Internet Law: Think Before You .SUCK
Ladies and gents, we’re entering a new era of the Internet. For some time now, we’ve been freed from boring, generic top-level domains, like .com, .net, .org and .biz. Now, we can feast on spicy gTLDs, like .tv and .[your hometown].
And things are about to get more attention-grabbing, because .suck is now an available option. [Get ready judges, because we sense a wave of Internet defamation lawsuits is on the way.]
Vox Populi Registry Ltd. “owns” the rights to the new gTLD — and is responsible for the roll out. The company makes money any time someone buys a .suck website.
How Much Do The “Suck Sites” Cost?
Currently, .suck domains are only available to celebrities and trademark holders. This rarefied group must shell out around $2,000 per URL. According to reports, the company selling the .suck domains priced them high to deter malicious, cybersquatting actions.
In September, however, we “regulars” who want to own the .suck sites, for our businesses or names, can buy them for $9.95. However, if you choose this option, forget about using a website design of your choosing. Instead, you’re limited to using the registrar’s generic forum platform.
Is The .Suck Scheme a “Predatory Shakedown”? The Mega-Corps Think So.
Guess who isn’t happy about the .suck top-level domain option? Giant corporations, including Microsoft, Ebay and Verizon.
The mega-corps are so concerned about .suck sites that they’ve sicked one of their lobbying groups on the issue. Formally, the group has asked that the .suck roll out be postponed, calling it a “predatory…shakedown scheme.” Moreover, the companies believe that the general sign-up set to commence in September is “an essential element of Vox Populi’s coercive scheme.”
And the big wigs may get their way, as ICANN has yet to shoot down the lobby group’s request. As you probably already imagined, Vox Populi insists that it isn’t doing anything against the law or ICANN regulations.
The Consequences of an Ill-Advised .Suck Website
If you’re reading this, licking your revenge chops, and thinking: “Yes! I am so getting a .suck site to berate [insert name of enemy or business you hate],” you may want to slow your .suck roll.
Because you could find yourself on the losing side of a lawsuit.
What you can be charged with if you go too far with your .suck site about a person or business:
- Defamation: It’s not illegal to say something negative about another person or business, but it is illegal to make a malicious, unprivileged, false statement of fact about another person or businesses.
- False Light: In some jurisdictions, it’s illegal to paint an inaccurate picture of an individual that damages their reputation.
- Trade Libel: Spreading untruths about a service or business is considered product disparagement, and it’s against the law.
- Online Harassment: Threatening, stalking or otherwise mercilessly harassing a person is squarely illegal in every state.
- Cyberbullying: Some jurisdictions have cyberbullying laws on the books that can be used for various types of online harassment.
- Revenge Porn: Every week, another state is ratifying a revenge porn law. For an updated list, head here.
Get In Touch With An Internet Lawyer
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