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Class action tilts at NSI domain name hoard

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Aggrieved wannabuy domain name punters are invited to join a lawsuit to force Network Solutions International (NSI) to release its hoard of expired and pdomain names.

Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton (HWN&N) is seeking affidavits from people who have unsuccessfully tried to register expired domain names with Network Solutions. The statements are needed in order to take forward a class action lawsuit against the domain registrar.

Aggrieved users have until 20 December to register their complaint, under the tight deadline the court has set for a motion of class certification to be filled. Information on how to file a complaint is available online here.

A class action suit was filed on 29 September in Alabama by HWN&N against Network Solutions after the registrar had refused to release Web site domain names whose ownership licenses had legally expired to a local businessman.

It is alleged that beginning in May, Network Solutions refused to delete expired names from its central WHOIS registry database - a move that prevented anyone else making use of these domains.

At the time the former monopoly said it would auction these domains on its site. But its failure to set this up, and consult about the auction idea, led to anger in the Internet community and accusations of illegal hoarding from rival registrars and others.

Some estimates put the number of expired names withheld by Network Solutions as between one and three million but the exact figure remains uncertain. ®

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