March 17, 2011 | Jim Killock

Nominet will talk directly to ORG about domain seizures

The Open Rights Group is one of twenty organizations picked by Nominet to discuss their proposed rules for domain seizures. Other civil liberties organizations invited include Global Partners.

Nominet’s specialist group is headed by Dr Ian Walden, an academic, whose work with FIPR is well-known. We welcome his appointment.

Nominet’s documents concentrate on questions of legal liability for Nominet. We strongly recommend people read their analysis, and give us feedback. Whether we get a fair settlement that protects people’s rights will not just rest on notions of what is right or fair, but also what Nominet believes its legal responsibilities to be.

If Nominets views are incorrect, or too cautious, then they may be led to conclusions which are too harsh and undermine people’s ability to exercise free speech in the face of police complaints.

Comments (3)

  1. Simon Hopkins:
    Mar 20, 2011 at 07:58 PM

    Response to Nominet 16 March 2011...

    Background Report By Micheál O'Floinn
    (Queen Mary College, University of London)

    Significant Gaps in Issues Covered in the Report

    It is crucial Nominet is seen to follow and act in accordance with good principals of justice.

    The following is highly important for justice to prevail and is not given sufficient or any prominence.

    In most developed countries suspected offenders of any crime (in this case Registrants ie: Name Holders) are interviewed and given the opportunity to answer any suspicion prior to any formal allegation of wrong doing.

    The Report appears to provide evidence that the "Registrant" (the name holder) is not currently communicated with in many circumstances of a suspected or alleged breach, guilt is simply assumed and suspension requested, this is unsafe for both Nominet and innocent victims and could warrant substantial compensation claims.

    There appears to be no requirement for verification of the real source of the alleged breach, for example: proof there was no DNS and IP hijacking (a common technique of many in crime and copyright breach circles to divert attention).

    So far there appears no provision for compensation for mistaken or wrongful suspensions that clearly already occur.

    The stakeholders concerned with alleged "illegal file-sharing" websites that might in their assumptions warrant a suspension request, have recently seen a major trial collapse (MediaCAT versus 26 alleged illegal file-sharers Jan 2011).

    A crucial part of the coming judgement that appears to relate to Nominet, is if Judge Birss says that "there needs to be judicial scrutiny about using IP addresses as evidence" or "whether you can be held vicariously liable".

    Of further importance "is identification of copyright material sufficient" or "must it also be determined that it is not legitimate use" prior to allegations being raised. In the MediaCAT case it appears copyright material was identified being transferred over a network and then alleged false claims of piracy and for compensation were made without any check that the use of the material was legitimate.

    Simon Hopkins

    NOTE: Our TV side distributes Free to Web TV content which is paid for by advertising, it includes legitimate copyright material that could trigger "copyright material scanners" used by the industry and thus suffer blocking.

  2. Ganesh Sittampalam:
    Mar 25, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    I've just sent the below to Nominet:


    The independent report strongly emphasises the contractual nature of the relationship between Nominet and domain owners, and argues that this means that Nominet is entitled to take action under contractual rights as it feels appropriate.

    While this may be true in a narrow legal sense, I believe it misses the fact that Nominet is the monopoly controller of the .uk domain, and therefore ought to behave more like a public body than a private company. More emphasis should therefore be placed on due process than in a truly private contractual arrangement.


    Ganesh Sittampalam

    1. Jim Killock:
      Mar 25, 2011 at 05:22 PM

      Hi Ganesh, that's the nub of it :)