Go Daddy Supports E-PARASITE Legislation Even Though Its Own Site Is Dedicated To Theft Of Property Under Terms Of The Bill

from the find-a-new-gc,-folks dept

The supporters of the new E-PARASITE Act (the even worse version of the already dreadful PROTECT IP) have been pretty desperate trying to find any “tech” companies to support these bills. It’s kind of amusing that the only ones they’ve been able to turn up so far have been some of the most hated companies around among techies. First, they had Monster Cable go to Congress in support of the bill, without even realizing that in Monster Cable’s view, “sites dedicated to piracy” would include eBay, Craigslist, Sears and Costco, among others — basically proving the point that the broad private right to action in the bill would be massively abused.

Their latest attempt to roll out a “tech company” supporting these bills is equally hated and equally laughable. I know that any time I mention GoDaddy in almost any context on this site, the anti-GoDaddy comments come flying fast and furious. So its reputation in tech circles is already suspect. And while in the past it was skeptical of E-PARASITE’s predecessor, COICA, it appears that GoDaddy has been convinced to be the latest “tech company” to talk about why such laws are a good idea. The company’s general counsel, Christine Jones, published a laughably misleading op-ed in the paywalled section of Politico. I won’t bother quoting it directly, given that I don’t want to be accused of circumventing DRM and face having my entire website shut down by an overzealous “notification” to my registrar under E-PARASITE (or merely an ICE seizure).

However, the really stunning thing is that Jones doesn’t even seem to understand the bill that she’s supporting. Specifically, she doesn’t seem to recognize not just the compliance costs it puts on GoDaddy (or maybe she’s hoping, as a large player, that GoDaddy is better to withstand the costs, while smaller competitors may go out of business — but that’s a particularly cynical viewpoint). She also doesn’t seem to realize that under the bill’s broad definitions GoDaddy itself is a “site dedicated to the theft of US property”.

That’s because among the definitions of a site that’s “dedicated to the theft of US property” is this: if the site “is marketed by its operator… for use in offering goods or services in a manner that engages in, enables, or facilitates… the sale, distribution, or promotion of goods, services, or materials bearing a counterfeit mark, as that term is defined in section 34(d) of the Lanham Act or section 2320 of title 18, United States Code.” In other words, if you operate a site that enables or facilitates the sale of goods that bear a counterfeit mark… you’re dedicated to theft of US property. So, let’s take a quick wander over to GoDaddy… and, just for fun, let’s see what happens if we try to register the domain Rolex.com. Rolex.com is obviously taken, but… oh wait… what’s this… GoDaddy is recommending that I might want to register these other domains that are perfect for infringing sites.

Ok. What about gucci.com? Oh look… more of the same:
And, how about Autodesk, which has been an aggressive mover against anything that “infringes” on its intellectual property.
Yup. It certainly looks like GoDaddy isn’t just enabling the sale of goods that bear a counterfeit mark… but it’s actively encouraging it. I think a very credible case could be made that, under this bill, GoDaddy is “dedicated to theft of U.S. property.”

Yes, GoDaddy’s own general counsel is supporting a law that could be used to kill GoDaddy and force it offline. Makes you wonder if she even read the bill. GoDaddy might want reconsider its support of this law until it finds a lawyer who actually understands what the law says.

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Comments on “Go Daddy Supports E-PARASITE Legislation Even Though Its Own Site Is Dedicated To Theft Of Property Under Terms Of The Bill”

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anonymous says:

is the woman completely demented? does she not realise she will be out of a job, as far as GoDaddy is concerned? or does she not care because she has had a better offer? thinking that ‘GoDaddy is better to withstand the costs’ of infringement accusations than smaller web sites is rather stupid, not cynical. wont stand a chance considering all that would be stacked against it!

New Mexico Mark says:

Re: Re:

In that case, I presume GoDaddy has been offered leniency if they support the bill in advance. That’s the beauty of passing sweeping legislation that criminalizes a large segment of the population (or organizations). Now you just prosecute your enemies and turn a blind eye to your buddies.

