Why Did ISPs Take Down Ronald Riley's Sites?
from the make-sure-you-have-a-good-ISP dept
Paul Alan Levy writes "In a new post, I consider the Dozier-Riley controversy from a different angle. Some ISPs knuckled under to Dozier’s threats of trademark claims, while others stood up to him (or tried to do so). Consumers who are considering purchasing web hosting services should consider the host’s record on free speech issues. I also discuss whether the CDA should be amended to provide immunity against trademark claims. "
Levy raises some excellent points. I, too, was troubled by various ISPs caving in to Dozier’s complaints, when it seemed clear that there was little real legal basis for them. While I had pointed out that the ISPs should be protected by Section 230 safe harbors, Levy mentions that Dozier is relying on the fact that Section 230 exempts “intellectual property” claims, which is a loophole that Dozier is exploiting. Levy points out, as we have plenty of times in the past, that trademarks really shouldn’t be considered “intellectual property” any way. They don’t stem from the same part of the constitution, and they are designed to do totally different things. Trademark is really about consumer protection in protecting a buyer from being tricked into buying Bob’s Cola believing he is buying Coca-Cola. It’s not about “property” at all. And, of course, copyright has its own safe harbors as found in the DMCA. The fact that trademark is somehow left out seems like an accidental loophole that will hopefully be closed shortly. Still, it’s troublesome that Dozier was able to get so many ISPs to shut down Riley’s websites over highly questionable claims. I may dislike Riley quite a bit (and while he had been silent since the lawsuit, he showed up again last Friday in full form, insulting me repeatedly, and never even acknowledging that I’ve been defending his position in this lawsuit), but I will stand by his legal right to post his obnoxious websites.