Former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) is taking a set of entrepreneurs to a body of the United Nations to gain control over the rights to RonPaul.com.
The whole affair stems from the fact that Paul owns neither RonPaul.com nor RonPaul.org, with both instead being owned and maintained by supporters of his. Those same supporters also maintain an e-mail list of over a hundred thousand names, by their count, a valuable asset to any politician or movement leader. When Paul stated on a radio show that he regretted not owning the rights to the domain RonPaul.com, the owners offered what they viewed as a fair price to Paul for ownership of the sites as well as the mailing list.
A quick summary provided by the maintainers of RonPaul.com explains the situation that followed:
The value we put on the deal was $250k; we are getting our mailing list appraised right now but we are confident it is easily worth more than $250k all by itself. Claims that we tried to sell Ron Paul “his name” for $250k or even $800k are completely untrue, and there is little doubt that our mailing list would have enabled Ron Paul to raise several million dollars for the liberty movement this year. It would have been a win/win/win situation for everyone involved.
Instead of responding to our offer, making a counter offer, or even accepting our FREE gift of RonPaul.org, Ron Paul went to the United Nations and is trying to use its legal process related to domain name disputes to actively deport us from our domain names without compensation.
The mention of “the United Nations” refers to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), one of many international bodies that falls under the U.N. umbrella of organizations. WIPO is empowered by the International Cooperation for Assigned Names and Numbers — the independent group that manages domains and website registries — to provide arbitration on name ownership disputes. Paul has filed a claim under what’s known as the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), which has the authority to turn over the rights of RonPaul.com to Paul — should he prevail in the case.
While Paul may have a case, the irony, however, of the former Republican congressman turning to the United Nations is palpable for several reasons. First, for constantly espousing free trade, that Paul would refuse to negotiate directly over a market value for a piece of property is stunning. What’s more, though, Paul has been a harsh critic of U.S. membership in the United Nations for years. He’s fallen firmly in the camp of those who believe that the United Nations is set to take the freedoms of Americans through such benign measures as Agenda 21. For someone who once said that “the choice is very clear: we either follow the Constitution or submit to U.N. global governance,” the whole supposed “global governance” thing doesn’t seem too bad to Paul once it becomes useful.