This looks like another example of how 99 percent of lawyers give the other 1 percent a bad reputation.

A. Coward says:

Go Daddy Go!

Bob Parson claims to be all American (Go team!), but in reality treats Americans like cattle going to the slaughter house. I dumped all his products for another company that believes people should have rights. He’s already well known for dropping entire sites because of minor complains and alleged infractions. Don’t do business with this man or any company he owns.

Ninja (profile) says:

Oh I’m kind of hoping this law gets passed in a morbid way. The chaos that would spawn, China evil grins when the US started talking about their censorship, general hatred towards the MAFIAA after youtube gets taken down… Ok, youtube wouldn’t be taken down but ppl would have their accounts closed en masse. And if I were Google I’d forward a notice saying “Your account was terminated because RIAA/MPAA think you are a filthy criminal. Expect the Feds raiding your home sponsored, supported and conducted by RIAA/MPAA.”

Heh… I don’t wish death to any1 but in a honest analysis if a few (ok a lot of) ppl died now inside of the MAFIAA the world would be instantly a better place.

Anonymous Coward says:

ROFLMAO! I made it one paragraph in and knew what direction this was heading. I’ve always thought these registrars were scumbags because they could care less who they are registering slightly different variations of a legitimate site to even though it’s obvious it would be used nefariously. Just the other night, I was on my bank’s website and got an expired certificate warning. Since the site in question was a slightly different variation of the main site, I ran the domain through Network Solutions to make sure it was indeed registered to my bank. I was surprised to have Network Solutions suggest that I could buy the same site but with the .net or .org TLD. So I’m sitting their disgusted and up pops up a chat dialog from an operator we shall call Sammy G. I told him that I was located in Russia and was wanting to buy the .org domain for creating a mirror of the original .com site. To anyone else, that should set off alarm bells but what does Sammy G say? “May I have your name and phone number to call you at to finish up here?”. Unscrupulous to say the least. After that I explained I wasn’t really interested, wasn’t really in Russia and that I thought that what they were doing was providing material support to potential criminal enterprises, at which point he pasted in the default “I am unable to assist you further” response and ended the chat before I could say another word. All of them do this. It’s not just Go Daddy. Go Daddy is just apparently the only one stupid enough to shill for E-PARASITE without hiding the skeletons in their own closet first.

Anonymous Coward says:

GoDaddy is...

…THE single largest support of spammers, phishers, forgers, scammers, etc. on the entire Internet.

I’ve studied registrars, hosting companies, networks, mail providers, every entity that’s come to my attention. Nobody else even comes close. GoDaddy supports, encourages, facilitates, and profits from some of the very worst people on the planet.

So everything they ever say and do should be considered in that context — that is, whatever they’re doing is designed to maximize their profits, and is NEVER motivated by principle or altruism. It just remains to be seen how they figure to work this in their favor.

out_of_the_blue says:

If kills "Godaddy"... I'm still looking for the /down/ side to SOPA!

Not having to strain. So far the /actual/ (not hypothetical) effects that you list will be to shut down sites linking to infringing material, file lockers such as Rapidshare that /host/ infringing material, and now Godaddy, one of most noxious around. … Difficult to not cheer so far.

Anyhoo, you all /really/ ought to stop ranting sometime and consider that you FEW “techies” are up against masses of dolts who /buy/ Monster Cable products at outrageous prices. Dolts rule by sheer numbers, and those who get income from dolt-itude are advantaged by easy money and utter lack of conscience on how to use that money to gain more. Leads me to conclude that “capitalism” isn’t based on merits and honesty in a free market as the myth goes.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: If kills "Godaddy"... I'm still looking for the /down/ side to SOPA!

