Feds make a call to a domain name registrar, websites go dark

Last week it was a federal judge ordering a controversial website’s domain name registrar to effectively pull the plug on its customer.

This week it’s somebody at the U.S. Treasury Department directing a DNR to cut the cord to websites operated by an Englishman living in Spain, according to a piece by the New York Times’ Adam Liptak.

Website operators, civil liability obviously isn’t the only thing you need to be thinking about on the legal front. Given any thought recently to the arrangement you have with your domain name registrar?

UPDATE: Check out this timely post from an Irish IT law blog on the subject of domain name registrars.


EBay targets the sale of recalled goods online

Although it already prohibits the practice, the Associated Press reports that EBay is directing its sellers not to offer recalled products for sale on its website (violators may be terminated from the service and forfeit fees), including links to sites listing recalled items, and taking other steps to address the acquisition of recalled goods online.

Putting aside for the moment the questions of whether and to what extent EBay is exposed to liability for transactions occurring on its site, and/or has any duties to its sellers, buyers or others in connection with such deals, it would be hard to argue that EBay’s actions described in this article are not prudent. I would think that these steps will result in fewer sales of recalled items on EBay (the king of online auctions). While some miscreants may simply flock to other sites, these practices should produce more informed consumers that will do a little homework before making a sale or purchase online.

Also, this announcement is obviously good PR for EBay, and may help alleviate some of the valid concerns of lawmakers, regulators, watchdogs and others with what is being bought and sold online. Finally, these actions should enhance the story EBay can tell a judge or jury the next time it gets sued in connection with a sale facilitated by the website.