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The Internet

The UDRP: Is It Un-Fair.com? 119

typecast writes "A study of more than 3,000 UDRP decisions by a Canadian law prof. suggests that ICANN's domain-dispute resolution process may be even more unfair than Slashdot types already believe. This article says the study confirms organizations such as WIPO and the National Arbitration Forum decide most cases in favor of trademark holders. But it also says it's clear that individual arbitrators with strong "anti-cybersquatting" records are the ones most likely to be handed UDRP cases. A copy of the study and a minimal database of UDRP-panelist stats can be found at Geist's own UDRPInfo Web site."
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The UDRP: Is It Un-Fair.com?

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  • Devil's Advocat (Score:2, Interesting)

    by baronben ( 322394 )
    Not to start a flame war here, but since the internet is global, and since laws aren't, some sort of Internatinal orginization with binding arbatration powers is needed to make sure that some one in Brazil or Burni can't get a copywrited name, or some one using the Colombia suffix .CO can't get Cnn.co or Slashdot.co (NEVER!).

    Ben Spigel
    Sic Transit Gloria
    • Re:Devil's Advocat (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kurowski ( 11243 )
      I don't get your argument. It seems that since the Internet is global, and laws aren't, then there shouldn't be an international organization with this sort of power, since the copyright laws that are being enforced aren't globally applicable. No?
      • You know how this is going to end ?
        Countries that do not respect IP laws will be simply denied access to the Internet.
        And I woudn't have a problem with that.
        • ouch.

          who's idea of IP do they have to respect?

          consider Russia's take on Sklyarov's eBook processor vs the US's take. one country thinks it protects the consumers rights to IP they paid for. another thinks it violates the producers rights over the same IP.

          and now for something completely different:

          forget IP laws! what about countries that don't respect IP headers? or TCP headers? I for one am sick and tired of the tcp urgent flag being ignored by rogue nation states!
          • "Russia's take on Sklyarov's eBook processor vs the US's take. one country thinks it protects the consumers rights to IP they paid for"

            I guess most powerful and influential state will win here.
            Not like it has not happened before ...
    • Why? By your arguement, if a large company has a specific telephone number in one area code, they should have that same number in every area code without paying extra. The whole point of having different domain names is so that joe blow's auto parts could have joesauto.com, but joe smith's automatic internet provider can have joesauto.net. I know the given example is kind of lame, but the point is simple. People misdial phone numbers, people mistype websites. Under both circumstances there are consequences, and you will get over them.
      • By your arguement, if a large company has a specific telephone number in one area code, they should have that same number in every area code without paying extra.

        Or even the same set of numbers under every country code (including +800 and +87x).

        The whole point of having different domain names is so that joe blow's auto parts could have joesauto.com, but joe smith's automatic internet provider can have joesauto.net. I know the given example is kind of lame, but the point is simple.

        Or even joesauto.la.ca.us and joesauto.ny.ny.us but that's just too simple...
    • I would tend to agree. On the other hand, I think the problem is not so much with recognized brand names, but when someone registers a domain with their last name that happens to be the name of a big corporation. There have been more than a few instances where the big company came in and stomped the guy because they had money and he didn't. He wasn't cybersquatting in this case....unless you consider posting your song lyrics and pictures of your kids cybersaquatting.


      I think the main issue is not that there is an international organization deciding this stuff. I think it is more that they have no oversite (oversight?). What they say goes, and screw you if you don't like it. That is a sucky attitude to begin with, and in obviously non-cybersquatting rulings in favor of a trademark holder, it just seems like a big bully taking the candy away from a baby.

      • On the other hand, I think the problem is not so much with recognized brand names, but when someone registers a domain with their last name that happens to be the name of a big corporation. There have been more than a few instances where the big company came in and stomped the guy because they had money and he didn't. He wasn't cybersquatting in this case....unless you consider posting your song lyrics and pictures of your kids cybersaquatting.

        Actually the fault here is having too many .misc TLD domains. If there were proper rules, e.g. you don't get a .com unless you are a commercial entity trading in at least two countries and that whatever you want as a second level domain is actually derived from your company name or a recognised trading name. There would be no way someone with a personal website could have got a .com name in the first place.
    • Advocat --> AdvocatE
      cnn.co --> cnn.coM

      Thank you.
    • So, how should it work. Should there be an established jurisdiction in which trademark disputes related to domain names should be examined? Since when did trademarks become relevent to namespacs independant of usage? The one universally accepted principle of trademark law is that they cover a namespace with respect to a particular usage meaning the name McDonalds in conjunction with resteraunts and McDonalds in conjunction with a farm would never come into conflict and whoever registered McDonalds.com for his particular purpose, so long as that purpose was not to trade on the percieved value of the name in it's alternate context, would be perfectly within his rights to do so. As I said, this principle is common to all implementation of copyright law, so how is this even an issue?

