Another Registrar To Avoid: Internet BS Pulls Down Website Based On Confused Understanding Of The Law

from the bs-indeed dept

It seems that many in the anti-piracy world are moving up the chain a bit in their quixotic fight against anything they feel must be illegal (even if it's not). From targeting the sites directly, to then focusing on hosting firms, they're now going directly to registrars and ordering them to pull domain names or face liability. And while many of the better web hosts have learned to be familiar with the law here, many registrars are confused (thankfully, there are a few exceptions).

The latest example of a registrar folding the second someone freaked out is the aptly named Internet BS (or Internet.bs), which apparently suspended Bittorrent.pm's domain, after a company called Rico Management claimed it was hosting infringing files. Of course, it's not hosting any infringing files, because it's an index site, rather than a hosting site. Rico complained, and Internet BS told the site's administrators that it had to take action or face liability, and then it also complained that Bittorrent.pm didn't have a contact page on its website. Of course, as Torrentfreak notes, there's some irony in the fact that the complaining company, Rico Management, doesn't even seem to have a website at all, let alone official contact information.

Either way, the idea that a registrar might be liable for infringement stretches the bounds of secondary liability to ridiculous lengths. Remember, the direct infringement is done by end users. At best, Bittorrent.pm might be found for secondary liability. You could argue that its hosting provider might have (already ridiculous) tertiary liability, meaning the registrar would be at the level of quaternary liability, which is taking the concept of third party liability to extreme and ridiculous levels. And, of course, that doesn't even get into the fact that neither Bittorrent.pm nor Internet BS are in the US, and yet Internet BS seemed to be relying on an extremely strained reading of the US's DMCA to make this argument.

If there's actual infringement going on, the focus should be on holding those actually responsible liable, not twisting liability rules to make everyone else potentially liable. When you go down that path, you guarantee easy and widespread stifling of perfectly legitimate speech and innovation.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 4:12pm

    The names couldn't be any more apt...

    RICO Management using Internet BS to shutdown Bittorrent.pm. I mean, with that one sentence, you don't really need any editorial; it's all right there, both literally and figuratively.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 4:15pm

    Re: The names couldn't be any more apt...

    This just validates my plan to rent twelve year olds out to businesses to vet any ideas they have.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 4:25pm

    Interestingly, internet.bs is my preferred registrar: they didn't rat me out to Prenda, so...

     

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  4.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 4:29pm

    Another standard rule of Copyright Maximalism

    'If the law doesn't agree with your demands, just lie and make laws up based upon what you want the law to be.'

     

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  5.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 4:37pm

    Re:

    They must not have used the magic words, 'Copyright infringement', which, much like 'Because terrorists/National Security', causes all the normal rules to be thrown clear out the window.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    PRMan, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 4:49pm

    RICO?!?

    Is this the MAFIAA admitting that they are engaging in RICO practices (even as a joke)?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 5:00pm

    Looks like a list is developing of Registrars you don't want to use.

    In the days running up to trying to get the DMCA passed, the RIAA made the comment they would not abuse this law. We see today how that has went. Search bots that can't tell the difference between parody and an offical song want everything off the net for their payday from the RIAA.

    Today it might be copyright issues, tomorrow it may be political issues. Since these people can not follow the rules laid down by ICAAN on what does or does not qualify for block or removal of a domain are ignored, perhaps it is time to consider an Iceland domain or one from EasyDNS. I sure wouldn't want Godaddy nor the other four as my registrar.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 5:03pm

    RICO Management? Really?

    I smell a troll.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 5:28pm

    This must be more of the "on the internet" magic how else is a registrar different to a phone book or a map ?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 6:02pm

    Re: Another standard rule of Copyright Maximalism

    They are just following examples set by DOJ, NSA, FBI, CIA, Executive Branch, etc..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 6:06pm

    Re:

    So...(lousy start), you admit your complicity to being human?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 9:17pm

    Breach of contract

    IANAL, but it seems like RICO have coerced BS into breaching contract. It seems like bittorrent.pm may have a civil case against one / both...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Domainer, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 1:15am

    Too extreme..

    I think the world has gone over extreme with copyright laws... too much politics around it. You have to be paranoid all the time. Not a great way to run a website business or brand your domain name.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 2:39am

    Re:

    "I sure wouldn't want Godaddy nor the other four as my registrar."

