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Question on DNS
Wikileaks, Amazon

 7:00 am on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

OK, so someone asked Amazon to pull the plug on the wikileaks.org domain, and they complied. And the U.S. seems to be up in arms against that poor Assange chap who apparently underestimated what his leaks would actually do to his life.

But anyway, I wonder why the U.S. authorities do not simply pull the plug on the .org domain name. They certainly have begun to redirect domain names that seem to host copyright infringing content, right? And, by any means, the secret messages from U.S. embassies around the world are certainly protected by copyright (if nothing else).

Could someone explain this to me? Why don't the U.S. go after the domain name?



 4:41 pm on Dec 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I doubt that copyright laws would apply. There may be some national security angles they could play. But eventually, wikileaks would just move offshore where they can't be touched (not sure why they didn't do that in the first place).

The U.S. government certainly does not have ultimate control over domain names.

From the U.S. Copyright Office [copyright.gov]:
"Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed."

So the authors of the papers leaked could probably sue for copyright infringement and spend months working through the judicial system.


 1:20 pm on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

But eventually, wikileaks would just move offshore where they can't be touched (not sure why they didn't do that in the first place).

Aren't they based in Sweden on some supposedly very rock-solid servers?


 4:07 pm on Dec 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Could someone explain this to me? Why don't the U.S. go after the domain name?

There has been no evidence that the US government was involved in these recent events:

* The ending at 24 hours notice of WikiLeaks' DNS arrangements with Everydns.net

* The sudden termination of WikiLeaks' hosting on the Amazon EC2 cloud service

* The massive (ongoing) DDoS attack against WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks has reportedly been offline three times since this affair began, and today has only been accessible by IP address or through mirror sites.

While there has been a public call made by Senator Joe Lieberman, chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, for US companies to terminate any agreements with WikiLeaks, this does not constitute action by the US government.

Likewise, none of the statements branding WikiLeaks a "terrorist" organisation or calling for the "execution" of Julian Assange have been made by the US government.

So one answer to your question might be "because they don't need to".

In any case, the controversial data archive has already been spread "to over 100,000 people in encrypted form" according to Mr Assange, and will apparently be released automatically if WikiLeaks is somehow shut down.

So another answer to your question might be "because it will not change anything".

Mr Assange is currently in England and has not been charged with any offence.



 5:37 pm on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Additional recent factors that should be mentioned include:

* PayPal has frozen WikiLeaks' account

* Mastercard has banned payments to WikiLeaks

* Visa has banned payments to WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks, of course, survives on donations from the public.

The primary WikiLeaks domain (wikileaks.org) is still not resolving and the massive DDoS attack by persons unknown continues. For now, at least, the site can still be reached with a Google search.

WikiLeaks, as far as I am aware, is not a proscribed organisation in the USA and has broken no US laws - or if it has there have so far been no charges, either against WikiLeaks or the New York Times and others (which are publishing the same material).



 12:55 pm on Dec 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

They don't go after the domain name because the US Gov does not have the Law on their side. But I guess that at some point they will do something with the Constitution also. Anyway, I'm very disappointed of the US companies who succumbed when authorities(CIA or other organism) asked them to shut down WikiLeaks services. They had no reason to do so, practically Amazon, PayPal "decided on their own" that WikiLeaks has broken the law. In other order, it's the first time when I heard that an Australian Citizen is accused of national betrayal by United States Of America:).

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