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The Myth of the Unintended Infringer in SOPA and PIPA

In a recent op-ed piece in TheHill.COM, some friends and I described the futility of mandated DNS blocking as contemplated by the SOPA (H.R. 3261) and PIPA (S. 968) bills now working their way through the U.S. Congress: No Internet user is required to use the Domain Name servers provided by their ISP. And if millions of American citizens who for whatever reason want to engage in online piracy can no longer do so because Congress has passed this law and their ISP is now filtering the citizen's DNS lookups... more

Curbing Cyber- and Typosquatting

We need a tax. You don't hear that too often. But right now a tax is the weapon needed by the domain name community. We face way too many cyber- and typosquatters. To drive them back, let's tax parked and unused domain names. Done right -- sized properly and phased in -- the tax will make it much harder for speculators to turn a profit while they keep domains sitting idle or parked. more

Nation Scale Internet Filtering — Do's and Don'ts

If a national government wants to prevent certain kinds of Internet communication inside its borders, the costs can be extreme and success will never be more than partial. VPN and tunnel technologies will keep improving as long as there is demand, and filtering or blocking out every such technology will be a never-ending game of one-upmanship. Everyone knows and will always know that determined Internet users will find a way to get to what they want, but sometimes the symbolic message is more important than the operational results. more

Fed's Domain Name Crackdown Meets DNS Backlash

Kelly Jackson Higgins reporting in InformationWeek: "In the wake of federal crackdowns, such as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) mass seizure yesterday of 82 domain names of websites illegally selling and distributing counterfeit and copyrighted items, a group is building out a new point-to-point DNS system as a way for sites to dodge future domain takeovers by the feds. ... Meanwhile, the new Dot-P2P Project says its goal is to combat DNS-level censoring with a decentralized, Bit Torrent-powered system. 'By creating a .p2p TLD that is totally decentralized and that does not rely on ICANN or any ISP's DNS service, and by having this application mimic force-encrypted bittorrent traffic, there will be a way to start combating DNS level based censoring like the new US proposals as well as those systems in use in countries around the world including China and Iran amongst others,' the Dot-P2P Project page says." more

Domain Seizures for Copyright Infringement Likely to Move Beyond U.S. Based Registries

Efforts to take down websites for copyright infringement are likely to move beyond U.S.-based domain name registries, with ICANN promising to more closely cooperate with global law enforcement agencies and governments. During an open session with the Government Advisory Committee (GAC), the ICANN board confirmed that it will enforce its contracts with registrars more effectively in order to meet expectations from governments and law enforcement authorities. more

The Hidden Perils of Filing a Baseless UDRP Complaint

When properly used, the UDRP enables trademark owners to take control of abusive domain names. Yet sometimes the UDRP itself is misused by trademark owners to try to seize desirable domain names to which they have no legal entitlement. Is there a downside to misusing the UDRP to attempt a domain name hijacking? Unscrupulous companies at times misuse the UDRP by improperly invoking its power to compel a transfer of ownership in order to seize inherently valuable, non-infringing domain names that the companies desire for their own use. more

WIPO Reports Rise in Cybersquatting Cases, Triggered by New gTLDs

According to the latest report from The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), trademark owners filed 2,754 cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) with the agency in 2015 - an increase of 4.6 % over the previous year. more

ACTA Moving Forward in "Secrecy"

Reported in the Financial Times: "Persistent illegal downloaders face having their internet links disconnected under a secret trade deal being negotiated by developed nations this week, according to activists and industry groups. Leaked drafts of the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement [ACTA] say the world's biggest developed nations want internet service providers to be more responsible for the content they distribute -- and even cut off repeat infringers of copyright legislation. more

Feds Shut Down File-Sharing Website Megaupload.com, Seven People Charged

Federal prosecutors in Virginia have shut down one of the world's largest Internet file-sharing sites, Megaupload.com, charging its founder and others with violating piracy laws, the Associated Press reports today. "The indictment was unsealed Thursday, one day after websites shut down in protest of two congressional proposals [SOPA & PIPA] intended to thwart the online piracy of copyrighted movies and TV programs." more

