Law

Law / 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»

Is Call Forwarding an "Information Service" and Why It Matters for FTC Jurisdiction

Time to brush the dust off your Computer II notebooks. Are voicemail, electronic fax, and call forwarding enhanced services or telecom services? Today's case: FTC v. American eVoice, Ltd... The FTC brought an action against Defendants claiming that they were engaged in cramming, adding unwanted voicemail, electronic fax, and call forwarding services to consumers bills to the tune of $70 million. 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»

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»

Help Us Answer: What Will the Internet Look Like in 10 Years?

What will the Internet look like in the next seven to 10 years? How will things like marketplace consolidation, changes to regulation, increases in cybercrime or the widespread deployment of the Internet of Things impact the Internet, its users and society? At the Internet Society, we are always thinking about what's next for the Internet. And now we want your help! 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»

Internet Governance Outlook 2017: Nationalistic Hierarchies vs. Multistakeholder Networks?

Two events, which made headlines in the digital world in 2016, will probably frame the Internet Governance Agenda for 2017. October 1, 2016, the US government confirmed the IANA Stewardship transition to the global multistakeholder community. November 2, 2016, the Chinese government announced the adoption of a new cybersecurity law which will enter into force on July 1, 2017. 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»

Court Dismisses .Web Lawsuit, Says Agreement Not to Sue Is Enforceable

"Judge Percy Anderson of the U.S. District Court, Central District of California has granted ICANN's motion to dismiss in a lawsuit brought by a subsidiary of new TLD company Donuts," reports Andrew Allemann in Domain Name Wire. 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»

The Future of Software Patents

What should we do with software patents? I've seen both sides of the debate, as I work a great deal in the context of standards bodies (particularly the IETF), where software patents have impeded progress on a community-driven (and/or community-usable) standard. On the other hand, I have been listed as a co-inventor on at least 40 software patents across more than twenty years of work, and have a number of software patents either filed or in the process of being filed. more»

When 'Confusing Similarity' in UDRP Cases Gets Confusing

The first element of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) requires a complainant to prove that the disputed domain name "is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights." It's unusual for a complainant to fail on this first of three prongs, but one recent case demonstrates just how uncertain the UDRP can be sometimes. more»