Well it seems that after a number of what appears to have been one-sided hearings, the luxury goods maker Chanel was awarded a win in a recent court order lodged against hundreds of websites trafficking what appear to be “counterfeit luxury goods”. As a federal judge in Nevada has agreed with Chanel that they may “seize” the domain names listed in the suit and then transfer them all to a US-based registrar (GoDaddy in this case). However where it gets even more fun is that the judge also ordered “all Internet search engines” and “all social media websites” to “de-index” the domain names and further more they must be remove from any future search results. Also if the implicit nature of the statement wasn’t enough, he also explicitly named Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Bing, Yahoo, and Google directly.
Concerning counterfeiting, this has been an interesting suit as Chanel has filed a joint suit in Nevada naming nearly 700 domain names which appear to have nothing in common. Also, as Chanel finds more domain names it feels doing the same, it simply uses the same case and files new requests for yet more seizures which means that none have had a chance to contest the request until after it was approved and the names have been seized.
As all this redirect stuff maybe one thing however, a total ban on search engine indexing was also ordered too. As it’s here were it gets interesting as how does one comply and even the question beg should they? As a search engine only represents what it finds to a user request, it does not curate, or authenticate the claims of what they report. It also good to note that neither Bing nor Google appears to have complied with the court order as of yet and my hope would be they would push back (legally) on the topic.
As what the judge also seems to have missed from his ruling is any consideration of the Internet’s global nature. Here, the judge failed to show an awareness that the domains which were brought into question may not even be registered in the United States. Additionally, his ban on search engine and social media indexing appears to extend to the entire world (wow talk about power, at least perceived power).
While it’s understandable for Chanel to want to protect its business interests, there is also the concept of due process which should match the task at hand. In addition, this also highlights a coming challenge which is here today and that is a global based consumer economy which will bring a whole different set of rules which we just aren’t ready for…