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Domain Registrar Can Be Held Liable for Pirate Site, German Court Rules (torrentfreak.com)
118 points by thexa4 on Dec 24, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 36 comments

> The case in question was filed by Universal Music over Robin Thicke's album Blurred Lines.

Incredible. The same guys that were found guilty of copying that song ..

> Robin Thicke has lost the "Blurred Lines" lawsuit he has been engaged in with the Marvin Gaye estate. Robin Thicke, Pharrell to Pay $7.2 Million in 'Blurred Lines'


Not that it matters but I have 0 respect for any ruling (or the court giving it) that doesn’t follow up with applying the same harsh decision in case it turns out the complaint is bogus. Especially when the party making the claim had no right to do it in the first place.

They still need to pay the Gaye estate though

This is something you expect to see in China when the government wants to shut down someone's mouth, but it is now accepted by a large number of people. Based on wrong arguments like "we protect the children" or "we protect copyright holders" or "we fight against terrorism" one can shut down anyone in disgrace under false pretenses that general public agrees without understanding.

This is a German court (Higher Regional Court of Saarbrücken) for those that are curious about jurisdictions.

That is a pretty shit precedent to set. What's next, suing RIPE because they allocated a /24 to a colo server hosting company that hosted a piracy site?

Or the hardware store owner because a screwdriver bought there was used to kill someone. That's plain crazy.

Wow, what a terrible precedent to set...

It is a good precedent for moving to a decentralized naming system.

Maybe for sketchy stuff, but mainstream sites that stay out of legal trouble will prefer the regulated internet.

Until the legal troubles are brought to innocent mainstream sites by those who prefer to regulate the internet.

How does a decentralized naming system work when names must both be unique and user-chosen?

While I agree that our current root DNS system is a legacy artifact of the early days of the Internet, you're totally welcome to build your own ISP and not use the root nameservers. Whether people will want to interconnect with you is another question.

> you’re totally welcome to build your own ISP and not use the root nameservers

That’s a drastic overstatement. I believe what AJ007 is referring to is OpenNIC, which is a DNS service that provides custom and free domain registration using custom TLDs like .geek and .chan. It forwards existing TLDs to the root nameservers so that it’s interoperable with the current DNS system. It has its pros and cons- I used it for a few months without any major issues. It certainly doesn’t require building your own ISP to sidestep the current root nameservers.

OpenNic: https://www.opennic.org/

Medium sized AS backbone network operations speaking: nobody takes this seriously, and not one of more than a hundred individual ISPs we peer with uses opennic. It's dismissed as a bunch of dilettantes by people I know who run DNS services relied upon by millions of customers.

That’s fine and everyone is entitled to their opinions. But my point is that it’s an alternative root nameserver that anyone can choose to use without the need of starting their own ISP or breaking the current system. The technology exists and it’s been up and running for a while now. The seriousness of it all and whether or not important people dismiss the technology is a moot point.

What's their issue with it?

As I understand it, their issue is that it's not relevant for their customer base (nobody has requested access to the weird non ICANN top level domains), and it risks balkanizing the established single global Internet into things that can't talk to each other.

Essentially the same problem as if people started picking random non-RFC1918 /8 IP space ranges and numbering their networks into them, or choosing their own arbitrary AS numbers.

Do German courts even use precedent? I thought no?

The German courts still try to be internally consistent, they just don't feel as held to that standard as common law systems do. Precedent can still make or break a case under the right circumstances.

Interestingly, that's basically the same decision the English House of Lords (now Supreme Court) came to in 1966. While they tend to respect precedent, they aren't bound to it (though only in that Court):

> too rigid adherence to precedent may lead to injustice in a particular case and also unduly restrict the proper development of the law. [The Lords] propose therefore, to modify their present practice and, while treating former decisions of this house as normally binding, to depart from a previous decision when it appears right to do so.


Interesting, I didn't know. It seems to be more subtle though:

> German judges are not bound by precedent (Präjudizien), but, in pursuit of consistency, they are likely to consider previous decisions of the higher court(s).


Europe is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to law enforcement on the internet. Instead of figuring out a system to hold offenders accountable they simply shift the responsibility for enforcing the law onto websites and platforms.

Luckily the tor domain is not affected, so just more people need to learn about private browsing.

It's not just a privacy issue, though. It's a matter of public policy. Shifting the enforcement responsibility from the government (who must be diligent and only silence certain types of speech) to the platform/intermediary company (who will take the quickest/easiest approach to compliance) has a silencing effect on all users.

Every day, more bad news for an open and free internet. The corporate and political powers are using the legal system and the media to strangle the internet-as-we-knew-it to death. Instead of a quick painless death, it's a slow prolonged death by a thousand cuts.

American media companies behave as if EU was their backyard. Willingness of German justice system to engage into nuances of copyright-related trivialities is intriguing.

IMO publickey-as-hostname is the best solution to registrars' and CAs' control of the Internet.

How do you convert a public key to an IP address? Where does someone go to discover available public keys and addresses? How do you update your IP address in a timely fashion when it changes?

Is this where you say "blockchain"?

With tor, your public key IS your ip adress.

If this joint liability holds up in court even in the final stage, I wonder what's going to happen to German registrars.

Won't every domain name just be moved abroad if they can be held hostage on a whim from a third party?

Bye bye YouTube and Facebook ( 1 page of copyright infringement is enough to take everything offline and no one may take over the domain name)

Daftness aside, I think the courts/rights-orgs have just correctly identified registrars as the weak link - see the ease of which a number of right-wing sites had their domains dropped. My experience with registrars doesn’t feel like they’re aiming to provide a quality service (with ancient web UIs for example) - they’re there for the volume recurring revenues. Hopefully domains will have their letsencrypt moment soon.

How can you predict how anyone will use a domain? This just seems boneheaded.

Site hosters can be held liable. Search engines are required to remove links to such sites.

I fail to see how a domain registrar having to do the same is worse.

I don't like the rulings much, but at least it is consistent.

Hosters host the offending content on their equipment.

Search engines at least have specific knowledge of the content they direct to, and might have a (partial) copy.

But registrars don't have any of this. They provide a service that is completely independent from any content being served, and the offending content never touches their infrastructure.

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