Cybersquatting

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Who Is Blocking WHOIS? Part 2

We have just returned from the Brussels, Belgium ICANN meeting where we released our Registrar audit, the Internet "Doomsday Book." There are many topics covered in the report, but we wanted to follow up specifically on the issue of WHOIS access and add data to our previous column Who Is Blocking WHOIS? which covered Registrar denial of their contracted obligation to support Port 43 WHOIS access. 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»

Fake Bank Site, Fake Registrar

In our continuing review of Rogue Registrars we have stumbled upon on a very elaborate fake banking site for "Swiss Bank" or "Bank of Switzerland". To the casual Internet consumer this site probably appears legitimate, but a number of clues tip off the fraud. Phishing sites are everywhere so this does not immediately raise eyebrows until you review the Thick WHOIS record for the domain. 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»

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»

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»

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»

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»

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»

3rd Lawsuit Against VeriSign; Seeks Class Action Status

A third lawsuit has been filed late Friday in a federal district court in California against VeriSign, Inc. over its controversial DNS wildcard redirection service known as SiteFinder. It was filed by the longtime Internet litigator Ira Rothken. In addition, while two other lawsuits have been filed by Go Daddy Software, Inc. and Popular Enterprises, LLC. in Arizona and Florida, this is the first lawsuit to seek class-action status. Here is an excerpt from the "Introduction" section of this class-action lawsuit... 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»

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»