The 'New' Righthaven Offers Discount To Techdirt Readers Who Want 'Spineful' Hosting

from the enjoy dept

Remember Righthaven? No, not that Righthaven who sued tons of people and companies on questionable claims in order to get them to cough up settlements. We’re talking about the other Righthaven… the Swiss company that bought the domain that was auctioned off after the old Righthaven failed to pay the attorneys’ fees it owed. The new Righthaven is all about being the anti-Righthaven in many ways: it’s about setting up an ISP that provides “spineful” hosting, that will stand up to questionable takedown attempts. This does not mean that they’re offering “no questions asked” type hosting that spammers and malware providers love. Quite different. They’re simply looking to host those who often have their free speech rights challenged, and who won’t fold under questionable pressure without a valid legal basis. As the company explains:

There are many hosting providers who maintain a “no questions asked” policy with respect to their clients and use this approach and lax, evasive or non-existent abuse handling infrastructure to effectively provide a safe-harbor for bad actors. That is not our business model.

Instead, we focus on hosting expression that has traditionally been subjected to frivolous legal threats based on its content. Our approach focuses on our team’s wealth of expertise in dealing with high tech abuse and legal issues and our willingness to zealously defend our clients from frivolous, manipulative, abusive or outright fraudulent litigation. Our experience and expertise in issues ranging from fair-use to libel and whistle-blowing protections means we can often gently (and sometimes firmly) remind third parties about the many protections afforded legitimate publishers in these areas.

Often a proactive, responsive and competent abuse management team engaging in an open dialogue and discussion with copyright holders or their legal counsel is all it takes to close what might otherwise escalate into a frivolous suit.

But dialogue isn’t always enough. Against this unfortunate possibility we have a second level of defense: In cooperation with our upstream providers in Switzerland we have some of the best free speech counsel in the world on retainer.

The folks behind the company, which is based in Switzerland, admit that they’re a bit more expensive than other hosting companies, but that’s to cover the cost of actually having people who will take the time to understand legal threats made against you.

Either way, the kind folks over at this new Righthaven are offering a 15% discount to Techdirt readers on everything except their bandwidth upgrades as a “thank you” for speaking out on various issues lately:

Remember us? The upstarts over at Providers of “spineful” shared, virtual private server and dedicated server hosting services from the copyright-sane environs of Switzerland?

We’ve enjoyed your coverage of SOPA, PIPA, ACTA (and us) and since we’re launching this coming week, we’d like to give your readers the first bite at the jellyfish (so to speak).

So for the next 14 days new accounts opened by Techdirt readers get 15% off of everything except bandwidth upgrades. Readers who sign up for 3 or 6 months can lock that discount in for the duration.

Just browse on over to our order page at and type “dirtlaunch” when prompted for a promotion code.

Just our way of saying “Thank you” for increasing digital rights awareness.

We certainly cannot vouch for these guys, but we absolutely appreciate the need for more ISPs that have a spine in protecting their customers’ free speech rights. Hopefully more ISPs will realize that that’s a good selling point to potential customers.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: righthaven

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “The 'New' Righthaven Offers Discount To Techdirt Readers Who Want 'Spineful' Hosting”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

Very Decent Of Them

It is most kind of the new Righthaven to offer a discount to Techdirt readers. However, many of us have existing hosting arrangements with service providers who have, so far, committed no sin. In the event of sinfulness appearing with the present provider, then Righthaven would be a hot candidate to take over. Bear in mind that it may take a while for sinfulness to appear. It would be unfair to dump an existing provider who has not sinned.

So Righthaven may need to be patient. They will pick up customers, but it will depend on the level of virtue in the existing hosting companies. Isn’t commercial competition so wonderful?

Rich Kulawiec (profile) says:

Plus points for spine, but minus for lack of low-end offerings

I applaud the idea behind the site — I really do. But:

There don’t seem to be any low-end plans at all: e.g., 1-5G storage, much much less than 1T bandwidth. There doesn’t see to be any option to omit the email accounts or perhaps just have the half-dozen or so “role addresses” required for responsible domain operation (e.g., postmaster, abuse and so on).

