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Porn Site Hijacks Non-Profit

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Oct 28, 2003 12:00 AM PST    Text size: 
NEW YORK, New York – In September of this year, a porn company took over the web address belonging to the Joey DiPaolo Aids Foundation and an arbitration panel has been asked to sort through the mess.

The website's namesake, Joey DiPaolo, was diagnosed with HIV during open-heart surgery in 1984 and later died of AIDS in 1988. The Joey DiPaolo foundation and website are used for fundraising and public awareness purposes.

Trademarked in 1998, the DiPaolo website (joeydipaoloaids.org) has been forwarding visitors to a porn site since Sept. 2 which features hardcore sex acts, porn videos, sex toys, and links to an underage teen sex site.

The porn company, which is registered with Washington State-based domain reseller eNom.com, is owned by Artur Genro of New York City. Although the DiPaolo foundation's lawyer, John Parnese, has been unable to locate Genro in person; registered letters have gone unanswered, and postal and phone records have failed to lead to Genro's whereabouts.

eNom, Inc. is an ICANN accredited registrar and has been in business since 1997, specializing in domain name registration and related services.

However, when XBiz contacted eNom.com, company Vice President Matt said that the Who Is data on the Joey DiPaolo site expired prior to the switchover to the porn company and that the people running the foundation are to blame for the mishaps.

"What that tells you is that the guys who had it registered in the first place let it expire and then someone came to eNom and found it available and bought it," Matt told XBiz.

In the meantime, an arbitration panel has been asked to decide whether the Joey DiPaolo AIDS Foundation has exclusive rights to the use of its name on the web. Parnese is hoping that the panel will eventually be able to request that eNom.com return the website domain name to its rightful owner.

The panel was petitioned in early October by Parnese, who is claiming that his client's state and federal trademark has been violated.

That decision could come in the next few weeks, Parnese reported.

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