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WIPO Settles 'Cybersquatting' Disputes 125

Dram writes "In this article at CNN.com they talk about how the UN is handling cybersquatting cases. The news in itself is nothing big but does this set up a precedent for the UN to handle other internet related cases? Will the UN soon be the ruling body on things like deep-linking and Napster? Will we soon have to worry about our rights online in a legal system outside of the United States?" WIPO stands for World Intellectual Property Organization, and they're a United Nations trademark and copyright agency.
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WIPO Settles 'Cybersquatting' Disputes

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  • I realize that one of my statements is not predicated by the previous post...I said that there is no place for foreign gov'ts inside of domestic policy. What I meant to say is thus: There is no need for foreign intervention into problems that individual nations can solve themselves. There's no need for Germany to shove their decision on the people of the US when the NameServers are run by the US.

    Run by the US huh? Lets just look at that...

    I.ROOT-SERVERS.NET - Royal Institute of Technology, Sweeden
    K.ROOT-SERVERS.NET - RIPE Network Coordination Centre, Netherlands
    M.ROOT-SERVERS.NET - Keio University, Japan

    Fact of the matter is, the root servers are global, for the global population, not just for the US. Don't be so arrogant in thinking other nations don't have interest in the domain name space. Anyone anywhere in the world can register a .com, .net or .org, and squatters are a global problem.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • I think that if you have enough really big things that blow up lots of stuff, you can claim jurisdiction over anything, can't you? Look, for example at the Korean War(Thats what we call it in the US. I think its aka the first indochina conflict or something elsewhere)- the UN didn't have any jurisdiction giving it power over korea. They hadn't signed a treaty with the UN or anything, saying that they could send thousands of planes to bomb refugees. But the UN did it nontheless. I think that kind of jurisdiction is called "peacekeeping"...
  • UN Security Council

    YEAH! That'd be the term...

    Smokedot [baked.net]
    Drug Info, Rights, Laws, and Discussion
  • um, I was unaware that anyone used the word solvency outside of debate circles....according to good old websters, its able to pay all debts or something of the like. Especially in the context. Well, if its going to be debate like, then we might as well work up a case for ban the UN,using everyones favorite, stock issues: Inherency: 1. The UN exists. So there. 2. The UN has power over copyright. Harms: 1. The UN will use its power to enforce its decisions. 2. The UN's power is primarily military. 3. Since the prevalence of online distributed file exchanges is almost all consuming, the UN will conduct surgical strikes upon all copyright infringers. 4. With teh destruction of the national intellectual infrastructure there will be chaos and mass human extinction. 5. Since most immoral people with computers will be dead, the 'moral' majority will rule. This will send the nation into a spiral of seriousness, leading to everyone calling each other "goody" or "brother", morality plays becoming the popular form of entertainment, and all books not published by the gideons will be burned. Such a massive amount of boredom will be disastrous, and destroy the rest of the human population. Solvency: 1. Put Napster on all the UN's computers. 2. They will become so addicted to napster that they won't even consider pursuing afformentioned bombings. 3. Napster will become a required computer program, and will be part of the bios. 4. All will rejoice. Wow, I love debate logic.
  • But isn't that how all states will govern: set up one governening body and let it do the work? Or would you suggest having bilateral treaties between any two state (and an exponential number of those treaties)?
  • who knows... but what good is the US?
    let me think...

    US: Bill Gates

    Europe: Linus Torvalds

    i rest my case.

  • Fine, I'll admit the internet is a global thing, however, a global body without genuine solvency is not the place to start. The WIPO has some treaty protection, but most of it seems to be based on the UN, which is established as being a great idea with poor execution. No nation is required to act when the UN snaps its fingers, what makes you think them running out cybersquatters will be any different?
  • The USA doesn't own the moon because they placed their flag there first, like Spain owned the America's by having Columbus plant their flag there. 2 years before the moon voyage the US was a signatory to the UN Outer Space Treaty in which it was forbidden for any government to declare ownership of any property outside Earth.
  • Solvency also applies to the realm of Political Science. A country is solvent for their own policy, no one else is. The UN has no effective solvency for anyone's solvency through treaty, therefore the UN is not solvent on this issue (I debated once upon a time). SO lets get a body who WOULD be.
  • Well, I think that the UN had juristiction in that it's first task (like the League of Nations after WWI) was to sort out the mess left over at the end of the war and return occupied territory to the sovriegn governments. IT's power came from the fact that both countries occupying Korea were signatories and had supposedly agreed to withdraw and allow elections to take place, the Invasion fom the North kind of stopped that idea dead.

    It should also be said that it's the only time that the United Nations have ever been close to being United on anything and probably the only time that that number of countries have sent troops or other support.
  • by michaelsimms ( 141209 ) on Monday June 12, 2000 @01:05AM (#1009805) Homepage
    As a brit that has lived in the US and UK, I think I can be fairly impartial about this.

    Yes, the net started in the states, but wake up guys, it has moved on. The states may account for about 50% of net usage, but that is still only 50%, there is another 50% out there, and it is growing beyond 50% as time goes on.

    People are saying 'how dare the UN decide things for the US' well why not? The rest of the world is asking 'How dare the US decide things for the rest of the world'.

    And hold on - wait there a moment, isnt the US *part* of the UN, I think you will find it is!

    This is NOT taking rights away from US citizens, it is putting the US people on a level playing field with the rest of the world. Your UN representatives have the same power as the rest.
  • The article doesn't seem to go into much detail, but it appears the work of the WIPO is to take domain names from the ordinary citizens of the world and give them to famous people or large organisations in the case of the sports sites.

    The way they claim to 'fast track' everything is a bit worrying. What happens when they get a case where there's no clear cut case of squatting? What if I share a name with a celebrity? What if I have a bakery with the same name as a multinational corp? What if I was there first?

    There are good reasons that current cases take time, that is to look at all sides of the story.

