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Network Solutions suspends anti-Islamist film Web site

The hosting company wants to determine whether the site violates its acceptable use policy

By Linda Rosencrance
March 25, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Web hosting company Network Solutions LLC has suspended a Web site that a conservative Dutch politician wanted to use to release an anti-Quran video that critics are saying is extremely critical of Islam.

Right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders planned to release the movie titled Fitna, whose Arabic name translates to ordeal, on the Web site March 31.

In a statement sent via e-mail, Network Solutions said that it was investigating a number of complaints that the Web site Fitnathemovie.com may have violated its guidelines on hate language. Network Solutions' acceptable use policy say that the company bans content "that is obscene, defamatory, libelous, unlawful, harassing, abusive, threatening, harmful, vulgar, constitutes an illegal threat, violates export control laws, hate propaganda, fraudulent material or fraudulent activity, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable material of any kind or nature."

According to published reports, Wilders has said the 15-minute film describes Islam as "the enemy of freedom." Muslims in a number of countries have protested the release of the movie, and there are fears that, if released, the film could spark more protests.

"Our hosting customer for this site also made several public comments regarding his plans for the use of this site," the company said. "In response to the complaints and the customer's public comments, Network Solutions has made repeated requests to discuss the matter with our customer."

Network Solutions said it has also asked Wilders if the company could review the film before it was loaded onto the site to determine if it violates its acceptable use policy. However, the company said Wilders has not responded to its requests, so, in the interim, it has suspended the Web site.

Network Solutions said Wilders has full access to the site during the suspension. The company said if Wilders provides Network Solutions with the content and the company determines that it doesn't violate its acceptable use police, then he will be allowed to post the content. However, if it's found to violate the policy, Network Solutions said Wilders would be free to post the content using other avenues, but not with Network Solutions.

"Network Solutions is by no means taking any action to limit freedom of speech or to preemptively censor content," according to the e-mail statement. "Our company also does not proactively police the content of our customers' sites. If a complaint is received, however, we do conduct a review to determine whether the site's content violates our company's acceptable use policy."

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