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Domain Spoofer Fined $15,000

Domain Spoofer Fined $15,000
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Jun 24, 2008 9:00 AM PDT    Text size: 
CANMORE, BC — Surfers searching for a high-end bicycle retailer may have been surprised to find gay porn instead — but not as surprised as the Canadian man who has been fined $15,000 for the malicious domain spoofing behind it.

In a case that has implications for all domain name owners, Ryan Draper was convicted of "corporate sabotage" for his actions against his former employer, Inform Cycle Ltd., which operates a website at InformCycle.ca.

After leaving the company to work for competitor Rebound Inc., Draper registered the domain name InformCycle.com; redirecting visitors to the Rebound website.

Draper later changed the redirect to send visitors to a gay website and then left for Costa Rica.

Subsequently, one of Rebound's owners was able to find Draper, obtain his password and stop the redirect.

While Draper reportedly apologized to Inform Cycle owner Patrick Griffith for the incident, his claim that it was done because Griffith owed him money was discounted by Justice Scott Brooker, who noted that no such claim was previously made.

"Draper's excuse for his actions is incredulous," Brooker said.

Draper was fined $5,000 for attempting to pass the site off as being associated with Rebound and fined an additional $5,000 for defamation due to portraying Inform as being associated with gay porn.

Despite Draper's claim that he was owed money, Brooker found his conduct reprehensible.

According to the Calgary Sun, Brooker said that Draper's conduct "was malicious and warranted punitive damages over and above Inform's losses."

"Draper deliberately and, in my view, maliciously, forwarded the '.com' website to an explicit gay pornographic website for a period of 16 days," Brooker said. "In fact, I find that the true reason for Draper's actions was to embarrass and harm Inform and its principals, the Griffiths, by attempting to link them to this smut."

As a result, Brooker added $5,000 in punitive damages, bringing Draper's total fine to $15,000.

The exact number of customers that were redirected to the gay porn site is unknown.

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