  • by bfree ( 113420 ) on Monday June 12, 2000 @01:10AM (#1009807)
    Having read this story with 106 comments posted already, there are a few points I feel I must make. The WIPO is now one of four ICANN "Approved Providers for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy". The other three are: The CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, a non-profit leadership alliance of 500 major corporations and law firms; eresolution.ca ; and the National Arbitration Forum a nationwide network of former judges, litigators, and law professors who share the Forum principle that disputes should be decided according to established legal principles.
    1. The U.N. is not arbitrating the TLDs for everyone, they are applying the ICANN resolution dispute policy for anyone who applies to them.
    2. All the other approved providers are distinctly U.S., going as far as the "National Arbitration Forum".
    3. We can see a serious level of commercialism and lawyerism from the range of providers.
    4. The US is domain greedy
    As an non-US citizen, I am delighted that one of the providers is not completely American, and disgusted that the "National Arbitration Forum" could be approved to rule over an international commodity! The .com, .org and .net domains are international, the generic domains of the net and should be ruled over by the net.
    The only thing that encouraged me from all my reading was that the eresolution site tried to us an appropriate domain (.ca) instead of simply using .com/.net/.org. Why did they not use .us though? Why does the US have a domain for each state? Does China have multiple tlds? Does the EU have a domain for its merged entity? Why the double standards (and don't tell me that you made the net so you can do what you want with it, take that attitude and we will see a net split as has already started to appear with the refusal of many tld organisations refusal to pay ICANN).
  • No. But it's still the best.

    I've read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It's obvious that they used the Bill of Rights as a starting point.

    The fundamental flaw with the UDHR is that it enumerates rights and offers no protection for rights not listed. If they forgot to put it in there -- you're out of luck.

    An optimist would say that a broad interpretation of the UDHR will guarantee all human rights. Unfortunately, the United States provides an example of how long broad interpretations last. Right now, we have a government and a court system which takes the attitude, "If it's not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, it's not a right." This is in spite of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments which make it absolutely clear that the Bill of Rights should NOT be read this way.

    As a matter of fact, we have a hard time even guaranteeing the rights that ARE listed in our Bill of Rights.

    Worst of all, the UDHR has no teeth. There is no means for resisting an oppressive government or regime. I guess you just have to wait for the guys in blue helmets to come save you -- assuming their governments decide that you're worth the effort. Even then, you'll be dead by the time everyone finishes their speeches, casts their votes, and signs all the paperwork.
  • Ahem. Nuclear-powers-with-really-long-range-delivery-sys tems. :)
    Change is inevitable.
  • Am I the only one who thinks Microsoft is a misnomer? Perhaps Macrosoft would be a better fit?

    Ah, no, but you see, Microsoft was named in reference to a certain body part of Bill's...

  • 7. It is recognized that the determinations flowing from the administrative procedure do not, as such, have the weight of binding precedent under national judicial systems.

    I don't know anything about international law, but this seems somewhat toothless.

    Well, if you think about the meaning of this quote, you'll see that it does not say anything about enforceability. What it says is that in common-law-based legal systems (UK and US, primarily) administrative decisions do NOT set a precedent and thus do not have any impact on any future cases.

    Whether you can enforce an administrative decision is a different matter altogether and depends on a lot of factors, jurisdiction being one of them. In general, though, if WIPO says you must give up your domain name and, say, ICANN complies (not because it has to, but because chose to accept WIPO decisions), then you can always sue somebody (ICANN and WIPO and all their personnel and their dogs and cats and goldfish... 8-) ) in your or their legal system. ICANN, being based in US, is probably subject to US laws.

  • I hate to simply post a 'cheer' - but
    here! here!
    ...dont forget our brothers in China.
  • There is one good thing about the UN dealing with this sort of dispute that many people don't know about. The UN is a little too big for most of the influence that smaller courts come under.

    You see every government which is a member must pay a prescribed fee into the UN budget. These fees are enough to run the organization so they don't need to go begging for campaign funds or other such rubbish.

    This is utter bullshit. UN itself is a big unwieldy beast that needs the muscle of US government to be pushed around. But just because some organization happens to be affiliated with UN does not mean that this organization is honest and incorruptible and always strives to do the right thing.

    In fact, since a lot of positions within UN are filled by political appointees (as in "this year the High Commissioner must be from Chad, 'cause it's their turn"), UN is well known for both incompetence and corruption, especially at lower and middle levels.

    Remember, it's people who deal with disputes, not the whole UN. And these people are perfectly well influencable. To give an example, remember the Salt Lake City olympic scandal? It turned out that "gifts" were very useful, nay, necessary factor in deciding which city is going to host the Olympics. Isn't the Olympic Committee "a little too big for most of the influence..."?

  • Well, I agree that we need some world organization to settle domain disputes between countries. Still, I'm not sure that WIPO would be the best org to do this. The way I see the UN is basically as a tool of the main large nations in the UN (USA, Russia, UK, China? - there's a word for them, but it escapes me). Sure, the UN is supposed to be a league of nations supporting the common good of the world, but what is the UN in actuality? If Coca-Cola wants to own www.coke.pk (or whatever Pakistan's country code is), but someone in Pakistan owns that site and it's dedicated to cocaine, what would the WIPO do? Most likely give it to Coke, regardless of whether the Pakistani site is cybersquatting or not.

    If someone's cybersquatting and a company wants the domain for legitimate reasons, and the WIPO rules in favor of the company, that's fine. However, I can't see the WIPO ruling in favor of someone in some petty (in UN terms) nation instead of some corporation in a powerful (UN terms) nation - regardless of who's got legitimate reasons to control the domain.

    Besides, how could WIPO deal with all the stupid lawsuits coming out? There's been way too many recently - can one organization really take the time to study each case and rule correctly in at least a majority of cases??

    Smokedot [baked.net]
    Drug Info, Rights, Laws, and Discussion
  • Because the members of the UN are there voluntary AND can leave at any time, the regs don't HAVE to apply. Especially when countries like th U.S. haven't paid their dues in years. Granted we're moving away from an international society that's based on a different set of rules (the Cold War is OVER and with it went a lot of the legitimacy rules of international politics) that's based more on co-operation, but this is a domestic issue at the moment, and a conflict to be handled on a case-by-case basis that DOESN'T include the UN.
  • Several things might work about the UN deciding URL's.

