.ly Domain Extension Owners Warned Over Sharia Law
The .ly domain extension is controlled by NIC.ly, the domain registry and controlling body for the Libyan domain space. According to Violet Blue, the vb.ly domain she co-owned with Ben Metcalfe was seized because the content, not the domain, was considered offensive, obscene and illegal according to Libyan Islamic Sharia Law.
Violet Blue calls herself an "author, Columnist, blogger and sexuality futurist." vb.ly was designed, her blog post says,
to be a link shortener that celebrated tolerance and provided an alternative to other link shortening services whose terms were vague, and possibly loosely interpreted and thus subject to change, around human sexuality. It was made to be a service where you CAN put NSFW links, but not *exclusively* for non-worksafe links. It was simply a service which openly stated that it won’t discriminate against you (by filtering or removing your links) if you do.A portion of an email from Alaeddin S. ElSharif of NIC.ly says the following:
Moving up the Regulations list we find clause 3.5 clearly states that: “The Applicant certifies that, to the best of his/her knowledge the domain name is not being registered for any activities/purpose not permitted under Libyan law.”Obviously, NSFW links might fall into this category. However, ElSharif also noted that
I think you’ll agree that a picture of a scandidly clad lady with some bottle in her hand isn’t exactly what most would consider decent or family friendly at the least.ElSharif was basically calling the image here of Violet Blue "scantily clad" which, admittedly, under Sharia law,is probably the case. It certainly didn't help that the sentence under the text entry box on the vb.ly site included the words "sex-positive URL shortener."
As noted by Metcalfe, NIC.ly has decreed that four-letter .ly domains will only be available to local Libyans in the future, and that there is thus motivation to go back and recover any such domains they can that are owned by non-Libyans.