The French government seized his domain name and shut down his business. Now, he’s suing to get them back On March 12th, France.com suddenly went offline. For 24 years, it had been a tourist and travel booking site, but now it was redirecting to the English version of the government’s official site at France.fr. No one was more surprised than Jean-Noel Frydman, the previous owner of the domain and trademark holder for France.com. Overnight, his website had disappeared, and all associated email addresses were suddenly bouncing back. In a matter of minutes, a unique and lucrative asset had gone up in smoke. “It’s all gone. In one instant, gone,” Frydman tells The Verge. “It’s been incredibly challenging. I have no contingency for this.” Now, Frydman is fighting to get it back. He’s currently suing the French government and a string of hosting providers in federal court, hoping to undo the swap and rebuild his business. The fight has turned into a lesson in international relations, with US and French courts dueling over a prized slice of intangible namespace, testing exactly how neutral and international the infrastructure of the web really is. Frydman first registered the domain i...