Cybersquatting

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Book Review: Sex.com by Kieren McCarthy

On the face of it, Kieren McCarthy's Sex.com was a book that could have written itself: a notorious, well-publicised feud over the most valuable domain name in existence, between two charismatic men -- one a serial entrepreneur with a weakness for hard drugs (Gary Kremen), the other a gifted con-man with delusions of grandeur (Stephen Cohen). It's a story replete with vicious acrimony, multi-million dollar lawsuits, and rumours of gunfights between bounty hunters in the streets of Tijuana. Thankfully, McCarthy wasn't content to just bundle together all the articles he's written about Sex.com over the years and slap a cover on the front... more»

Domain Name Dispute Cases Increased by 6.6% in 2004

In its February 18, 2005 press release, WIPO has reported filing an average of 3.4 UDRP and UDRP-based cases per calendar day in 2004, bringing the total number of cases received in 2004 to 1,179 -- an increase of 79 cases (or 6.6%) as compared to 2003. Also mentioned in the report is a 37 percent increase in ccTLDs cases over the previous year. Listed below are a number of additional facts and figures reported... more»

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»

Internet Drug Traffic, Service Providers and Intellectual Property

You could call this Part Three in our series on Illicit Internet Pharmacy. Part One being What's Driving Spam and Domain Fraud? Illicit Drug Traffic, Part Two being Online Drug Traffic and Registrar Policy. There are a few facts I'd like to list briefly so everyone is up to speed. The largest chunk of online abuse at this time is related to illicit international drug traffic, mostly counterfeit and diverted pharmaceuticals. 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»

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»

Top Domain Name News Stories of 2006

Record-breaking domain sales, acquisitions, and growing industry credibility all highlight a critical year for the domain name industry. The domain name industry had a heck of a year. It's impossible to rank the top news stories of 2006, but I'm going to make an attempt... Let's talk about it before the end of the year; then let's look forward to a fantastic 2007. 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»

ICANN UDRP and Contract Disputes

When domain name conflicts between manufacturers and distributors rest on contractual disputes over the use of the trademark owners' marks, ICANN UDRP panels have frequently denied relief. See generally the cases cited and discussed in Western Holdings, LLC v. JPC Enterprise, LLC d/b/a Cutting Edge Fitness and d/b/a Strivectin SD Sales & Distribution, D2004-0426 (WIPO August 5, 2004) by Mark Partridge as sole panelist. The decision summarizes other ICANN UDRP decisions involving contractual disputes. For instance... more»

Nominet Position Paper on Front Running

Nominet has published a very detailed and comprehensive position paper on "front running". Although the paper is a mere 5 pages long it covers all the areas that the topic encompasses very well and is well worth a read. The topic of "front running" has received some publicity in the last few months. If you're not familiar with the concept Nominet's definition is helpful... 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»

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»

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»

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»

If the Number '5' License Plate is Worth $6.8 Million, What is Your Domain Name Worth?

The number "5" license plate sold for $6.8 million dollars in Saudi Arabia and another 300 vanity plates sold for another $56 million at last week's auction. It is estimated that the number "1" will be auctioned next month for up to $20 million dollars. Domain names and license plates share some common characteristics. Both allow only one person to own a particular word or number. Of course, the exact same license plate 'word' or 'number' can be registered in every country and, in the USA, every state... more»