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Analysis of Domain Names Registered Across Multiple Existing TLDs and Implications for New gTLDs

The following is an analysis based on the hypothesis that trademark holders are not, in general, registering their trademarks as domain names across the existing top-level domain namespace. To determine if the hypothesis is true, we examine domain names registered in the popular generic top-level domains ("gTLDs" such as .com, .net and .info), also using other publicly available information such as the USPTO database of trademarks, the English dictionary, DNS entries, UDRP records and whois records. more

NAF Panelists and Complainants Caught Systematically Copying/Pasting Nonsense Into UDRP Decisions

In a recent article at DomainNameWire.com, CitizenHawk was called out by a National Arbitration Forum (NAF) panelist for the submission of automated complaints which contained complete nonsense. Through the discussion in the comments to that article, the community discovered that the problem is far deeper. It turns out that UDRP panelists at NAF have been churning out boilerplate cut/paste decisions of their own, with utter nonsense of their own, and that this has been going on for years. more

Problems With Defining Jurisdiction on the Internet

The term "jurisdiction" has various definitions in law, but for our purposes here we can say it is the power of some legal body to exercise its authority over a person or subject matter or territory. In the Internet today, it is territory that gives rise to many major issues. As in real estate, what matters in jurisdiction is "location, location, location". When the Internet and trademark rights began to intersect, it quickly became apparent that traditional concepts of the jurisdiction of courts and legislatures would be seriously strained by situations where a registrant in one country could use a registrar in a second country to register a domain name in yet a third country. 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

Canada’s Anti-spam Bill C-28 is the Law of the Land

It's been a long time coming, but Canada has an anti-spam law, and one, which sets a new world standard, and a tough, but fair, opt-in protocol for everyone in North America who sends commercial email and other electronic messages. Yesterday, The Canadian Senate voted to accept Bill C-28, and today, December 15, at 13:00 eastern, it will be given Royal Asset of the Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston. more

A Look at the Facebook Privacy Class Action (Beacon) Settlement

Facebook announced on Friday that it settled the class action challenging its "Beacon" advertising program. Net result? Facebook establishes a privacy foundation funded with $9.5 million (or what's left of this amount after attorneys' fees, costs, and class claims are deducted)... Beacon was an advertising program launched in November 2007 which (roughly speaking) allowed the transmission of purchase and consumer-related information between partner retailers, Facebook, and of course, your Facebook friends. I don't think many people have a sense of all of the contours of the program... more

Do We Need Title Insurance for Domain Names?

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I read an article in Forbes (November 13, page 148) about real estate title insurance. The article was about how real estate title insurance is a joke and overpriced. But as I read in the article how titles are investigated, in dawned on me that a title check service for domain names would be helpful. Title checks and title insurance would prevent you from losing money when you bought a stolen domain. Last year I almost got bilked for $5,000 buying domains...before I discovered they were stolen... more

How Much Do You Think a .ORG, .BIZ, or .INFO Domain Costs?

Whatever you think the answer is (typically about ten bucks), the answer is likely to change radically for the worse, based on new contracts that ICANN is planning to approve. On July 28th ICANN posted proposed new contracts for .ORG, .BIZ, and .INFO, for a public comment period that ends four days from now, on the 28th. There's a lot not to like about these proposed contracts, but I will concentrate here on two related particularly troublesome areas, pricing and data mining. more

Personal Names, Politics and Cybersquatting

Thinking about the www.kerryedwards.com auction reminds one of the uneasy relationship between personal names, politics and cybersquatting. When reporters learned that the domain name was taken by Kerry Edwards, the Indiana bail bondsman, at least some headlines were quick to brand Mr. Edwards' conduct as cybersquatting. The Chicago Sun-Times, for example, ran the headline "Kerry Edwards is the Name, Cybersquatting is the Game." Mr. Edwards, of course, had registered his own name as a domain name long before Kerry picked Edwards as a running mate. more

TLD Registration Enforcement: A Call for Automation - Part I

The past year has brought a rise in so-called "open and chartered" top-level domains (TLDs). Like the traditional open TLDs of .COM, .NET, and .ORG, these namespaces encourage large-scale registrations, but they differ in that they limit who can legitimately register domains. So far, many thousands of their registrations seem to break the stated rules. It's therefore worth thinking through their respective enforcement efforts -- before the situation gets out of control. more

ICANN Complaint System Easily Gamed

ICANN's WDPRS system has been defeated. The system is intended to remove or correct fraudulently registered domains, but it does not work anymore. Yesterday I submitted a memo to the leadership of the ICANN At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) and the greater At-Large community. The memo concerns the details of a 214-day saga of complaints about a single domain used for trafficking opioids. more

Kidnapping, Theft and Rape Are Not “Cyber” Crimes

Kidnap. Rape. There are no lesser words that can be used to describe what happened to the daughter of an anti-spam investigator in Russia. His daughter was recently released, according to Joseph Menn's recent article on Boing Boin, after having been kidnapped from her home five years ago, fed drugs, and made to service men, as a warning to ward off further investigations. The criminals behind these vicious acts were also responsible for large spamming organization associated with Russian Mob activity. more

Cyber Crime: An Economic Problem

During ISOI 4 (hosted by Yahoo! in Sunnyvale, California) whenever someone made mention of RBN (the notoriously malicious and illegal bulletproof hosting operation, the Russian Business Network) folks would immediately point out that an operation just as bad was just "next door" (40 miles down the road?), working undisturbed for years. They spoke of Atrivo (also known as Intercage). The American RBN, if you like... more

UDRP Dilemma In Proving Bad-Faith Domain Registrations - Part I

The purpose of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy, known as the UDRP (hereafter the Policy), is to determine disputes relating to the registration or acquisition of domain names in bad faith. Under the Policy, the complainant must establish that (i) the disputed domain name is identical with or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; (ii) the domain name registrant has no right or legitimate interest in respect of the domain name; and (iii) the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

Whilst requirements (i) and (ii), at first glance, do not appear difficult to meet, it is not the same with requirement (iii). In fact, a serious problem arises for the complainant when a registrant has registered domain names in bulk, but has not used them i.e. they have not been resolved to any active website. more

Should a Domain Name Registrar Run from a PO Box?

In 2008 KnujOn published a report indicating that 70 ICANN accredited Registrars had no publicly disclosed business location. The fundamental problem was one of community trust and consumer faith. Registrars extend their legitimacy to their domain customers who then transact and communicate with the public. more