In “Exceptional Case,” Panel Redacts Complainant from UDRP

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This morning while reading some UDRP decisions from the National Arbitration Forum, I came across a UDRP decision that had something I have never seen before. The decision listed the complainant as “Redacted” and the domain name as <[redacted].com>. The complainant won the UDRP and requested anonymity due to how the domain name had been used. The panelist, Alan L. Limbury, granted this request.

In the decision, Mr. Limbury discussed this unusual request and shared his rational for determining that this qualified as an “exceptional case,” which allowed him to honor the complainant’s request:

Should Complainant’s name be redacted?

Complainant requests that her identity, including the Domain Name, be redacted from this decision or that the decision be privately archived, stating:

“My privacy is of grave concern, and I do not want my name to hold any association with the explicit obscene content on the website in question, nor any association with the respondent. I am terrified of the situation escalating. I have evidence and heard from individuals who have received threats in these situations. For this reason, I have a specific request for the Forum to aide my privacy, safety, and identity. I do understand the ICANN rules and that my name being attached to the domain already makes it “public,” but I please ask for consideration that the case be privately archived or my name (in all forms including the domain) be redacted. A full choice to archive the case privately would be my most desired outcome. It has taken me a very long time to make this application due to fears of repercussion, identity theft or further harassment and defamation.”

Paragraph 4(j) of the Policy provides:

“All decisions under this Policy will be published in full over the Internet, except when an Administrative Panel determines in an exceptional case to redact portions of its decision.”

The Panel has been unable to find a case in which a complainant’s name has been redacted from a UDRP decision. The only published decisions the Panel has found in which the name of a party has been redacted are decisions in which the domain name was registered in the name of a victim of identity theft, in which case it would be grossly unfair for the respondent to be publicly accused or found guilty of cybersquatting.

In the present case this decision vindicates Complainant from any suggestion that she has promoted pornography.

However, having regard to Complainant’s legitimate concerns as to her privacy and safety, the Panel determines that this is an exceptional case in which it is appropriate that the name of Complainant, her trademark and the Domain Name, which both contain her name, should be redacted from the published decision.

I think the panelist made the right call here. I do not think there is any harm to anyone by redacting the complainant’s name or the domain name, but there is the possibility of harm being done if the details were shared.

About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn