Ron Paul is feuding with his rabid fan base over the ownership of RonPaul.com. Paul wants it, but his fans own it. They're willing to sell it to him... for a price Paul doesn't agree with. So now he's taken the dispute all the way to the United Nations.
Paul was interviewed by Conservative radio show host Alex Jones at the beginning of January and said he wished he had control of RonPaul.com. It's not an uncommon wish. Everyone wants to own theirname.com. The site was registered by his fans years ago, though it's unclear who exactly owns the domain. Ownership have protected their identity from public searches. Regardless, Paul supporters have used the site as an organizational tool to help the popular libertarian since.
The proprietors of RonPaul.com say they reached out to the retired politicain and offered him RonPaul.org as a free gift, but if he "insisted" on owning RonPaul.com then they would sell it to him. There was a catch, though. It would be part of a "liberty package" with the site's 170,000 person mailing list for... wait for it... $250,000. They think the price is totally worth it:
The value we put on the deal was $250k; we are getting our mailing list appraised right now but we are confident it is easily worth more than $250k all by itself. Claims that we tried to sell Ron Paul “his name” for $250k or even $800k are completely untrue, and there is little doubt that our mailing list would have enabled Ron Paul to raise several million dollars for the liberty movement this year. It would have been a win/win/win situation for everyone involved.
But Paul did not respond to their generous offer. Instead, he went to the United Nations' World Intellectual Property Organization to file a 13 page complaint asking for control of both domains. Oops! Paul's opting for legal action is notable because he's spoken out against the U.N. in the past. They generally aren't very popular among libertarians. They aren't so bad now that he wants control of his own name's website.
And now his fans are pissed:
Back in 2007 we put our lives on hold for you, Ron, and we invested close to 10,000 hours of tears, sweat and hard work into this site at great personal sacrifice. We helped raise millions of dollars for you, we spread your message of liberty as far and wide as we possibly could, and we went out of our way to defend you against the unjustified attacks by your opponents. Now that your campaigns are over and you no longer need us, you want to take it all away – and send us off to a UN tribunal?
They have 21 days to get a lawyer and respond. This relationship might be irreparable, though. "That’s not cool! We want our old pre-retirement Ron Paul back!" they say. Paul couldn't be reached by Buzzfeed's Rosie Gray for a request for comment.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.