Registrars That Complied with UK Police Orders Violated ICANN Policy: easyDNS

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Domain registrars that complied with the UK police orders to suspend domains belonging to major torrent sites could face disciplinary action from ICANN.

Earlier this week, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit sent letters to domain registrars asking them to suspend domains as part of its crackdown on torrent and pirate sites. 

Domain registrars who followed the orders, and shut down domains including SumoTorrent, MisterTorrent and ExtraTorrent, could be in violation of the ICANN transfers policy if they don’t allow the domain owners to transfer their domains to another registrar, according to a report by Torrent Freak on Friday.

“Section 3, Obligations of The Registrar of Record clearly spells out the reasons why a registrar may deny a transfer-out request, and they are limited specifically to cases of fraud (the domain was paid for fraudulently), a UDRP proceeding or, hey, get this one “Court order by a court of competent jurisdiction, as well as some administrative reasons (like the domain was registered less than 60 days ago),” Mark Jeftovic, CEO of easyDNS, who  refused to comply with the orders said in an editorial published on Thursday. “What is clearly absent from the list of reasons why a registrar of one of these torrent sites that has been taken offline by this, is “because some guy sent you an email telling you to lock it down.”

So far, ICANN has not commented on the actions of PIPCU, or what consequences the registrars who complied could face.

The City of London Police began a campaign over the summer to target intellectual property crime, and in September the project was taken over the new Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit. The campaign, now known as Operation Creative, led PIPCU to request the domain registrars “to adhere to their terms and conditions and take consideration to suspending the supplied domain.”

The statement is a departure from the more threatening tone of the letter, which claimed that if the registrar didn’t comply with the orders, its accreditation with ICANN could be at stake.

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