Sweeping Bill Targets Nefarious Website Owners

Sweeping Bill Targets Nefarious Website Owners
Rhett Pardon
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Judiciary Committee Wednesday approved a bill that targets website operators who deliberately register inaccurate domain name information.

The bill, HR 3754, is of particular interest to the online adult industry, which, for the most part, relies on inaccurate data to shield actual identities.

The Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act is designed to help law enforcement agencies and intellectual property rights holders track down operators of websites where criminal activity or infringement might be taking place.

The sweeping bill provides for a sentence enhancement of seven years for felony falsification of contact information.

Contact information of a registrant of a domain name is available in the Whois database, but oftentimes the data is incorrect or falsified, particularly where websites are connected with criminal or infringing activity.

The bill includes three main parts – one which amends the Lanham Act, one amending the Copyright Act and one amending the sentencing guidelines of the federal crimes and criminal procedure statute.

The trademark portion of the bill would create a new subsection in the Lanham Act, defining as a willful violation the provision of false contact information with regard to a domain name registration.

Another section of the bill would amend language to state that the provision of false contact information would constitute a willful violation under the Copyright Act.

The bill also would create a new language, providing for a sentence enhancement of seven years for felony falsification of contact information.