Cross-posted from copyrightalliance.org
[by Terry Hart]
Please Submit Requests for WHOIS Data to Domain Name Registrars/Registries and the IPC: As previously reported, access to the WHOIS database – which law enforcement, copyright owners and other rights holders use to obtain the identity and contact information for those who are operating infringing websites – is now being restricted due to a temporary specification approved by ICANN in order to comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into effect on May 25. The temporary specification limits access to most domain registration data from public WHOIS, making copyright enforcement much more difficult. Registrars and registries are required to provide reasonable access to non-public WHOIS data to third parties with legitimate interests upon request except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the Registrant. Due to the lack of clarity on that standard, which comes from the language of the GDPR itself, responses from registrars and registries have been inconsistent at best. More information is available here and here.
We encourage you to submit requests for non-public WHOIS data/information directly to domain name registrars and registries with respect to websites that are infringing your (or your members’) copyrights or trademarks. (Please note that simply submitting requests to third party service providers, including Domain Tools or Mark Monitor, doesn’t help because they are likely relying on the historical information collected when all WHOIS data was still public.) To assist you in making your requests we are providing you with a template that can be completed and e-mailed to a domain name registrar and/or registry at its abuse contact e-mail address. We also encourage you to share the results of your requests with the IP Constituency (IPC) of ICANN, which can be done here. If you are not comfortable sharing the information with the IPC but are willing to share it with the Copyright Alliance, please send it to Terry Hart. If the registrars/registries and the IPC do not hear from the copyright community, they will incorrectly conclude that restricting access to WHOIS is acceptable.