In an article published today in the New York Times, it was reviled that Enom.com shut down around 80 domains owned by a non-US citizen and resident, Steve Marshall.
It is important to note that, Mr. Marshall is a British national, lives in Spain where he operates a travel agency selling trips to Europeans who want to travel to Cuba and his servers are located in the Bahamas.
The only tie he had to the U.S. is that his domains were registered at a U.S. based registrar, Enom.com
According to the Times, the sites, which had been online since 1998, had been put on a Treasury Department blacklist and, Enom.com being an American domain name registrar, disabled them.
Enom.com took the action with NO notice to Mr. Marshall and apparently will not let Mr. Marshall transfer the domains to a non-US based registrar.
In the article Mr. Marshall was quoted as saying he did not understand “how Web sites owned by a British national operating via a Spanish travel agency can be affected by U.S. law.
When we first discussed the new Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008, sponsored by Senator Snowe, we took the position that the bill would not effect non-US citizens or residents.
However it appears that this may not be the case.
If the domain is registered with a US based Registrar, it seems the domain certainly may be subject to the bill.
Moreover some domain cases have held that since the main registry is located in Virginia, (VeriSign), then all domains, even if registered with a non-US based registrar maybe subject to the law.
In the case of cnn vs. cnnnews.com , the owners of the U.S. registered trade-mark CNN sued the domain namecnnnews.com which had been registered by a Chinese entity through a Chinese registrar.
The registrant argued that it did not have sufficient minimum contacts with the U.S. to subject it to U.S. jurisdiction, given that it conducted its business exclusively in China through its Chinese language web site and had registered the name through a Chinese registrar.
The Court in CNN the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia held that in rem jurisdiction was proper because the domain name itself was located within the jurisdiction by virtue of the presence of the .com registry (VeriSign) in Virginia.
This case along with the actions of Enom.com today indicate that no one, regardless of where you live, or where your domain is registered, may be immune from the effect’s of this Proposed Bill.
Once again is crucial for everyone to join the ICA immediately and give money for them to fight.
It is not someone else’s problem .
It is your problem