As Was Predicted, Libya Is Shutting Down Some .ly Domains With No Notice

from the watch-out-bit.ly dept

A year and a half ago, Rogers Cadenhead wrote a post, right after the company Bit.ly raised a bunch of money, pointing out that the .ly top level domain (TLD) is from Libya. He wondered if that might lead to trouble down the road, pointing out that the registrar states clearly that no .ly domains can be used in a way "contrary to Libyan law or Islamic morality." Cadenhead pointed out:
So the names must conform to Islamic morality, and it's possible that the use of the domains could fall under the same rules. What are the odds that some of those 20 million clicks on a Bit.ly-shortened URL end up at sites that would be considered blasphemous or otherwise offensive in an Islamic nation? Bit.ly conveniently provides search pages for such topics as Islam, sharia, gambling and sex, any of which contain links that could spark another controversy.
Since then, of course, the .ly TLD has actually become popular with lots of webby startups. I'd guess that most companies registering those domains didn't even think about it. But... exactly as Cadenhead predicted, it appears the registrar has actually started to remove domains it doesn't like. Ben Metcalfe, who had been using vb.ly for a project discovered that the domain had been seized by the registrar, for apparently violating Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law.

Apparently, this has some other .ly domain owners running scared. Even presidential hopeful Mitt Romney stopped using the Mitt.ly domain he'd been using. Bit.ly also uses j.mp (the .mp stands for the Northern Mariana Islands -- which shouldn't be much of a problem, especially since they just licensed the TLD to some other company), so perhaps they might want to start pushing people towards that URL shorterner. Of course, given how many Bit.ly links are out there, I would imagine that it would create quite a bit of havoc if Libya suddenly deleted bit.ly.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2010 @ 6:32am

    More Islamic freakazoids.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Ramon Casha, Oct 7th, 2010 @ 6:52am

    That comes of misusing country TLD's

    There's lots of country TLDs that, by pure coincidence, form a nice-looking domain. Examples are Italy (.it), Byelorussia (.by), Dominical Republic (.do), Iceland (.is), Montenegro (.me) and, of course, the island of Tuvalu (.tv).

    Problem is, when someone buys a domain like "touch.me" or "this.is" from a generic "buy-your-domain-here" site, they might not realise that this implies more than a cool name, it also means it's subject to whatever laws that country happens to impose.

     

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  3.  
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    drewmerc (profile), Oct 7th, 2010 @ 6:53am

    Re:

    that's an idiotic statement, all they are doing is making sure that registered domains comply with the law in there own country
    how is this any different to what the USA did when taking down ninja video

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2010 @ 6:53am

    This is a great example of why freedom is a precious thing. Thanks to technology true suppression of freedom of speech can be delivered to you personally.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Edward Costello (profile), Oct 7th, 2010 @ 7:01am

    There’s worse things than deleting the domain…

    …they could change where the domain is delegated to.
    …or they could hold the registrants personally liable for the content they find objectionable (sorry, there's no DMCA exemption outside the US).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    IronM@sk, Oct 7th, 2010 @ 7:07am

    Re:

    More companies that didn't do their research before releasing their product.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Comboman (profile), Oct 7th, 2010 @ 7:13am

    Switch to goo.gl

    Google now has a URL shortening service similar to "bit.ly" called "goo.gl". Since Greenland isn't subject to Sharia law, it should be pretty safe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2010 @ 7:22am

    Greenland shouldn't have it's own TLD. Greenland is a danish island and therefore it should use the danish TLD, .dk. But that's kinda offtopic :P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 7th, 2010 @ 7:43am

    Re:

    "Greenland is a danish island"

    I don't know why, but that sounds delicious!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    interval, Oct 7th, 2010 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re:

    1) Don't know what "taking down ninja video" means, I speak English, can't read your gibberish.

    2) Libya took down the domains because it offended Sharia law. Sharia is law by precedent of a religious book, hundreds of years old. This also means that any old man who calls himself a mullah with a stick up his ass about a picture of a woman on the internet and they control the domain can take the domain down. No recourse, no appeal, simply because some guy said "God says". That's a ridiculous way to run an internet. Suppose the old man says "God says computers are evil, the internet should be destroyed." Remember, no jury by peers, no appeals, no nothing. Its "God's" will.

