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Registrar Protection Act (2): Everybody is responsible for content!

And if you expected that this is happening in other underdeveloped regions, nope – we are talking about the EU. What is worse, the EU delivers such legislation that registrar business has become harder and harder. New legislation called DSA (Digital Services Act) has become part of legislation in some EU countries but in an awkward style. Now, the court can address a registrar with a court order for things that are not doable by technology.

Let us be precise. The court is asking us to block the domain name in just one particular country because the content of the website somehow offends the citizens of that country. Is it doable? Maybe through some IP filtering on hosting, but not on the level of the registrar. A registrar can do blocking of a domain name, fully. Ah, I forget the best part – and if we don’t block that domain in some 30 days, then – we will pay a huge amount of money and, with glory, close our business.

Let us stop here… When the driver crosses the red traffic light – what is the penalty? Each country practices different laws on this matter, but none of them takes off the plates from the car. The punishment can be a couple of negative driver’s points, maybe money, maybe temporarily forbidding driving by seizing the driver’s license. Sometimes, the police can seize the car, but only if the driver is drunk and he cannot drive away.

Imagine that the police have the right to take off your plates and forbid them to use because you crossed the red light? Or, imagine that the police not only takes the plates but also punishes the company where you get the plates after the first technical check because you crossed the red light? Or imagine that the owner of the car is not even punished, the driver is not even punished, just only the company where you get plates for the car. Or just punish the manufacturer of that car?

Imagine that the plate is a domain name, and the car is hosting. The drive itself (direction, how fast and what manners are used while driving) is the website content. The owner of the car doesn’t need to be the same as the driver. The same goes for domain and hosting owners. A domain name is just the plate, which you bought through a registrar. Some string that uniquely points users to some content of a particular website, stored and running from some hosting, a car in our example. If the content of a website is not according to the law, law enforcement agencies, including police, automatically call the registrar and, in most cases, ask for blocking of the domain name. Not only that, according to many judges, lawyers, governments… registrars must check the content. Punishment: take off the plate from that car!

Registry and registrars DON’T have the right to block a domain name, except in some very strict situations – court order, dispute… Very often, hosting is under the management of some other company. How can law enforcement know that? Well, they should read DNS on the domain name – meaning that DNS records point the domain to a hosting company. The hosting company (seizing the car in our example), unlike the registry and registrar, has the full right to block hosting if the user violated the agreement or is doing something illegal. Not the registrar. Don’t take off the plates from my hosting!