen the case and claim the domain an asset or “property” so that she could purchase it through the re-opened bankruptcy proceeding. When that was not enough to cause the case to be reopened, they offered more, $20,000 now, according to reports. This is expected to work this time, at least enough to reopen the case.
What was originally “unclear” if the domain name was an asset at that time in addition to being, again, “unclear” whether Debtors properly claimed the exemption in the domain name, apparently has become “much clearer now” to the court or bankruptcy trustee – clear enough to reopen the proceeding.
- So is this domain name going to now be effectively stolen from its rightful owner this time around, or will the court see this as exactly what it is; a means to use the legal system for outright theft?
- Will Heidi Powell loose the right to own HeidiPowell.com simply because she did not have the financial means to counter continual offers to keep her own property?
I don’t know, because I am not a bankruptcy attorney, but it’s sure not looking or sounding good at all.
Something just doesn’t seem right here and while I’m a karma type of believer, I’m also not a procrastinator that likes to wait around till the last minute. Hopefully rightful owner Heidi Powell has some good lawyers that are going to put the needed energy into this case and/or are going to figure out some loophole around this, or are going to know how to find some good case law that will prove that it is either too late now or it was not intentionally excluded and cannot be done later in time. They’re going to have to find something.
This is now round two [round 1, cybersquatting, was graciously handled and won by David E. Weslow pro-bono] – this time, the bankruptcy attorney working the case is NOT pro-bono; the defense has to be paid for by Heidi and Kent Powell.
This is why each and every domain owner should consider if this exact scenario was happening to them, or someone they cared about, and try to contribute, even just a few dollars, to this legal fight, so that Heidi Powell and her husband can maintain a reasonable and adequate defense.
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Internet Marketing Services Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, is a Google AdWords Certified Professional, authored a ‘how to’ book called ”Mastering Your Website‘, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy brand Searchen Networks®