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Watercooler – Libya’s Sharia Law Knocks Out URL Shortening Service

"Sex positive" link shortening site was abruptly shut down this week, to the surprise of the domain’s owner Ben Metcalfe and to the business, Violet Blue., the domain registry for the increasingly popular .ly top-level domain, has seized the domain from its owners for allegedly violating Libyan Islamic Sharia Law around adult content. is an adult URL shortener service owned by Ben Metcalfe and Violet Blue. Both believe their domain was unrightfully seized by the Libyan government in the country’s designs to take back .ly domains that are less than four characters in length.


Metcalfe and Blue have been stymied in their attempts to retain their domain or recover their recently paid renewal fees. Alaeddin S. Elsharif with responded to their inquiries with a detailed statement that Blue has posted in full on her blog.

A portion of the letter reads, “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.’ Pornography and adult material aren’t allowed under Libyan Law, therefore we removed the domain.”

The .ly domains are governed by Libya, which has not taken issue with URL shortening service to date.

Other link shortening services are suddenly looking more appealing for web site owners who rely on longevity and reliability for their URLs.

What do you think of this situation? Have you used an .ly URL shortening service?

And what else is on your mind tonight?

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Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, FDL community member since 2005, geek since birth.

Fan of science and technology, wannabe artist, decent cook, successful troublemaker and purveyor of challenging memetics whose genetics may be only nominally better.

Assistant Editor at Firedoglake and Editor at The Seminal.