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Internet Law regrding domain accountability

including wills and probate
bruncher
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Internet Law regrding domain accountability

#276921

Postby bruncher » January 12th, 2020, 9:19 pm

I used to own and manage a web site, which I decided to let go and not renew. Someone bought the domain and it is registered with godaddy but the registrant is hiding behind a proxy (Domains by Proxy LLC)

The site has false and misleading information including the statement that I am responsible for the site.

I have contacted godaddy who have so far declined to intervene, but instead referred me to the company hosting the site - Wholesale Internet does not answer the phone, nor respond to email, and a tracked letter I sent them was returned to me all the way from Kansas City.

Does anyone know if there is anything I can do? I want the site taken down as it has offensive material and is potentially causing reputational damage to me and others.

I have emailed godaddy again asking them to intervene.

supremetwo
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Re: Internet Law regrding domain accountability

#276923

Postby supremetwo » January 12th, 2020, 9:37 pm

Grossly offensive?

https://www.askthe.police.uk/content/Q771.htm

If the information is indecent, grossly offensive, obscene or threatening/menacing, then an offence relating to 'malicious communications' may have been committed.

This offence does not require more than one incident.

You can report any of these offences to your local policing team and they will then investigate and take appropriate action.

mc2fool
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Re: Internet Law regrding domain accountability

#276926

Postby mc2fool » January 12th, 2020, 10:31 pm

What is the top-level domain? If it's a .uk then you can try contacting Nominet UK, they are the ultimate registry for all .uk domains. https://www.google.com/search?q=nominet

If it's anything else then you can try looking up the tld's ultimate registry on ICANN and try contacting them. https://www.google.com/search?q=icann

yorkshirelad1
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Re: Internet Law regrding domain accountability

#276989

Postby yorkshirelad1 » January 13th, 2020, 10:26 am

bruncher wrote:I used to own and manage a web site, which I decided to let go and not renew. Someone bought the domain and it is registered with godaddy but the registrant is hiding behind a proxy (Domains by Proxy LLC)

The site has false and misleading information including the statement that I am responsible for the site.

I have contacted godaddy who have so far declined to intervene, but instead referred me to the company hosting the site - Wholesale Internet does not answer the phone, nor respond to email, and a tracked letter I sent them was returned to me all the way from Kansas City.

Does anyone know if there is anything I can do? I want the site taken down as it has offensive material and is potentially causing reputational damage to me and others.

I have emailed godaddy again asking them to intervene.


Sorry to hear about your predicament. I have had that happen to a website that I looked after, and whoever brought my lapsed domain did put up a lookalike site, but it wasn't offensive. A learning experience, and a lesson in not letting a domain lapse (ever?, or maybe 10 years), which is why I now keep a domain (but not hosting) for at least 10 years (it may cost a little, but it saves the above and is worth the expense: a sad reflection on some low-life who wants to do that, but hey-ho) after the purposes of the website has lapsed.

bruncher
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Re: Internet Law regrding domain accountability

#277167

Postby bruncher » January 13th, 2020, 8:35 pm

mc2fool wrote:What is the top-level domain? If it's a .uk then you can try contacting Nominet UK, they are the ultimate registry for all .uk domains. https://www.google.com/search?q=nominet

If it's anything else then you can try looking up the tld's ultimate registry on ICANN and try contacting them. https://www.google.com/search?q=icann


Thank you, I haven't tried this. The ICANN web site is discouraging in that they will not deal with complaints about content.

The top level is .org so I will write to Public Interest Registry (PIR) who manage and maintain .org

bruncher
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Re: Internet Law regrding domain accountability

#277204

Postby bruncher » January 14th, 2020, 1:36 am

bruncher wrote:
mc2fool wrote:What is the top-level domain? If it's a .uk then you can try contacting Nominet UK, they are the ultimate registry for all .uk domains. https://www.google.com/search?q=nominet

If it's anything else then you can try looking up the tld's ultimate registry on ICANN and try contacting them. https://www.google.com/search?q=icann


Thank you, I haven't tried this. The ICANN web site is discouraging in that they will not deal with complaints about content.

