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Thinking Carefully About New gTLD Objections: String Confusion (Part 1 of 4)

Since speaking last fall on community-based TLDs at the New gTLD Summit in Los Angeles, I have been asked a number of times to provide input on the objections ICANN allows in its New gTLD Applicant Guidebook ("AGB" or simply the "Guidebook"). As the March 13 deadline approaches, I now present the first of a series of four spotlight articles on the subject -- one on each of the four permissible grounds for objection. more»

German Court Rules People Have Right to Claim Compensation for ISP Outages

A German court ruled on Thursday that people have the right to claim compensation from service providers if their Internet access is disrupted, because the Internet is an 'essential' part of life. The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe made the ruling after hearing the case of a man who was unable to use his DSL connection, which also offered a telephone and fax line, for two months from late 2008 to early 2009. more»

Dial "L" for Liability - Sec. 230 Protects Online Service for Errant Phone Number

The Communications Decency Act has been described as the greatest Internet law. The first major Internet law designed to censor the Internet actually enabled the interactive Internet. While the censorship provisions of the Communications Decency Act went down in unanimous supreme court flames, a separate provision remains standing. The Good Samaritan provision of the CDA (47 U.S.C. ยง 230) declared that networks and online services are not publishers and therefore are not liable for the content of third parties. more»

Ontario Court Rejects U.S. Government Demand for Full Access to Megaupload Servers Seized in Canada

Many readers will recall that nearly one year ago, the U.S. government launched a global takedown of Megaupload.com, with arrests of the leading executives in New Zealand and the execution of search warrants in nine countries. Canada was among the list of participating countries as the action included seizure of Megaupload.com servers located here. more»

Top Ten Internet Law Developments of 2012

I'm pleased to share my list of top 10 developments of 2012... I'm surprised whenever I read about a new European ruling that's adverse to a Silicon Valley company, because at this point I assume that everything Silicon Valley companies do in Europe is already illegal. Google, Facebook and other Silicon Valley players are under constant legal attack in Europe on countless fronts. Everyone might be happier if the Silicon Valley players just got out of Europe altogether. more»

CircleID's Top Ten Posts of 2012

Here are the top ten most popular news, blogs, and industry updates featured on CircleID during 2012 based on the overall readership of the posts for the past 12 months. Congratulations to all the participants whose posts reached top readership and best wishes to the entire community for 2013. more»

Loopholes and Ambiguities in Contracts that ICANN Oversees

ICANN oversees the creation of many contracts. Its highest paid contractor has historically been the law firm of Jones Day, and of course ICANN has many lawyers on staff. In the past I've identified loopholes in proposed contracts, and those were corrected before they were exploited. However, are there other loopholes sitting in existing contracts waiting to be exploited, or ambiguities with major financial consequences depending on their interpretation? more»

France Orders ISP to Stop Blocking Online Advertisements, No Right to Edit Web Content

In a potential test case for Europe, the French government on Monday ordered a big Internet service provider to stop blocking online advertisements, saying the company had no right to edit the contents of the Web for users. The dispute has turned into a gauge of how France, and perhaps the rest of Europe, will mediate a struggle between telecommunications providers against Internet companies... more»

WCIT Denouement

It is midnight in Dubai and I am listening to the final readings of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITR). This instrument is the final output of two weeks of negotiations at the World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT), a gathering of the world's nations to update the the ITRs. The Chair goes through the document article by article, section by section, and with each passing "thank you", this Conference draws to a close. Many in the room are elated. more»

Cyber Security: A Duty to Care?

Yesterday, in my post on three new threats in one day, I posed the question whether it was necessary to develop regulations that would set a minimum standard on cyber security for devices that connect to the Internet. I'm having second thoughts here, which I'll explain in this post, but also try to look at a way forward and ask you to engage. more»

Sovereignty and the Geography of Cyberspace

The cross-border nature of the Internet challenges an international system based on separate national jurisdictions. Unfortunately, discussions among governments on this growing tension easily spiral into ideological infighting about the application of sovereignty. Early November however, 1600 participants from 100 countries gathered for the 7th annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF)... Several sessions showed that it is possible to address the relations between the Internet and sovereignty in a responsible manner. more»

ICANN's 11th-Hour Domain Name Trademark Policy Negotiations: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

ICANN organized a meeting on 15-16 November 2012 in Los Angeles, the Trademark Clearinghouse policy negotiations... I participated on behalf of noncommercial users in the policy meeting in person in LA on 15 November, and then for part of the discussion on 16 November via telephone. Here is my personal evaluation of the meeting and my initial reactions to the output of the meeting pending further discussion with the NCSG Policy Committee. more»

… and still we are left wanting: Malta's White Paper on Digital Rights

Last month, the Government of Malta published a White Paper for public consultation, proposing the introduction of four so-called "digital rights" in the Constitution of Malta. The proposal is indeed a step in the right direction but lacks punch where it matters most. While the government's efforts are commendable, the White Paper is riddled with misconceptions and does not go far enough. more»

INET New York: Open Forum of the Copyright Alert System - Thursday 11/15

The Copyright Alert System, the result of a deal between big content and big ISPs, is a graduated response program - popularly known as the six strikes - that escalates from nastygrams, to copyright school, to Internet throttling. Just like SOPA/PIPA, enforcement targets will be arbitrarily selected by the content owners, but unlike SOPA/PIPA there will be no appeal via the courts - only to an arbitration firm hired by the program. more»

LegitScript to Release Monthly Data on Rogue Internet Pharmacy Registrar Clustering

One of the most important debates in the realm of Internet governance pertains to when, how and how much voluntary action registrars can and should take to prevent the use of their registration platforms in furtherance of criminal activity. In the Internet pharmacy world, the trend over the past four years has been unmistakable: A growing number of registrars worldwide, large and small, recognize the value of prohibiting the use of their registration services... more»