    3) In the United States any legal decision can at least be appealed.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    interval, Oct 7th, 2010 @ 7:53am

    Re:

    Greenland is an AUTONOMOUS Danish protectorate, they have their own flag. They are perfectly within their rights to have a tld.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 7th, 2010 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Libya took down the domains because it offended Sharia law."

    More correctly, they took them down because they offended LIBYAN law. Let's not lose sight of the fact that this is a sovereign nation we're talking about, and the rest of the world should have fuck all to say about how they run their country.

    "This also means that any old man who calls himself a mullah with a stick up his ass about a picture of a woman on the internet and they control the domain can take the domain down."

    That's simply not true. The Libyan government is far from a beacon of freedom, but they do have both Executive and Legislative branches that are voted in. The country is 97% Islamic, so one would expect those branches to reflect that, which they do.

    "That's a ridiculous way to run an internet."

    Agreed. Still, it's their choice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    drewmerc (profile), Oct 7th, 2010 @ 8:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    1 some branch of the US goverment closed down ninja videos domain (i forget which cause i never really cared)

    2 US bank notes say in god we trust

    3 appealed sure (but again this does not exist in sharia law)

     

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  14.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Oct 7th, 2010 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    ACTA may bring about similar legislation (DEAct, HADOPI, etc.) based on the idea that a 'copyright' holder is god concerning a work they 'own'.

    They don't need any evidence, they just accuse anyone who offends them as an infringer (who is promptly disconnected from their ISP), and any website they don't like as promoting infringement (which is promptly censored).

    But, you're right. If you're really wealthy you might be able to afford to appeal the excommunication.

    Law should be based on the individual's natural rights, not privileges of immortal corporations nor commandments of supernatural beings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 7th, 2010 @ 9:29am

    My rock is better, obvi.

    Why are we still trying to pretend that imaginary lines drawn on maps have any relevance on the internet?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Fentex, Oct 7th, 2010 @ 3:32pm

    The domain name system is fundementally mistaken.

    There's no reason at all for there to be a restricted quantity of top level domains let alone their being restricted geographically.

    It's just an accident of history that the evolving Internet was birthed in a world where limitations of current investment and technology created bottle necks and past political arrangements seemed reasonable arbiters of allocation.

    This is no longer true, and restrictions on TLDs ought be done away with promptly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Oct 7th, 2010 @ 3:40pm

    This Is Why I Don’t Like URL Shorteners

    Because they introduce an extra point of failure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Oct 7th, 2010 @ 7:00pm

    The Right Way To Do It.

    If you want to create a distinctive domain name, the simplest way to do it is a common word, plus a hyphen, plus a couple of characters, plus another hyphen plus a another couple of characters, than dot whatever. That's enough to ensure that you don't collide with other peoples' domain names. Depending on what restrictive rules you apply, four characters gives you anything from about 10,000 combinations (consonant plus vowel, consonant plus vowel) for each common word, up to more than 400,000.

    Twitter's official use of bit-dot-ly was a dumb idea, of course. They will no doubt have a bad few days writing scripts to go through their files and change all the bit-dot-ly references to something else. More fundamentally, they can just display tags with long URL's and short texts, and not count the URL size against the 140 character limit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    bobwyzguy (profile), Oct 8th, 2010 @ 4:20am

    Death of bit.ly is good news

    I will not click on a shortened link, like the ones created by bit.ly. Too easy for someone to use a bit.ly link to take you to some virus laden security nightmare. Sorry, I want to know where I am going and not just climb on the Mystery Tour. Hoping Libya shuts them down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Christopher (profile), Oct 8th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Death of bit.ly is good news

    Frankly, seeing at how bit.ly SPECIFICALLY tells you that you should ONLY use links posted by reputable people or PEOPLE YOU KNOW?

    It's no more dangerous than clicking on a link in a regular browser.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Christopher (profile), Oct 8th, 2010 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    SOOOO agreed with that last sentence.... too many of our laws today CONFLICT with people's natural human rights, both those of adults and those of children, which by the way are the SAME!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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