I have to ask, what’s with the slashes like /actual/? Is it to provide emphasis to certain words? Why not try ” or ‘ or italicize or bold the words?
I will be the first to agree with you, Rapidshare does host infringing files and Godaddy does have a horrible reputation. The problem Masnick and everyone else has with E-PARASITES is the lack of balance. With just a form letter, any and all sites would be quickly shut down. I thought the DMCA notice and counter notice was bad, now instead of a particular item being taken down, its all taken down. There’s far too much ability and power given to take something down and to shut someone up, but practically nothing to protect free speech (and in the case of E-PARASITES, there’s no provision to put back up the taken-down content).

Jeff Rife says:

Re: Re: If kills "Godaddy"... I'm still looking for the /down/ side to SOPA!

I have to ask, what’s with the slashes like /actual/?

It’s an old method for text-only communications that indicates italics. Like bold using stars (*word*) and underline (_word_), it’s generally not needed if rich text is supported.

So, like most everything else, OotB is completely wrong in his use of these pseudo-italics. First, he could use the real thing on this site. Second, when bold and italic are both available, bold is generally used for emphasis while italics are used as a differentiation (e.g., to indicate that a quoted passage contains thoughts instead of speech, or to indicate titles).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: If kills "Godaddy"... I'm still looking for the /down/ side to SOPA!

Someone in another article suggested that maybe he means it as an emoticon and those are his arms. So when you get to the word with the slashes you are suppose to picture him waving his arms in the air in /rage/ or frustration or stupidity or whatever emotion his particular brand of crazy is fueled by. I must say it makes reading his posts almost funny enough to actually read them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: If kills "Godaddy"... I'm still looking for the /down/ side to SOPA!

The problem Masnick and everyone else has with E-PARASITES is the lack of balance. With just a form letter, any and all sites would be quickly shut down. I thought the DMCA notice and counter notice was bad, now instead of a particular item being taken down, its all taken down. There’s far too much ability and power given to take something down and to shut someone up, but practically nothing to protect free speech (and in the case of E-PARASITES, there’s no provision to put back up the taken-down content).

You deliberately overlook the fact that if a “form letter” is served on a site, that this site has the ability to counter with a form letter (counter notice) of its own. Once the counter notice is delivered, then the matter goes before a judge. The reason the anti-IP FUDpackers have no traction and no credibility is shit like this. You deliberately distort the impact of the proposed law to suit your needs.

Scooters (profile) says:

Open mouth, lose account.

I’ve been a GoDaddy customer for two years (personal website/email) and have been pretty happy with its services despite all the “sell” it shoves at me.

Yes, past-tense. I just put in a request to close my account and refund my money.

Now, Hollywood: who else do you want to see turn into lost sales over your bullshit?

I’m game. My wallet, my choice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Biggest problem so far with these E-PARASITE/PROTECT IP type laws is that it shifts the “guilt” of infringement to the service providers.

Instead of making it harder for infringers to infringe, or providing mechanisms to bring the criminals to court, it is merely attempting to turn service providers into cops, and punishing them for failing at it, while the infringers just laugh and scoot away deeper into the Intertubes.

So, I really don’t see how can anyone support a law that would, effectively, allow criminals to evade justice, while “innocents” get slammed repeatedly for failing to stop them. It’s all backwards.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I don’t agree. If someone steals snickers bars from a 7-11 than that 7-11 should be held responsible. What are they doing just leaving product laying in the open. This is bad news for snickers and bad news for the American people. We can’t let these so-called “convenience” stores get away with this reckless behavior. They are encouraging thieves and must be held accountable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Oh god, talk about misleading.

The bills are not going to make it illegal to sell domains or make them liable, in the same manner that phone companies are not liable for providing a phone number.

It’s really amazing to watch you try to drudge up the spectre of 5th and 6th party liablity, but in the end, it’s just a bullshit attitude by someone who is losing badly.

DannyO says:

Re: Re:

Sorry… your post is misleading. Refer to language of the bill as discussed in this and several other blog posts on this site and others.

