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Conflict of Opinion

If a UDRP panelist believes domainers are the same thing as cybersquatters, is he fit to arbitrate? I came across an editorial on CNET today by Doug Isenberg, an attorney in Atlanta and founder of GigaLaw.com, and a domain name panelist for the World Intellectual Property Organization. The guest editorial focuses on Whois privacy and why it's imperative to maintain open access to registrant data for intellectual property and legal purposes. That's a common opinion I've read a million times. Nothing groundbreaking there. But then I was shocked to read that Isenberg generalizes domainers as cybersquatters: "Today, cybersquatters have rebranded themselves as 'domainers.' Popular blogs and news sites track their activities..." more

Royal Cat Loses ICANN UDRP Action

This is serious. I'm not joking. You can look it up. Morgan Stanley brought a UDRP action involving the domain name 'mymorganstaleyplatinum.com' against a registrant identified as "Meow ("Respondent"), Baroness Penelope Cat of Nash DCB, Ashbed Barn, Boraston Track, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire WR15 8LQ, GB." The decision summarizes the response... more

Black Frog: Next Generation Botnet, No Generation Spam Fighting

Black Frog -- a new effort to continue the SO-CALLED Blue Security fight against spammers. A botnet, a crime, a stupid idea that I wish would have worked -- News items on Black Frog. Blue Frog by Blue Security was a good effort. Why? Because they wanted to "get spammers back". They withstood tremendous DDoS attacks and abuse reports, getting kicked from ISP after ISP. ...The road to hell is filled with good intentions. Theirs was golden, but they got to hell, quite literally, non-the-less. ...When Blue Security went down, some of us made a bet as to when two bored guys sitting and planning their millions in some café would show up, with Blue Security's business plan minus the DDoS factor. Well -- they just did. more

New York Passing New Domain Name Law

In a move that flies in the face of established international guidelines, the New York Senate is pushing through a bill that would forbid registering the name of a living person with the purpose of selling the domain to that person. The New York Senate's bill is called "domain names cyber piracy protections act" and is championed by State Senator Betty Little (S2306). Generally speaking, registering a person's name solely to sell the domain to that person is a losing cause in UDRP arbitrations. But the New York bill is scary for a few reasons... more

Wall Street Journal Article on Whois Privacy

Today's Wall Street Journal discusses the fight over Whois privacy. The article on the front page of the Marketplace section starts by discussing how the American Red Cross and eBay use the Whois database to track down scammers: "Last fall, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the American Red Cross used an Internet database called "Whois" that lists names and numbers of Web-site owners to shut down dozens of unauthorized Web sites that were soliciting money under the Red Cross logo. Online marketplace eBay Inc. says its investigators use Whois hundreds of times a day..." more

Warner Brothers Loses DaisyDukes.com Complaint

Warner Brothers Entertainment, which owns the rights to The Dukes of Hazzard and related characters, including DAISY DUKE, failed in its UDRP case against the registrant of the domain name DaisyDukes.com. The Panelist determined that although WB had common law rights in the DAISY DUKE mark and the registrant lacked rights and legitimate interests in the DaisyDukes.com domain name, WB failed to demonstrate that the registrant had registered and used the domain name in bad faith. more

WIPO Crowing Again About “Cybersquatting”

Most of us would be put off if a court issued a press release cheering the number of prisoners its judges had put behind bars or the number of tenants it had helped landlords to evict. That seems antithetical to the neutral adjudication of disputes, and ethical rules regularly decry such "appearance of bias." Yet WIPO seems to think it perfectly natural to crow about its arbitrators' favoritism for complainants against "cybersquatters" in UDRP proceedings. It issued a release that reads like a solicitation for trademark claimants' business, not a promotion of neutral arbitration services... more

WIPO Responds to Significant Cybersquatting Activity In 2005

In a report released today, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has announced a 20% increase in the number of cybersquatting (abusive registration of trademarks as domain names) cases filed in 2005 as compared to 2004. The report further indicates that "in 2005, a total of 1,456 cybersquatting cases were filed with WIPO's Arbitration and Mediation Center. This increase represents the highest number of cybersquatting cases handled by the WIPO Center since 2001." more

What’s in a Name?

Internet domain names are truly bizarre. There is nothing especially remarkable about them from a technical perspective, but from a social and political perspective they are all sorts of fun. We can have arguments over control of the DNS root, arguments over whether names are property, arguments over innate rights to specific names, arguments over a registrar's right (or lack thereof) to exploit unregistered names for private gain, and many more arguments besides. In this article, I'd like to explore the argument-space rather than defend any particular position in it. In so doing, I hope to illuminate some novel (or under-emphasised) perspectives on the matter. more

What’s Wrong with Domain Names?

Despite the significant traffic that comes from typed-in domain names, the public harumphing and clucking about type-in traffic is climbing in volume as it becomes clear how much money is involved. Articles this week show that domain names, and the people who make money on them, are making some commentators uncomfortable. more