Three websites that adopted the names of Calgary public school trustees have been taken down after BlueHost was served with a cease and desist letter. The unauthorized sites “patcochrane.com, joyboweneyre. ca and pamking.ca” linked news stories and noted quotes made by Calgary Board of Education chairwoman Pat Cochrane and fellow trustees Joy Bowen-Eyre and Pamela King.
Some have also speculated the timing of the websites, which were created in December, is linked to a contentious discussion over board meeting procedures taking place during the same period. The trustees hired a lawyer on their own dime and said a letter was sent to Bluehost which complied with the takedown notice. BlueHost would send a copy of the notice to the site owner(s) who can contest the takedown.
The individual that registered the domains has been publicly concealed in the who-is information.
The president of the Calgary Association of Parents and School Councils saying he doesn't understand what the big deal is. Robert Hurdman has admitted he knows who registered the domains, but continued to refuse to identify the person. "Having looked at the content, I don't believe that they're harmful or hurtful in any way," he said. Hurdman argues the sites are a "none issue," and simply provide "a public record of public statements by public officials."
While the trustees could technically argue successfully that the websites could be construed as real, it has been said there are numerous different suffixes that you can put on the end of any domain. There is no way of fully protecting yourself. The law also generally views the use of these extension with latitude and protected under freedom of speech rules.
Robert Hurdman points out that by publicizing their complaints, the trustees may have inadvertently prompted more people to search out the websites. On the web its called the Streisand effect
And for now those domains point...
- patcochrane.com redirects to a wide eyed picture of Pat Cochrane in the Calgary Sun.
- joyboweneyre. ca goes to a search page
- pamking.ca redirects to a media story “Calgary school trustees pass controversial changes to meeting rules”
Another that they possibly missed..
- patcochrane.ca directs to a shining editorial that is headlined “ Shunning the public earns trustees an F”
Trustees may be learning something else about the internet. Its called “wack the mole”