    First the Internet is broader than the US, and why not get an International existing body to deal with the problem now? Let's not create a special new group.

    Secondly, maybe they would be speedier than the US courts, which changes things about the final justice, and the decision by their superslow speed.

    Of course if any country really gets upset with the way the rulings end up going, they just pull out, and try and do what they want anyway.

  • Sydney, you're far too paranoid about the RIAA and the MPAA. They're not the major backing behind this. I'll bet you kiam to kitty-cats that the major "backing" is the Microsoft people and Java based infringements.
  • Does the UN claim juristidiction over countries who do not sign treatise with them?
  • by Sydney Weidman ( 187981 ) on Sunday June 11, 2000 @06:49PM (#1009819) Homepage
    They don't really have that much jurisdiction, according to their Domain Name Dispute Resolution Process document:
    http://ecommerce.w ipo.int/domains/process/eng/final/annex04.html [wipo.int]

    It says:

    7. It is recognized that the determinations flowing from the administrative procedure do not, as such, have the weight of binding precedent under national judicial systems.

    I don't know anything about international law, but this seems somewhat toothless. It looks as if WIPO is just going to be an organ of corporate control. Corporations will be able to use WIPO's decisions to bully citizens of virtually any country, even though they have NO legal jurisdiction to do so.

  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Sunday June 11, 2000 @06:50PM (#1009820)
    I don't think the article was to explicitly talk about internation domain name conflicts, but just the general use of cybersquatting rules in recent months.

    The problem with what this article brings up is the issue of trademarking one's name. The specific case in question was Julie Roberts. Now, my understanding is that the original owner of the domain reg'd it and did nothing with it. He was approached by Robert's lawyers before the squatting rules were strongly in place; he offered to sell the domain for a few good bucks but they refused. After that approached, he turned the site into a fan site for Roberts, and then the squatting rules hit. The lawyers swooped in again, and claimed that his earlier offer was evidence of squatting and he lost the domain.

    Ok, some of what he did was on the poor side, but let's take the case a bit further. Say I register (joking) www.patricksteward.com, and make it a fan site praising Patrick for his Shakespearing work and Trek years, etc. The site is in good nature, and no money is made off the site. Does Patrick Steward, in this case, have the ability to ask WIPO to nab the domain from the original register? Cases like the above *suggest* yes, but certainly not there yet.

    Of course, I'd insert my standard rant about the need for expanded TLDs with strictly enforced rules for registering them , as such problems as the above will be limited. But I've said it before ...

  • Fine, I'll admit the internet is a global thing, however, a global body without genuine solvency is not the place to start. The WIPO has some treaty protection, but most of it seems to be based on the UN, which is established as being a great idea with poor execution. No nation is required to act when the UN snaps its fingers, what makes you think them running out cybersquatters will be any different?

    Nations are bound by treaties they sign, whether it be the UN Charter, WIPO, or whatever. I'd say that's pretty much "requirement".

    -- iCEBaLM
  • But the UN Charter says precisely DICK about the web. On top of that, it's a voluntary treaty and not a binding one, and if the Charter's non-binding, then so is the WIPO.
  • by bogomipe ( 78283 ) on Sunday June 11, 2000 @09:06PM (#1009823)
    "Will we soon have to worry about our rights online in a legal system outside of the United States?"

    Get used to it... For the rest of the world, that foreign "legal system" is the US. And if I had the choice, I'd go for a multinational representative body anyday!

  • This is quite upsetting, especially for Americans and those citizens of other nations with respect for national sovereignty. This is another instance of granting excessive authority to an international organization of questionable political legitimacy (like the WTO). Whatever benefits of international cooperation and consultation the United Nations has made possible, it has from its questionable (some would say much worse...)founding been a source of dangerously naïve globalist dreams. Americans must reject utterly the policy of establishing UNELECTED international bodies who behave as though they have jurisdiction in the United States. I hope citizens of other countries feel similarly about their sovereignty, and act to reject this dangerous notion. As far as Americans are concerned, we ought not stand for any regulation of the internet that doesn't result from duly elected representatives of the American people.
  • ICANN and WIPO know how to solve the DNS problem with trademark conflicts and cybersquatting.

    The answer is at my protest site - www.WIPO.org.uk. It has no connection with, and wishes to be totally disassociated from, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO.ORG).
  • Hi there. I'm from Canada. Canada's a country, just like the U.S. In fact, we're not too far from ya.

    > The UN is not accountable to The Constitution

    Hey hey, I'm not accountable to The Constitution either. Heck, I don't think any of us are up here in Canada. That makes us all *Bad* things. Especially me. I'm Bad.

    Being from the United States, I should expect that you have the least to complain about when it comes to the U.N. Security Council. Heck, your country gets permanent representation on that Council, will all the wonderful goodies that come with a position like that.

    > people not elected by you that have power over you

    Whoa, slow down there. You mean to tell me that you elect each and every person who has any power over you? Do your children elect their schoolteachers? Did you have a hand in electing each and every Representative and Senator in Congress? (Including those from other states?) Well, unless you were shooting up heroin during Civics class, the answer is no. This is the idea of representation. Here's how it works:

    I'm responsible for voting for a small number of positions. These people will have power over me. Other people in my country vote for other positions. These people will have power over me too, but I didn't elect them. That's okay, because the people I did elect will have power over all the people who voted for the people who have power over me but that I didn't elect. Still with me? All these people get together and pick other people that have power over me. No-one elect these people at all. Yet I don't hear you complaining about the lack of self-rule in the United States! (Isn't your country run by communists anyways?)

    Now, in the world scene, if each nation selects representatives to send to the United Nations, true, there are people not elected by you and have power over you, but hey, you elected some people who selected a guy who has power over all the people who elected people who selected the other people who have power over you but you didn't elect! So it's all good.

    Hope this helps.

  • by mar1boro ( 189737 ) on Sunday June 11, 2000 @09:20PM (#1009827) Homepage
    Quite a few posts are right on here.
    This is a Bad thing. And it
    is just a taste of the things to come.
    The UN is not accountable to The Constitution
    (read: Bill of Rights). It is
    an organization given power over sovereign
    nations, and hence their net access.

