Digital theft is incredibly common in this day and age; especially with people illegally downloading software and music every second all over the world. What you don’t usually hear about, however, is people stealing Web sites themselves, or in this case, Web site addresses.
In the case of Daniel Goncalves, a 26-year-old New Jersey man, he stole a domain name and then resold it to someone else. But unlike a regular domain name that you can find on godaddy.com for about $10, this domain, P2P.com, was first bought for $160,000, and was resold by the thief on eBay for more than $100,000.
Goncalves got access to the domain by hacking into the domain owner’s e-mail account and stealing his log-in information. He then transferred it to his own Go Daddy account, and tried to fake a PayPal transaction between himself and the owner.
But it wasn’t too long before Albert Angel, the original owner, realized what had happened and took the crook to court. Luckily for Angel, stealing and reselling a digital asset like a domain name required the thief to use his real identity for the transaction, meaning he was setting himself up for failure from the beginning.
In court, the judge easily saw through the fake PayPal transaction and found Goncalves guilty. Since this is the first time in history that someone tried, and effectively stole a Web domain name, the judge wasn’t too sure what the crook’s punishment should be. However, since the domain was in the $100,000′s, five years in jail seemed like a fair sentence.