Page last updated at 08:35 GMT, Wednesday, 14 January 2009

School's links to porn site end

framlinghamcollege.co.uk
The Canadian owned website makes no mention of the school

A school in Suffolk has finally got the internet domain of its own name after a three-year battle.

Instead of directing people to the school, the site has been directing users to online dating which then link to sites advertising "Mature Sex."

Framlingham College first tried to get the site at www.framlinghamcollege.co.uk shut in 2005, but was unsuccessful.

The domain registry Nominet has now ruled in the school's favour on appeal.

The URL www.framlinghamcollege.co.uk was first registered in January 2005 by Realm Solutions in Canada.

An appeal by the school to have the site closed was initially turned down by Nominet, the firm set up in 1996 to handle domain names ending in .uk.

To have a site, with our name, linking to porn and smut is horrible
Gwen Randall
Framlingham College

At the time, Nominet ruled that Framlingham College had failed to prove it had the rights to the domain.

Pernicious

Speaking to the BBC, the school's head, Gwen Randall, described the site as "pernicious" and said some of the links were misleading.

"We're a Christian school, so to have a site, with our name, linking to porn and smut is horrible."

"You get this kind of misuse all the time. This isn't the first time we've had a fight like this. Luckily it's a .co.uk site, which means fighting under Queensbury Rules," she said.

"I have no doubt that people who were seriously interested in the college will have found this site and then run a mile," said Ms Randall.

"It's really a relief that it's all come to end."

Due process

Nominet's senior legal counsel, Nick Wenban-Smith, said that domains were assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

"If someone puts in a complaint about the ownership of a web site, then we write to the owner. They have about 15 days to reply," Mr Wenban-Smith explained.


We dropped the ball

Rob Montgomery
Realm Solutions

"If they contest the challenge then we try and arrange mediation between the two parties, and if that fails then an independent adjudicator will have the final say.

"One of the conditions when you acquire a domain is that you sign up to the Dispute Resolution Service and that you will be bound by that decision."

Nominet get about 700 complaints every year. Ten percent of the cases are resolved almost immediately in the complainant's favour and are handed over. About a third settle in mediation while another 25% go to to an independent adjudicator.

"The rest just fizzle out for one reason or another," said Mr Wenban-Smith.

Rob Montgomery, a spokesman for Realm Solutions, told The Daily Telegraph said he would have given the domain name back to the school free of charge.

"In general, if there is a legitimate complaint from a business or individual, we will hand over the domain name," he told the paper.

"Unfortunately, in this case, we dropped the ball and didn't get back in time to allow that to happen."

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