    All well and good when its on the other side
    of the planet in a war zone. How would you
    feel if they felt the need to intervene in
    a situation in your country (the U.S. is mine)?
    There is a move to expand the permanent
    membership of the security council in the
    works right now. Expand it with more people
    not elected by you that have power over you.
    World peace is a goal worthy of all our efforts,
    but at the expense of self rule? Life on the
    net is gonna get much harder my friends.

  • Exactly! And they also seem to think there's very few Net users *outside* the US of A either.

    The truth being USA users merely represent 20-something percent of all Net users, and decreasing since more and more people access the Net all over the planet.

    I'd be happy if the Net was no longer "ruled" (for whatever it means) by the US of A and its representative corporations. As usual, Americans (from the US of A) are against anything that doesn't come from them. They claim *they* officially have freedom of speech(tm) and are the only ones in the World, which is complete BS. They're just somewhat scared by something they don't know: The Outside(tm). Really sounds like a redneck attitude to me, sorry guys.

    As a reminder, here in Europe we have freedom of speech, maybe even more than in the US of A. Local constitutions abide by the Univeral Declaration of Human Rights and anybody can appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (at no cost) if one thinks he/she's been/being repressed in his/her fundamental rights. At least, if we say something that upsets someone, we don't have the risk of getting shot for what we said. Freedom shouldn't be determined by the amount of guns you got. Eh, there's no guns here guys! And a debate here does not have to involve either guns or huge amounts of money.

    It really pisses me off Americans *believe* they invented Democracy and Freedom. Heck, my country (Switzerland) has been a federal democracy for over 700 years!. And the French (as bad as they sometimes are) came up with the Declaration of Human Rights in 1791! In the meantime, the US of A were the last country to officially enforce slavery, and only abolished racial segregation in the 1960's. And I'm not talking about the US so-called half-democratic electoral system here.

    Maybe Americans are just scared to lose their assumed ownership of the whole Internet. Bah, after all, the US of A only represent 260 million people... And the World has over 6 *billion* inhabitants. The European Union alone has something like 350 million people. Good thing some international agency tries to put things back to reality.

    Have a lot of fun...
  • But the UN Charter says precisely DICK about the web.

    Hrmm, neither does the US first amendment, gee, I guess it doesn't apply.

    On top of that, it's a voluntary treaty and not a binding one, and if the Charter's non-binding, then so is the WIPO.

    Any treaty a country SIGNS is a binding treaty. All a treaty is is a contract between countries. What you just said was akin to saying "My verbal agreement to buy your car isn't legal, so neither is the contract I just signed." It has as much logic as a Dr. Seuss book.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • WIPO are power mad organization - Here are some stories linked on on my protest site www.WIPO.org.uk - it has no connection with, and wishes to be totally disassociated from, The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO.ORG).

    Examples of WIPO Increasing Status and Powers

    Story on ZDTV: "A new copyright bill was recently passed by Congress. It makes copyright rules consistent with the WIPO copyright treaty. This is much more restrictive than current US law. Some say it may even make it illegal to have copyrighted material in your cache!"

    Australia urged to come on board: "A delegation of WIPO directors, including the group's director-general, Camil Idris, were in Sydney and Canberra last week to invite the Australian Government to sign a statement of cooperation to extend WIPO's dispute resolution process to include the .au country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), .com.au, .net.au and .org.au.","Gurry, ... said WIPO was keen to extend its dispute resolution process to include all the world's 240 ccTLDs under WIPO's jurisdiction."

    Indeed WIPO, themselves say, "Yet even as the WIPO moves forward vigorously, its accomplishments and ambitious agenda remain relatively unknown in the United States outside narrow professional circles."

    I say "This vigorous ambitious agenda of yours is stopping free speech and peoples rights."

    (emphasis added)
  • It's true but treaties with big powerful countries are only useful as long as they suit them. It is nearly impossible for a smaller country to settle a treaty dispute with a large power. Might does make right in international politics.
  • It is worth noting that the UNDP actively promotes Linux in 3rd world countries.

    That's right, the Sustainable Development Networking Programme (a UNDP Programme) has a category for Open Source News [undp.org], and it's almost like reading /. :-)

    I agree that a International Agency is needed in these disputes, but I imidiately get a little anxious when the agency that now exists has a "best viewed with" on their homepage. That's bad.

    Also, if you check out their primer on electronic commerce [wipo.int], it has a bias towards protecting the rights of distributors:

    If rightsholders are secure in their ability to sell and license their property over the Internet, they will exploit this market fully and make more and more valuable works available through this medium.

    (This exactly BSA [bsa.org] rhetoric.) They acknowledge that both the public's interest and the interests of rightholders must be taken into account:

    [...] providing appropriate balance for the public interest, particularly education, research and access to information;

    But then goes on in to describe the problems arising for rightholders in detail, but fail completely to even outline the problems faced by the public.

    So, we need to educate this agency.

  • In the UK we have the R.I.P. Bill - online monitoring of everyone. Surfing, emails - everything. If you hide any encryption password from them you are charged with an offence.

    The politicians, who could do something to stop it, are idiots who do not understand the implications.
  • Bzzt wrong.

    Prior to 1971 China's seat in the UN Security Council was held by the Republic of China (Taiwan) not the People's Republic.

    In 1971 Taiwan (in General Assembly Resolution 2758) was expelled from the UN General Assembly and Security Council, a situation which continues to this day.

    The UN still recognises the government of the People's Republic of China as the only legal representative of Taiwan and the PRC votes in name of all of China, which was acknowledged by the US in the Shanghai Communique in 1972.

  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Monday June 12, 2000 @02:04AM (#1009835)
    This is a difficult issue to take a side on. While you have the strong dislike for a unified organizing international body deciding the fate and practice of the internet, globally, there's also a strong dislike for certain countries (China) who practice an internal totalitarianism of online use for their citizens.

    Could an international committee alleviate that? Probably not. I think an international organization would be more likely to turn the net into just another global social program, of sorts. And worse, I doubt they'll be as accountable as, say, our own governments.

