On August 19, 2015 hackers released a huge amount of data from the breach at AshleyMadison.com and the race was on.
Several websites were set up to allow users to “search” the data, allowing users to see if a specific email address was included in the release.
One of those websites, according to TheHill.com is CheckAshleyMadison.com. That domain name was registered, well, yesterday on August 19, 2015 at eNom under privacy protection according to whois records.
Well, it was also TAKEN DOWN today via the DCMA
For those that are not familiar with the DCMA it stands for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and you can read more about that law here.
Stated in TheHill.com articles is:
A Chicago software developer replied to the email, telling The Hill he and a partner bought the domain Tuesday night after finding out about the dump. The developer said he runs an automation consulting company that works with financial services firms.
The site had piled up more than 24,000 unique users and 33,000 total visits by early afternoon Wednesday.
24K unique visitors on 33K visit by early afternoon!
BTW, it doesn’t appear they bought the domain Tuesday night based on my data source or maybe it simply was a long night and felt like it was still “Tuesday”.
I am not certain to when the actual website was launched but I do know the domain name was registered at 04:02:34 AM on Wednesday morning of the 19th!
To note: some whois sources are showing an “update” date earlier than the “creation” date. Not sure how that could be but some are:
Updated Date: 2015-08-18T21:02:34.00Z Creation Date: 2015-08-19T04:02:00.00Z Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2016-08-19T04:02:00.00Z
Wired.com also ran a story yesterday, highlighting 3 other services that have popped up offering a search feature to search the released database of 30+ million email addresses.
That story didn’t even mention the above CheckAshleyMadison.com!
The 3 mentioned were:
Ashleymadisonleaked.com (registered on July 24, 2015)
AshleyMadisonLeaked.com was not resolving at the time of this story, so another potential DCMA?
According to Verisign, the registry for .com and .net domain names. 88 .com domains containing “ashleymadison” and 3 .net domain names were registered between August 18, 2015 and August 19, 2015.
To note, the term Ashley Madison is a trademarked term by Avid Dating Life, Inc. and using the term in a domain name can create legal issues for the registrants!
Speaking of the trademark for Ashley Madison, look at what class of service it got its international trademark based on:
“Personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals; security services for the protection of property and individuals. – Personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals; security services for the protection of property and individuals.””
steve brady says
Prolific fornicators still using the site need to get off,
head elsewhere before it taints reputations and their cover is blown.
John Berryhill says
There are a couple of things worth mentioning here.
First, the DMCA process does not always result in a permanent take down. If the person posting the material contests the copyright claim, then the host is to allow ten days for the copyright claimant to file suit, otherwise the material goes back up, and the host is relieved from liability. Many people do not quite understand how the DMCA process works, because there is usually no counter-notice (since most of the time it is a legit claim).
HOWEVER, the notion that AM has a “copyright” in the data is weak sauce. A mere compilation of names, emails addresses, etc. is not a work of authorship. A copyright subsists in a “compilation” only where there is editorial expression in the selection and arrangement of the compilation.
The leading case in this area is Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service. Feist, the alleged infringer had copied the contents of Rural’s local white pages phone books of its subscribers in order to make larger regional telephone directories. Rural sued, claiming its telephone books were copyrightable publications of compiled data. The Supreme Court disagreed, stating that to have a copyright in a compilation of data, there needs to be editorial selection of the content and arrangement of it. A mere alphabetical list of subscribers and their telephone numbers is simply the functional way to arrange a telephone book, and there is no copyright in the underlying data (i.e. the names, addresses and telephone numbers).
The Feist case is bang-on all-fours with what Ashley Madison is claiming, as far as the copyright claim goes – it’s a database of subscriber data arranged in a standard delimiter-separated list, as shat out by the whatever data system produced it. AM neither selected the data, nor arranged it in some special way. It is, simply, not copyrightable matter.
There is really no difference between Feist’s publication of Rural’s telephone subscriber data and some website’s publication of the AM data, as far as copyright is concerned.
But, you say, “The data was provided by someone committing an illegal act!” Yes, and so were the Pentagon Papers, published in the New York Times.
And, as far as using a domain name for a non-commercial purpose relating to criticism of a trademark owner…. readers should know how the trademark claim pans out there. It’s not trademark infringement or cybersquatting either.
There may be a variety of parties with a variety of claims relating to publication of the AM data, but copyright is, simply put, not a valid one.
Domainer Extraordinare says
This leak reveals interesting info about Ashley Madison. The ratio is 5/1 men/women.
The men are having to share women with more than just their husband.
If you don’t score an affair within 3 months, you get your $250 initial fee back.
One more tool, with full reports, including users activity and almost all data from DB dump: http://hehadanaffair.com/