09/05/2008

Napster Teaches Us That Cybersquatting Can Best Be Fought By The Domainer Community

Alex Tajirian has an interesting post on CircleID about an issue which is getting lots of attention over the last 24 hours. Andrew Allemann wrote an editorial yesterdaytitled "How the Domain Industry Can Clean Itself Up" which we followed up on in a post "Do Domainers Deserve Their Repuation As Cybersquatters Because They Fail To Police Their Own?" Allen's post drew a lot of commentary, mostly supporting the prposition that it is time to step-up the self-policing of cybersquattign by the domain community. Alex Tajirian's post (coincidentially I think) analyzes the legal proceedings related to Napster, conlcudes that lawyers can not stop illigal practices on-line and provides specific ideas on how the community should self-police agasint domain name trademark abuse and on-line brand protection.

Domain Name Lessons from Napster

What can be done?

The domain name industry should get the message out to Internet users and brand owners that:

1. Indiscriminate legal action exasperates the problems associated with the use of brands in domain names.
2. A solution cannot come only from the side of the domain name industry; a cooperative solution is imperative.

The domain name industry is serious about fighting illegal use of brands in domain names.

How should our industry react?

1. Initiate media campaigns.
2. Openly discuss solutions in domain name conferences, as they are also attended by the media and brand owners.
3. Lobby Congress through the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) and domainer activism.
4. Discuss the problem and possible solutions in domain name forums and other relevant forums.
5. Take action against current monetizers that continue sponsoring obvious domain name violations.

Here are some comments from Andrew's DomainNameWire post.

  • Sign me up…..I just put pressure on Godaddy yesterday by speaking to one of their “Quality Control” reps that wanted my opinion on Godaddy and TDNAM.
  • Well done Andrew. Every VERY obvious TM infringing opportunity I find, I call the company’s legal department ask to speak to their IP lawyers and tell them about the obvious names that obviously infringe on THEIR intellectual property.
  • I actually got a bit flush and panicky when I saw the Mozzilla.com sale. I felt a bit sick too. I was initially irritated that Ron listed it, but quickly got my wits about me - as he is just reporting these sales.
  • Call the TM infringers on it. It’s wrong. It can’t be defended. And anyone with a modicum of good sense will not infringe on another’s trademark.
  • I think a lot of people use the argument that companies shouldn’t police trademark sales on their auction sites because it’s difficult to “draw the line” between a real trademark and a bogus claim.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Napster Teaches Us That Cybersquatting Can Best Be Fought By The Domainer Community:

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Cybersquatting & Domain Name Dispute Blog Homepage: Cybersquatting & Domain Dispute Attorneys / Lawyers

Cybersquatting: 'How To' Resources

  • Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act - Wikipedia
    The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (also known as Truth in Domain Names Act), a United States federal law enacted in 1999, is part of A bill to amend the provisions of title 17, United States Code, and the Communications Act of 1934, relating to copyright licensing and carriage of broadcast signals by satellite (S. 1948). It makes people who register domain names that are either trademarks or individual's names with the sole intent of selling the rights of the domain name to the trademark holder or individual for a profit liable to civil action.
  • Typosquatting - Wikipedia
    Typosquatting, also called URL hijacking, is a form of cybersquatting which relies on mistakes such as typographical errors made by Internet users when inputting a website address into a web browser. Should a user accidentally enter an incorrect website address, they may be led to an alternative website owned by a cybersquatter.
  • Reverse Domain Hijacking - Wikipedia
    The term reverse domain hijacking refers to the practice of inequitably unseating domain name registrants by accusing them of violating weak or non-existent trademarks related to the domain name.
  • Uniform DomainName DisputeResolution Policy - Wikipedia
    The Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) is a process established by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the resolution of disputes regarding the registration of internet domain names. The UDRP policy currently applies to all .biz, .com, .info, .name, .net, and .org top-level domains, and some country code top-level domains.
  • Cybersquatting - Wikipedia
    Cybersquatting, according to the United States federal law known as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad-faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else.

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