Eminent Domain: registrar gives France.com to the French government, destroying its owner's business

France.com was a popular travel site owned and operated by a U.S.-based French expat. Jean-Noel Frydman registered a trademark, had hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors, and loved his birth country. For years, the French government was happy with it, even giving Frydman an award. In 2016, though, it decided it wanted his domain for itself. Though the .com top-level domain is administered in the U.S., they didn't have to go to court in America to get it. That's because the domain registrar, web.com, gave it to them.

It’s unclear if a US court ever validated the order with an international enforcement of judgment, a common measure for foreign rulings involving US businesses. But if Web.com had enough business in France, that may not have been necessary. Faced with a valid court order and the pressure of an entire government, the company’s lawyers may have simply decided it wasn’t worth fighting the issue in court. (Web.com did not respond to multiple requests for comment on their policy regarding court-ordered transfers.)

Trademarks, the domain-name resolution system, WIPO: all useless if your registrar is shady or easily rolled. This appears to be the first appropriation of a .com domain in this manner and confers upon web.com a uniquely dismal distinction.

Also consider the next level up: operators of fashionable new top-level-domains. They set prices per domain, with lists of "premium" ones with higher prices. So if you establish a successful business at .???, you may succeed in making your domain name "premium." Which means an extra zero or two tacked onto domain renewal fees. Read the rest

The French Republic claims France.com as its own

Long held by French expatriate Jean-Noel Frydman, France.com has been taken from his control. Emails are bouncing and the URL has been forwarded to the government tourism site. Frydman is suing his ISP, domain registrars and the Republic of France to get his domain back.

Via the Verge:

Frydman first registered the domain in 1994, less than three years after the World Wide Web became publicly available. “I was at a crossroads professionally, and I wanted to discover something new,” Frydman says. He found his way to BBS boards and the still-young web, recognizing the possibilities immediately. “I could see it was a new frontier. And like the frontier, if you went in early, you could stake a claim.” A French expat, he was drawn to France.com.

The site went through a number of incarnations, briefly offering France-based news (including Le Monde) for paying subscribers before eventually settling on a travel agency model. For most of its history, the site has offered travel tips alongside packaged vacation deals. With roughly 100,000 visitors a month, Frydman could easily support the site on commissions. He had registered other domain names, too. But over the years, he sold them off, and France.com became his only project.

The French tourism bureau was friendly with Frydman, even giving him a “Best Website” award in 2009. But in 2016, the foreign ministry seemed to have a change of heart. He says they made no effort to buy the domain from Frydman (although he would have been unlikely to sell), but argued in court that the domain was rightful property of the government.

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Teachers on four continents stage mass strikes

In the USA, there are tens of thousands of teachers in open rebellion, in Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, and things are heating up in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa and Colorado. Read the rest

Holocaust survivor's death in Paris being investigated as a hate crime

As a child in 1942, Mireille Knoll escaped the capture of Jews by police in occupied France during The Vélodrome d'Hiver roundup. The majority of those arrested during the roundup were sent to Auschwitz, where they were killed. Her evasion of France's Nazi puppet police force during the second world war allowed her to survive the horrors of the Holocaust, unlike so many of her neighbors and relations. But she couldn't escape racism. Her time on earth came to an end this past week after she was stabbed 11 times and left to die in her burning apartment, in Paris, France. She was 85 years old.

According to the The Washington Post, Knoll's murder has French journalists and Jewish advocacy groups concerned that, given the area and brutality in which her life was ended, there could be reasonable grounds for the murder to be considered a hate crime. As in North America, Anti-Semitic hate crimes have been on the rise in France. In the past year, bigots and fascists who were once too afraid to show their hate in public have made their way into the mainstream, emboldened by the politics of our times.

From the Washington Post:

Jewish advocacy groups were quick to put the case within the context of rising anti-Semitism in France and to point out the similarities to another high-profile case being investigated as anti-Semitic: the April 2017 killing of Sarah Halimi, a 66-year-old Orthodox Jewish physician and kindergarten teacher who was beaten in her apartment and then thrown out a window.

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Disney announces $2.5B upgrade to Paris's Walt Disney Studios, the worst Disney park in the world

When Disney built Euro Disney (now Disneyland Paris), it was required to partner with a French company that borrowed heavily, couldn't get out from under its debts, and ended up beholden to creditors who forced it to limit spending on the park, trapping it in a cycle of unpopularity and underinvestment. Read the rest

Nutella riots spread in France

France is in turmoil. Heavy discounts of Nutella have resulted in "scenes of violence" at supermarkets as shoppers vie to obtain as much of the chocolate and hazelnut spread as possible.

"They are like animals. A woman had her hair pulled, an elderly lady took a box on her head, another had a bloody hand," one customer told French media. A member of staff at one Intermarché shop in central France told the regional newspaper Le Progrès: "We were trying to get in between the customers but they were pushing us."

