TOS issue with a domain


There are several of us who have had our personal information posted on a hate site which is hosted by DreamHost, We’ve sent several notices to Abuse but haven’t received any reply, and our info is still up there.

Is this being handled?



Per the TOS:

“Customer may only use DreamHost Web Hosting’s Server for lawful purpose. Transmission of any material in violation of any Country, Federal, State or Local regulation is prohibited.”

What, exactly, is your “TOS” issue? Unless you can show an “unlawful” use, what do you expect DreamHost to do in response to your complaint(s)?



There have been several unlawful purposes, including a call to commit violence against other users. There are also users posting private individuals’ home addresses and phone numbers with calls to harass said individuals. The frosting on this cake is the hate speech, including several calls to commit violence against various minorities.

Clicking on “random” on the main page will populate the page with a sampling of previous posts, and it doesn’t take long to see violations of many regulations, including the cyberstalking provisions of H.R. 3402 (The Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005).

Just as a matter of disclosure, I’m an attorney in CA.


Then you should not need any help at all in determining how to handle this, but I’ll make a suggestion anyway, since you seem to be frustrated with the situation:

  1. Report any violation of the law to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

There ya go! It has been my experience that if you start with that, and if your claims/complaints have legal merit, you will likely have more success suppressing speech that you don’t like. Good Luck!



Excellent! Then you’ll certainly be more familiar than we are about the procedures for advising Dreamhost and the owners of the site about legality or illegality of the site.

BTW, we’re just mostly customers here. We can help point you to helpful information and can relate similar stories, but we certainly can’t act.

It certainly sounds like a bad situation. Best of luck in getting it resolved. I wouldn’t hesitate to go through whatever legal channels necessary to help resolve the situation. FWIW, we’ve certainly found Dreamhost to be well-intentioned.

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Complaints have been submitted through ic3, but given that a lot of the content posted is in violation of DreamHost’s hosting agreement, it seemed like a more expedient way to get the information taken down. I have friends whose home addresses and phone numbers are being posted along with “I hope you get yours” type notes. There is obviously an exigency to have it addressed. I guess we’ve done our part by putting DreamHost on notice.

Thanks anyway for trying to help. It’s clear it won’t come through this avenue, so we’ll just be pursuing the others. I was hoping someone from the hosting company would take the time to go to the site in question and briefly investigate, but clearly that isn’t going to happen with just a simple complaint.


How long have you pursued the complaint through the abuse department?

You’ll tend to find more complaints here that the abuse department acts too quickly than too slowly, so delays are curious. It makes me think that either the violations aren’t so clear to them (and that you should help explain in gory detail to them), or that they are conducting a lengthy investigation. Finally, there’s also the possibility that they’re cooperating with some criminal investigation, though your allegations of imminent harm would lead me to believe that it’s unlikely that law enforcement would let that happen.

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I don’t think posting in the public forum counts as putting DH on "notice"


My complaints have only been submitted in the last several hours, but others submitted complaints several days ago.

As for putting “on notice”, I wasn’t referring to this message board; I was referring to the actual reports. This was just a way of trying to determine how such reports are dealt with, and in what time frame.

Thanks all for your concern. Of course there will be some vitriol spewed at a site whose monikor itself is “prohate” which is not unexpected, but when people’s home addresses are posted for the purpose of harassing them, you’re launched from mere annoyance into a whole 'nother stratosphere. If you knew one of the people who has been getting harassing and prank calls this morning after her home phone number was listed there, you might feel as compelled to act as I am.


funny thing is I looked at that site, refreshed the page multiple times & never saw any address or e-mails given except for someone posting the Contact info for dream host …


It is because of how the “random” feature is set up. There are literally thousands of posts, and that feature only populates a handful at a time. Unfortunately, in addition to now being housed on the site and randomly coming up, those posts are also being re-posted periodically as new posts.

I have screen shots of instances where some individuals’ information was posted, which I’m hoping will help the ic3 direct the investigation to the right agency.


I can certainly understand your frustration with the situation, and your subsequent posts here about the difficulty your friends have experienced make it clear why you are concerned. What makes these things so hard to deal with are the nuances of law when it comes to the various statutes, in various jurisdictions, regarding “hate speech”, “terrorist threats”, and the other terms used in the plethora of laws rather recently, and sometimes hastily, implemented to deal with such things (which I’m sure you understand!) .

For instance, I know from experience that the situation you describe where “I have friends whose home addresses and phone numbers are being posted along with “I hope you get yours” type notes.” will not result in a criminal filing in most California jurisdictions (lacking a direct threat, solicitation, or conspiracy component). So, absent a judge determining otherwise, whether or not is it “illegal” is not as clear as one might initially think, as distasteful and potentially damaging as it might be.

I suspect that, as an attorney, you understand the difficulty this presents for a hosting provider that has the responsibility of operating within the law and has chosen not to censor the speech of their customers according to their own, or another’s, sensibilities. Many hosts do undertake such control of content, but DreamHost does not. They do, however, comply with the law. The end result of this posture is that, from what I have seen over the years here, they will not make the determination of “legality” except in the most clear and unambiguous cases. :wink:

I believe they will investigate your complaint (I know for a fact that they have staff that is dedicated to handling these issues specifically), but I suspect this may not be as “clearly illegal” a situation in their views as it might first appear to you, or another (but that is just my opinion, and it’s worth precisely what you paid for it).

Interestingly, like another poster here, I visited the site, and did 20 “random” page displays without seeing any personal information or threats that even remotely approached what the California authorities I have dealt with in the past would consider criminal (though I did see several references to such postings).

Hopefully, the authorities will give your complaint proper attention. One thing I suggest is that you may well have better luck with a local or state law enforcement agency if you are in California - California laws are a bit more “strident” than the federal law in interpreting such things, and the ic3 may not give your complaint as serious a consideration as a state attorney general, district attorney, or sheriffs office or police department that would ultimately have to deal with any violence resulting from such conduct. Just a thought.



Thanks rlparker. It helps to have some insight into how things at DreamHost are done.

Ultimately, I think what will happen is the site will be taken down for an ancillary issue (like a state-specific violation in connection with minor’s access to the pornographic material which was posted) rather than for the harassment.


You’re barking up the wrong tree.

If the complaint is that someone is receiving nuisance calls your best course of action would be to provide local law enforcement with their phone records along with Statutory Declarations or recordings (if that’s legal where the receiver lives) of the call content thus enabling the relevant authorities to determine if an offence has been committed and whether or not it warrants further investigation.

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