Liability of domain name registries : don't shoot the messengerLiability of domain name registries : don't shoot the messenger
Faculty of Law
Computer law and security review
32(2016):2, p. 327-344
University of Antwerp
The domain name system (DNS) is fundamental to the Internet, because it translates domain names to and from computer (IP) addresses. This system is, however, increasingly used as a tool to combat unwanted online content. In this process, the system's most central operators ("registries") are targeted by right holders, authorities and other claimants, even though the registries fulfil a mere technical role as an online intermediary, and are quite distanced from the actual content. This contribution presents arguments why registries and other DNS-operators would be protected against several types of domain blocks, monitoring duties and liability claims. These arguments are not only supported by a forward-looking interpretation of the special protection regime for mere conduit, caching and hosting providers of the EU eCommerce Directive 2000/31/EC, but also by Enforcement Directive 2004/48/EC and general EU law, as interpreted by the Court of Justice of the European Union. (C) 2015 M. Truyens & P. Van Eecke. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.