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Obama’s Political Action Group Loses Complaint Against Website Address Owner

Written By : Warner Todd Huston
April 9, 2013

Last year, President Obama’s re-election campaign reworked its operations renaming it Organizing for Action in an effort to leverage the President’s monumental email address list to urge supporters to back the President’s policies. But OFA made a tiny mistake: it didn’t register all the various website addresses for its new effort. Worse, when others jumped to register the names, Obama’s political group filed a complaint to get the web addresses back. Now Obama has lost that battle.

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In February I reported that team Obama didn’t perform its due diligence and register all the website iterations as is normal business practice in today’s Internet centric world. As Obama’s OFA made its debut, no one in his purportedly Internet-savvy campaign had obtained the corresponding .com, .net, .org or .us sites, nor did OFA register other names that are close to its official one, as is the sensible practice.

In one case, Breitbart reported that Derek Bovard registered the website address www.organizingforaction.net and set it so that visitors would be re-directed automatically to the homepage of the National Rifle Association.

But as soon as this occurred, Obama’s political arm attempted to force Mr. Bovard and his business partner Aaron Strong to give back the address. At that same time, OFA also tried to force the several others that registered iterations of Obama’s organization to vacate the websites these private citizens paid to register.

Obama’s group filed the complaints with the authority that governs website domain addresses, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The complaints were filed under Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) rules. Obama’s case number is 1483257 and was filed on Feb 6. UDRP cases are usually decided within one to two months after first filing.

But Obama’s effort to force the return of the website addresses has failed, at least in Bovard and Strong’s case.

For the pair, Aaron Strong told me that this was a victory for free speech.

“The President of the United States and his self proclaimed ‘tech savvy’ group using BarackObama.com was unable to hijack our website OrganizingForAction.net. Our message of political opposition to the Presidents political agenda is our Constitutional right and this was upheld today. Today is a victory for the United States Constitution,” Strong said.

“This is a victory for the Constitution. It also proves Obamas group is not ‘the greatest minds in politics’ as folks like Rachel Maddow claim.”

Messrs. Strong and Bovard intend to use their website to “discuss political views and ideas based on Conservative Values, the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights and Freedom of Speech in the USA which seems to be overlooked quite often.”

“My partner and I are firm believers in not only the First and Second Amendment Rights, but in ALL Rights granted to us by our country, my country,” Bovard told me in February.

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