Chris Bosh has already earned a victory this year, and the National Basketball Association’s season hasn’t even started yet.
The all-star forward was awarded custody of 800 domain names in court, and is now offering to return them to their rightful owners for free.
Judge Florence-Marie Cooper made the decision to entrust the domain names belonging to professional athletes and celebrities to Bosh on Sept. 24. The court order was carried out Tuesday.
“I am thrilled that I am able to offer the return of these domain names to a host of other athletes and celebrities whose names were cybersquatted,” Bosh said in a statement Wednesday. “I will offer the return of the domain names free of charge.”
Bosh won a $120,000 US award in April 2009 for the violation of his rights under the U.S. Federal Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act in a California federal court.
Defendants Luis Zavala and his company Hoopology.com had registered the domain “chrisbosh.com” and displayed ads using Bosh’s likeness to generate revenue without having any association to the cornerstone of the Raptors organization.
Chrisbosh.com is now owned and operated through the Bosh’s media firm, Max Deal and is used to publicize upcoming appearances by the four-time NBA all star.
Zavala also owned and used nearly 800 other domains including those of NBA stars Deron Williams, Tayshaun Prince, Rashard Lewis, Danny Granger and Maurice Williams.
All of the domain names, including Hoopology.com, now re-direct to a statement from Winston & Strawn LLP, Bosh’s lawyers, explaining the court’s decision.
Bosh, who studied graphic design and computer imaging at Georgia Tech, has developed a reputation as a savvy Internet user. He has written, directed, and starred in several humorous videos on his own YouTube channel.
He regularly updates his Twitter account, and engaged in a “tweet-war” over the summer with former teammate and close friend Charlie Villanueva.
Coincidentally, Villanueva is one of 11 current or former members of the Raptors who had domain names falsely registered by Zavala. Others include Hedo Turkoglu, Andrea Bargnani and team president and general manager Bryan Colangelo.