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The Issue of License Proliferation

When I was on the ICANN board, we were dealing with the issue of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), an initiative to allow non-latin characters in domain names. Technically, it was difficult and even more difficult was the consensus process to decide exactly how to do it. Many communities like the Chinese and Arabic regions were anxious to get started and were getting very frustrated with the ICANN process around IDNs. ... When I joined the Open Source Initiative board of directors, we were also struggling with a similar, but slightly different problem. more»

China's Popular Search Engine Gets Go Ahead from Judge to Sue Register.com

Grant McCool reporting in Reuters: "China's leading search engine, Baidu Inc, can sue its U.S.-based domain name service provider, Register.com Inc, for breach of contract, gross negligence and recklessness related to an attack by hackers, a U.S. judge ruled on Thursday. The January 11 attack prevented Internet users around the world from gaining access to Baidu for five hours and disrupted its operations for two days..." more»

The Path to End Cybersquatting

Dialogue is the only way to end cybersquatting. Distrust between brand owners and domain owners (with an assist from some cockeyed business incentives) has turned a problem into a very expensive vicious cycle. Now that ICANN is about to launch new top-level domains (TLDs), negotiations must start immediately or both sides will pile up further loses. Here's how the problem plays out now. more»

Funky Ninth Circuit Opinion on Domain Names and Nominative Use - Toyota v. Tabari

Every time I see a federal appellate opinion on domain names, I'm vaguely reminded of the Country Joe song I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag, whose course goes "And it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for?" Fortunately, domain name disputes do not lead to the senseless loss of life we experienced from the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, lengthy domain name litigation usually has little more strategic value. more»

Does the First Amendment Forbid Spam Filtering?

A friend of mine wrote to ask: "The Supreme Court overturned the Jaynes conviction on First Amendment grounds, yes? I'm wondering what that could mean from the spam filtering perspective." Spam filters, and in particular DNS blacklists are intended to prevent e-mail from being delivered. Doesn't the First Amendment make it illegal to block speech? The short answer is no, but of course it's slightly more complicated than that in practice. more»

Chanel's Message On Fakes: We Take It Seriously and So Should You

Chanel's warning to counterfeiters: "we are watching and we are taking action." That's the literal message you will see when visiting around 40 websites that used to sell counterfeit goods (such as mychanelshop.com) that now redirect to the Chanel-owned website chanelreplica.com. These domains were transferred to Chanel as a result of a favorable decision rendered in May 2010 against two counterfeiters. more»

Domain Registrars Warned by Law Enforcement Agencies, Demanding Better Enforcement

Kevin Murphy reporting in The Register: International police have called for stricter rules on domain name registration, to help them track down online crooks, warning the industry that if it does not self-regulate, governments could legislate. The changes, which are still under discussion, would place more onerous requirements on ICANN-accredited domain name registrars, and would likely lead to an increase in the price of domains. more»

U.S. Government to Aggressively Crack Down on Piracy Websites

Grant Gross reporting in PC World: U.S. President Barack Obama's administration will seek to aggressively enforce its intellectual property laws by putting pressure on countries that don't shut down piracy Web sites and by requiring all government contractors to check for illegal software, the White House announced. The White House Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, in a 65-page report released Tuesday, said the U.S. government will also step up its efforts to identify foreign Web sites trafficking in pirated goods... more»

Google's "Deeply Disturbing Invasion of Privacy" Being Investigated by Connecticut AG

What happens to companies when they get too big for their own good? Do they inadvertently do things that potentially harm our privacy (think Facebook)? Or, do they simply make mistakes that violate our privacy? Well, last month Google revealed that its Street View cars "mistakenly" captured content flowing over wireless networks -- a potential invasion of privacy. more»

Multiple (Even Random or Garbled) Domain Names to Bypass Spam Filters Not a Violation

The California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Kleffman v. Vonage, a case certified from the Ninth Circuit. The California Supreme Court held that the transmission of "commercial e-mail advertisements from multiple domain names for the purpose of bypassing spam filters" does not violate California's spam statute. more»

A Modest Proposal for ICANN

When it comes to accountability, ICANN would rather be compared to other U.S. nonprofit companies than to the regulatory bodies it more closely resembles. If they truly wish to be treated like a nonprofit, rather than a regulator, there is a very simple solution: make all contributions strictly voluntary. more»

New Cyber Security Bill Could Increase Power of President and DHS

Introduced by ranking Senate members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, S.3480 is intended to create an Office of Cyber Policy in the executive branch of the government, confirmed by the Senate and ultimately reporting to the president. Senators Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln and Tom Carper introduced the bill publicly on June 10, and a critical part of the bill is that critical infrastructure networks such as electricity grids, financial systems and telecommunications networks need to cooperate with the Office of Cyber Policy. more»

Digital River Sues Eric Porat of Brooklyn, New York over Data Breach

Neil Schwartzman writes: A massive data theft from the e-commerce company Digital River Inc. has led investigators to hackers in India and a 20-year-old in New York who allegedly tried to sell the information to a Colorado marketing firm for half a million dollars. more»

New gTLD Clearinghouse Rule Proposed for European Trademarks

Adam Smith reporting today in the World Trademark Review blog: "Trademarks that have undergone examination based only on absolute grounds of refusal will be welcomed into the Trademark Clearinghouse proposed for the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) space. The news came from Kurt Pritz, senior vice president, services, at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), who was speaking at a roundtable hosted this morning by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO)." more»

Canadian "Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act" Introduced Into the House of Commons

Neil Schwartzman writes to report: "The long-anticipated Canadian Anti-spam bill (a re-tabling of ECPA, now entitled FISA), and a bill amending PIPEDA passed first reading in the Canadian House of Commons yesterday. The bill must be read and passed twice, then referred to parliamentary committee to survive the summer recess of parliament (mid-June), it is anticipated that it will do so. The actual text of bills 28 & 29 is yet to be forthcoming, it should be a matter of a day or two until they are published." more»