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Update on the NRA Trademark Complaint

Posted: June 29, 20162 min read

    Yesterday, network access was taken down to sharethesafety.org which was hosted on our service by a customer, an intermediate platform provider. We want to let you know what happened.

    On June 23rd, we received notice from the NRA’s counsel that sharethesafety.org was infringing NRA’s trademarks. The NRA demanded that we remedy the problem by removing the material. In response, we followed our standard procedures for trademark infringement notices and informed the customer immediately of the NRA’s demands. We provided more than 5 days for the customer to respond to or resolve the issue. We also spoke to the customer on several occasions to inform them that we intended to take action on the trademark claim. They chose not to remove the violating material. Accordingly, our Trust & Safety team restricted network access to their Droplet, which caused an outage to all of their user’s websites hosted on that Droplet. In less than 2 hours of the outage, the customer was able to address the trademark notice, and network access was immediately restored.

    DigitalOcean followed procedures that help protect us from having to resolve what can be complicated disputes between third party rights holders and our customers regarding IP issues. In this case we should have given greater care to the customer’s voice and their right to engage in parody. In retrospect, we believe that the website identified in the NRA’s takedown notice was not a trademark infringement but was instead protected by the First Amendment. We at DigitalOcean champion freedom of speech and the free and open web.

    Going forward, we will be working closely with our legal counsel to review our Trust & Safety procedures so we can make better decisions. We are committed to providing our customers with the best level of service and supporting their rights and freedoms. That is our responsibility as an infrastructure service provider and one that I take very seriously.

    Sincerely,

    Ben Uretsky

    Co-Founder & CEO

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