    When Senator so and so votes to uphold the CDA or CDA2, I know who to hold accountable come the next elections, in America. Same in Australia. But what do I do if some UN Chartered (or similar) group who's members are relatively unknown and are not voted into office, decides that some random rule must be enforced and that I just have to live with it?

    Further, what if the United States Government decides that they are not going to require their populace to follow said rule(s)?

    I'm not a huge fan of 'government' in any form, but I have to say that I prefer the internationally independant choices of each country and jurisdiction over some half-assed elitist group of eighty-year-old computer-illiterate white-haired international internet committee. I thought the glory of the internet was supposedly the lack of need for government and the stretching of physical political boundaries -- not mass netizen unification under some group who proclaims total online governance.

    But that's just me . . .

  • WIPO is a power mad organization. See the news articles on my protest site www.WIPO.org.uk. It has no connection with, and wishes to be totally disassociated from, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO.ORG).
  • Isnt is better to have something other than the US controll non-US issues? The UN in theory would provide a non-biased view on a macro level...
  • So much for Sealand. Now we need a data haven on the moon.

  • by acarey ( 34175 ) on Sunday June 11, 2000 @06:09PM (#1009839)
    There's been an example of this in New Zealand just in the past week. An indigenous fishing company, Moana Pacific, discovered the domain moanapacific.com had been registered by a competitor.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz /storydisplay.cfm?storyID=139411 [nzherald.co.nz]

    They successfully had the domain overturned.

    Wired has an article in the same vein as the CNN one:

    http://www.wired.com/news/p olitics/0,1283,36899,00.html [wired.com]

  • Ummm... where does the UN get its jurisdiction? I'm not familiar with how international law works in this type of situation, but what/who gives the UN jurisdiction here?

  • Personaily, I am torn about the issuse. Cybersquatting is a very bad thing, but I also think that a ruleing body for the internet is a very bad thing. One solution is making the regestring of domain names very expensive. The idea could be altered so that you must provide some proof that you are taking the name in good faith. Both of these are not very good ideas. What I think is a possible soluting is in some way making the internet self policing. I don't really have an idea about the implimentation of this, and I would like to hear some ideas. Right now, I think that the UN should do as most people do, ignore cybersquaters. -------------------------------------------------- Please forgive any spelling errors.
  • This isn't as important as people would have you believe. The United Nations is a group of nations who show up to meetings and say things are "bad" but then have no jurisdiction to actually do anything. Sure you can create social pressure, but there's no real treaty requirement for nations to follow the edicts that the UN drops down on people. There's no solvency here which means their decision is worthless. I mean, hell, their Human Rights group think China is a disaster area, but they can't exercise sovereignty and fix the problem. The Internet is no different.

  • at least now there will be something to appeal to. I think though, that the jury might still be out on whether or not the WIPO is on the side of the angels.

  • I think the answer to the question posed is "Yes". Note the agency is not the UN, but WIPO. The difference is very important. The UN is an somewhat accountable government-like body. However, WIPO is a treaty organization, and is not accountable in the same sense

    There is a net-libertarian idea that since Internet makes things international, that means governments will disappear. Nonesense. It means we'll get some sort of international government. And it may not be a nice one. For the proof of this, just follow the doings of ICANN, WIPO, and their ilk.

  • Who could take a name like that seriously?
    Sounds too much like -wimp-.
    Imagine, the fear it would strike into the hearts of pirates to hear that the jackbooted WIMPO strikeforce is coming for them next

    But seriously, some internation coperation is in order for the internet, but not regulation.

    What happens say, if there is material offensive to established governments hosted at a site such as HavenCo, and the UN decides to go bust some heads (and some equipment)?

    Definetly not a good thing.
  • There is good reason to be paranoid about the WIPO and their sources of funding.

    When the WIPO was created, it was entirely funded by IP holder interests. This includes the MPAA, Sony, Disney, Time Warner, and many others.

    The WIPO web pages used to highlight this as a positive effect, freeing them from the normal funding hassles seen by many other international orgs who have much trouble collecting money from countries who suddenly don't want to pay. Many organisations are struggling because the US congress has stopped payments when they don't agree with an outcome. The US stopped paying the ICITO/GATT, precursor to the WTO, when a decision came down against american banana and beef interests. When the WTO agreed to side with the US, funding was restored. Europeans are very upset, and many far right nationalist politicians are gaining votes by threatening to pull out of the WTO, or declaring economic war against the US. [France is a leader here, since french doctors have shown in several scientific studies that the bovine growth hormones used in most US cattle is a major cause of obesity, and thus outlawed in france. But the WTO has ruled the french health laws do not have priority over free commerce, and ordered france to allow american beef to be sold in france. The french are refusing for now, and the US has started to heavily tax many french goods being imported into the US in retalliation. But many organic US beef farms are getting into the french market, complicating the whole thing]

    Back to the WIPO topic. The WIPO is a strange beast. They have tons of money, and are spending it like a .com startup run by teenagers. Their IT and telecoms groups are like disneyland for the people who work there. Top of the line equipment, excessive bandwidth, and perqs that make all other orgs in the geneva area sick with envy. Since they are an international org, the foreign workers don't pay swiss taxes (local workers still have to), and all the pay scales are shifted way up. System admins would normally be on the "functionary" pay scale (US$35k, local taxes), but at the WIPO they start as mid level "administration" (US$75k tax free).

    When it became clear the WIPO was forcing treaties on countries just to benefit the IP holders at the expense of citizens rights in many countries, they scoured their web pages of any mention of their funding. Can't be documenting that possibly illegal conflict of interest.

    It is very scary that the WIPO has closed door meetings open only to carefully selected delegates who are employed by some of the largest IP holders in the world. The working groups who created the wording of the treaties are run by law firms whose only clients are the main IP holders in the world, Bertelsmann, Sony, Time Warner, and a few others. They have used law students right out of university to create the most outrageous treaties, which carefully bough^H^H^H^H^Hselected politicians then introduce in each country. This results in the elimination of consumer rights in the US, with the DMCA, and similar laws snuck onto the books in other countries.

