The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
No, really – that's [Audrey] Dunham v. [Paige] Dunham (C.D. Cal. Jan. 21, 2015), involving the current and past wives of "ventriloquist, producer and stand-up comedian Jeff Dunham" (Hollywood Reporter, Eriq Gardner). From the Complaint:
7. In May, 1994, Defendant married Jeff Dunham, now a renowned ventriloquist, producer, and stand-up comedian. Due to irreconcilable differences, Defendant and Jeff Dunham subsequently divorced.
8. On or about December 25, 2011, Jeff Dunham and Plaintiff were engaged to be married. Defendant was aware of Plaintiff and Plaintiff's engagement with Jeff Dunham at that time.
9. On or about January 3, 2012, Defendant, without notice to Plaintiff, registered the following domain names through Network Solutions, LLC, a domain name registering company: AudreyDunham.com, AudreyDunham.net, AudreyDunham.us, and AudreyDunham.biz (collectively "Accused Domains"). On information and belief, Defendant concealed her name as the registrant for AudreyDunham.com, AudreyDunham.net, and AudreyDunham.biz domains by employing the services of Perfect Privacy, LLC, a company that specializes in keeping the identities of domain name registrants private. Defendant knew at the time she registered the Accused Domains, that Plaintiff would soon change her name to AUDREY DUNHAM….
12. On or about January 4, 2013, Plaintiff asked Defendant, in writing, to transfer the Accused Domains to Plaintiff and offered to reimburse Defendant for any out-of-pocket expenses associated with transferring the Accused Domains. Defendant refused to transfer the Accused Domains. On or about January 18, 2013, Defendant, through her agent, offered to sell the Accused Domains to Plaintiff in exchange for a payment of tens of thousands of dollars, for each domain name….
If the facts are as alleged, then defendant's conduct likely would indeed be actionable, especially under 15 U.S.C. § 8131