Bank Julius Baer & Co v. Wikileaks

On February 6, 2008, Swiss bank Julius Baer filed suit in federal district court against "Wikileaks" -- a website designed to give whistleblowers a forum for posting materials of public concern -- for hosting 14 allegedly leaked documents regarding personal banking transactions of Julius Baer customers. Also sued was Wikileaks' domain name registrar Dynadot LLC. On February 15, following a stipulation between Julius Baer and Dynadot, the court issued a permanent injunction disabling the domain name and preventing that domain name from being transferred to any other registrar.

On February 26, the Electronic Frontier Foundation the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit in order to dissolve the permanent injunction.

"Dynadot's private agreement to disable access to its customer's domain name -- and the court's endorsement of that agreement -- raise serious First Amendment concerns " EFF Senior Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "This unwarranted injunction should remind everyone who hosts critical information on the Web that such information may only remain accessible as long as your service provider or registrar is willing to stand up for you against obviously overreaching legal attacks."

At 9:00 a.m. on Friday February 29 a federal judge in San Francisco will hear arguments regarding EFF's motion as well as a related issue: whether to extend a temporary restraining order aimed at preventing the further distribution of the 14 disputed Julius Baer documents.

Outcome: Following the hearing Judge White dissolved his previous orders -- citing First Amendment concerns and other arguments raised by the proposed intervenors and amici curiae -- allowing the domain name to go back up. Julius Baer subsequently moved to dismiss the case.

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