Think of it as the technology world's equivalent of the Better Off Dead newspaper boy hunting down his $2. Earlier this week, the website of encryption specialist Neoscale displayed the following message. NeoScale owes its webmaster, of the last 5 years, $4400 USD The message appeared just as UK-based security outfit nCipher …
I don't know how it works...
Outside of the US, but under US law, a "work for hire" becomes the temporary property of the person who was contracted to do the work in the event they are not paid, under the "mechanic's lien" law. Assuming that the webmaster was, indeed, not paid, the buyer's act of redirecting the Web page thus constitutes theft, and may even run afoul of the few criminal laws governing the Internet.
If I were a stockholder in either the buying or selling firm, I should be demanding an immediate settling of accounts, to prevent seizure of assets - which is legal under a mechanic's lien.
The guy claiming the money did some work that could be considered an asset? like some webdesign work? So it would be a kind of unpaid-for-yet asset... mabey...
I am Barrister Tunde Owolabi, Manager of Bills/Exchange at the Foreign
Operations Department of Ecobank Nigeria Plc.
In my department, we discovered an abandoned sum of Four Thousand Four Hundred United States Dollar (US$4.400.00) in a domiciliary account that belonged to one of our foreign customers, the NeoScale webmaster who died in a plane crash on March 9, 2000.
The debt to this guy counts as a liability and since they didn't buy liabilities they don't owe him. But somebody does - and that somebody just sold an asset that wasn't really theirs ... it all depends on what the contracts involved look like.
Actually I think they're treating this website defacement surprisingly decently.
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