    The Norwegian parliament was looking into how the WIPO treaty laws were passed without any discussion in the Stortget, as a direct result of the media attention around Jon Johansen and the deCSS case. That investigation into some corrupt politicians coupled with some other scandals (internal to Norway, not related to the WIPO) brought down the parliament earlier this year, and they are still figuring out how to clean up the corporate corruption of the political process. Any Norwegians are welcome to add comments to this, my norsk is not well enough to follow the daily papers.

    the AC
  • by don_carnage ( 145494 ) on Sunday June 11, 2000 @06:06PM (#1009847) Homepage

    Does that mean that the UN would ask for peace-keeping forces from the United States when a dispute arises between Bosnia.com and Serbia.com?


  • Maybe the next time the Fairfax county [Virginia] police decide to file charges against me for the use of profanity, I can have the case heard by the UN. While they are at it, they could send UN troops to prevent people from cutting each other off on the interstate!

    all persons, living and dead, are purely coincidental. - Kurt Vonnegut
  • If those pesky French are involved, I want no part of it.

  • Nothing could be more dangerous than a technocrat that wields power above the level of national governments. To whom do they answer? Where are these issues subjected to public debate? The WIPO is a front for RIAA and the MPAA. Who cares whether "big-name" stars or products get .com domains? What good does that do the average joe with kids to feed?

    Let's WIPE OUT WIPO. That's my new slogan. Hey! I'm going right over to NSI's website to register wipeoutwipo.com!!

  • Nah, it's not MS. They don't have anywhere near as much to lose as the movie industry and record industry combined. Just because Gill Bates has a bunch of insanely overvalued shares doesn't mean he rules the world. I think Michael Eisner is capable of much more totalitarian nonsense than BG. David Geffen and his cohorts are equally shifty.
  • Just a quickie with a European slant (most of whome are asleep at the moment).

    While impartiality is all very laudable, the whole EU situation does spring to mind. At the very best, legislation based on ignorant, disinterested committees, accepted because those committees shouldn't have a vested interest (or any other kind of interest for that matter) is worse than no legislation. At the very worst, they'll be as self serving as anyone else. At least people that have an obvious vested interest, whether it's financial or political, know (their half of) the facts and will find it harder to avoid debate.

    Bottom line is, if they're impartial, they're probably not interested. Chances are they're not impartial, in which case we shouldn't be accepting their views on the basis that they are. Either way decisions will be made without the people that matter (that's us btw) having our say.

    Oh dear. Cynicism and verbal diarhea will be death of me. If stroke, heart failure or lung cancer doesn't get me first... ;-)

  • It seems to me that since each country has it's own set of domains, they should have control over them. So if some tiny country wants to sell www.coke.co.?? to the highest bidder, I say let them. The UN should only have control of the international domains... like .com or .org.

    Just out of curiousity, has anyone ever seen the USA's domains used? Or are the international ones just considered ours, de facto?
  • by lekatariba ( 199580 ) on Sunday June 11, 2000 @07:11PM (#1009854)
    [paranoia on] WIPO, like WTO and GATT has more power than most people realize. WIPO meets behind closed doors and is not accountable in any true sense of the word. Do we want that type of agency or organization ruling on any matters which affect us? I don't, but it's too late because they are and we can't do much about it. What recouse have we to dispute the ruling of a non-govermental body?
  • Jethro Tull was a band.

    Okay wit yer Jethro Tull, but what I really want to know is ... which one's Pink?

    And two serious comments ... er, more serious, I guess ... first, isn't Tull still a band, at least sometimes? And second, I'm guessing it's possible for "the band" to have a dispute with an entity, but calling the band a "celebrity" is certainly wrong. Good catch!

  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Sunday June 11, 2000 @07:31PM (#1009856)
    On one hand, the US has some of the most boneheaded, corporate-serving IP laws in the world, and a non-US organization could knock some sense into the Net (and maybe the rest of the US) by making it finally realize that government is there to serve people, not corporations (who ever got the idea that a corporation, which isn't even a living thing much less a human being, should be treated as a person under the law anyway? That's where the mess got started).

    On the other hand, the US has heavy influence in WIPO, and will likely use it to pollute the Net with its corporatist ideals (people forget that IP was never meant to benefit the inventors; it was meant to benefit the people by promoting the growth of the arts. Rewarding the inventors/artists/etc. was only a means to that end).

    That's the problem with the US nowadays; the government is now little more than a front for corporations, what with all the lobbying and bribery that goes on. This is hardly a Good Thing.

    But there are even more sides to the issue. Consider: most other nations restrict free speech (the US is the only nation which even ostensibly guarantees free speech to its citizens in all matters; every other nation in the world either does restrict speech or, because it is not guaranteed, could conceivably do so in the future. And before the Canadians attempt to call me on this, as they've tried before, I suggest they read the charter which grants free speech VERY carefully; it grants free speech but stops short of guaranteeing it). The US could conceivably become polluted with this as well, leaving no haven for truly free speech left on the face of the planet. People have been trying to pollute the free-speech doctrine ever since it was first introduced; at times they've succeeded temporarily but their efforts have always been overturned in the end. But if the influence of the whole rest of the world were turned towards doing it, things could be different.

    So I'm wary of this. I doubt it will be a Good Thing. More than likely the status quo won't change, or the world will become polluted with even more corporate greed than before. But even worse things could happen down the road, and this would only be a step towards that.
  • Well they have the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [un.org]

    The BIll of Rights isn't the only human rights document on the planet.

  • It's fairly amusing that .us is probably THE most depopulated domain in existance.
  • Is a "WIPO" like a "typo", except you delete the wrong thing? Hmmm, could become rather apt if they gain jurisdiction over domain name disputes....
  • by Sri Lumpa ( 147664 ) on Monday June 12, 2000 @02:14AM (#1009860) Homepage
    Will we soon have to worry about our rights online in a legal system outside of the United States?

    Sorry but being European what worries me more is to have to worry about my rights online inside the United States given the recent court decisions trying to make the DMCA apply to foreign (read, not under US juridiction) websites.

