The Truth in Domain Names Act was introduced to prevent the use of a misleading domain name with the intent to deceive a person into viewing obscenity on the Internet. The Act makes it an offense punishable with fine or imprisonment not more than 2 years, or both. In case it is used to mislead a minor into viewing material that is harmful to minors on the Internet, the punishment comes to imprisonment not more than 4 years, fine or both. Material that is harmful to minors’ include any communication that when taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals; and any material that when taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.
The provisions of Truth in Domain Names Act was later incorporated in the PROTECT Act of 2003.
Truth in Domain Names Act of 2003
As a part of the massive 2003 PROTECT Act (Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today Act), which included the AMBER Alert legislation, Congress passed the Truth in Domain Names Act. The Truth in Domain Names Act is an attempt to thwart the use of deceitful domain names for the purpose of attracting surfers to pornographic websites. A demonstration of the usefulness of the law is quite simple. Go to whitehouse.gov and you will find out information concerning the President of the United States; go to whitehouse.com and, well, you will find out something else; it may deal with White House interns but it is probably not what you are looking for if you meant to find out information concerning the latest executive order.
The legislation is straight forward. Those who use domain names in order to trick people into viewing obscenity will land up in the slammer; trick kids into viewing material harmful to minors and you end up in the slammer for longer.
The Department of Justice broke this new law in with a bang in 2003, arresting John Zuccarini. Zuccarini reportedly was a notorious typo squatter, taking advantage of individuals who type domain names incorrectly. Zuccarini apparently was the owner of Teltubbies.com and Bobthebiulder.com which directed individuals to a porn site known as Hanky Panky College. For these actions, Zuccarini, the first individual arrested under the Act, was sentenced to two and a half years contemplation of his deeds behind bars.