Rod Dixon

Rod Dixon

Attorney
Joined on June 14, 2003
Total Post Views: 295,351

About

Rod Dixon teaches and writes about Cyberlaw and Internet Governance. He has participated in Internet governance matters, including ICANN's formerly named, Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO) and as a delegate member of the ISPCP constituency, and a supporter of the establishment of an Individual Domain Name Constituency. He also was an active participant of Working Group C. Dixon is author of "Open Source Software Law" (Artech House 2004), and is Founding Editor of a blog portal, Cyberspaces.org.

Featured Blogs

dotMP Goes Mobile, Limits Access to WHOIS Data

The fact that the market for mobile phones that provide Internet access (aka "smart phones") is predicted to increase during the next several years, with global shipments growing to an impressive nearly 125 million units in 2009, means the competition for bridging mobile content and mobile phone use is likely to be keen. Indeed, dotMP already must face competition for registry services that will target mobile phone users. A few of the biggest names in information technology and mobile communications -- led by Nokia and including Microsoft, Vodafone, HP, Orange, Samsung and Sun Microsystems are planning to wedge into the Top-level Domain name space (TLD) by supporting a new TLD registry for mobile web content focused on web pages built specifically for access by mobile devices like smart phones and handheld computers or Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)... what may set dotMP apart from the technology giants led by Nokia, is a significant value added benefit to its domain name registration services...it will protect the privacy of its registrants.  more»

A Closer Look at the Katie.com Domain Name Controversy

Every time an individual logs on to the Internet a pornographer is able to copy the stream of digital bits created by the computer user's Internet connection. The data bits are used to compile a database of information about Internet user buying habits and sexual tastes. These pornographers use the information secretly collected from logged in computers to alter the category or type of pornographic images uploaded onto various websites. Pornographers, for example, know that as a result the pornography in Cyberspace is of an extremely disturbing sort when compared to porn found in "real-space." Internet users are primarily known fans of sexual images of incest, bestiality, and torture. Cyber porn -- as it is often called -- is bigger, badder, and more extreme.  more»

Recent WHOIS Report Overlooking Fundamental Issue?

Each Task Force recently published a report posted on ICANN's website on recommendations for modifications or improvements to WHOIS. The Task Force recommendations include proposals ranging from a recommendation to notify those who may be included in the database of the possible uses of WHOIS data to one that recommends ICANN offer the Internet community "tiered access" to serve as a vague mechanism to balance privacy against the needs of public access. Too many of the recommendations seem to be framed by those who view Internet users with hostility, such as the recommendation to punish domain name users when a domain name is cancelled or suspended for "false contact data," by canceling all other registrations with identical contact data. more»

To Fight Domain Name Theft: Sex.com Gives Birth to a New Property Right

For those who are Star Wars fans, the following scene from the prequel, Attack of the Clones, will be easy to recall: a young and misinformed Jedi, known as Obi-waan Kenobi, opines about how an army of clones had been able to snatch a victory from imminent defeat. Yoda, a Jedi Master and virtual fountain of wisdom, immediately gushes forth an important correction: "Victory? Victory you say? Master Obi-waan, not victory." Yoda explains that winning a battle is not a victory, if the win merely signals that the war has just begun. Yoda's apparent perception seems particularly apt for the precedent setting federal court opinion involving the sex.com domain name. Notwithstanding that individual domain name registrants may seek comfort in the victory obtained from the Ninth Circuit's opinion in Kremen v. Cohen, that decision merely signals a beginning -- not an end -- to the controversy over the proper legal framework for resolving domain name theft.  more»

Why FOISA Should Never Become Law

In a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal, I noticed an underreported story about an embarrassing glitch that occurred involving the "washpost.com" domain name, which is used by the Washington Post Newspaper Company. Apparently, recently, the domain name stopped working -- no domain name services. This disrupted the flow and access of e-mail at the Washington Post as well as the operations of the washpost.com website.  more»