The top level is .org so I will write to Public Interest Registry (PIR) who manage and maintain .org


My misplaced hope was short-lived, but at least I had a prompt reply from PIR:

"Pursuant to the terms of its contract with ICANN, PIR has no control over the uses to which a domain name may be put, and no control over the content or operations of any web site. Absent a finding of technical abuse of the DNS, we are not authorized to intervene with a domain name registration unless requested by the registrar or pursuant to the order of a court having jurisdiction.

You may be able to work with the registrar at which the domain is registered who, according to a search of the WHOIS, publicly available on our website at https://thenew.org/get/find-my-org/whois is GoDaddy.com, LLC. "

mc2fool
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Re: Internet Law regrding domain accountability

#277208

Postby mc2fool » January 14th, 2020, 2:16 am

bruncher wrote:My misplaced hope was short-lived, but at least I had a prompt reply from PIR

Hmmm ... I had better luck with Nominet UK a bit over a decade ago ... although that was about obviously bogus registration (WHOIS) information for a domain, rather than website content. Oh well, it was worth a try....not sure what else to suggest, that you haven't tried already.

didds
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Re: Internet Law regrding domain accountability

#277321

Postby didds » January 14th, 2020, 12:06 pm

Ive no idea how effective/useful/realistic this is but failing all else a cease and desist letter etc ?

I appreciate the whois details do not list who to serve it on but more generally speaking there must be a legal manner whereby the courts will either hold a webspace provideor or a registrar to task in some way or other (even if to provide such details) - otherwise anyone could buy and domain and do anything with it with no come back whatsoever as they obfuscate their identity?

didds

bruncher
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Re: Internet Law regrding domain accountability

#277338

Postby bruncher » January 14th, 2020, 12:46 pm

didds wrote:Ive no idea how effective/useful/realistic this is but failing all else a cease and desist letter etc ?

I appreciate the whois details do not list who to serve it on but more generally speaking there must be a legal manner whereby the courts will either hold a webspace provideor or a registrar to task in some way or other (even if to provide such details) - otherwise anyone could buy and domain and do anything with it with no come back whatsoever as they obfuscate their identity?

didds


Yes, I will try the registrar godaddy again. I think you are right that they may feel that they do have a responsibility to at least ensure that the ownership of the site is not deliberately misrepresented which it currently is.

stewamax
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Re: Internet Law regrding domain accountability

#277426

Postby stewamax » January 14th, 2020, 4:54 pm

Registrar Godaddy will only intervene if the registration details appear intentionally false - which, given that the Admin and Technical contacts are boilerplate proxy registrations to Domains by Proxy – they won’t be.
Domains by Proxy are also technically the registrant; in UK law they would be the legal but not beneficial owner (what this is called in the US I have no idea!) So the only people who (officially) know the beneficial registrant’s details are them. And the only way they are likely to divulge them is via a US court order because otherwise they would be in breach of their ‘proxy’ contract with the beneficial registrant.
Wholesale Internet won’t be interested: they just sell cheap web-server services. Nor will ICANN or registry PIR, unless Godaddy are undertaking registrations in obvious violation of ICANN’s rules.
Unfortunately, it boils down to someone making libellous comments and/or passing off your intellectual property and you would need a US lawyer to intervene.
Or perhaps some social media pressure might make them look silly enough to stop.
Or, if OP hasn’t done so already, have a look at the website source code using his/her browser (e.g. Ctrl-U in Chrome). There might be all sorts of useful stuff there, comments perhaps.

pochisoldi
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Re: Internet Law regrding domain accountability