      The problem isn't weather or not there's an international organization for settling trademark disputes, it who defines the venue for the dispute settlement, and who is actually arbitrating. The argument is that the arbitration that is being done isn't fair, but this is only because the person doing the research doesn't feel that it's fair, since 'fair' is an entirely subjective thing in this case.

      --CTH
    • Not to start a flame war here, but since the internet is global

      Whilst the Internet may be the vast majority of companies doing business on the internet (especially if they are shipping physical products) do not trade globally.

      some sort of Internatinal orginization with binding arbatration powers is needed to make sure that some one in Brazil or Burni can't get a copywrited name, or some one using the Colombia suffix .CO can't get Cnn.co or Slashdot.co

      What is done with .co is a matter for the Colombian government.
      As for the CNN example they are quite happy to broadcast an Atlanta telephone number on screen, even well outside the USA, so maybe they should have something like cnn.atl.ge.us
    • but it's quite posssible that person X holds the trademark for a product in Brazil, someone else does in Brunei and a third in Columbia - of course any of them should be able to claim that particular name and it should be first come first served, it shouldn't be "the biggest company wins" - the same name can also be trademarked for different products in the US for products in diverse industries. For example a hypothetical "Ford Food Industries" could sell stuff under the "Ford" label and ought to be able to claim the name if they register it first.



      Another real-world example - a trademarked software product I once worked on turned out to be type of adult diaper in Italy and a line of modular shelving in the UK - we didn't own the name any more than they did



      You might find it usefull to check out the USPTO where they say To determine whether there is a conflict between two marks, the PTO determines whether there would be likelihood of confusion, that is, whether relevant consumers would be likely to associate the goods or services of one party with those of the other party as a result of the use of the marks at issue by both parties. The principal factors to be considered in reaching this decision are the similarity of the marks and the commercial relationship between the goods and services identified by the marks. To find a conflict, the marks need not be identical, and the goods and services do not have to be the same. [uspto.gov]

  • Logic bombs away! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mystery_bowler ( 472698 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @04:03PM (#2199078) Homepage
    The reason trademark holders win the vast majority of these domain name disputes couldn't possibly be because they deserve the name and the current holder has no reason other than cybersquatting to have it...could it?

    I mean, hey, I know the every day average guy has no chance in hell up against a corporation when undergoing fast-track arbitration. And maybe I'm just not clued in to the majority of these cases, but if someone made a statement to me to the effect of "A guy named Joe Toledo bought the domain ford.com and now the car manufacturer wants it, who do you think should have it?" I'd be inclined to side with Ford. Because Ford has a trademark, much like an integral part of their corporate entity. Now, if you told me a guy named "Joe Ford" bought it, I'd say you've got a case. I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of these defendants in domain name disputes don't have a reason other than profiteering to have these domain names and that's why they lose.

    • I know this is an unpopular viewpoint, and I'll probably get fried for it, but what's wrong with "finders keepers"? If someone is enterprising and quick enough to reserve a domain name like ford.com before Ford did, then they should be justly rewarded.

      Of course, an outlandish sum should not be the result, but something. It's free market, just like any other.
    • by dschuetz ( 10924 ) <david @ d a s n e t . o rg> on Monday August 20, 2001 @04:09PM (#2199109)
      "A guy named Joe Toledo bought the domain ford.com and now the car manufacturer wants it, who do you think should have it?" I'd be inclined to side with Ford. Because Ford has a trademark....

      Yeah, so?

      A trademark, if I recall correctly, is only supposed to protect a certain range of products within that product's "sphere." So it's perfectly legal to sell a pen called "Ford Pens", and you're not trampling on any trademark.

      Plus, why do you even need to have a use for a name? Domain names are commodities. If you bought it first, and Ford missed the boat, well, tough luck for them. You've got it, they don't.

      If you're deliberately deceiving pepole, trying to *look* like some other site, okay, that's a problem with look-and-feel, trade-dress sort of laws. But if I wanted to put my family website at, say, OfficeXP.com, then dammit, I should be allowed to do that.

