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Registrar Protection Act (1): Catch me if you can – Who is responsible for content on the website?

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is written for all governments, judges, inspectors, and all who don’t know how the internet works. Therefore, this blog can be boring as hell for some, but we don’t take any responsibility for possible suicides.)

A very serious letter came to us: inspectors from one EU country asked us to provide some EU accreditations for selling cosmetics! Hmm, but we are selling domain names, hosting packages, Anycast DNS, and we don’t have cosmetics in our portfolio. At least we thought that. By reading more details in that letter, we realize that our client, the registrant of one domain name, is selling some cosmetics through a website. We are not even a hosting company for him.

The inspector formally sends a very friendly invitation to a party – the official representative of Gransy must be in the State inspector office in 5 days or the serious charges in court are going automatically if he doesn’t appear. Who will reject that offer? So, we were forced to go there and get familiar with cosmetical products. A couple of hundred euros later (all burnt on travel), we realize that the inspector for the health of that country doesn’t know elementary things about domain names, registrant, registry, and registrars. Nothing. She got the WhoIs data from a higher inspector, where you can read just our name (as registrar), we are in her geographical jurisdiction, and she didn’t want to even dig a bit into who is who on the website, as we are “obligated to change our website,” which is not ours. And we can’t change anything.

It is obvious that many registries provide the service of WhoIs data protection, so when you have a domain under such protection, your company name as a registrar is the only one recognizable. Why would the inspectors check DNS, where is the host, contact the registry for the data about the registrant… Nope – it is the fault of Gransy, the registrar, as his name is readable, he can do all of that for us. After we heard what the inspector had to say and ask about the cosmetics, we started differently.

A typical question at that point was – who is the owner of the street’s name and number where the inspector’s office is located? The first response is, of course, the inspector’s office. Okay, and how come the municipality can change the name of the street and number if the inspector’s office is the owner? After long thinking, the inspector realizes that the street name is not in their ownership. Now, we post the second question – if someone stole something from the inspector’s office, on that same address, do you call the municipality to respond to questions because the municipality is managing addresses? At that point, almost all inspectors have the expression on their face like they just revealed the proof of God’s existence.

And we were too many times in this position, explaining the basics to the inspectors of this country and complaining to the local ccTLD registry that education about domain names and hosting for the inspectors is highly necessary. Without even an echo from anyone, we promised that we will organize education for all inspectors during summer because it will be cheaper to come once than to explain the same story individually to different inspectors about different domain names, 3-4 years in a row.


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[…] 17. 11. 2023 – gransy – Registrar Protection Act (1): Catch me if you can – Who is responsible for content on the website? […]

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