Also, I don’t see shell access via ssh, which is immensely preferable to worthless drivel like CPanel. Nor do I see (although perhaps it’s just not mentioned there) the ability to disable FTP or remove PHP from the web server configuration.

(Also, that floating “order summary” widget is incredibly annoying. Whoever coded that should be taken outside and lined up next to the Marketing Division of the the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.)

(Oh, and there’s a persistent typo: “hositng”.) (user link) says:

Plus points for spine, but minus for lack of low-end offerings

Mr. Kulawiec:

Yes, it’s true, we aren’t focusing much on lower end services. We wouldn’t be able to bring the price point down much and still credibly offer what we do outside of the actual features. Instead, we elected to boost features, storage and bandwidth at the low end. Sorry you don’t see something that fits your needs better. Still, if we see enough demand below our Spineful shared hosting package, we’ll be please to offer something. Dedicated WordPress (and the like) are high on the list as well.

As for SSH, it’s not on by default in the cPanel packages, but we aren’t so rigid that we won’t happily switch it on when someone asks. Obviously, it will be available for the VPS plans.

We’re not great fans of the floating Ajax cart either, but it was the quickest to market of the WHMCS defaults we found ourselves hacking away at. It’s high on the list of things to change once matters have settled down.

As for the typos: right you are! Nice catch. We’ve corrected them. Thanks!

Anonymous Coward says:

Complete random Youtube funny stuff.

LoL – Music for playing as… Taric

I found this and I remembered one other AC that was going for kicking others in the crouch and making comments about soap and prison for pirates.

This is for you dude “It ok to be gay!” LoL
You don’t need to hide behind that macho persona.

Things gamers imagine, is just hilarious, check the other “music for playing as…” and see how those people are funny at times.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m 100% for the idea of a hosting provider who will stand up for their customers, but I would think to truly be spineless one must have their own data center, a good legal department, and located in a country that is not a shill for the US or other Governments with a propensity for censorship. (I hate that America now falls under that umbrella)

I would also see such a hosting service being a magnet for bad actors which could be concerning. There would need to be a well laid out terms of service that explains the companies position on things like pornography, gambling, spam, phishing etc.

I’m not knocking what Righthaven is attempting to do, I just think it’s going to take a lot more than a 3000.00 domain, a reseller hosting account, and a great idea. What I’m seeing is certainly not enough to risk the most important aspect of a internet business on the unknown, untested, and unanswered.

Sneeje (profile) says:


Hey, nevermind what they actually said or even how safe harbors actually work, go ahead and just change their words to whatever you wanted to hear!

The point of the notice and takedown process, as well as the legal realm is to try and give both accusers and defendants a remedy. They are simply saying they will provide the defendants support in situations where they are often on the losing side (by far) regarding resources at their disposal to defend against misdirected or wrongful accusations.

Unless you believe (and I think you may) that defendants should have the most limited (or none) remedies possible and always capitulate, then I guess I understand why you fabricated all that language. (user link) says:


Hello, AC. You said:

“…but I would think to truly be spineless one must have their own data center, a good legal department, and located in a country that is not a shill for the US or other Governments with a propensity for censorship. (I hate that America now falls under that umbrella)…

I just think it’s going to take a lot more than a 3000.00 domain, a reseller hosting account, and a great idea.”

Did you mean “spineful” here, or “spineless”?

We agree with your take on what it takes to be spineful. That’s why we are 100% made in Switzerland, where copyright law is sane.

All of our customers are on our own hardware, in our own cabinets run by our own staff from datacenters in Z?rich and Zug. We don’t outsource anything (except legal).

Also, we don’t actually “resell” from anywhere, or have “reseller” accounts. Of course, we are aware that a number of firms do take this approach. That’s not us. Our parent company, OrtCloud GmbH is AS#198326 and we run our own network to boot.

As for owning our own datacenter… patience padawan. Meanwhile, we have quite enough autonomy and redundancy to be “spineful.”

I invite you to take a look at our FAQ, we answer a number of your questions there:

Anonymous Coward says:


“We agree with your take on what it takes to be spineful. That’s why we are 100% made in Switzerland, where copyright law is sane.”

