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Spam-linked Chinese Domain Registrar Caught in Porn Cleanup

Owen Fletcher of IDG News Service reports: "A Chinese domain registrar long criticized for serving malicious domains promised stricter oversight on Tuesday after being censured in a government crackdown on Internet porn. China's own domain registry regulator last week became the latest source to criticize Xinnet.com, a Beijing-based registrar, as the agency stepped up efforts to stop false user information from being used to register new domains." more»

Online Drug Traffic and Registrar Policy

Last month I published an article called "What's Driving Spam and Domain Fraud? Illicit Drug Traffic" which explained how the many of the troublesome online crime issues are related to the online sale of narcotics and dodgy pharmaceuticals. Since this article was published we have witnessed one of the largest international law enforcement efforts against online drug traffic (Operation Pangea II)... more»

It's Safe to Be a Dog on the Internet Again: Lori Drew Prosecution Terminated

"On the Internet, no one knows whether you're a dog." Of course, if you are a dog, and you are fibbing about it, according to the US Attorneys Office out in California you're a felon and should be sent to the dog pound. Fortunately, there's a new dog in town who seems to be howling a different tune. Bad facts make for bad law. The unfortunate alleged facts of this case involved fibbing about actual identities, playing with a young girl's emotions, and the girl's eventual suicide. more»

US Court Levies $15 Million Fine Against Spammer

Earlier this year, the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs, the US Federal Trade Commission, and the Australian CMA broke up a large fake drug spam ring known as Herbal Kings, run by New Zealander Lance Atkinson. The NZ government fined him NZ$108,000 (about US$80,000) which, while a substantial fine, seemed pretty small compared to the amount of money he must have made. But today, at the FTC's request a US judge fined Atkinson US$15.5 million, and got his US accomplice Jody Smith to turn over $800,000, including over $500,000 in an Israeli bank. more»

ISP Owners Could Face Jail Under Proposed Canadian Child Porn Bill

Canadian government has introduced legislation requiring ISPs to notify authorities of any reports of child pornography or face fines and possible imprisonment. If enacted, the bill would require ISPs to notify police of tips they receive regarding websites where child pornography may be available, and to safeguard evidence if they suspect a child pornography offence has been committed using an internet service that they provide. more»

Brand Owners, Representatives of WIPO and ICANN Discuss New gTLD Concerns

Managing Intellectual Property, in association with Finnegan, has released an article based on a recently hosted discussion regarding ICANN's approved plans to open the domain name system to an unlimited number of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and how the Implementation Recommendation Team's (IRT) recommendation will affect brand owners. Topics included the main concerns with new gTLDs from a brand owner's perspective, the role of IRT, enforcement issues, and navigating the new domain name space. Finnegan partners David Kelly and Jonathan Gelchinsky participated with J Scott Evans of Yahoo! Inc., Elisabeth Roth Escobar of Marriott International, Inc., Erik Wilbers of WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, and Kurt Pritz of ICANN for the roundtable. more»

SnapNames Faces Lawsuit; Attorney Says Domain Industry Is the Wild West Because It Is Unregulated

A class action lawsuit was filed today in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court on behalf of lead Plaintiff Carlos A. Cueto and others who participated in online auctions for domain names. In the lawsuit, Mr. Cueto alleges that an executive of the company conducting the auctions acted as a shill bidder to manipulate bids. The domain names were auctioned online by Oversee.Net, Inc. subsidiary SnapNames.Com, Inc. "The domain name industry is the wild west of intellectual property because it remains unregulated. The online community has been up in arms over what they feel has been an opaque system that just begs for transparency. It is impossible to know whether you are bidding against someone that isn't working or affiliated with the company conducting the auction," said attorney Santiago A. Cueto. more»

European Lawmakers Agreed on New Protections for Internet Users

Kevin J. O'Brien reporting in the New York Times: "European lawmakers on Thursday agreed on new protections for Internet users, striking a compromise between national governments seeking to impose tough anti-piracy laws and consumer organizations that wanted to enshrine Internet access as an unassailable right. The agreement removes the last hurdle to passage of sweeping changes to European telecommunications law, which had been held hostage for six months by the standoff over Internet access..." more»

Why WIPO's Proposed Fast-Track UDRP Process is Flawed

In the midst of ICANN's decision to ask the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) to create proposals on trademark protection mechanisms, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced that it will launch a fast-track UDRP process... The WIPO move is flawed and creates various problems. Here is an account. more»

Privacy Polls v. Real-World Trade-Offs

A recent telephone poll conducted by professors at Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania concluded, "Contrary to what many marketers claim, most adult Americans (66%) do not want marketers to tailor advertisements to their interest." The study's authors claim that their poll is the "the first nationally representative telephone (wireline and cell phone) survey to explore Americans' opinions about behavioral targeting by marketers." ... But what is most surprising about this poll is not that 66% of users said they do not want tailored online ads, but that 34% of users said they did! more»

C-27 Canada's Electronic Commerce Protection Act passes Committee Review

Bill C-27 passed an important milestone on Monday October 26, at 17:30 when it passed clause-by-clause committee review and was referred back to the Canadian House of Commons materially intact and without controversial amendments that would have significantly altered the bill. more»

Net Neutrality Alternative: Effective Interpretation, Oversight and Enforcement of Existing Rules

The US government is proposing broad new regulations for telecommunications and cable internet service providers. The new proposals appear to target specific providers for regulation and government oversight. Specifically, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey has proposed the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009, or the "Net Neutrality" bill, outlining government policies to impose new governance and restrictions targeting telecommunications and cable providers AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner and Comcast. more»

Net Neutrality, Slippery Slopes & High-Tech Mutually Assured Destruction

Ten years ago, Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman lamented the "Business Community's Suicidal Impulse:" the persistent propensity to persecute one's competitors through regulation or the threat thereof. Friedman asked: "Is it really in the self-interest of Silicon Valley to set the government on Microsoft?" After yesterday's FCC vote's to open a formal "Net Neutrality" rule-making, we must ask whether the high-tech industry -- or consumers -- will benefit from inviting government regulation of the Internet under the mantra of "neutrality." more»

France Legalizes Three Strikes Law Against Internet Piracy

Eric Pfanner reporting today in the New York Times: "France thrust itself into the vanguard of the global battle against digital piracy on Thursday, approving a plan to deny Internet access to people who illegally copy music and movies. The country's highest constitutional court approved a so-called three-strikes law after rejecting the key portions of an earlier version last spring." more»

Domain Names as Property Subject to Creditor Claims - Bosh v. Zavala

Most people take it for granted that domain names are property. As such, there shouldn't be much dispute that domain names are subject to the claims of judgment creditors. But I've seen enough resistance to this position that I thought a recent case was worth a quick mention. more»