The national registry for all .uk domain names Nominet UK has been awarded damages in response to a data mining scam that led to thousands of Nominet registrants receiving misleading domain name notices. The amount paid out was AUD $1.3 million (£550,000). Back in the start of 2003, Nominet discovered that its WHOIS database had been subjected to unauthorised data mining. The database, which lists domain names and their owners, was compromised such that details of registrants were purged from it and 50,000 registrants received misleading notices from an outfit calling itself "UK Internet Registry". These notices looked like invoices and tried to sell .com names to the holders of .uk names. Nominet warned its registrants to disregard the notices and began an investigation.
Rafferty and Norrish, together with their three companies, were found liable in September 2004 for copyright infringement and breaches of Australian fair trade laws by copying data from Nominet's WHOIS service, and issuing misleading domain name registration notices.
Nominet has now been awarded damages for copyright infringement of AUS$810,953, with additional damages of AUS$500,000 to reflect the "flagrancy" of the breaches. This latter award is one of the highest additional damages awards ever made by the Australian Courts, according to Nominet.