You are right. The Bill would not make it illegal to simply sell non TMed domain names. But the fact that GoDaddy suggests other website names that could infringe on someones trademark and then sells them, they would almost certainly be seen as inducing IP infringement under this bill. The fact that they have restricted their own website from this process is further proof that they have considered this. However, if they implemented a fix that blocked any use of a trademarked word/phrase in a domain name, then they surely would be guilty of over broad censorship activity (although immune from liability under this bill). Say, I want to buy the domain name http://www.angryverizoncustomer.com, that is within my rights under copyright law–but would be filtered out. In short, the inducement-like standard put forth by this bill is a huge problem and would make all sort of activities, such as Godaddy’s automatic suggestions, that are generally useful to users. The bill would likely also create a monitoring regime that could impose serious liability on user generated content sites.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Again, you miss the point. Selling a domain name isn’t an issue, and an automated system that offers everyone (regardless of the input) options on domains names is no indication that they are actively doing anything, other than selling domains.

It’s an incredible stretch, one that Mike is making just to try to scare us all.

Oh yeah Mike, I read the talking points on it. The full bill? I doubt even you have seen it marked up, and that is the only version that matters.

Killercool (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Actually, if you watch the courts, it seem that your “side” is the one that is losing badly. The problem with PRO-IP/E-PARASITES is that they completely bypass the court system. The same court system that is using their power as a check/balance to Congress to correct what they see as errors in the system.

What we want is for those who are actually guilty to be the only ones punished, and then in a realistic manner. When you go to court, the prosecution is supposed to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. These bills bring law to the level of “accusation=guilt” and “guilty until proven innocent,” since the accused, unless the firm suing drops all cases with any opposition, have to prove beyond ALL doubt that they are innocent.

In a related note, it is pointed out on this site that developers/studios/artists who only focus on “pirates” are making a bad move, that will most likely only hurt them in the long run, but it will hurt them for sure.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Christine Jones waited. The lights above her blinked and sparked out of the air. There were pirates in the internet. She didn’t see them, but had expected them now for years. Her warnings to Go Daddy were not listenend to and now it was too late. Far too late for now, anyway. Christine was a general counsel for years. When she was young she watched the domain providers and he said to dad “I want to be on the provider daddy.”

Dad said “No! You will BE KILL BY PIRATES”

There was a time when she believed him. Then as she got oldered she stopped. But now in the internet site of the ISP she knew there were pirates.

“This is Go Daddy” the radio crackered. “You must fight the pirates!” So Christine gotted her E-PARASITES bill and blew up the firewall.

“SHE GOING TO SHUTDOWN US” said the pirates

“I will shoot at her” said the cyberbully and he fired the DDOS. Christine C&D at him and tried to shut him down. But then the ceiling fell and they were trapped and not able to C&D.

“No! I must shutdown the pirates” he shouted

The RIAA said “No, Christine. You are the pirates”

And then Christine went to jail.

hmm (profile) says:

What happens if

I just send a dictionary as a takedown notice?

No copyrighted terms that I ‘don’t own’ but lots of possibly infringing words………

Also gonna be fun when every single member of the senate, congress and even whitehouse.gov get taken down by a random notice.

Would the whitehouse itself DARE to let such a law pass then declare itself immune from takedowns for evil infringement?

It’s very weird, but its almost like someone out there WANTS there to be a 2nd american civil war and is actively pushing the public over the edge with ridiculous and dangerous laws…………

Ron Bar says:


The law is greatly un-American and against our entire judicial system.
Our system in predicated on the belief that we are innocent until proven guilty. Additionally, we would need to judged by an independent third party, either a judge, magistrate or jury. With this new law, every small website owner stands to lose.

First, the site owner being accused must ?Prove their Innocence? instead of the accuser proving guilt. It is a fundamental problem in the law.

I can only imagine that the big players will file a plethora of these claims just to eliminate legitimate competition that cannot afford to defend themselves.

Second, most website owners cannot afford to defend themselves when a larger corporation comes after them. These law suits start at $20,000 and can easily reach over $100,000 before the case is even presented.

Third, do you really want Godaddy to be the decider of the facts and who is in violation. Really?
Fourth, what happens if your website contains ?Copy written material? Are you in violation of losing your site?

This act is harmful to every website owner and just plain stupid.

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