  • While you Americans are worried that some outside entity would effect your doing things, just consider people outside the US always effected by US decisions.

    If I'm a Napster user in an other country and a US court rules that Napster has to be shut down, I won't be able to use it either. Why? Does a US court have ANY jurisdiction whatsoever on an other country? No. Still, I'm also on the recieving end of punishment.

    Let's face it: the web knows no borders, therefore no nation state should regulate it. As bad as the UN is, it's still over the nations, and even the cubans the North Korea have votes in there :)
  • all Americans think the world starts on the Mexico border and finishes on the Canada border, with wet sides
    well, considering my experience with americans they thing that the whole world is the "US", Mexico and Canada being just some other state inside the US. They just don't know what the term "foreign state" means.
  • I wonder if people are not celebrities have the right to sue for their names when they are registered.
  • Would slashdot mind if you did a parody site of them?
  • It can only be registered with a state and town prefix. So Toys R Us couldn't register toysr.us, which would be a pretty good name to have, but only toysrus.sf.ca.us e.g. if they were based in San Francisco
  • Those profiteers charge $70 to enter just 1 record into domain database, and keep on making profit from you, for ever. And you want to give them more?

    The authorities know the solution to 'cybersquatting'. It is on my protest site www.WIPO.org.uk. It has no connection with, and wishes to be totally disassociated from, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO.ORG).
  • by PyRoNeRd ( 179292 ) on Monday June 12, 2000 @02:28AM (#1009867)
    Constitutions generally have a clause which sets treaties on the same level as the constitution or higher:

    Even in the US constitution there is such a clause:

    "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."
  • >> here is no need for foreign intervention into problems that individual nations can solve themselves

    .com domains long stopped to be US domestic matter. They .us domains maybe still are, but .com domains are international, and I don't see why my business in Haifa should bow to some judge back in Arizona...
  • Yes, it is all very well and good when shit happens on the other side of the world.

    When shit happens to you, your perspective change quit a bit.

    What goes around, comes around...

  • The treaty in this case is only as binding as the country WANTS it to be. The US can walk out of the UN Charter whenever they feel like it, that's part of what makes the UN such a joke in the international community. We don't HAVE to be there, instead we CHOOSE to. We've also CHOSEN not to pay our UN Dues for the past umpty-squat years. Some treaties are binding, some are voluntary, the UN Charter is NOT binding.
  • Yes, that is why you have the "World Series" in which only teams from the USA and Canada compete. I once saw a bit of sports coverage when I was in the USA and the best American came in second and was treated like the winner by the competitor. And recently I saw Craig Breedlove in an American TV item being introduced as the "holder of the land speed record" (when in fact it is held by Andy Green, a Briton). Americans may have a healthy winners mentality, but they are the worst losers there are. They always negate the winner's efforts or ignore them when they finish up last, whilst they boast and praise their own efforts as being better and more deserving.
  • Also, In the international community, if I've got more power than you do (and I'm willing to exercise it) I can invalidate your contract to buy my car if I feel like it on any grounds I choose to cite (especially the really neat coffee grounds clause) and there ain't a DAMN thing you could do about it. The international system has no real court of law, therefore, you're up a creek without a paddle.
  • This sets the constitution, laws enacted by congress "in Pursuance" and Treaties above laws and constitutions of the states.

    The constitution makes specific prohibitions about when and how treaties can be enacted. It does not give them equal status with itself, or the laws of the united states even per se. In fact, it's harder to enact a treaty than a law.

    Read it more carefully... except to acknowledge they exist, this doesn't really give the treaty powers over federal law or the constitution. It only tramples over states rights.

    Which of course, you might see as being similiar to federal laws... but that is another matter. ;)
  • The article says ....
    > Will we soon have to worry about our rights online in a legal system
    > outside of the United States?"

    Don't forget that the Rest-Of-The-World is finding itself forced to worry about their rights online controlled by US law. DeCSS is one example, one Scandinavian boy arrested for supposedly contravening a US law, without even the benefit of extradition hearings.

    > As a world leader, we aren't all that afraid
    of the UN, since most
    > members will eventually side our way due to economic pressures.

    Precisely so. The US uses the UN and NATO to impose its will on Bosnia and other regions of the world, but refuses to pay its UN bill, being several years behind schedule in its payments. Keep making them do what you want, and then when the infrastructure is crumbling from lack of finances, they'll be even more desperate to do whatever you want, in hopes you'll actually make a payment.

  • This isn't as important as people would have you believe. The United Nations is a group of nations who show up to meetings and say things are "bad" but then have no jurisdiction to actually do anything. Sure you can create social pressure, but there's no real treaty requirement for nations to follow the edicts that the UN drops down on people.

    Nah, just that whole UN Charter thing that member countries have to sign, thats all....

    The teeth of the UN doesn't come from the UN itself, the UN is just an organization, the teeth come from its members.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • Somehow we have to take control of this ourselves. I'm not much enamoured of the idea that the US should become the arbitrator of things netly. Being a Canadian and being innundated with American bullshit daily leads me to the conclusion that we, the folks that are the net, should be deciding exactly what the parameters are going to be. What's good for General Bullmoose is not necessarily good for the rest of us. A little less arrogance on the part of those posting from south of the 49th please, and a little more cooperation and perhaps some innovative suggestions..
  • by Seth Finkelstein ( 90154 ) on Sunday June 11, 2000 @06:20PM (#1009877) Homepage Journal
    From the WIPO web site [wipo.org]

    What is WIPO [wipo.org]

    The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is an
    intergovernmental organization with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. It is one of the 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations system of organizations. WIPO is responsible for the promotion of the protection of intellectual property throughout the world through cooperation among States, and for the administration of various multilateral treaties dealing with the legal and administrative aspects of intellectual property.
    (emphasis added)
  • Sorry about the California/Canada mistake. However the difference between Canada and the US is at times irrelevant, as both can have an incredibly North American view of the world, though at least no Canadians I hae ever met would refer to anything outside their own country as "off-shore".
    Most of this post was inspired by the content of the 106 comments posted at the time (of which many were Americans protesting at having the UN interfering with their constitutional rights!!!!!). One of the posts made a reference to american state domains and my brain put 3+7 together and got 4 when I saw .ca. I had actually been looking in to the domain registration dispute policies from ICANN the other night, and at that time I was pleased to see the UN involved as I would rather that any-day than a "non-profit leadership alliance of 500 major corporations and law firms" or the national arbitration front. Yep good old commerce and law making the net safe for the corporations!
    Finally on-topic, why do no american companies want to use .us? I just checked to see if anything was up on "www.linux.us" and "www.microsoft.us" for example and surprise, surprise their was nothing there! Can anyone else find either of those domains on other tlds?
  • Treaties give WIPO jurisdiction.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • WIPO's description of itself is misleading and euphemistic. WIPO represents the interests of large commercial entities. Its members are governments of many nations however the members are not democratically elected by the citizens of those member nations.

