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Radix joins the Hollywood content police

Kevin Murphy, May 13, 2016, 12:00:32 (UTC), Domain Registries

Radix has become the second major gTLD registry to announce a content policing deal with the movie industry.

It today said it has signed an agreement with the Motion Picture Association of America similar to the one Donuts announced in February.

Like Donuts, Radix will treat the MPAA as a “trusted notifier” for the purposes of taking down “large-scale pirate websites”.

Radix said the deal “imposes strict standards for such referrals, including that they be accompanied by evidence of clear and pervasive copyright infringement, and a representation that the MPAA has first attempted to contact the registrar and hosting provider for resolution.”

Donuts described its notifier program in this document (pdf). Radix said its arrangement is “similar”.

The Donuts-MPAA deal proved somewhat controversial.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation invoked the slippery slope argument, saying of it:

The danger in agreements like this is that they could become a blanket policy that Internet users cannot avoid. If what’s past is prologue, expect to see MPAA and other groups of powerful media companies touting the Donuts agreement as a new norm, and using it to push ICANN and governments towards making all domain name registries disable access to an entire website on a mere accusation of infringement.

The EFF said these kinds of deals could ultimately lead to legal freedom of speech being curtailed online.

We’re not quite there yet — right now we have two gTLD registries (albeit covering over 200 gTLDs) and one trusted notifier — but I expect more similar deals in future, branching out into different industries such as music and pharamaceuticals.

The deals stem in part from the Domain Name Association’s Healthy Domains Initiative, which aims to avoid ICANN/government regulation by creating voluntary best practices for the industry.

The advantage of a voluntary arrangement is that there’s no risk of a terminal sanction — such as losing your registry contract — if you fail to live up to its terms.

Radix’s portfolio includes .website, .space, .online and .tech. It’s also a .music and .web applicant.

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Comments (1)

  1. You’re right, I think, that we may see a push for similar arrangements with registries by the music and pharmaceutical industries.

    To some degree, many of us are sympathetic. Music has been inadequately protected. Pharmaceuticals arguably too well insulated from competition. Regardless, there’s a need to protect IP.

    But I’d much prefer to see an independent adjudication process – a traditional courtroom or something like the UDRP. These big industries can apply a lot of pressure to a fledgling keyword nTLD registry. .MOVIE and .MUSIC will need the support of established players in those spaces; so there’s a real risk that they’ll make concessions, banning certain websites to please them.

    The EFF has a point. Disabling access to websites should not be as easy as a complaint to someone at the registry. Sooner or later that devolves into powerful customers simply calling in a favor to silence upstarts.

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