Domain Name Abuse Is a 4 Letter Word

There has been a lot of back and forth recently in the ICANN world on what constitutes domain abuse; how it should be identified and reported AND how it should be addressed. On one side of the camp, we have people advocating for taking down a domain that has any hint of misbehaviour about it, and on the other side we have those that still feel Registries and Registrars have no responsibility towards a clean domain space. (Although that side of the camp is in steady decline and moving toward the middle ground). more

Is ICANN's .IR Response at Odds with the ACPA and ICE Domain Seizures?

An initial review of ICANN's response to litigation seeking it to turn over control of the ccTLDs of Iran, Syria and North Korea led to the conclusion that it had opened a "legal can of worms". A few more just wriggled out, and they threaten the basic assumption that underlies the U.S. statute governing cybersquatting and the practices engaged in by Federal officials seizing domain names engaged in intellectual property infringement. more

CIRA Creates Backdoor WHOIS Exceptions for Police and IP Owners

Earlier this year, I wrote glowingly about the new CIRA whois policy, which took effect today and which I described as striking the right balance between access and privacy. The policy was to have provided new privacy protection to individual registrants - hundreds of thousands of Canadians - by removing the public disclosure of their personal contact information... Apparently I spoke too soon. more

Domain Name Lessons from Napster

I first outline a brief history of free file-sharing technology, then draw some general and domain name lessons, then outline the what, how, and why that make your activism effective and necessary... The domain name industry is decentralized and atomic in that anyone from anywhere in the world can register a domain name, keep the ownershp name and address private, and host it from a country where the U.S. and European legal systems don't apply. Thus, legal action will only drive domain owners further underground. more

New TLD Spotted - .FUD

In politics, as in Internet policy, the most effective weapons are also the oldest. So when it came time for hard-line intellectual property advocates to make a desperate last stand against the new gTLD program, it came as no surprise they turned to the atomic bomb of rhetorical devices: FUD. FUD stands for "fear, uncertainty and doubt" and it is the tool of last resort when change is coming and you want to stop it. The theory is simple: the human response to fear is to cling to what's familiar and oppose what's new. So if you can scare enough people about the potential effects of a new policy or law, you stand a pretty good chance of preventing it from ever going into effect. more

Should Domain Names be Considered 'Contracts for Service' or 'Property Rights'?

The legal status of domain names is one of the most hotly debated topics with regards to evolving property rights and how they should be applied to technological and intellectual property 'innovations' in cyberspace. At present, there are two opposing factions on this topic: On one hand, there are those who maintain that domain names should be considered as contracts for services, which originate from the contractual agreement between the registrant and the registrar. more

Industry Updates

Typosquatting Protection: A Look into Instagram-Themed Domain Names

Newly Registered Domains List Show Recent Registrations Continue to Pose Cybersecurity Risks

How to Avoid Phishing Campaigns Targeting CARES Act Recipients

Newly Registered Domains Database Shows Threat Actors Exploit the Need for N95 Masks amid the Pandem

Under the Hood of 3M- and 3M Mask-Themed Recently Registered Domains

Domain Intelligence Shows Cybercriminals May Abuse Video-Conferencing Services' Brand Names

Even for Available Domain Names, There Is No Leaving WHOIS History to Chance

Digital Asset Security: Back to Basics

Brand Monitor and Typosquatting Data Feed: Two Assets to Support Spear-Phishing Prevention

Looking Into a Possible Coronavirus-Themed Survey Scam Turning Out to Be a False Positive

MarkMonitor Releases New gTLD Quarterly Report for Q1 2020

The Internet Infrastructure Industry Is Protecting Digital Trust and Fighting COVID-19 Related Fraud

Beyond the Firewall: DNS Defenses to Manage Online Threats

Beefing Up Trademark Monitoring with Domain Brand Monitoring Solutions

Internet and Mobile Exploitation of the Coronavirus