Njalla is a domain registrar that is focused on protecting the identity of domain owners, and rejects any take-down notices, amongst other things.
It was only launched in 2017, and is yet to be really tested in a high profile case, but so far they seem to be living up to expectations.
A standard option for someone registering a domain and keeping their details off of the whois registry database is to use a domain registrar such as Godaddy, and use their paid privacy add-on.
However, this generally doesn’t stop Godaddy revealing those details to interested parties that apply a bit of pressure.
Njalla’s pricing is around the same as Godaddy’s, and it will be interesting to see how this service develops in the coming years.
A response to a legal demand from The New York Times was posted on their blog earlier this year, and makes for some interesting readng, reproduced below:
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing from the Legal Department of The New York Times Company (“The Times”).
It is my understanding that 1337 Services LLC is the registrant of record for the website “paywallnews.com”.
It has come to my attention that significant amounts of New York Times content are being posted on the referenced website (which appears to have been created solely to provide readers with free content they would otherwise have to pay for). If you go to this link: http://www.paywallnews.com/sites/nytimes, you will find nothing but New York Times content, bearing the name of The New York Times over each article but providing no credit to either writers or photographers.
The Times has no record that anyone from paywallnews.com ever received permission or license to post any content whatsoever from The New York Times. This abuse of New York Times content constitutes a most egregious infringement of The Times’s rights under applicable copyright law. It further clearly breaches your own Terms of Service (Section 4.2.c., here: https://njal.la/tos/). Accordingly, we hereby demand that you immediately provide us with contact information – including email addresses – for both the actual owner of the paywallnew.com website, and for the hosting provider on which the paywallnew.com website is located.
If we have not heard from you within three (3) business days of receipt of this letter, we will have no choice but to pursue all available legal remedies. The demands made herein shall not prejudice or waive any rights or remedies that The Times may have in respect of the subject matter set forth herein, all of which rights and remedies are hereby expressly reserved.
The New York Times Company
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
From: “Njalla” <[redacted]njal.la>
Date: January 9, 2018
Subject: Re: Infringing Use of New York Times Content on www.paywallnews.com
Dear Deborah, Thanks for that lovely e-mail. It’s always good to communicate with people that in their first e-mail use words as “we demand”, “pursue all available legal remedies” and so forth. I’d like to start out with some free (as in no cost) advice: please update your boiler threat letters to actually try what most people try first: being nice. It’s not expensive (actually the opposite) and actually it works much better than your method (source: a few tens of thousands years of human development that would not have been as efficient with threats as it would have been with cooperation).
Now, back to the questions you sent us. We’re not sure who you are, so in order to move further we’d like to see a copy of your ID card, as well as a notarised power of attorney showing that you are actually representing the people you’re claiming to do. A lot of our customers have competitors trying to unlawfully take down the competition. So, we kindly ask you for that (see, we’re not demanding, it can be done this way too) before we move on.
I apologize for any hurt I have caused to your feelings. I usually deal with corporations that employ people used to reading legal documents, so I forget how such documents may appear to others. And I must admit to a certain frustration when I come across an entity like paywallnews.com, the very name of which sets forth its intention to provide free access to that which honest people pay for, and which is, in fact, continuing to provide an extremely large and growing amount of New York Times content even as we write.
But I digress. Obviously, you have a large experience of dishonest parties; to allay your suspicions, I am delighted to provide you with a letter, on New York Times Company letterhead, signed by the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of this organization and duly notarized, attesting to my identity and employment here (the document is attached below).
Once again, as I mention above, the referenced website is stealing large amounts of New York Times content. If you click on this link:
you will see the section of the referenced website that is devoted – as the url suggests – to content from The New York Times, which has all been carefully labeled as such. You may consider this my formal assertion that The New York Times Company owns the copyright in this content and its use has not been licensed by us or our agents.
As this abuse – aside from being an egregious infringement of The Times’s copyright – breaches your own Terms of Service, I hope you will be able to see your way to helping me to put a stop to this practice by providing me with the name and contact information for the owner of paywallnews.com and for the ISP on which it is hosted.
