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Who owns the domain name, me or my tribe?

Charlotte, NC |

I purchased a domain name for my Indian tribe and I paid for it for 2 years in a row. The Tribe has paid for its renewal one time and they bought software for me to keep the site up to date.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. That's a matter between you and the tribe. But if you've left it up in the air, you've left it vague.

    However, since it's the tribe's name, and you did what you did for the tribe, and you needed the tribe's authority to do it, and since the domain name refers to the tribe rather than you.... based on the skimpy information you've provided, it would certainly be morally wrong for it to be yours rather than the tribe's.


  2. You might have some basis to ask your Tribe for some consideration, but it hardly makes the domain name yours. What if I had taken that domain name when I did my own, lo, these many years past. Would it be mine?

    Work out a deal. Help out your tribe. Consider it a good deed done.

    We do not have a client/attorney relationship until you make an appointment, we discuss your case face to face, I accept a retainer, and we explictly agree to enter into representation.


  3. It depends on the domain name and whether it is similar to their name. I am sure that they have protection for their name. It also depends on the circumstances surrounding your setting up the website and purchasing the domain. Your best bet is to work something out with the tribe.

    Mr. Goldstein is a Virginia-licensed attorney only. The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. Answering this question does not in any way constitute legal representation. Contacting Mitchell Goldstein or the Goldstein Law Group does not constitute legal representation, nor is any information you provide protected by attorney-client privilege until otherwise advised.