The Globe and Mail ran a piece this morning about a Joe Volpe parody website that was taken down almost immediately, which the article attributed in part to CIRA.  This generated a lot of email, particularly since I am on the CIRA board.  CIRA has just released a statement clarifying that there was no contact between Volpe and CIRA, that the removal of the site had nothing to do its content, and that the takedown occurred at the request of the registrar because the registrant failed to meet Canadian Presence Requirements.  As the release rightly notes, "CIRA does not deal withe website content."

Update: The website has now been mirrored and is back online.  I should add that I’ve received email correspondence that suggests that the registrant was advised that the site was indeed taken down by the registrar (not CIRA) due to content concerns.

Update II: has been re-registered and is back online.  Stephen Taylor has posted the same emails that I received, which suggest that the registrar cited defamation and discrimination as the reasons for suspending the domain name registration. Those emails were forwarded by the person who claims to the registrant.  Note that it is impossible to know whether they have are edited versions of those originally sent by the registrar.


  1. Larry Borsato says:
    It’s pretty impressive that all of that could occur so quickly all by itself. Imagine any bureaucracy receiving and handling a complaint all within mere hours of the site going up.

  2. The speed of all this does seem kind of odd, but the automated cancelling of a name can take place via the registrar system. However, that would mean that whoever intitated the complaint (Volpe’s campaign?) would need to have pretty decent knowledge of the CIRA rules in order to know exactly what to complain about. The name on the registration is pretty clearly fake:

    Anyone who’s seen Porky’s would know that :-).

    What this would seem to mean is that if you’re going to start one of these sites, you need to either:
    1 – Use real contact information
    2 – Use a .com domain.
    3 – Use an already established domain and content hosting service (blogger, typepad, wordpress, etc….).

    Otherwise, it seems it’s relatively easy to take a site offline simply by invalidating the name registration.

  3. Ian Scott says:

    It’s not all that “impressive” at all, really. I have had dealings with Internic and Netsol in the past, regarding falsely registered domains, and the speed with which they responded was quite fast.

    Ian Scott

  4. Rick Harris says:

    content concerns
    There is a bigger story here; how can a politico so easily twist CIRA’s arm and have a site taken down because of content concerns? Michael, you were too quick to dismiss this as a content concern and your update does nothing to clarify the backstory. We have a seriously flawed domain registration system if you can block a registration in such an arbitrary manner.

    I look forward to future updates. I usually come here to make sense of these situations.

  5. Adam – I’m pretty sure the rules for .com domains, as well as most other TLDs, require registrants to provide valid whois contact data. I know I’ve had issues before with outdated e-mail addresses. A number of web hosts offer a form of privacy protection to their customers by using their own contact data, and there are a number of third parties that will do this as well.

    The speed with which this went through is a little surprising, but we can probably just chalk it up to the fact that, in this case, somebody was actually looking for the info, and was willing to launch a complaint when it was obviously fake.

  6. From : CADNS.CA

    Sent : June 1, 2006 8:41:26 PM

    To :

    CC :

    Subject : RE: Domain registration for

    Article 3.1
    Paragraph (h) (i) and (ii)
    (h) not engage in any direct or indirect activity which in CIRA’s opinion is designed to bring, or may bring, the Registry into disrepute, is designed to interfere, or may interfere, with CIRA’s operations or designed to expose, or may expose, CIRA to prosecution or to legal action by the Registrant or a third party including, but not limited to, any of the following kinds of activities:
    (i) directly or indirectly, defaming or contributing to the defamation of any other Person,
    (ii) unlawfully discriminating or contributing to the unlawful discrimination of any other Person; or
    (iii) committing any other actionable wrong against any other Person including, without limitation, any other infringement of the Person’s rights;

  7. Darryl Moore says:

    CIRA needs to prevent this
    Michael, you and the board have the power to prevent this from happening again. Registrars should not be able to pull a domain name for anything other than non payment without a court order or through some other equivalent dispute mechanism. I don’t think the registrar’s good name can honestly ever be said to be in question except when they pull a stunt like this. YOU need to rewrite the rules so as to disallow such excuses in the future.

  8. Martin Fietkiewicz says:

    whack a mole
    let’s assume for a moment that i am not outraged at the ability of any public figure to silence an instance of a public posting that parodies them and their questionable actions while in public service.

    apart from this “negligible technicality”, the speed with which the mirror went up is testament to the futility of taking down the webpage in the first place. i mean, what are you going to do? shut down “the internets”? get the sheriff of nottingham to hunt down the pesky robbers of dignity? please.

    to people who have long ago left modernism behind, it is highly amusing to watch the thrashing-about of modernists who cannot adjust to new realities. in fact it is confusing–and perhaps someone here can explain this–why anyone would these days assume that shutting down an instance shuts down all future instances? i have trouble conceptualising why anyone would bother, since this only stokes the j’accuse flames engulfing the effigy. is it just to make themselves feel better? is it for some obscure and irrelevant legal reason?

    anyway, back to getting outraged at the limitation to one’s ability to speak freely especially when exposing arguably outrageous expenditures by our elected representatives. i hereby lodge my complaint, dear lordships, please note that i shan’t be voting for you in the future.

    i mean, really. can we blame the youth of today for being cynical?

  9. I don’t much like CIRA but that isn’t the issue.

    It’s all about spelling and arithmetic:

    Joe Volpe plus Brenden Johnstone equal Footnote to history.