Law

Law / Featured Blogs

Combinations of Dictionary Words in Domain Names: Common vs. Distinctive Phrases

The lexicon of domain names consists of letters, words, numbers, dots, and dashes. When the characters correspond in whole (identical) or in part (confusingly similar) to trademarks or service marks and their registrations postdate the first use of marks in commerce registrants become challengeable under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) as cybersquatters. more

Comcast Sneaks in Another Billing Line Item and "Earns" an Additional $1 Billion

My Comcast bill arrived today with a sneaky new $2.68 charge, $2.50 for leasing one (and only one) set-top box and $0.18 for the remote. This new billing line item, like the many others Comcast has introduced, adds to its bottom line with no additional capital expenditure. It shows how resisting the obligation to return to accepting set-top box free, "cable ready" sets was a smart strategy. 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

WHOIS Users Facing Serious Challenges Caused by Post-GDPR Fragmentation

On May 25, 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect, meaning that European data protection authorities (DPAs) can begin enforcing the regulation against non-compliant parties. In preparation, the ICANN Board passed a Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data - essentially a temporary policy amendment to its registrar and registry contracts to facilitate GDPR compliance while also preserving certain aspects of the WHOIS system of domain name registration data. more

What Happens If Two Applications for a New gTLD Are a City and a Family Name?

When applying for a new gTLD, what happens if two applications for the same extension are a city and a family name? Which one wins? Let's imagine that a person whose family name is "Marseille" applied for the .MARSEILLE new gTLD in the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program. What if there was a .MARSEILLE new gTLD too but as the name of the French city? more

A Trebuchet Defence in the Age of the Augmented Reality Cyberwarrior

I've been ruminating on this for a while, this follow-up that was a decade in the offing. My article Trench Warfare in the Age of The Laser-Guided Missile from January 2007 did pretty good in terms of views since I wrote it. Less so in terms of how well the ideas aged or didn't, but that's the nature of the beast. Everything gets worse, and simultaneously, better, and so here we are: Using embarrassingly ancient approaches to next-generation threats. Plus ├ža change. more

Why Getting Awards Wrong Undermines the Integrity of the UDRP

The integrity of any legal system depends on the quality of mind of those appointed to administer it. There are expectations that the one judging the facts and applying the law knows what the facts are and what law to apply. Panels appointed to adjudicate disputes under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) are not held to any lower standard than the judges of courts of competent jurisdiction. more

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Today we remember that the Nazis rounded up Jews, Roma, political dissidents, and other "undesirables" using the best data and technology of the day and sent them off to concentration camps. We don't normally deal with this type of political reality in ICANN, but now is the time to do so. In 1995, the recently formed European Union passed the EU Data Protection Directive. more

Parsing Predatory and Parasitical from Innocent and Good Faith Domain Name Registrants

When the World Intellectual Property Organization began deliberating in 1998 and 1999 about creating an arbitral regime that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers transformed into the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy the curse words of choice were "predators" and "parasites" to describe cybersquatters. (In an early UDRP decision a Respondent who had also featured as a defendant in a trademark case asserted he had "just as much right to own the Domain Names [with typographic variations of the mark] as the person who owns the correct spelling of [the mark]" more

ICANN Cannot Expect the DPAs to Re-Design WHOIS, but Asking for a Reprieve Makes Sense

We are on the brink of the most serious threat to the open and public Internet for decades. ICANN, under pressure from domain name registrars and EU data protection authorities, has proposed an "interim" plan that will hide critical information in WHOIS. Security, threat intelligence, and anti-abuse professionals rely on WHOIS to track down bad guys and keep the Internet as safe and secure as possible. more