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.
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.