Legal action names head of truth commission, federal Liberal &#39ca;ndidate;

Nunavut Tourism sues over website ownership


A messy legal dispute over the rights to a web site has landed two prominent Iqalummiut in court as defendants against a legal action mounted by the territory's tourism trade group.

Nunavut Tourism is suing Madeline Redfern, executive director of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association's truth commission on the dog slaughter, and Kirt Ejesiak, the Liberal Party's candidate in the next federal election.

In an affidavit filed this past September, Paul Lewis, the chief executive officer of Nunavut Tourism, states Ejesiak tried to sell the rights to to the organization for $10,000.

In the affidavit, Lewis states he asked Ejesiak by email to give proof that he or his company, Uqsiq Communications, owns the domain name. But he received no response.

Lewis also said in his affidavit that Ejesiak and Redfern "wrongfully attempted to rely on Redfern's breach of her employment contract to obtain $10,000 from [Nunavut Tourism]," in May 2007.

Redfern said she and Ejesiak had lunch one day that month, and he mentioned he had some business to conduct with Nunavut Tourism.

"I sort of said ‘Oh by the way, I have the domain name and I'd like to transfer it,'" she said. Redfern said she was willing to part with it for the cost of registration, around $100.

But she said she never contracted Uqsiq Communications to do anything. "We're family, we're friends."

"I have acted in good faith," she said. "I have allowed Nunavut Tourism to use the site. I have never denied or threatened access. I've never shut the site down for seven years."

As executive director of Nunavut Tourism in 2000, Redfern registered the domain name in her own name, court documents say.

Lewis's affidavit says that constitutes a breach of contract.

But Redfern said the company that registered the domain name, Magma Communications of Nepean, Ont., required a person's name on the registration. She also said at the time, Nunavut Tourism didn't have a company credit card, so she used her own to pay the sign-up fee.

She renewed the registration in 2007, she said, to protect Nunavut Tourism from sketchy web companies who have been known to buy up the expired rights to domain names and sell them back to the previous owners at inflated prices.

"Only the [original] register can re-register the name," she said.

Lewis also stated he made three attempts to ask Redfern if she ever instructed Ejesiak to seek money for the rights to the domain name. Redfern said a demand letter she received Nov. 14 was the first she heard of the matter.

Lewis wouldn't comment on the dispute before it goes before a judge. The next court date for the matter is scheduled for Jan. 16 in Iqaluit.

In the meantime, Nunavut Tourism wants the domain legally transferred to its ownership. The organization is also seeking a court order preventing Ejesiak or Redfern from changing or shutting down the website.

Neither Redfern nor Ejesiak have filed a defence, but did file what's called a notice of withdrawal Nov. 14 that said they're seeking legal advice.

Ejesiak referred Nunatsiaq News to his Toronto lawyer, Patrick Smith, who declined to make any comment before the January court date.

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