      My biggest worry is that the same .com crap is going to happen with .info, .biz, and all the other new TLDs. We saw EXACTLY this same thing happen when they added new toll-free prefixes in the US -- American Express tried suing to guarantee that they got 888-the-card, to match their 800-the-card. And so forth.

      Dammit, when will people get it through their heads that you cannot own domain names for EVERY variant on EVERY product or trademark you own? It's just not possible, and it's just not fair.

      Grr.

      Sorry, this is something that's been bugging me for a while. Gotta cut back on the caffeine...
      • Case in point:

        http://www.nissan.com/

        -Freed

        • The site claims to be "nissan computer corparation", but they aren't actually selling anything, and the front page is primarily banner ads. That's the worst case scenario, not the norm.
      • My biggest worry is that the same .com crap is going to happen with .info, .biz, and all the other new TLDs.

        The basic problem here is misuse of domain names into www.whatever.com.

        We saw EXACTLY this same thing happen when they added new toll-free prefixes in the US -- American Express tried suing to guarantee that they got 888-the-card, to match their 800-the-card.

        The difference is that telephone numbers cannot generally be "extended" (except in Germany).
        DNS names are more like postal addresses. In that you can always add more "buildings", "offices", "departments", etc on to the beginning.
    • But if the copyright holder so desires whatever domain name has been registered by someone else, then why didn't the copyright holder register it first? Case in point: juliaroberts.com, melgibson.com, kevinspacy.com, et al.

      "Cybersquatters" should not be sued and forced to relinquish the trademarked domain name. I would think that making an offer to the squatter would be infinitely more cost-effective than actual litigation.
      • I would think that making an offer to the squatter would be infinitely more cost-effective than actual litigation.

        Perhaps, but what if the guy who happens to own "ford.com" says "yeah, I'd like a $200 million for it"? There is a lot of invalid litigation out there by corporations trying to stop people using anything with their copyrighted name in it, but there are also a number of valid suits. If I'm looking for an intro to linux products, I'll type in "www.linux.com". If it takes me to a cybersquatter's website, it wastes that much more of my time. Cybersquatting makes web traversal more difficult.

        • What on earth reason do you have to believe that the right way to get info on foo is to point your browser at foo.com? DNS ain't a keyword system.

          You don't go to amazon.com to get info on amazons. You don't go to imdb.com because you like those four letters. DNS is a mnemonic system, not a frickin' search engine.
          --G

    • The reason trademark holders win the vast majority of these domain name disputes couldn't possibly be because they deserve the name and the current holder has no reason other than cybersquatting to have it...could it?

      Of course not, because if it were, then a group of three wouldn't decide differently than a group of one,
      as was clearly explained in the article.

    • Tell me how "cybersquatting" is any different than real estate purchasing?

      If you think McDonalds is going to want to build a McDonalds on the corner of 7th and Main, and you buy the land for cheap before they come and buy it from you for twice what you paied for it, it is legal.

      If you think some company might want to use company.place.domain and you buy it cheap before they come suddenly you have to give it up and loose your investment.

      It looks the same to me.

      ==>lazn
      • "for twice what you paied for it, it is legal. "

        This land has nothing to do with McDonalds while domain McDonalds.com clearly does.

        Does that still look the same to you ?
        • Buying 'mcdonalds.com' knowing well-in-full of the existence of McDonald's is certainly something questionable.


          But the real-estate question is more akin to something along the lines of this: Say you buy the name "bigturkey.com", and squat it. Sometime later, McDonald's introduces the Big Turkey sandwich into their menu, and because they want to get web site traffic, they try to register 'bigturkey.com', and find it taken.
          Presuming that you had no inside knowledge of the direction that McDonald's was taking, who's got the right to the name? By real-estate standards, it's you, but WIPO would most likely rule in McD's favor. This leads to retroactive trademarks, which IMO can open up a whole host of new lawsuits.


          To the best of my knowlegde, there's yet to be a case as this: nearly all the domain name squabbles involve the fact that there was pre-existing trademarks before the domain was registered. But this case would be the type that would definitely tell us how imbalanced that the WIPO is (Beyond what we know already, of course.)

