Last week, a mystery bidder snatched the domain of copyright troll Righthaven at auction for just $3,300. Just now, the domain name system updated to reveal his identity: one Stefan Thalberg of Zug, Switzerland, just south of Zurich.
And at the domain itself, a mysterious "No Jellyfish" logo with the title "Take Back The Right(Haven)" and the text "Coming Soon."
In the page source, a tantalizing clue:
<!--Oh... you want a hint do you? Very well: "Does your current provider possess a spine?"-->
Thalberg's email address suggests an association with OrtCloud, a Swiss internet service provider that says it focuses on "bespoke" solutions for financial and scientific companies. Intriguingly, its homepage advertises the "privacy-friendly, regulatory-havens of Iceland and the Swiss cantons of Zürich and Zug" beneath a photograph of the Swiss National Bank.
A cursory search of associated IP addresses reveals firms in the business services and finance sector. I've asked for comment. (Update: I've received a short reply saying that there will be "updates soon")
Righthaven launched an ill-fated copyright enforcement business three years ago, but was repeatedly punished by courts unimpressed with its claim to have "licensed" the right to sue from copyright holders—and which were often unimpressed with the credibility of the underlying claims. After running out of money, Righthaven lost its domain name to creditors, which promptly auctioned it off.
One of Righthaven's most notorious shakedown strategies was to demand victims hand over their own domain names in order to head off or settle lawsuits. Its legal team is now facing an investigation by the Nevada State Bar, after one judge found evidence that the company made "intentional misrepresentations" in court.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
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