The Bizarre Story of the Sex.com Heist... | Summary and Q&A

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May 30, 2018
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Today I Found Out
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The Bizarre Story of the Sex.com Heist...

TL;DR

In 1995, Stephen Cohen successfully stole the domain name sex.com from its rightful owner, Gary Kremen, leading to years-long legal battles over ownership and restitution.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did Stephen Cohen manage to steal the sex.com domain?

Cohen forged a letter from the president of Gary Kremen's company, relinquishing all rights to sex.com. With Network Solutions' remarkable credulity, they transferred ownership to Cohen's company without verifying the authenticity of the letter.

Q: How much money did Stephen Cohen make from sex.com?

According to Cohen's claims, he earned around $225 million per year from the subscription porn website and additional revenue from advertising. However, the actual amount remains uncertain due to Cohen's refusal to share financial records.

Q: Did Gary Kremen eventually regain ownership of sex.com?

Yes, after years of legal battles, Kremen successfully sued Cohen and regained ownership of sex.com. The court ordered Cohen to pay $65 million, but he claimed poverty and failed to fulfill the restitution.

Q: Were there any legal consequences for Stephen Cohen?

Cohen was arrested for violating immigration laws in Mexico, but the court struggle over restitution from the sex.com heist is still ongoing. Cohen attempted to evade payment, but various assets linked to him have been frozen.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • In 1995, Stephen Cohen forged a letter and tricked Network Solutions into transferring ownership of the domain name sex.com to his company, Sporting Houses Management, without the knowledge or authorization of its rightful owner, Gary Kremen.

  • Cohen used sex.com to run a highly lucrative subscription porn website and engage in trademark infringement lawsuits against others using related terms.

  • After years of legal battles, Kremen eventually regained ownership of sex.com, but Cohen claimed poverty and failed to pay the owed $65 million in damages.

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