    • What about all the cases against -sucks.com sites? That's just facist crap.
    • Squatters, though annoying they can be, are simply capitolizing on something in demand. It's sort of like people who go out to stores during the holidays and buy as many PS2's as they can. Then they will sell them over the retail price because there's some idiot who can wait and will pay $500! You can't blame a guy for making money, at least I can't.
    • Alright granted, but what about fordsucks.com I mean if I've had a bad experience with a ford (say the Explorer ;) and I want to make a web site voicing my complaint should ford be able to take the domain away just because it sort of looks like their's?? and is obviously bad press for them and the real reason they'd want it taken down, not because they actually plan on using the domain for anything. There's been several cases exactly like this in the past and the companies won (remember guiness, mmm beer), it's wrong and rediculus.
    • Undoubtedly due to your following the hallowed Slashdot tradition of not doing even the most cursory reading of the material before spewing.
      The reason trademark holders win the vast majority of these domain name disputes couldn't possibly be because they deserve the name and the current holder has no reason other than cybersquatting to have it...could it?
      I suppose it could.

      What does that have to do with this guy's study, which is not about the absolute percentage of these cases resolved in favor of the complainants, but about some mighty suspicious looking differences in those percentages depending on which arbitrator is hearing the case and which of the alternate procedures are followed?

      His argument is basically that, out of all the arbitrators legitimately accredited by this process, some seem much more likely to rule in favor of complainants than others, and oddly enough it looks as though somebody is using the process to steer cases to those arbitrators. That's procedural bias even if these "hangin' arbitrators" are in the right. Not that I think they probably are.

  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @04:05PM (#2199085) Homepage Journal
    Every desirable name (and even most typos) have been gobbled up by a bunch of greedy, talentless parasites who are hoping to strike it rich by cyberextorting from companies. I'm happy to see them lose these battles. Sure, there are probably some cases being decided the wrong way, but the good being done outweighs the bad.


    Sorry if this opinion offends, but when I really resent jerks paying $35/year to register a domain and then extorting $200K out of some company. I'm tired of finding every domain name that I might want in the hands of some cybersquatter who has no intention of ever using or developing it. It reminds me of someone who buys up all of the plywood before a hurricane and sells it for $100/sheet to his desperate neighbors.

    • Mod this up (Score:3, Funny)

      by kypper ( 446750 )
      It reminds me of someone who buys up all of the plywood before a hurricane and sells it for $100/sheet to his desperate neighbors.


      A very apt analogy.

    • So do you also look down upon real estate speculation, where someone buys land out in the middle of nowhere, does nothing with it for several years until the land is worth something?

      Yeah, sometimes people do get screwed to some degree when someone buys a domain name. But to compare it to the people who extort money after a hurricane blows through is a bit excessive.

      • So do you also look down upon real estate speculation, where someone buys land out in the middle of nowhere, does nothing with it for several years until the land is worth something?


        Yes, I do. I respect people who take something and make it valuable, not people that try to get rich without contributing anything to society or the economy.


        Yeah, sometimes people do get screwed to some degree when someone buys a domain name. But to compare it to the people who extort money after a hurricane blows through is a bit excessive.


        How? What's your neighbor's house worth? Now how much damage is done to a business that can't have a recognizable domain? How much would it cost Compaq if some cybersquatter had www.compaq.com, for example?

      • Real estate speculation is parasitic and immoral too, but to a lesser extent that cybersquatting.
        • There is a major difference. Real estate speculation shifts risk to those speculating and away from those with no tolerance for risk.


          Domain name squatting isn't truly speculation because the value of the name already exists. True speculation would involve making up a name and hoping it becomes used and valuable.

    • "It reminds me of someone who buys up all of the plywood before a hurricane and sells it for $100/sheet to his desperate neighbors. "


      Thats a good idea, wish i lived on a coast, alas there aren't many hurricanes on the great lakes.


      Either way, I tend to agree with all but a small portion of one comment, you forget guilty till proven innocent. Cyber squatters are shit, but that shouldn't mean my company has to give up our name if another company decides they want it, and had payed out their ass for a trademark just to take it from me. This should all be subjective, and up the courts...
    • It reminds me of someone who buys up all of the plywood before a hurricane and sells it for $100/sheet to his desperate neighbors.
      That seems just a bit harsh. Let's look at it:
      1. Somebody scraps up all the resources with which to defend against a hurricane. Result: Unless people cough up lots of money, they could have a higher chance of being killed or have severe damage done to their homes.
      2. Somebody scraps up a domain name which some corporation later wants. Result: The corporation has to get a different domain name.
      I really don't see the comparison. (Oh, wait, you're probably a Troll. Drat. And it worked. Ah, well.)
      • Somebody scraps up a domain name which some corporation later wants. Result: The corporation has to get a different domain name.


