Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published an article with the title “Healthy Domains Initiative Isn’t Healthy for the Internet” going against the new initiative by the Domain Name Association.
The (EFF) made it pretty clear by saying that “This ill-conceived proposal is the very epitome of Shadow Regulation.”
I can’t say that I blame them. This initiative seems to be another easy way to grab domain names from its rightful owners like the UDRP has been in many cases.
Domain Name Association’s Healthy Domains Initiative (HDI) is also being called the “UDRP for copyright”.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. We work to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows.
Here are a few excerpts from the article:
“EFF had high hopes that the Domain Name Association’s Healthy Domains Initiative (HDI) wouldn’t be just another secretive industry deal between rightsholders and domain name intermediaries.”
“This ill-conceived proposal is the very epitome of Shadow Regulation.”
“The HDI recommends the construction of “a voluntary framework for copyright infringement disputes, so copyright holders could use a more efficient and cost-effective system for clear cases of copyright abuse other than going to court.” This would involve forcing everyone who registers a domain name to consent to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process for any copyright claim that is made against their website. This process, labelled ADRP, would be modeled after the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), an ADR process for disputes between domain name owners and trademark holders, in which the latter can claim that a domain name infringes its trademark rights and have the domain transferred to their control.
This is a terrible proposal, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, a domain name owner who contracts with a registrar is doing so only for the domain name of their website or Internet service. The content that happens to be posted within that website or service has nothing to do with the domain name registrar, and frankly, is none of its business. If a website is hosting unlawful content, then it is the website host, not the domain registrar, who needs to take responsibility for that, and only to the extent of fulfilling its obligations under the DMCA or its foreign equivalents.
Second, it seems too likely that any voluntary, private dispute resolution system paid for by the complaining parties will be captured by copyright holders and become a privatized version of the failed Internet censorship bills SOPA and PIPA. While the HDI gives lip service to the need to “ensure due process for respondents,” if the process by which the HDI Practices themselves were developed is any guide, we cannot trust that this would be the case. If any proof is needed of this, we only need to look at the ADRP’s predecessor and namesake, the UDRP, a systemically biased process that has been used to censor domains used for legitimate purposes such as criticism, and domains that are generic English words. Extending this broken process beyond domain names themselves to cover the contents of websites would make this censorship exponentially worse.”
And they’re right to call it a “shadow regulation”. Quite worrisome and worth opposing.