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Domain Names / Recently Commented

ICANN Complaint System Easily Gamed

ICANN's WDPRS system has been defeated. The system is intended to remove or correct fraudulently registered domains, but it does not work anymore. Yesterday I submitted a memo to the leadership of the ICANN At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) and the greater At-Large community. The memo concerns the details of a 214-day saga of complaints about a single domain used for trafficking opioids. more»

A Case to Further DNS Registrar Industry Self-Regulation

In most industries, businesses that blatantly act against the interests of their customers to favor their own internal profit centers would either not be allowed or else subject to controls and oversight by the government. It is universally regarded as an unfair and deceptive business practice. In the domain name registrar business, however, the normal practices of legitimate business dealings and customer protection seem woefully wanting. Kelly's Case described here illustrates the point... more»

Narcotics Traffic Is Not Part of a Healthy Domain System

A stack contrast is emerging within the DNS between providers who tolerate blatantly illegal domain use and those who do not. Our study, just published here focuses on five U.S.-based providers, their policies, and their response to reports of opioid traffic within their registry or registrar. There are many providers, not covered here, who removed hundreds of domains selling opioids and I applaud their efforts. more»

And the Wait Continues for .Corp, .Home and .Mail Applicants

On 6 March 2017, ICANN's GDD finally responded to an applicant letter written on 14 August 2016 to the ICANN Board. This was not a response from the ICANN Board to the letter from 2016 but a response from ICANN staff. The content of this letter can best be described as a Null Response. It reminded the applicants that the Board had put the names on hold and was still thinking about what to do. more»

Notice, Takedown, Borders, and Scale

I was on the front lines of the SOPA wars, because SOPA touched on two matters of strong personal and professional importance for me: protecting the Internet infrastructure, and protecting the economy from Internet related crime. I've continued to study this field and advise industry participants in the years since then. The 2017-02-20 paper by Annemarie Bridy entitled Notice and Takedown in the Domain Name System: ICANN's Ambivalent Drift into Online Content Regulation deserves an answer, which I shall attempt here. more»

ICANN Drifting Toward Online Content Regulation, Says Law Professor

In a paper for the Washington & Lee Law Review, University of Idaho College of Law Professor Annemarie Bridy, depicts ICANN's ambivalent drift into online content regulation through its contractual facilitation of a "trusted notifier" copyright enforcement program between the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and two registry operators for new gTLDs, Seattle-based Donuts and Abu Dhabi-based Radix. more»

When Two Trademarks Aren't Confusingly Similar to One Trademark

As I've written before, domain name disputes involving multiple trademarks sometimes raise interesting issues, including whether a panel can order a domain name transferred to one entity without consent of the other. While panels typically have found ways to resolve this issue, one particularly troubling fact pattern arises when a panel denies a complaint simply because a disputed domain name contains trademarks owned by two different entities. more»

Thoughts on the Proposed Copyright Alternative Dispute Resolution Policy

A proposal from the Domain Name Association (DNA) would provide copyright owners with a new tool to fight online infringement -- but the idea is, like other efforts to protect intellectual property rights on the Internet, proving controversial. The proposed Copyright Alternative Dispute Resolution Policy is one of four parts of the DNA's "Healthy Domains Initiative" (HDI). more»

Next gTLD Round - A Seven Year Itch?

Five years ago today, the ICANN Board committed to opening a second application window for the New gTLD Program as expeditiously as possible. The same resolution also directed the ICANN CEO to publish a document describing the work plan required prior to initiating a second application window. Ask a Board member or ICANN staff when they expect the next application window to open, and they will inevitably suggest 2020 -- another three years away. more»

ICANN Fails Consumers (Again)

In its bid to be free of U.S. government oversight ICANN is leaning on the global multistakeholder community as proof positive that its policy-making comes from the ground up. ICANN's recent response to three U.S. senators invokes the input of "end users from all over the world" as a way of explaining how the organization is driven. Regardless of the invocation of the end user (and it must be instinct) ICANN cannot seem to help reaching back and slapping that end user across the face. more»

Using Domain Name Privacy/Proxy Services Lawfully or to Hide Contact Information and Identity

Privacy/proxy services carry no per se stigma of nefarious purpose, although when first introduced circa 2006 there was some skepticism they could enable cybersquatting and panelists expressed different views in weighing the legitimacy for their use. Some Panels found high volume registrants responsible for registering domain-name-incorporating trademarks. Others rejected the distinction between high and low volume as a determining factor. more»

Is 2017 Crunch Time for the Domain Industry?

Verisign's spent the best part of 2016 putting out warnings. The .COM operator and domain industry heavyweight highlighted its Q3 earnings report with a stern "Ending Q4 '16 Domain Name Base expected to decrease by between 1.5M to 2.8M registrations from the end of Q3 '16". A forecast which the company said was based on "on historical seasonality and current market trends." As 2016 drew to a close, the downturn seemed to materialize... more»

Overseas TLD Registries Licensed by Chinese Government

It was reported that .XYZ, .CLUB and .VIP have obtained official license from the Chinese government. The approval notices can be found on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology ("MIIT"), the domain name regulator in China. It is the first batch of overseas top-level domains (TLD) being officially approved. Previously, only two legacy TLDs -- .COM and .NET -- have been issued such approval. The "green light" means that Chinese registrars are able to sell these domains legally in China. more»

Excessive Offers to Sell Domain Names: Evidence of Bad Faith or Bona Fide Business Practice?

Not infrequently heard in domain name disputes are cries of shock and gnashing of teeth that domain name holders may lawfully offer their inventory at excessive prices. Take for example TOBAM v. M. Thestrup / Best Identity, D2016-1990 (WIPO November 21, 2016) (<tobam.com>). Respondent accused Complainant of bullying which Complainant denied... more»

A Real-Names Domain Registration Policy Would Discourage Political Lying

I've discussed the role of the Internet in creating and propagating lies in a previous post, noting that Donald Trump lied more frequently than Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders during the campaign. Now let's look at fake news like the claim that Pope Francis had endorsed Trump. The fake post features the following image and includes a "statement" by the Pope in which he explains his decision. more»