RIAA Rips Down Infringing .ETH Domains, Mimicking the Early Dot Com Boom

RIAA .eth domain
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RIAA .eth domain
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Photo Credit: regularguy.eth

The RIAA has sent several takedown requests to the NFT marketplace OpenSea over the sale of .eth domains.

The RIAA has aggressively pursued action against several NFT companies, most recently HitPiece. But most recently, TorrentFreak has documented the organization’s focus in taking down .eth domain registrations as the web3 space takes off. The RIAA notices to OpenSea has for the removal of several Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domain names – or .eth domains.

Some of the domains targeted in these takedown requests include:

  • RIAA.eth
  • Sony-music.eth
  • Warnermusicgroup.eth
  • Atlanticrecords.eth
  • Virginrecords.eth
  • Universalmusic.eth
  • Republic-records.eth

The practice is called domain squatting, and it’s no different than what companies experienced in the late ’90s and ’00s as the Dot Com boom happened. One of the early examples of that is when the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) sued a man for cyber-squatting the worldwrestlingfederation.com domain. The case was resolved in 2000, but it highlights how web3 is experiencing many of the same growing pains.

Some of the other domains targeted included .eth domains named after music industry executives like RIAA CEO Mitch Glazier, Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer, and Columbia Records CEO Ron Perry.

“The ENS domain names […] infringe RIAA’s or our members’ trademarks, as they cause dilution, confusion, and/or tarnishment of these trademarks,” the statement to OpenSea from the RIAA reads. “The sale of these ENS domain names is also actionable under the Lanham Act.”

“In addition, the sale of ENS domain names that contain the names of executives at RIAA or our member companies violates the AntiCyberSquatting Consumer Protection Act,” the statement continues.

OpenSea has responded to the requests by removing the offending listings. The auction URLs for these domains now point to a delisting message. This isn’t the first or the last time the RIAA will go after web3 developments as they happen.

Meanwhile, former bastions of piracy like LimeWire and Napster are trying to legitimize the web3 space as a place where creators and artists can engage. LimeWire has struck up a partnership with Soulja Boy and others as part of its “LimeWire Originals” series. What this means is that LimeWire and Napster are hoping their legacy names will attract more interest in web3 products like NFTs.