        So, in my hypothetical example, the buying public types www.compaq.com, find's a "this domain for sale" sign, and then types www.gateway.com or www.dell.com. Compaq would lose far more money than Bob's vacation home in Florida was ever worth. If it's a dot-com rather than Compaq, being stuck with a crappy domain name could cost them their business, their investors would lose their investments, and their employees would lose their jobs.


        By the way, plywood protects windows, not people's lives. People who board up their houses normally have enough sense to evacuate them before the storm hits.

    • Not that it is on-topic or anything, but it realy pisses me off that the domain for my first name: zachery.com [zachery.com], is being developed by a retarded 6 year old's retarded family.


      Jesus! Did you use enough Javascript on that page, junior?


    • Every desirable name (and even most typos) have been gobbled up by a bunch of greedy, talentless parasites who are hoping to strike it rich by cyberextorting from companies.


      I don't find this to be as bad as it seems. I think up domains all the time and see if they're registered and most of the time they aren't (much to my surprize). And these aren't wierdly spelled or obfiscated names either. Maybe it's just that most people are too lazy to actually think something up anymore?

      -- kruhft --
      Demo set, original music and reccomended tracks
      www.kruhftwerk.com [kruhftwerk.com]

  • 51st state? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Xandu ( 99419 ) <matt@truch. n e t> on Monday August 20, 2001 @04:05PM (#2199086) Homepage Journal
    By Steven Bonisteel, Newsbytes
    OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA, U.S.A.,
    20 Aug 2001, 8:12 AM CST


    When did Canada become the 51st state? News to me!
    • Damn! My g/f was needing a student visa, but... Now that Canada's a state, we're all good!
    • It may be news to you, but, having been a Canadian my whole life, it isn't news to me.
      • It may be news to you, but, having been a Canadian my whole life, it isn't news to me.

        I too have been Canadian my whole life. I know Canada often feels like the 51st State, I was merely commenting on how it has now become "official." ;)
  • The UDRP should include provisions for a RANDOM dispute arbitrator to be assigned perhaps at the domain holder's request.

    That way, Joe Corporation can't nuke JoeCoSucks.com as easily by going to one of the "Trademark Friendly" arbitrators.

    • The arbitrator should be assigned by the registrar who registered the domain in the forust place. this would spur competition in both the registrar and arbitrator spheres.

      When the one doing the suing decides the arena it is heard in. it is inevitable that "trademark friendly" arenas will predominate the process.

      The system does protect he moneyed interests at the expense of free speech and legitimate alternative trademark holder. Who should get sun.com? It is a computer company, a dishwasher detergent, and a newspaper. Shold Sun microsystems get the domain just becuase they have a "more valuable" trademark?
  • It seems silly. If someone cybersquats on a domain name that would obviously be used by a mega corp, they will get taken down in court. If someone squats on a domain where there is no corporation to fight them, ie: jesus.com, they can make millions. It is almost a double standard.
    • Not quite. Among the losers in the domain dispute sweepstakes were registrants such as www.bodacious-tatas.com, losing to a Sri Lankan company owned by the Tata family. Does that make sense?
  • My real name is the same as a celebrity who has a awebsite, so I'll never have my own .com! What if my last name were McDonald's and I had a Family owned business that had been around for decades. I wouldn't be able to get a website with my business name, because some stupid restaurant got the domain name first...that sucks! I guess Gerald Ford was right...
    • What if my last name were McDonald's and I had a Family owned business that had been around for decades. I wouldn't be able to get a website with my business name, because some stupid restaurant got the domain name first

      If you were in Scotland you probably could. Lord McDonald has been known to take a dim view of that company.
  • if we treat them all identically? I mean, if Microsoft is the only entity legally entitled to microsoft.com, microsoft.co.uk, microsoft.ru, microsoft.biz and so on, then what's the point? I thought that multiple top level domains existed in order to create a larger namespace then we'd have without them. Hmm, I guess they really only exist to inflate the income of domain registrars.
    • "I guess they really only exist to inflate the income of domain registrars."

