Non-profit organization "Hells Angels" sues California Woman for Cyberpiracy

In these economic times, people look for creative ways to make money - cyberpiracy apparently is one way. Fawn Myers buys and sells website addresses through eBay. Unfortunately for Ms. Myers, she decided to try to sell twenty-two website domains associated with the Hell's Angels Motor Cycle Club. The Hell's Angels sued Ms. Fawn in federal court last week.

Here's a link to the actual complaint.

I recommend scrolling down to the Complaint's exhibits, which have eBay seller's purchase pages with devilish artwork.

This reminds me of former client who made money by registering domain names that he thought would eventually be chosen by pharmaceutical companies as names for new drugs. Of course, these names did not contain real words only words he believed big pharm might eventually choose. He was actually able to choose a few that drug companies wanted, and he was able to sell the websites for a few thousand dollars.

This has me thinking this morning about the intersection between money and employment.

I have long believed that people should not allow money to control their lives. Easier said than done, I understand. However, if everyone understood that there are always alternative (legal) ways to earn money quickly, employers in general would have to always have to treat their employees with respect. The opposite is also true, if you want money too much, you will do things for your employer (or accept a certain level of abuse) that you would not otherwise.

I have been worked at the intersection of dignity and employment since 1994, when I became a union organizer in the deep Southeast. I learned first hand that people who psychologically depend on their employer, tend to get hurt by their employer. I'm lucky. The only bosses I have now are judges and clients. So, I do practice what I preach.

I'm reminded of a young worker (about 22) who I represented as a member when I was a union business agent in a very poor part of rural North Carolina with about 90% African Americans. This was back in about 1997 when people were just waking-up to the internet. He worked for a windshield manufacturer who the union was in a major battle with. His job was hot, dirty, exhausting, and didn't pay well. While we were building the ranks of the union by having members confront disrespectful practices, the company fired him. My job was to get his job back while keeping the rest of the group fighting day-by-day over little indignities. The arbitration process took several months. I represented many fired workers who mostly would just take their unemployment insurance checks and wait for me to get their jobs back. This young guy did something completely different, and at the time completely unheard of and quite shocking - he made a simple pornographic website with links to other sites. He understood the offensive nature of the site for his mainly church-going neighbors, but he was able to not have fear of the boss when others did. We won his arbitration and he got several thousands of dollars in back-pay and his job back. Now, he was doing quite well for himself when he went back into the plant. The bosses knew he wold fight for his job and dignity, and he had a pile of cash in the bank he could use while planning what he wanted to do next. (As an aside, I learned by representing him that I love, and excelled at, the art of cross-examining human resource managers - which is why I'm now a lawyer.)

So, while I salute Ms. Myers for creatively looking for ways to earn money, I guess the lesson is to not steal from the Hell's Angels while doing so.