With No Privacy Standards Who Knows Who Is Abusing The Whois Database

John Banks is a loan officer in New York. John's supervisor recently warned John about the potential number of bad loans he may be carrying as part of his portfolio. To dump some of the bad loans he might be carrying, John came up with a scheme. He pointed his web browser to www.whois.org and entered terms denoting disease or poor health such as 'cancer' and 'illness'. This query on the Internet's WHOIS database reported results of names and addresses of domain name owners who had developed websites devoted to providing information on certain serious illnesses. John compared these names and addresses with those in his portfolio of loans. For the matches, he canceled the loans and required immediate payment-in-full. more»

Exposing A Famous Secret: Well-known Trademarks Are Not Easily Diluted

Regarding a domain name dispute involving famous authors, the novelist, Louis Sachar, observed that "if some unrelated person is going to co-opt my name in cyberspace, and fails to use it to identify a web site related to my books or myself, that's going to endanger my career, as well as my reputation." Louis Sachar is one of nine famous authors for whom the Authors Guild, recently successfully snatched personal name domain names from a United Kingdom domain name registrant known as Old Barn Studios... more»

Internet Users: Is It Time For A Declaration Of Independence?

Although, undoubtedly, it is disappointing, it is not surprising that after four years of experimenting with Internet governance, the first corporate entity to take on the ambitious task -- the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) -- has not achieved the legitimacy of a global consensus-based manager of the Internet's domain name system. Simson Garfinkel explains, in his insightful piece in the March 2003 issue of Technology Review, that it has become conventional wisdom that "ICANN serves as a model for systematically shutting the public out" of its policy making activities. It should go without further explanation that the ICANN model is a particularly bad governance model, if consensus-building is supposed to be the corporation's linchpin of legitimacy. Among a few other concerns, ICANN, unmistakably, suffers from power-sharing phobia. more»

Domain Name Theft Part II: Did ICANN Leave Foxes Guarding the Chicken COOP?

When it comes to stealing domain names, I suspect that there are two reasons why so many web bandits appear to be immune from ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers uses the acronym ICANN): the first reason I discussed in my last column on domain name theft (where I described a substantive void in domain name "regulation" as a primary factor for the increasing incidence of domain name theft), the second reason, which is the focus of this column, is the procedural anomaly that currently infuses ICANN's uniform dispute resolution process (UDRP) by providing no administrative forum for domain name registrants who become victims of domain name theft carried out by ICANN's registrars. more»

Privacy Matters: Is It Time To Abolish The WHOIS Database?

Recently, I entered my domain name in a "WHOIS" database query to test the results of the database by using WHOIS on a number of domain name registrar websites. WHOIS is a database service that allows Internet users to look up a number of matters associated with domain names, including the full name of the owner of a domain name, the name of the domain name hosting service, the Internet Protocol or I.P. number(s) corresponding to the domain name, as well as personally identifying information on those who have registered domain names. I was astonished to find... more»

Parsing Hype From Hope: Will ENUM Spark Changes In Telecom?

In the beginning there was silence; then, silence begat communication, and communication begat more communication and, ultimately, group communication formed and begat a primordial "network" of communication that gradually and inevitably increased in effectiveness and complexity: there were only signal fires at first but, then, there were cave drawings, carrier pigeons, shouting from hill-tops, smoke from fire, lines of cannon fire, the telegraph, Alexander Graham Bell, and, finally, the network of networks known as the Internet. But, is that it? Is there not something more impressive in its impact upon communication than the Internet? What more might one desire than the dynamic wonders of the Internet, you ask? Well, what about ENUM? "E-What!?" more»

Domain Name Theft, Fraud And Regulations

When it comes to domain name disputes, no domain name has captured more media attention than sex.com. Of course, disputes about sex often obtain a great deal of attention, and the sex.com domain name dispute can grab its share of headlines because the case involves sex, theft, declared bankruptcy, a once-thriving Internet porn business, and fraud, instead of the typical cybersquatting allegations. Indeed, this case is remarkable for its potential impact on the development of caselaw concerning whether there is a valid basis to assume that trademark interests should overwhelm all non-commercial interests in the use of domain names. The answer is no, but the caselaw to support that answer is in tension with cases that strongly imply a contrary conclusion. more»