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Internet Watch Foundation Uses Hashes to Block Child Abuse Material

Last week during the ICANN meeting in Barcelona I attended a short presentation from the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). Their mission is pretty simple: ...eliminate child sexual abuse imagery online. Fortunately, the presentation I was at did not include any of the actual material (which would have been illegal anyway) but even without seeing any of it the topic is one that I think most people find deeply disturbing. more

Law Enforcement Agencies Will Have Authority on Registries and Registrars

Accessing Whois information and acting on a litigious domain name is becoming a nightmare for law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement agencies must have an access to the information provided by registrants in the Whois database and, in specific cases, have authority to act FAST on a domain name. The EU has a solution for this and it's coming in 2020. more

Addressing Infringement: Developments in Content Regulation in the US and the DNS

Over the course of the last decade, in response to significant pressure from the US government and other governments, service providers have assumed private obligations to regulate online content that have no basis in public law. For US tech companies, a robust regime of "voluntary agreements" to resolve content-related disputes has grown up on the margins of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Communications Decency Act (CDA). more

The Road Less Traveled: Time Is Running Out for NTIA-Verisign Cooperative Agreement

It is remarkable  -  for all the wrong reasons  -  that only two months remain before the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) must make a fateful decision on how it will address its' long-standing Cooperative Agreement with Verisign  -  the private-sector corporation that edits the authoritative address book of the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS), maintains two of the DNS root servers, and operates the .com and .net registries of the Internet, undoubtedly one of the most lucrative concessions ever granted. more

The Emergence and Consolidation of a Jurisprudence of Domain Names

One of the fallouts of disruptive inventions is the need for new laws to counter their unexpected consequences. As it concerned the Internet, these consequences included a new tort of registering domain names identical or confusingly similar to trademarks and service marks with the intention of taking unlawful advantage of rights owners. Prior to 2000 the only civil remedy for "cybersquatting" or "cyber piracy" was expensive and time-consuming plenary actions in courts of competent jurisdiction under national trademark laws. more

Respondent Had Rights or Legitimate Interests in Domain Name by Using It to Promote Genuine Business

In the case of Avon Products, Inc. v. Jenika Mukoro, Heirs Holdings, a 3-member WIPO Panel denied the Complainant's efforts to have the domain name avonhealthcare.com transferred because the Complainant failed to sustain its burden of establishing that the Respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel found that the Complainant proved that its trademark AVON (which has been in use since 1929) is well-known in the field of cosmetics... more

What Do UDRP Panels Look for in Assessing Parties' Rights to Disputed Domain Names?

Panels appointed to adjudicate domain name disputes under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) have written in the region of 50,000 decisions involving over 75,000 domain names (minuscule of course when measured against the number of registered domain names). What may surprise some parties, their representatives, and counsel is that these publicly accessible decisions have fueled the emergence and development of a jurisprudence of domain names. more

Challenging UDRP Awards in Federal Court: Recent Outcomes

Challenging UDRP awards in actions under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) is infrequent though steady. There are currently a number of court filings in U.S. district courts that are in the early stages, most notably the ADO.com case reported on in an earlier essay and several others have either been referred to mediation (the IMI.case) or settled or discontinued. more

What's Abusive in Registering Domain Names, and the Reverse?

The two major providers of arbitration services for adjudicating cybersquatting complaints under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Forum, issue daily lists of decisions. In approximately 90% of those disputes, the registrations cannot be described as anything less than mischievous in acquiring second level domains incorporating well-known or famous marks. more

Short Strings of Alphabet Letters in Domain Names: Random to Some, Identifiers to Others

What is the intrinsic (as opposed to trademark) value of short string domain names? It depends, of course. Rights holders have been willing to challenge domain name registrants even if they have no actionable claim for cybersquatting... UDRP Panels have over the years, and in many cases, affirmed that short strings are "inherently valuable in themselves precisely because they are (a) short and (b) can reflect a wide range of different uses." This does not mean it is open season against rights holders for short strings, but it does mean the facts and proof of cybersquatting must be in proper alignment, and this calls for some sober thinking about the evidentiary demands of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). more