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A case involving one of the Internet’s most sought-after and controversial domain names entered its second day of trial on Friday. Judge James Ware of the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., is presiding over the case to determine liability related to the heisting of the prized sex.com URL. Notably absent from the proceedings, however, was defendant Stephen Michael Cohen, who stands accused of stealing the sex.com domain name from plaintiff Gary Kremen of San Francisco, who registered it in 1994. Cohen could be liable for millions should the court rule against him. Cohen already is subject to a bench warrant for his arrest, a copy of which was obtained by The Industry Standard. The warrant relates to Cohen’s failure to appear in court at a previous hearing, as well as his failure to place a $25 million deposit with the court to cover potential damages in the case. While Cohen has maintained that he legitimately acquired the sex.com domain name, a judge ruled in November that Kremen was the rightful owner. Although that ruling did not specifically indict Cohen for purloining the domain name, it ordered that the URL be returned to Kremen. Cohen’s whereabouts are unknown though his lawyers told the court that he was unable to appear for a court date last week because he had been placed under house arrest in Mexico, according to Tim Fox, an attorney for the law firm of Kerr & Wagstaffe who is representing the Kremen. Cohen’s attorney was in court Thursday and Friday but did not return calls requesting comment. Because Cohen was a no-show, his testimony will be based upon the several hundred pages of depositions he’s given during the past two years, according to Fox. Although Kremen, 37, did register the sex.com domain name, he never created a site to accompany the URL. A year after he registered it, Internet registrar Network Solutions transferred ownership of the domain name to Stephen Cohen, after receiving what Kremen has claimed was a bogus authorization letter. Kremen’s attorneys contend that Cohen raked in millions of dollars during the next five years from a pornographic site he operated at sex.com. Now Kremen is trying to recoup all the profits that Cohen collected while sex.com was under his stewardship. To win the case, Kremen will have to prove that Cohen is indeed responsible for stealing the sex.com domain name. Another legally tricky matter will be determining the actual amount of money Cohen made from operating sex.com, given that Cohen has yet to disclose any information concerning how much money he netted from the site. Kremen’s attorneys are requesting $43 million in damages based upon testimonies of former employees regarding banner ad sales and based upon the flow of money to several of Cohen’s offshore accounts during that time, according to Fox. Because the case is a bench trial, meaning that the case will be heard by a judge rather than a jury, the pace and duration of the proceedings are entirely within the judge’s discretion. Fox said he expects a verdict within the next two weeks. Related Articles from The Industry Standard: Sex.com Row Back in Court Of Fraud and Sex.com ‘Porn Baron’ Forced to Give Up Sex.com Copyright � 2001 The Industry Standard

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