#277506

Postby pochisoldi » January 15th, 2020, 1:51 am

stewamax wrote:Registrar Godaddy will only intervene if the registration details appear intentionally false - which, given that the Admin and Technical contacts are boilerplate proxy registrations to Domains by Proxy – they won’t be.
Domains by Proxy are also technically the registrant; in UK law they would be the legal but not beneficial owner (what this is called in the US I have no idea!) So the only people who (officially) know the beneficial registrant’s details are them. And the only way they are likely to divulge them is via a US court order because otherwise they would be in breach of their ‘proxy’ contract with the beneficial registrant.
Wholesale Internet won’t be interested: they just sell cheap web-server services. Nor will ICANN or registry PIR, unless Godaddy are undertaking registrations in obvious violation of ICANN’s rules.
Unfortunately, it boils down to someone making libellous comments and/or passing off your intellectual property and you would need a US lawyer to intervene.
Or perhaps some social media pressure might make them look silly enough to stop.
Or, if OP hasn’t done so already, have a look at the website source code using his/her browser (e.g. Ctrl-U in Chrome). There might be all sorts of useful stuff there, comments perhaps.


Hint: Chase the company hosting the site...
From the command line on an Unix/Llnux box:

nslookup <website address>
which reveals the ip address

whois <ip address>
which reveals who's hosting

e.g
nslookup www.bbc.co.uk

which gives (snipped for brevity)
Non-authoritative answer:
www.bbc.co.uk canonical name = www.bbc.net.uk.
Name: www.bbc.net.uk
Address: 212.58.233.252
Name: www.bbc.net.uk
Address: 212.58.237.252

whois 212.58.237.252
which gives (snipped for brevity)

% Abuse contact for '212.58.224.0 - 212.58.255.255' is 'abuse@bbc.co.uk'

Note that the "abuse contact" is usually a point of contact for abusive traffic originating from the IP, but other information may give you someone to go after, or somewhere to go.
e.g. for www.bbc.co.uk (details obfuscated)

address: BBC Centre House, NN XXXXXXXX XXXXXX
address: W12 XXXXX
address: London
address: UNITED KINGDOM
phone: +44XXXXXXXXXX
fax-no: +44XXXXXXXXXX

bruncher
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Re: Internet Law regrding domain accountability

#279028

Postby bruncher » January 21st, 2020, 7:01 pm

Hint: Chase the company hosting the site...


I've tried. They don't answer the phone, or respond to emails, or accept delivery of mail. I wrote to GoDaddy again, who are the registrars but say they can do nothing.

The owner is hidden behind Domains By Proxy LLC, so I've emailed the domain in question which the Domains by Proxy website says can be done in this format:

xyz.org@domainsbyproxy.com

We'll see.

dspp
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Re: Internet Law regrding domain accountability

#279630

Postby dspp » January 24th, 2020, 10:56 am

bruncher wrote:
Hint: Chase the company hosting the site...


I've tried. They don't answer the phone, or respond to emails, or accept delivery of mail. I wrote to GoDaddy again, who are the registrars but say they can do nothing.

The owner is hidden behind Domains By Proxy LLC, so I've emailed the domain in question which the Domains by Proxy website says can be done in this format:

xyz.org@domainsbyproxy.com

We'll see.


A possible pathway ......

1. Establish which country the proxy LLC is resident in (from what you are saying I guess USA, but maybe UK).
2. Engage a solicitor (UK), or a lawyer (USA) in that country.
3. First step will be for the lawyer to issue a demand to the proxy stating a) that content is libellous/etc; b) demanding full beneficial ownership details of domain holder and; c) demanding immediate take down.
4. From then on, escalate as appropriate, also demanding costs and damages.
5. But be very careful indeed as this could have very severe repercussions and/or costs to the effect of potentially completely bankrupting you if you make a mis-step.

NOTE : I AM NOT A LAWYER. THE ABOVE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ADVICE. TAKE PROFESSIONAL ADVICE.

regards, dspp


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