    The emphasis of WIPO is on protecting the interests of already powerful entities who have defined something labeled as "intellectual property". Unless you consider Microsoft, Disney, or Nike to be governments then WIPO is not an intergovernmental organization. Sadly through organizations such as WIPO companies manage to weild as much or more power over the world's citizens as governments.

  • This is good. This is the type of thing that the organizations are meant for. The problem arises when someone has www.coke.fu.bar and has a site dedicated to cocaine on it, and Coca-Cola gets pissed off and wants it... and is willing to *ahem* persuade the people in charge to get their way...

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • Thank you for that very astute correction. I was a bit hasty in posting my opinion.
  • I think the US is still very influential, and if not in the UN, at least with the technocrats at WIPO. The majority of the decision making gets made at the executive level, where the influence of fax-stuffing can be most effective. The strategy is to overwhelm the decision makers with so much policy analysis that they have no choice but to declare you the winner by acclamation.
  • The US maintains a great deal of control over the UN by not paying its dues.

    I get a bad feeling most Americans don't know this.

    All other failings of the UN aside, it just can't become anything like the ideal with a constantly crippled budget.

  • by yarmond ( 114187 ) on Sunday June 11, 2000 @06:26PM (#1009885)
    I would really hesitate to call the UN a group with no power. Their power is ultimately limited by the fact that membership is vouluntary, and that members may leave at any time, sort of like what the southern US states thought at the time of the Civil War. Whether or not the nations of the world will ultimately decide to give more independence to the UN is uncertain, though I would consider it a good thing to have a more globally aware government than domination by the self-centered United States.

    On a tangent, one of the very good reasons for the UN to not start a war with China is that the People's Republic of China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and they would, well, have to agree to it first...

  • Unless they mean Jethro Tull (1674-1741), the English agriculturist and inventor. :) A celebraty amoung other manure advocates, perhaps.

    The band's official site is at http://www.j-tull.com/ [j-tull.com], while http://www.jethrotull.com/ [jethrotull.com] is a porno outfit.

    I recall the the band Rancid listed their domain on one of their albums as www.rancid.com [rancid.com], but this was already registered for a porno site. Rancid, therefore, are now www.rancidrancid.com [rancidrancid.com]. The interesting thing here is that (depending on the content), one could argue that rancid.com may well be appropreate and legitimate for porn. The Jethro Tull case could well be justified by including pictures of naked babes advocating the thorough tilling of soil.

  • From the article:
    Among celebrities with cases pending are Tina Turner, Jethro Tull and the estate of the late Jimi Hendrix.
    Ooops... somebody messed up with the Tull reference... either that or they were unclear in what they were saying. Jethro Tull was a band.

  • I'll agree that Eisner is more capable (he's a Denison University grad) however, M$ does have a lot to lose right now in terms of copyright. While it's true that they SHOULD give out their APIs, they can currently claim that those and the other parts of source code that they may end up revealing as part of an eventual settlement are IP and those would rapidly cross lines of demarcation such as the US-World Border.

    Granted the RIAA has claims here, but they're not taking after this group yet. Mainly it's there for patent law, not for Napster. So download your illegal MP3s Sydney, it'll give you something more intelligent to do.
  • Is this the offical death bell for ICANN?

    The impression tha I was under is that ICANN would handle these matters. Have they proven to be so ineffective that another (quite ineffective) organization has taken it upon themselves to get this done?

  • .com and .org are based out of the InterNIC which is a US Body, aren't they?. If so, US laws apply, not UN regulations.
  • Have you seen the decisions they have been making?

    Read about them on my protest site, www.WIPO.org.uk - no connection with, and wishes to be totally disassociated from, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO.ORG).

    ICANN and WIPO know the solution to trademark disputes (on my site).
  • The treaty in this case is only as binding as the country WANTS it to be. The US can walk out of the UN Charter whenever they feel like it, that's part of what makes the UN such a joke in the international community. We don't HAVE to be there, instead we CHOOSE to. We've also CHOSEN not to pay our UN Dues for the past umpty-squat years. Some treaties are binding, some are voluntary, the UN Charter is NOT binding.

    You're confusing legality with enforcement. All treaties signed by countries are legally binding according to international law, of course, there is no higher power that can enforce them except the member countries themselves, but that has no relevance on whether they are legally binding or not.

    There is no distinction between "voluntary" and "binding" treaties as all treaties are both.

    Jaywalking is illegal, it is hardly enforced by police, still it is illegal regardless.

    The UN Charter is legally binding, member countries willingness or unwillingness to enforce it does not negate the legality of it.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • There is one good thing about the UN dealing with this sort of dispute that many people don't know about. The UN is a little too big for most of the influence that smaller courts come under.

    You see every government which is a member must pay a prescribed fee into the UN budget. These fees are enough to run the organization so they don't need to go begging for campaign funds or other such rubbish.

    It is worth noting that the UNDP actively promotes Linux in 3rd world countries. I asked one of there staff members and he said "We have a large budget but it would have to double before we could buy Windows. It would here to quadruple for all the extra staff we would need to manage that."

    BTW : It was a UN staffer who introduced the Jamaica LUG to the Barbados LUG. These people have no reason to rule against the Open and Free camp unless we are genuinely in the wrong.

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