Publisher, Author, and Lawyer Try to Strongarm Individual Out of Her Domain Name

Web pub­lish­er Katie Jones has owned the domain name katie.com since 1996. 

In 2001, the Plume imprint of Pen­guin Put­nam  pub­lished a book by Katie Tar­box, an 18-year-old who (will­ing­ly!) got involved with a cyber­stalk­er when she was 13. The orig­i­nal book title was Girl.com, but they changed it because that’s a porn site. Obvi­ous­ly, they knew that giv­ing the book the name of a domain was sig­nif­i­cant. They did not, how­ev­er, approach Katie Jones before decid­ing to pub­lish the book as Katie.com.

The pub­lish­er has repeat­ed­ly tried to force Katie Jones out of her domain name, claim­ing SHE is a cyber­squat­ter. Jones has had to spend a lot of mon­ey fight­ing their efforts, and a lot of time respond­ing to the harass­ment and unwant­ed mes­sages she is receiv­ing because of their delib­er­ate mis­use of her domain name.

Now Par­ry Aftab, who has for years been involved in“internet safe­ty orga­ni­za­tions (CyberAngels in the past, now Wired­Safe­ty), is harass­ing Katie Jones. She claims to be the lawyer rep­re­sent­ing Katie Tar­box (a stu­pid twit who can’t even man­age to use prop­er spelling on her own site). Accord­ing to Jones, Aftab has made threats like “it’ll only get worse” if Jones does­n’t donate the domain name to her orga­ni­za­tion. Note that she isn’t offer­ing to buy the name, which would be far more honorable.

Aftab is also claim­ing that Jones has no legal right to sell the domain to any­one, because of its asso­ci­a­tion with the book.

If you’re as ticked off as I am, let the fol­low­ing peo­ple know:

Clare Fer­raro — Pres­i­dent, Plume Books
David Shanks — CEO, Pen­guin Group (USA) Inc.
Susan Petersen Kennedy — Pres­i­dent, Pen­guin Group (USA) Inc. and Chair­man, Plume Books
375 Hud­son Street
New York, NY 10014
800–631-8571

John Makin­son — Chair­man and CEO, The Pen­guin Group
80 Strand
Lon­don, Eng­land WC2R ORL
Tel: 011–020-7010–3000
Fax: 011–020-7010–6060

Cur­rent Mood: pissed off
Cyn is a proud Mommy & Mémé, professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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