Pharmacy Group Lies To Registrars: If We Complain About A Site, It Must Be Taken Down No Questions Asked

from the that's-not-how-it-works dept

This is incredible. Just yesterday we wrote about how EasyDNS won its arbitration case, saying that a registrar cannot takedown and block the transfer of a domain name just on the say so of law enforcement or anyone else not carrying a court order. And, the very next day, EasyDNS is reporting on an absurd letter it has received from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, which argues exactly the opposite of what the arbitration panel told EasyDNS.

Incredibly, it says that if it complains about a domain, the registrar must take it down:
"Upon receipt of an abuse notification, some Registrars claim that a court order is required or that they are not violating the laws of the Registrar’s country. Both assertions are wrong."
Except, as EasyDNS points out, the arbitration ruling says that it's the NABP that's wrong, and that a court order is required. Similarly, the NABP claims that registrars must freeze the domains, even without a court order.
You should not allow domain names engaged in the illegal sale or distribution to transfer to another Registrar: the question of legality does not relate to where the Registrar is located, but rather to the activity of the Web site.
But, again, the arbitration ruling, which merely read from ICANN's own rules, says the exact opposite -- noting that you clearly need a court order

The NABP also tries the same direct misreading of ICANN's rules that Public Domain Registry used, to pretend that "fraud" is a reason to deny transfer, but as the arbitration ruling found, that claim is simply incorrect. The "fraud" referenced in the rules is only fraud concerning transfers not fraud in terms of what the website was used for.

There's much more in the letter as well. There is some history here. The NABP is basically an organization designed to artificially inflate the price of drugs in the US, cynically using highly questionable claims to pretend that they're focused on "public safety." For years, the NABP has worked hard to keep legitimate but cheaper versions of drugs outside the US, so that US pharmacies (and the drug companies they work with) can charge increasingly insane prices for drugs. Because they can use the specter of "fake drugs killing people!" they're able to do all sorts of nasty attacks on foreign pharmacies that are selling perfectly legitimate drugs to willing buyers, by claiming that they put people's lives at risk.

And, now, it appears they're going even further in trying to basically create a "SOPA-like" setup, whereby registrars are required to pull down any domain based solely on NABP's say so without any judicial review at all. The fact that this is happening at the same time that City of London Police are doing the same exact thing (at the urging of the legacy music/movie industries) isn't an accident. While the supporters of SOPA insist that there's no new legislation coming, they're all trying to do an end run around all of it, creating something that's even more extreme than SOPA by getting registrars to simply kill sites they don't like based on nothing but a complaint.

EasyDNS's Mark Jeftovic says it all in his blog post about it, noting that this is why they fought back against COICA/SOPA/PIPA:
It really is getting creepy out there.

We now know that we live in a total surveillance society, governments are printing money, going broke, manufacturing consent and lying about nearly everything; while quasi-governmental agencies all over the world are now asserting they have the authority to overturn legal process and basically dictate everybody else's business.

This script is playing out almost verbatim what we wrote only three years ago in "First They Came For The File Sharing Domains".

Who will be the next batch of clowns who tell us they can use liberally interpreted language in a couple of agreements that they aren't even party to to compel us to takedown your website? Let's start a betting pool.
This is why pushing back and standing up for internet freedom is so important. The attempts to control, to censor, to block and to silence are only increasing. The legacy players who can't stand competition or innovation are looking for any way to hold back the future, and that means attacking the public's ability to make use of the internet and to speak freely.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2014 @ 1:51pm

    can we get the pharma company shut down, please? i am complaining about it's prices, so it must be closed immediately, no questions asked!
    we can all thank the good ol' USA government and it's unconditional backing of the lying arse holes of the entertainment industries for what we are now seeing. had the big internet companies made a stand against their demands, put up some sort of fight rather than just cow towing to every demand, we wouldn't be in the shit street we are now!

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