EasyDNS Continues To Fight Bogus Website Seizures By City Of London Police After Verisign Issues 'No Decision'
from the a-decision-of-no-decision? dept
Back in October, we wrote about the absolutely ludicrous situation in which the City of London Police ordered registrars to take down a bunch of websites and point them to a page designated by the police (which pointed to some commercial services in London). There was no court order. There was no court involved at all. No one had been charged, sued, tried or anything. Just the City of London Police, their brand new “Intellectual Property Crime Unit” (set up at the urging of the RIAA), and a demand that the website domains be yanked and that the registrars bar them from being transferred out. While some registrars, such as the incredibly misnamed “Public Domain Registry,” caved immediately to the completely bogus request, EasyDNS strongly and publicly refused (telling the police to come back with a court order) while also questioning (1) whatever happened to due process and (2) how any registrar could do this when it clearly violated ICANN’s policy on transferring domain names.
Given this, EasyDNS went even further and filed a “request for enforcement” against Public Domain Registry, for locking the domains from being transferred out (and to EasyDNS). As EasyDNS notes, PDR’s decision to lock the domains, despite being asked to do so by the police, violated ICANN’s policies. ICANN’s policies are pretty straightforward: the only times a registrar can deny a transfer-out request is in a few specific cases. And “asked by random police” isn’t one. Instead there’s “court order by a court of competent jurisdiction.” But, again, there’s been no court order.
Given this, the fact that PDR is denying to transfer the domains to EasyDNS it seems like an open and shut case that PDR is violating the rules. Verisign, which oversees all of this, should have made quick work of this in telling PDR to get on with the transfers. Instead… it totally punted, issuing one of the most bizarre statements you can imagine:
Subject: TDRS Case 45337 – Decision Rendered/ No Decision [ ref:_00DA0Zmyt._500A0GS9Pe:ref ]
Please be advised that Verisign has completed its review of Request for Enforcement Case # 45337 and has rendered a decision of No Decision.
REASON FOR DECISION: Pursuant to Section 3.3.4 of the Registrar Transfer Dispute Resolution Policy, the data provided by the Respondent is inconclusive as to the issues presented.
Got that? Verisign reviewed everything and it’s issued its decision, which is no decision. How very Abbott and Costello of them. Furthermore, the “reason” is even more bizarre. Basically, PDR — the registry accused of violating the rules — did not provide sufficient data. Huh? That’s like saying that someone charged with a crime automatically gets off if they don’t provide the evidence against themselves, no matter what evidence the police have.
From here, it appears the process was:
EasyDNS: Here’s our request for enforcement with lots of evidence that PDR folded like a cheap card table when some power hungry police force told them to shut down sites and block transfers despite no court order. This violates ICANN’s transfer rules.
Verisign: PDR, what happened?
Verisign: Well, EasyDNS, we are issuing a no decision decision, because PDR’s answer is inconclusive.
EasyDNS is going to continue to push the matter, however, because it notes the dangerous consequences of Verisign’s ridiculous non-decision.
We feel we have an obligation to push this to an appeal now, because otherwise it means that Registrars can arbitrarily slam the doors on outbound transfers, ignore any enforcement requests from the registry and then be granted decisions of “no decisions”, thus allowing them to simply keep the domains hostage.
Now there’s an easy way to reduce customer churn – to zero.