A man has been jailed for 20 years over the first known instance of armed "domain hijacking" in which he sought to gain control of a website at gunpoint.

Sherman Hopkins Jr, 43, broke into the apartment of an internet entrepreneur in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and demanded that Ethan Deyo, 26, get on his computer and transfer ownership of the internet domain name DoItForState.com from one account to another.

After being clubbed with the pistol and repeatedly targeted with a Taser, Deyo gained control of the handgun, despite being shot in the leg. He then shot Hopkins several times in the chest and called police. Hopkins, who survived the incident in June last year, pleaded guilty to one count of "interference and attempted interference with commerce by threats and violence".

The sentence was the result of a plea deal with prosecutors, as he had previously been charged with more serious offences including kidnapping and use of a firearm during a violent crime.

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A local police spokesman said the domain name was "valuable" and Hopkins had wanted it "transferred back" to a third party. It was not clear who the third party was.

The Iowa incident is believed to be the first time domain hijacking has been done by an armed assailant.