Washington (May 20, 2003) -- The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has hired a lawyer to gain control of two Web domain names it believes rightfully belong to the new body. But it will have to pry them out of the hands of an enterprising California CPA who beat the board to the punch.
Before the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which created the new accounting oversight board, was even signed in July of 2002, California CPA and sole practitioner Karl Nagel registered the domain names PCAOB.com and PCAOB.org.
An old hand at the powers of the Internet (he wrote the CPAs Guide to E-Business: Consulting and Assurance Services) and was named by Accounting Technology as one of the Technology Stars of 2001, Nagel quickly understood the commercial potential of a Web site containing the board's acronym.
"When I saw how much information Sarbanes-Oxley was going to require of companies, it only took about five seconds before a light bulb went off and I thought, 'This is going to be huge,'" he said.
Nagel designed and programmed the site himself, and is working on creating an online guide to complying with the law, as well as a useful database that will incorporate any public information that accounting firms file with the PCAOB.
The PCAOB says Nagel's site could cause confusion for people seeking to find the official site, which is now located at www.pcaobus.org.
In response to a letter from the board's attorney demanding Nagel turn over the domain names to the board, he said he'd be willing to make www.pcaob.org available to the board, but not pcaob.com domain, which he says "follows the well-established tradition of www.irs.com, www.edgar-online.com and represents an important commercial enterprise that will be providing critical financial, accounting and auditing information to a world-wide subscriber marketplace. I am unwilling to transfer any rights to this domain name."
To alleviate any confusion, he said he would be willing to post a disclaimer on the site, noting that it is not affiliated with the PCAOB.
To date, Nagel said he hasn't heard back from the PCAOB's lawyers. "I never received a physical letter, email or phone call from anyone in response to my three emails. It was a complete black-out," Nagel said.
The PCAOB declined further comment on the case.
-- Tracey Miller-Segarra
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