Ferrero, manufacturers of the delicious spread, said it had no part in the supermarket's decision to discount Nutella and that it "regretted Thursday's violence."

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Peeping inside Paris's new nudist restaurant

O’Naturel is a nudist restaurant in Paris. The New Yorker's Henry Alford had a bite and an eyeful:

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A Lorde superfan hung 'Melodrama' in the Louvre

After dodging security, photographer Nina Richard quietly hung Lorde's well-reviewed, sophomore album Melodrama onto the walls of Le Musée du Louvre in Paris, France.

Presenting her photographic evidence, she tweeted:

Why the Louvre?

According to Slate, the act of displaying the album in the museum is a way of bringing the lyrics of its fourth track, "The Louvre," to life:

But we're the greatest, they'll hang us in the Louvre

Down the back, but who cares, still the Louvre

Melodrama was recently nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award.

(Slate) Read the rest

America's private health-care is rationed, but socialized medicine is luxury medicine

To hear America's fearmongering private health-care shills describe it, socialized medicine is a kind of Soviet death march, where rationed care and long waits are imposed on all and sundry; but if that state of affairs sounds familiar, it's because of how neatly it describes America's dysfunctional private care system, where you need to change doctors every time you change employers, where your care is denied and your prescriptions are deemed unnecessary by faceless insurance-company bureaucrats, and where three quarters of your family doctor's overheads are dedicated to filling in insurance forms in triplicate and chasing payment in a kind of LARP of Terry Gilliam's Brazil or a Stalinist hospital in deepest Siberia. Read the rest

Origin story of the Mimikatz password cracker is a parable about security, disclosure, cyberwar, and crime

Five years ago, Benjamin Delpy was working for an unspecified French government agency and teaching himself to program in C, and had discovered a vital flaw in the way that Windows protected its users' passwords. Read the rest

Coming to Europe: a lecture tour with Garnet "Disobedient Electronics" Hertz

Garnet Hertz is the designer/scholar/provocateur behind the amazing Disobedient Electronics project ("Building electronic objects can be an effective form of social argument or political protest"); though he is normally based at British Colombia's Emily Carr University, he's currently touring Europe with the Disobedient Electronics book on a Disobedient Electronics protest tour, with stops in London, Southampton, the Hague, Brussels, Paris, Berlin and Madiera. Read the rest

Art exhibit includes massive glass brick sculpture of a wave

For the Géométries Amoureuses exhibit, sculptor Jean-Michel Othoniel created this enormous wave from green-hued glass bricks. Read the rest

French aquaculturist sets up 24/7 live oyster vending machine

Tony Berthelot is an oyster farmer on Ile de Re, an island off France's west coast; rather than task his family-members to staffing a roadside stand, he's invested in a refrigerated live-oyster vending machine that dispenses fresh bivalves 24/7. Read the rest

Watch French Army perform Daft Punk medley they played for Trump and Macron on #BastilleDay

In preparation for the big Bastille Day Military Parade, the French Army is shown in this video rehearsing a Daft Punk medley.

The celebratory parade is the world's oldest and longest military one in the world, and happens each year down the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

(reddit) Read the rest

France trolls Trump on decision to withdraw from Paris Accord

The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs tweeted a 🔥 video today on Trump's Paris Accord decision.

After president Emmanuel Macron's epic tweet yesterday, this is something else. Read the rest

Why is Trump so silent on French election hacking?

Putin got your tongue? President Donald Trump's history of remarks on U.S. election hacking makes his current silence on the France election cyberattacks very strange. Russia is suspected of being behind those recent hacking attacks, which appeared to be directed at helping the fascist, hardcore right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen win. Despite open support from Donald Trump and others aligned with the U.S. President, Le Pen lost to the more moderate candidate, Emmanuel Macron. Read the rest

Centrist Macron thrashes far-right Le Pen in French presidential election

Emmanuel Macron defeated Marine Le Pen by about 66%-34% in France's presidential election Sunday, with few votes outstanding. Macron, a 39-year-old centrist newcomer, faced a strong challenge from his far-right adversary, but polls never gave her a serious shot at the job. And on the day, the margin was even wider than expected.

Mr Macron will also become the first president from outside the two traditional main parties since the modern republic's foundation in 1958. ...

The Macron team said that the new president had had a "cordial" telephone conversation with Ms Le Pen.

In a speech she thanked the 11 million people who had voted for her. She said the election had shown a division between "patriots and globalists" and called for the emergence of a new political force.

The result came despite an internet-driven effort to torpedo Macron's campaign with hacks, leaked emails and conspiracy theories—a pattern that stoked fears of a similar outcome to last year's election in the U.S., where similar circumstances saw millionaire reality TV star Donald Trump prevail over Hillary Clinton.

It is indeed a sad day for American media who hoped the French were as dumb as us. Read the rest

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