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Anti-Consumer ICANN Can Not be Trusted To Protect Domain Registrants' Property Interests

Frederick Harris

Domain name registrants who purchase a name in any of the present or pending generic (gTLD) top level domains should think twice before entrusting a domain name property interest to ICANN, even though ICANN levies a money tariff on each domain registration. ICANN has no policy language that indemnifies domain name registrants. ICANN language does not even contemplate the possibility of domain theft by an ICANN registrar. When a domain name is stolen from its registrant, especially when the domain has been ripped off by an ICANN-accredited registrar, ICANN will do nothing to protect the purchaser or punish the identifiable party responsible for the domain ripoff.

Arguably, ICANN has a duty as the regulatory apparatus that governs ICANN-accredited registrars to protect consumers. More than 100 million domain names have been registered to date in the dot-com TLD. To my knowledge, no one knows how many names have been stolen or how many registrants have been ignored to date by ICANN. Multiply a hundred million dot-com names by hundreds of pending gTLD applicants and a serious consumer problem obtains. Therefore, U.S.-based registries (and related registrars) ought to think about that because they can and will directly be sued for domain theft and conversion under U.S. law. In the present instance, ICANN did nothing to protect the registrant where any reasonable party will conclude that domain name theft occurred; the theft was brought to ICANN's attention; more than adequate proof was provided as to what happened to the domain name as well as the identity of those who may have been responsible, whole or in part. ICANN dismissed the complaint. It ignored the evidence. It did nothing to hold anyone accountable. Judge for yourself. The related 31 pages of documents can be viewed here

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Related topics: Domain Names, ICANN, Law

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Share your comments

Crime and Punishment Glenn McKnight  –  Nov 17, 2013 10:14 AM PST

The article isn't new and its been an ongoing saga feeling alot like a Twilight Zone.  A constant refrain that the problem either doesn't exist or we are dealing with it. 

ICANN needs to be upfront in the number of complaints and what has been resolved

Maguy Serad and her team provided information on how they are dealing with this issue.  A compliance session is scheduled in BA, Argentina on Wednesday morning at 8 30 in the Golden Horn room

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