The Libyan government has unceremoniously seized a domain that was used to host and promote a “sex positive” URL shortening website known as vb.ly.
Yes, indeed, Violet Blue and her partner Ben Metcalfe were recently told that the content of vb.ly was “offensive, obscene and illegal” under Libyan Islamic Sharia Law.
“We intended vb.ly to be a link shortener that celebrated tolerance and provided an alternative to other link shortening services whose terms were vague, and possibly loosely interpreted and thus subject to change, around human sexuality,” Violet Blue explained in an apologetic blog post.
“[But], no one knew that the Libyan government would begin seizing domains based on application of Islamic law to website content – let alone potential use of an online tool, such as a link shortener. For this reason, all .ly domains, and the businesses built on them internationally, should be on high alert.”
However, Libyan official Alaeddin S. ElSharif insisted that adult-themed sites had always been illegal under Libyan law.
“The issue of offensive imagery is quite subjective, as what I may deem as offensive you might not, but I think you’ll agree that a picture of a scandidly clad lady with some bottle in her hand isn’t exactly what most would consider decent or family friendly at the least,” ElSharif wrote in an official reposnse to Violet’s repeated inquiries.
“When we have an out cry from within our Community and even from places as remote as Morocco (a sister Muslim and Arab state) asking us how such a ‘scandalous’ domain is allowed to exist under our National extension we are left with no option but to apply the rules.”