Sorry to say, but no matter WHERE you are located, the site owner is responsible for their site content based on where they live. So an American trying to hide a pirate site or whatnot in Sweden is going to eat it legally in the US regardless. You cannot avoid liablity by weakly trying to hide offshore.

So you may feel your are “spineful”, but you seem mostly to be leading the sheep to slaughter.

el_segfaulto (profile) says:

Very Decent Of Them

I have a number of sites through a number of providers running the gammut from GoDaddy to 1and1. While I do appreciate the pricing and service of the latter, the sleaziness of the former is making me consider this. I transferred many of the domains away from GoDaddy a few months ago when they came out in support of SOPA, the last 3 may be next if I can lobby my cause well enough. (user link) says:


Hi again, AC (assuming there is only one and not two of you in the thread above):

Really you should take a good look at our FAQ. We’re not interested in “trying to hide a pirate site or whatnot,” as I think we make clear. Given this quote I think you might misunderstand what is.

We aren’t for everyone, certainly. We run our own network for our clients and have multiple upstreams, so I’m not sure really what you mean by “going to our upstream for the same service.” Certainly our legal counsel in Switzerland and the US aren’t going to represent our upstreams. They work for us. Likewise, our upstreams don’t have that cost. We can’t speak for their policy on meritless takedown claims. We simply have no idea.

Yep, if you want cheap virtual hosting for a pirate site from a provider that will look the other way no matter what you do then you need to look elsewhere. We are not interested.

Meanwhile, really take some time and read our FAQ, especially the section on Switzerland. You can find our privacy policy and our terms of service on our site as well.

We’re not sure if other Swiss providers keep foreign legal counsel on retainer, including former Assistant United States Attorneys, or train their staff on fair use exceptions or when Swiss law applies and when it doesn’t or the many nuances of international takedown requests (we suspect not) but we do. It’s all a great deal more complex than you make out. It is DESIGNED to be complex. That makes what we do expensive.

Again, you can find our FAQ here:

After you read our FAQ, if you still don’t find us interesting, that’s ok. We understand. 🙂 Not everyone will see value in our service. We’re focused on those who do and we don’t compete on price because we don’t cost-cut dealing with customers.


The Gang.

Anonymous Coward says:


“fter you read our FAQ, if you still don’t find us interesting, that’s ok. We understand.”

Interesting isn’t the point. The point is all the razzle dazzle in the world will not change the liablity of a site owner. No matter how much you want to play “hide the owner”, there are limits.

I understand your goal, to become a hide out and a haven for people who are doing things they are not legal in most places, but because of the “sane copyright laws” of Sweden, that they could get away with in your country. That tells me that you are more than open to some pretty questionable stuff.

Good luck with it, just make sure that like Sunde and others you hide some of your money offshore so you don’t go broke.

Sneeje (profile) says:


Ok, well you can form whatever opinions you like, but they don’t seem grounded in much resembling critical thought.

You know there are many, many reasons that providers tier in this manner–it is a very common and healthy occurrence in any marketplace. They will succeed or fail based on how well they serve the customers not targeted by the upstream provider and by how they differentiate themselves. No surprise there.

So your entire argument boils down to: “I don’t believe they can provide anything unique” for which you have no actual evidence (since they are just starting) to point to.

We do, however, have plenty of evidence that the typical approach to supporting customers in this manner is to NOT support customers in this manner. Ergo a possible differentiation that we also have plenty of evidence is actually desired.

Be negative if you wish, but it sounds pretty foolish–they have as much chance to succeed as any other startup.

Sneeje (profile) says:


Just to point out, you have never actually given any logical or evidence-based argument why their liability would be any different. Also, has not claimed in any manner to be absolved of liability.

They only claim that they will help a content creator assert the rights that THEY ALREADY HAVE, which they are often not able to given limited resources and knowledge.

Prediction: you will continue to ignore both of these points. (user link) says:


So, we’re in SwITZERLAND, not Sweden. Quite a huge difference given the propensity of the SWEDES (as opposed to the SWISS) to prosecute for “contributory infringement” and secure jail terms for the defendants. Ouch.

And I suppose there’s only so many ways we can say were not interested in hosting infringing material before we are bouncing the ruins but:

We are not interested in hosting infringing material.