      To the people who think multiple TLDs are going to end an 'artificial scarcity' of names: Guess what? It only makes trademark holders pay five, six, ten (?) times the amount for a domain name, stress the hell out of the namespace, confuse the hell out of visitors, and by confusing the hell out of visitors discourage them from buying anything online.

      "Would you like a dot-biz with that dot-com?"
  • If I've got the trademark "Slashdot" in Malaysia that is prior to the inital purchase of the domain Slashdot.org... do I have some right to Slashdot.org?

    I can't believe anyone is seriously trying to bring some sort of order to this mess. That is the absolute definition of futility!

    Here is an example: WHOIS lookup for LoanCityAtemyballs.com [networksolutions.com] ... LoanCity.com was smart.. they squated every concievable name out there. Now maybe you disagree with them for some reason and you want LoanCitySucks.com ... that's understanble, you have your right to say whatever you want on the internet, unfortunatly that's already taken by LoanCity.com. Now how do you make a fair decision in this case? I want my freedom to say LoanCitySuck.com ... but LoanCity owns the trade mark... You don't! You just leave it as first come first serve.
  • from the article: just six individuals were responsible for 53 percent of that organization's 966 single-panel cases up to July 7 [note: that there are also 3-panel cases, but the are less than 10% of all cases].

    So, make it a lottery. Ammend the UDRP so that instead of saying an arbitrator - known as a panelist under the UDRP - is selected by a service provider such as WIPO or NAF alone when the complainant - the trademark holder - requests just one panelist, it says the panelist will be drawn by lot.

    This almost seems to be saying that the UDRP suffers from the same problem as most everything else involving lawyers. Namely, lawyers have nothing to do with moral justice. Their job is to win cases. If they do that, they are considered to be good.

  • The bug that the goatse.cx linker used was that the links in the sig do not show where they link to, but you can fake it.

    Observe:
  • Jucius Maximus (Score:2, Interesting)

    Perhaps this could explain the sex education [wired.com] on homeschool oriented domains? I'm not sure whether it's right to love or hate ICANN for things like this...
  • by webmaven ( 27463 ) <webmaven@@@cox...net> on Monday August 20, 2001 @04:32PM (#2199233) Homepage
    I find it incredible that anyone is surprised that when complainants are give the choice of arbitrator, that they would choose arbitrators who have decided for the complainant more often.

    Thus, there is a built-in incentive for arbitrators to decide for complainants rather than respondents.

    Similarly, the US correctional system (which is run by for-profit corporations), has an incentive to make the situation worse rather than better, with the unfortunate result of these corporations funneling money to 'tough on crime' political candidates, and creating the 'war on some drugs' to incarcerate the perpetrators of victimless crimes.

    These are examples of elementary positive feedback loops, and no-one should be surprised at the results.
  • "When a lot of us hear the word "gooey", we think about sticky buns or creamy sugary fillings (yum)."

    C'mon, seriously, that's not what most people think about is it?

  • I wonder, if someone registers a domain name BEFORE a trademark is granted/filed/whatever, could the trademark holder take it? Or would the domain invalidate the trademark? Or neither?
    For example, www.net [www.net] is a test domain for Worldcom Canada. It also seems like it would infringe on MSFT's .NET trademark. But .NET [uspto.gov] wasn't trademarked until June, 2000, after www.net was registered.

    • Um, no. www.net has a TLD of .net like millions of sites the name of the site itself is www. (Incidentally, www.www.net is the same site; its easier to parse that one semantically.)
  • Here is an example! JoeMontana.com [go.com]
  • Who knows whether the arbitrators are biased or not? I certainly don't know what their motivations are. I think this is one of the big problems.

    It seems to me that more and more we're seeing control handed over to organizations that have no direct public accountability. (Of course, I haven't been around that long. :) If an elected official does something we don't like they have to answer to the voters. (I don't doubt that they're often bought, but they still have some respect for the opinions of their constituents.) In the case of organizations like ICANN, although they accept public input, we have no direct control. This makes everyone suscpicious.

    The WTO is another example. Sure they say that they have our best interests at heart, but we don't know that. We never voted for them. I think this is the biggest reason that there are so many upset about the WTO, and many more who are made very uneasy by it.

    I am made nervous by unelected, powerful, rule-making agencies whose loyalties are obscure.