The demands made herein shall not waive any rights or remedies that The Times may have in respect of the subject matter set forth herein, all of which rights and remedies are hereby expressly reserved,
From: “Njalla” <[redacted]njal.la>
Date: January 11, 2018
Subject: Re: Response to your email of January 9, 2018 re Infringing Use of New York Times Content on www.paywallnews.com
thanks for your apology - and consider it accepted. It didn’t hurt my feelings, it’s more that we don’t accept the tone of threats in todays world. It feels ignorant, self-righteous and contra-productive to any modern society. As you might know, we’re an art group working for altering the status quo of todays narrativised discourse, which leads to us thinking a little bit further than just the mammalian cerebellum.
Also thank you for the attached document. It’s good to know which party one is talking to. We’re not considering people dishonest because they claim to be someone they’re not, we consider them bad con artists. As artists ourselves, we take pride in good art.
Our frustration regarding the domain in question is however off a different thematic view. For us the domain name reference is more likely for a news site about paywalls, but that might be a cultural difference, we’re just the normal audience of newspapers, not working in that sphere where most of our days revolve around our world view. We’re however also frustrated, but because of the fact that these websites need to exist. In our world it’s a shame that people are not considered equally important enough in society, so people can be derived of their human rights to participate in the our information community, as stated by the United nations in (for instance) quite relevant articles 19, 21 and 27 of their universal declaration of human rights. We’re both humans and we might come from different classes in society, so you and I might think differently here, Deborah. But I for one, and I can speak for all of my co-artists here at the office, think that human rights are quite swell.
Further, stealing content seem quite harsh of this website though, didn’t know that they did that! Is there anyway you can get the stolen items back though? You should either go to the police and request them to help you get the stolen items back. Or maybe talk to your insurance company, they might help to compensate you for the loss. But a helpful idea; if they’ve stolen something and then put copies of that on a website that you can freely access, I would suggest just copying it, so that both of you have the same things. That’s a great thing with the digital world, everyone can have copies of things. I am surprised they stole something when they could just have copied it. I’m guessing it’s some older individuals that don’t know the possibilities of modern day technology to make copies.
I also looked at the Terms of services on our end that you referenced in the earlier letter (the threatening, remember?) – you stated that the domain was violating ToS 4.2c. Let me send you a copy of that for you, for easier reference (and you can have this copy, we still have our own); ‘You agree that you will not use the Services and/or the domain name provided by the Services for activities involving: […] c. Publicizing and/or spreading of content that is illegal according to any applicable laws’ Deborah, I was quite shocked and appalled that you referred to this part of our ToS. It made me actually not visit the website in question even though you’ve linked it now a few times. You’re admitting to spreading illegal content at your newspaper, for profit, is that correct?
We’re quite big proponents of freedom of speech, let me assure you of that, but we also have limits. If you spread illegal content, and our customers stole that illegal content and are now handing out free copies of that, that’s a huge issue for us. Since it would be illegal for us to get those copies if they’re illegal, I’m asking you what type of content it is? From my limited legal understanding in our country, I only know that child pornography and messages of hate directed at certain genders, race or religious groups are illegal. I’m not sure how it is in York, but I’m quite certain England have similar laws to us considering our nation used to be a colony of yours. I really do hope that you do not personally participate in the creation and spreading of these types of content.
Now, I understand that you want information about the people behind the theft and spreading of the dangerous and illegal content that they have deprived you off. However, I can’t give you that information without a national court order over here. And to be honest; we’re an art group and not really good at collecting that information. We’re trying to build up the worlds largest private collection of domain names. We can’t afford to buy all of these ourselves (and we aren’t bright enough to come up with that many thousands of really interesting domain names we’ve got so far) so we have customers (or participating audience as we actually call them internally) that give us both names and pay the bills for them! An important part of our artistic message is that creator and audience blend so much that we like no-one to have credit rather than some-one. We like the idea of a genderless, nameless, free community of equal peers, achieving a reciprocal value through cooperation. It goes against our values and artistic goals to demand private information from our audience, when they’re nice enough to participate. But the nice thing (for you, that is!) about the global interconnected network we lazily refer to as the internets, is that the information about which IP address a website is hosted on, and thus which provider this is operated by, is totally open! You can see the same information just as much as we can. Well, honestly, we know lots of people that could probably get more information, but that would probably be a crime, and we are not happy to commit crimes. Rather I’m hoping you’ll stop creating illegal content and spreading. It’s never to late to turn leafs.
All the best,
Njalla / Konsthack