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Court orders three H-1B sites disabled

Judge's ruling to shut down three opposition sites is part of Apex libel lawsuit

December 28, 2009 02:41 PM ET

Computerworld - A New Jersey judge has ordered the shutdown of three H-1B opposition Web sites and seeks information about the identity of anonymous posters.

On Dec. 23, Middlesex County Superior Court Judge James Hurley ordered firms that register domains and provide hosting services -- GoDaddy Inc., Network Solutions, Comcast Cable Communications Inc. and DiscountASP.Net, to disable the three sites, ITgrunt.com, Endh1b.com, and Guestworkerfraud.com. Facebook Inc. was also ordered to disable ITgrunt's Facebook page.

DiscountASP.Net said it has disabled Endh1b.com after it received the order from the New Jersey Superior Court. The order did not request any account information, only that the company "...immediately shut down and disable the website www.endh1b.com until further order of this court..," a spokesman said in an email. Facebook said it received the document Monday.

GoDaddy is complying with the order and has suspended the web hosting for ITgrunt.com, said Laurie Anderson. GoDaddy disputes manager, domain services.

The web site Endh1b.com is registered but not hosted at Go Daddy, Anderson added in an e-mail. "Both domain names have been placed on registrar lock due to the pending litigation. When Go Daddy receives a court order, it is standard procedure to comply," she said.

Hurley's order was made in response to a libel lawsuit filed by IT services and consulting firm Apex Technology Group Inc., based in Edison, N.J. against the three Web sites opposing the H-1B visa program.

The issue is creating a stir among H-1B opponents working in IT-related jobs who fear their posts could result in the loss of their jobs.

Two of the sites, itgrunt.com and endh1b.com, were offline this morning, but guestworkerfraud.com remained operating.

The company is seeking the identity of a person who posted an Apex employment agreement on Docstoc.com, that has since been removed. A link to the document and comments critical of it has been posted on a variety of Web sites, including at least one in India, on Desicrunch.com. The comment broadly alleges that employees will find it difficult to leave Apex because of its contract terms.

Apex, in one legal filing, said the allegations by the anonymous posters are false and defamatory, and were hurting the company. In the filing, Apex said it "has had three consultants refuse to report for employment" as a result postings, according to legal documents.

Apex said it is also seeking "contact details of the individual who posted this legal agreement without permission since we are the copyright owner of the legal document."

Accoring to court documents, a writer responding to admin@endh1b.com wrote that the site has "not posted a legal agreement and don't have the contact details of anyone of our contributors. We will also protect the privacy of any members of our community."



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