Domain Names are Bigger than Trademarks: ICANN’s New Consumer Protection Role

By |February 20th, 2008|

The terminology “confusingly similar” lends itself to the expansion of trademark rights to domain names by commercial uses and governments to the disadvantage of non-commercial users. ICANN should refrain from taking on consumer protection type roles (such as preventing “confusion” in people) and only regulate issues related to the technical coordination of the Domain Name System.

Legal Briefing Paper from Law Professor Christine Haight Farley on GNSO Recommendations for Domain Name Policy

By |June 6th, 2007|

Before I make observations specific to these recommendations, I would like to offer some general remarks about the overall incongruence between trademarks and domain names. It is important to note at the outset this general lack of equivalence between trademark law and domain name policy. For instance, trademark law the world over is fundamentally based on the concept of territoriality. Thus trademark law seeks to protect regionally and market-based marks without implication for the protection or availability of that mark in another region. In contrast, domain names have global reach, are accessible everywhere and have implications for speech around the world. ...

Power-Grab: ICANN to Become Internet’s “Word Police” — Top-Level Domain Policy to Bypass National Sovereignty and Free Speech

By |February 27th, 2007|

Civil Society Proposes Amendment to Protect Civil Liberties and Innovation ICANN’s Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC) submitted a proposal to protect freedom of expression and innovation in the introduction of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). ICANN’s policy council, the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), is currently developing policy recommendations to regulate the introduction of new top-level domain names on the Internet. NCUC is troubled by the GNSO’s draft recommendation to create string selection criteria that would prevent the registration of a new gTLD string that contains a controversial word or idea. ..."

Power-Grab: ICANN to Become Internet’s “Word Police” – New gTLD Policy to Bypass National Sovereignty & Free Speech

By |February 27th, 2007|

"... Unless reformed, this ICANN policy will prevent anyone in the world from being able to use controversial words like "abortion" or "gay" in a new gTLD if a single country objects to their use. The proposal would further prevent the use of numerous ordinary words like "herb" and "john" in a string since they can have an illegal connotation in certain contexts. In addition to any country in the world being able to stop a new gTLD string, ICANN staff would also be able to prevent any idea that it deemed too controversial to exist in the new domain space. The 13 Feb. proposal (Term of Reference 2(x)) gives ICANN staff the important job of making preliminary determinations as to whether a string is inappropriate and who the "legitimate sponsor" of a domain name (such as .god) should be. "The 13 Feb proposal would essentially make ICANN the arbiter of public policy and morality in the new gTLD space, a frightening prospect for anyone who cares about democracy and free expression," said Robin Gross, Executive Director of IP Justice, an NCUC member organization. "The proposal would give ICANN enormous power to regulate the use of language on the Internet and lead to massive censorship of controversial ideas." ...

GNSO new TLDs Committee Draft Final Report on the Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs)

By |February 13th, 2007|

NCUC’s Comments on New gTLD Draft Final Report: Report Deeply Flawed, Reform Needed

By |December 30th, 2006|

NCUC continues to strongly object to the principles and recommendations in the GNSO New TLD Committee’s Draft Final Report on the Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains (14 Nov. 2006). In particular, the proposed selection criteria for strings and dispute resolution processes over new gTLDs remain deeply problematic. The draft recommendations must be substantially reformed in order to promote competition and innovation and protect freedom of expression and non-commercial uses in the new gTLD space. The GNSO Committee’s draft proposal would have ICANN engage in massive and unprecedented censorship over the use words and ideas in cyberspace. The draft recommendations propose that ICANN mediate between competing standards of religion and morality to evaluate who is entitled to what words or ideas and how they may be used in new gTLDs. They essentially propose that ICANN be deputized the “word police” for the Internet.

Tragedy of the Commons: IPR in the Info Age

By |July 28th, 2006|

“Tragedy of the Commons”: Intellectual Property Rights in the Information Age
The Threat to Civil Liberties and Innovation Posed by Expanding Copyrights
By Robin D. Gross, Esq.
IP Justice Executive Director
Published by MIT Press, 2006

0.  Introduction
As we enter an information age, the rules governing the use and dissemination of information become increasingly important. Clashes between fundamental freedom […]