“I understand your goal, to become a hide out and a haven for people who are doing things they are not legal in most places…”

That’s not our goal at all. But, I think we’ve reached impasse on this point.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:


Crossing that line should also result in liability for false complaints, false take down notices and all that good stuff too. What they’re saying is that they’ll defend their customers where there is NO violation of fair use or safe harbour law in court if necessary.

I have to give them credit for that as a hosting company that they’re willing to do that instead of rolling on over like so many others do. That’s the extra cost, of course, but if you have a site with a lot of user input I’d say they’re the way to go. Sort of like an insurance policy.

Anonymous Coward says:


So what exactly is your goal?

If the material hosted is legal, and legal everywhere, “spine” doesn’t come into it. If you have valid and legal content on a valid and legal site, then you have no issues. So why pay for expensive “spineful” hosting?

Why would you mention the “sane” copyright laws in your country at all?

Is it safer to say you are offering “not in a place where DMCA matters” hosting? (user link) says:


Thanks for bringing this up.

We will strongly consider moving for sanctions against blatantly frivolous claimants in their country of origin. That’s the only way to provide an ongoing deterrent. That’s part of being spineful.

To this end we retained Marc Randazza, who put Righthaven LLC’s lights out in the first place in this way. See:

Anonymous Coward says:

Unaswered questions

Yes! In reference to Hephaestus’ questions, I particularly would like to know your stance on being part of a secondary DNS system.

I can see the need for such a system to sidestep state-imposed censorship of the official DNS system. Now that the US is shaping up to becoming a censoring state no better than the totalitarian ones around the world (such hypocrisy…), I can see myself needing to use an alternate DNS system, and I might even see myself participating at some point…

(A Canadian now considering the removal of his VPSs from US hosts in favor of local hosts, even at a price premium, due to the games the US politicians are playing…) (user link) says:


Actually, our stateside lawyers, Marc Randazza and Kenneth White (Ken is a former Assistant United States Attorney, Marc, well, Marc you should know if you know who Righthaven LLC is) gave Web Host Industry Review an interview last month that touches on these points, particularly the nuances of fair-use and the fact that today you don’t have to be hosting even remotely infringing material to attract takedown notices. Maybe that article will answer your questions better than I can?

You can find it here:

If you still have questions, and you are actually interested in answers, drop us an email at (assuming its not really a sales question).

Anonymous Coward says:


Sorry, now I know who your stateside lawyers are, I know why your service has such an arrogant tone.

Let’s just say that little is a surprise, and I still see the sheep being herded towards the shredder. Actually, I get a feeling that these guys might even be spoiling for a fight, trying to get a case to work from.

More power to you. I feel sorry for anyone who gets involved though.

Anonymous Coward says:


I fling nothing. I am making an observation based on what is out there.

People based in the US using this sort of hosting trying to avoid liability or any other US law may find themselves getting shafted. They may find themselves needing a lawyer like Randazza. It would certainly help their cause to have such a case to argue, wouldn’t it?

Save your pity for someone who needs it. I have been around the internet way too long, this one is as transparent as it gets.

Gulliard (profile) says:

Enemies of the Internet

One of the biggest enemies of the Internet in Washington is Senator Orrin Hatch. He authored the original COICA (Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act), co-sponsored SOPA/PIPA, and also believes the Government should blow up a few hundred thousand computers without due process to help people “get the picture.”

Hephaestus (profile) says:


Not sure if Nasch wants you or me to post the email chain. I would be perfectly happy to do this in confidence or as an open source discussion. As my questions do not tread on things currently illegal.(encryption, onion routing, new methods of data storage, and alternate DNS) The entire project I am thinking of relates to the spread of information in oppressive regimes. Due to the number of people using P2P, to start it requires a central DNS server.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Unaswered questions

A secondary P2P DNS system would require central nodes to begin with. Much like Torrent tracking sites did, and are now going magnet files. P2P currently has around ~200 million monthly users, finding a single check sum or DNS root file among all that noise would be take an extremely long time.

It actually would probably be easier to incorporate this into the next version of what passes for BitTorrent standards.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...