    Of course not, given that the GoDaddy strongly supports spam, forgery, phishing, carding, child pornography, and other things, while happily bending over and 'servicing' any requests from the MPAA and RIAA without question.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jun 20th, 2014 @ 5:57am

    Stretching Exercises

    It is a stretch that secondary, tertiary, etc liability might extend to domain registrars. But stretching is good for you. So let's get to it. First we'll do some simple stretching of copyright length. Then we'll do the DMCA stretch with a few super quick take downs. After we catch our breath, then we'll stretch the subpoena power of the courts to send extortion settlement letters. Then we'll stretch the concept of liability to include secondary liability. Stretch sanity to believe that Google hosts infringing files because it controls the entire internet. We'll stretch politicians' pockets by stuffing them with too much money to try to pass insanity like SOPA, which is quite a stretch. Then we'll stretch and get law enforcement to believe that it is copyright owners' private police force. Then after a breather, we'll think about stretching this to include the military. After all, is it too much of a stretch to think that innovation and creative commons licensing causes terror? It's really a stretch to get another government to have an almost military style raid and to seize servers and destroy a business based on just a feeling, and at the behest of a foreign private interest.

    Whew! That's enough of a workout for now. But come back tomorrow. With practice we'll see how easily we can stretch more and more each day.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Quiet Lurcker, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 6:37am

    Re: Re: The names couldn't be any more apt...

    Twelve-year-olds???

    I believe the term you are looking for is 'five-year-olds'. See here for clarification, specifically item 12 of the list shown.

    Besides, based on my (admittedly limited) experience in business, using a 12-year-old in this application seems to attribute ENTIRELY too much intelligence to the client(s) in question.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Dan G Difino, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 6:43am

    Groping

    If there's actual infringement going on, the focus should be on holding those actually responsible liable, not twisting liability rules to make everyone else potentially liable. When you go down that path, you guarantee easy and widespread stifling of perfectly legitimate speech and innovation.

    Not only does that become widespread, but you become something your mother warned you about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 7:12am

    Re:

    you might want to re-adjust your preferences... it used to be that Internet.bs was a nice place a few years ago but this piece of news together with the HUGE LETTERS at the top of the page of internetbs.net that spell out:

    "CENTRALNIC ACQUIRES INTERNET.BS"

    should be a dead-giveaway that the new owners are getting in the business with steel-toed boots on and stomping on all the (sort-of) good name that the place used to have.

    quote from their linked page:
    June 17, 2014
    The ICANN accredited Bahamian registrar business of Internet.bs Corp. (IBS) has been acquired by CentralNic Group PLC(“CentralNic”) in a move that is intended to provide IBS customers with continued and expanded leading-edge, personalized registrar services.
    /quote



    CentralNIC as a company is based in both USA and UK... so better say hello to NSA and GCSB/MI5. They are already browsing through your accounts :p

    The Bahamas dream is dead.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    One Arrned Bandit, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 7:22am

    Re: RICO

    Aren't there laws surrounding this RICO? Strong arm tactics immediately come to mind when I hear that name for some reason.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re:

    "continued and expanded leading-edge, personalized registrar services"...
    i think this comes from the same book that describes a CIA extraordinary rendition airplane as "a leading-edge, personalized transportation service".

    /sarcasm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Jun 20th, 2014 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re:

    Thanks for the heads up.

    What would be recommendations then? I want to stay relatively anonymous: I don't hide from authorities, but from dirtbags that are capable of turning my life to hell. I want a registrar that doesn't honor US civil court subpoenas, or, at least gives a fight.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 20th, 2014 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Fortunately, registrars only have a very limited ability to invade your privacy. All they're doing is associating a domain name with you and the IP address is resolves to. The registrar is not in a technical position to spy on you in any way that isn't available to any other random entity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    except for the fact that some (most?) registrars have a "feature" called automatic renewal... you just have to let them save your credit card info.

    that info usually is not available to just any other random entity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    John85851 (profile), Jun 20th, 2014 @ 5:26pm

    Re: Re:

    Yes, but did they use the magic words "for the children"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2014 @ 5:02am

    But. Terrorism!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 21st, 2014 @ 9:37pm

    Re: Trolls Anonymous

    What's even more suspicious is that RICO Management doesn't even have a web site not to mention any way to contact or check up on them. But to prove they aren't all that bright they have a Facebook account complete with name, address, contact number, and a little slice of Google Maps that shows exactly where they hide. Not a single "like" of course, and a lot of really nasty messages :-) Yeah, they are trolls .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 21st, 2014 @ 9:41pm

    Re: Re: Trolls Anonymous

    ooops: Here's their facebook info: https://www.facebook.com/RicoManagement
    They also appear to be brainless idiots but who knows :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2015 @ 5:37pm

    Just took down 8chan.co for unfounded cp claims

    Anti- #GamerGate ers mad because one board of hundreds on 8Chan.co is /gamergate/ and have been DDoS-ing the site for days and have submitted false "child porn" claims to CloudFlare and Internet.bs has suspended 8chans domain, and put up adds for "jailbait chans" and "barely legal" links... see @infinitchan on Twitter for details

    Internet.bs should be exposed as a crappy domain provider.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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