Well, that didn’t take long. One of the largest streaming sites taken down by U.S. authorities yesterday is already back up and running on a new domain, and boy are they upset. While the Department of Homeland Security ICE division was happy to accept a pat on the back for a job well done, one of the owners of Firstrow, a sports streaming site, says he will not give up until a court shuts the site down.
Domain registrar GoDaddy may have dropped its official support for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), but this ugly chapter is far from over. According to competing registrar Namecheap, GoDaddy is doing all it can to hamper the flow of domains away from its service. Namecheap claims that GoDaddy’s actions violate ICANN rules, but is promising to work with potential customers to get their domains moved.
As the U.S. House pledges to continue pushing for the passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) next year, companies supporting the legislation are increasingly coming under fire. Old media like the movie and TV industries are obviously in favor of it, but most tech firms are opposed. One internet heavyweight that is in favor of SOPA is domain registrar GoDaddy. Now that everyone has caught wind of that, many are proposing a "Move Your Domain Away From GoDaddy Day."
The crackdown continues on piracy and counterfeit-related domains today with the news that as many as 130 domain names have been seized by US authorities. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are continuing with last year’s “Operation in our sites” with this new, and largest yet, round of seizures.
Back in September, The Wall Street Journal reported that the world’s premier domain registrar GoDaddy had put itself on the block. The paper seems to enjoy a monopoly over news relating to the possible sale of the privately held domain registrar and web hosting company. It is now reporting that the GoDaddy Group is on the verge of being acquired for as much as a whopping $2.5 billion.
Everyone’s favorite short messaging service, Twitter has decided to squash a particularly bothersome cyber-squatter. The site in question is at Twiter.com. It’s not just the name that looks suspiciously similar. The site at that domain leverages Twitter’s UI aesthetic to essentially scam users out of cold hard cash.
Hot on the heels of a Chrome extension that lets you block sites from your search results, Google has added a similar ability to the main search page. When perusing results, users will now see an option labeled "Block all example.com results", where example.com is the site in question. All the settings for blocked sites are kept safe and sound in your Google account settings.
By now, we're all familiar with the recent practice of government agencies seizing domain names suspected of wrongdoing. But a new initiative could allow world governments to veto future top level domains. This could lead to accusations of stifling free expression, and unjust control over the internet. A meeting in San Francisco next month will be the site of the final decision on who gets to control the next set of domains that augment .com, .org, and the others.
The US government today has seized 77 domains for various types of copyright infringement, TorrentFreak reports. Many of the site were selling blatant knock-offs of popular clothing lines. So no one operating those sites can really feign ignorance of the situation. One site on the list, however, is a little more confusing. Torrent-Finder was taken down in the action, having its content replaced with the same takedown notice as all the other sites.
It's fairly simple these days for enforcement agencies to call a torrent site infringing. It's been done many times. But in this case, Torrent-Finder does not host a tracker or any torrent files. It's only function is search. All the search results from existing torrent sites are displayed in an iframe. This may be a subtle distinction lost on those not familiar with the technology. But in practice this is a huge difference from sites like The Pirate Bay. it brings up some interesting questions. For example, is just linking to a torrent site considered infringing behavior?
“My domain has been seized without any previous complaint or notice from any court!” the owner of Torrent-Finder told TorrentFreak. His site has been resurrected on another domain, but it is unclear if it will stay up. This may just be a hint at the kind of actions we can expect if COICA is passed next year.
You may remember earlier this week when the interwebs were abuzz with news that the Libyan domain registry NIC.ly had pulled down a domain shortener. The site was at vb.ly, and NIC.ly has made a statement about the matter. They claim that since vb.ly was a " sex friendly URL shortener" it was in violation of its rules and regulations.
Ben Metcalf, who ran vb.ly claimed that Libyan authorities never contacted him. NIC.ly's statement asserts that they spent week trying to get a response from Metcalf, finally just pulling the site down. The way NIC.ly stressed the *ahem* adult nature of vb.ly, it seems that most .ly sites will be safe - unless they have short domain names.
Yes, NIC.ly chose to reiterate that they believe that domains under 4 letters should be reserved for Libyan groups. It's unclear if they would take action to reclaim these addresses. Do you think NIC.ly is being truthful here? Even if they are, should Libya be exerting so much control?