  • Inept Judges (Score:2, Informative)

    by chad_r ( 79875 )

    From the decisions I've read, a lot depends on whether the chosen judge Gets It. Here's an example [wipo.int] that represents the worst case of a clueless arbiter. It was ruled by Mr. Michael Ophir that bodacious-tatas.com should be transfered to the Tata Group in India.

    Here's the rationale, using the standard criteria:
    (i) your domain is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
    (ii) you have no rights or legitimate interests in respect to the domain name; and
    (iii) your domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

    i) TATA exists as a string within the domain name, thus, confusingly similar
    ii) If (i), then the TATA Group has a legitimate interest in the domain, therefore the respondent does not
    iii) If (ii), then it is used in bad faith. Plus, it's porn!

    Judicial bootstrapping! Most judgments aren't that bad, but there are more examples like that (absolutporno.com [arb-forum.com], et. al.). It seems that porn sites are treated as a lower class.

  • When Freenet picks up the pace again, it will be a far superior alternative to the web for Slashdot geeks. Gone are the website.free addresses, in favor of something that looks more like AWEVq2BZ23&4fL29nSQ\bob.html. You just follow links from one page to the next to get where you need to go. Nobody owns a central name, so Freenet is impossible to cybersquat on. Freenet is also superior to the www in the fact that there is currently no spam and a Freenet page is certainly not something you can advertise with a catchy .com phrase.

    Also, there is no court that can take the information down. The Freenet pages are encrypted on hundreds of computers. The more popular the page, the more copies. The DeCSS source code and other "controversial" I.P. information will stay right where it is.

    Go freenet!
  • If someone works at it and shows the proper intent, the trademark holders can still lose

    A graphic designer who holds armani.com wa given the right to continue holding the domain.

    http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-6841291.htm l? tag=lh
  • Hello fellow Slashdotters. I am very pleased to see this newly-released report by Michael Geist. Several months ago, I got a very embittering crash-course in the UDRP process. The conclusion I arrived at is that the UDRP needs MAJOR REFORM. I am the registrant of the Tobacco.com domain name. I have been since 1995. Earlier this year, I received a "cease and desist" letter from a "company" calling itself "Tobacco.com, Inc.". This "entity" was nothing more than a bogus (as in fraudulent) culmination of several pieces of filled-out paperwork, in an attempt to superficially "legitimze" themselves. They attempted to reverse domain name hijack Tobacco.com, by way of their filing a UDRP against myself. To make a long story short... I immediately sought Counsel with John Berryhill, an expert-attorney in the area of trademark law and, one who has a great deal of experience with UDRP defense work. Seeking John Berryhill's aid was the best thing I could have possibly done in this case. On May 18th of this year, they withdrew their complaint against myself. (After seeing my response and realizing their fraud was easily uncovered.) My complaint, then? The UDRP makes it ALL TOO EASY for frivolous and fraudulent complaints to be brought forth. This means the UDRP can easily be used to effectively harass domain name registrants. I spent nearly $3500 defending myself against fraud which, if the UDRP was more intelligently crafted, would have never even been considered as a legitimate case. Personally, I think that generic terms (such as "tobacco") should be completely exempted from UDRP process. To add insult to injury, the NAF (the arbitration panel which was selected to hear the case) ended up keeping my $1250 three-person panel fee, EVEN THOUGH THE PANEL NEVER SAT! To me, that is criminal activity on the behalf of the NAF. ( The Register published a news item on this, specifically, at : http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/19217 .html ) I decided to organize all information related to my case, and publish my findings online. I only hope that what I've assembled can serve to help others who face UDRP injustices. The casework can be seen at : http://Tobacco.com/attempted-hijacking Warmest Regards, Michael Fischer
    • You overreacted, spending the $3500.

      Should have handled this UDRP defense yourself. Even the most out-to-lunch single-person panel would never let this one get through. If the unthinkable happens, you can still go ahead and stick a lawyer up their ass and keep your domain, but it won't come to that.

      Scandalous about NAF keeping your money, though.

      PS, Canadian corporate info is available online [ic.gc.ca] , but I was unable to find a Tobacco.com, Inc. Is it possible they filed a trademark application on behalf of a non-existent entity? By the way, 401 Queen's Quay West is Harbour Terrace [torontocondo.com] (luxury condominiums), so they may have assets worth going after. Canada has an advanced legal system, after all.

      PPS, Your domain tobacco.com may not be worth as much as you think... e-commerce or even advertising is a complete non-starter in today's climate. Suggestion: put up tobacco lawsuit resource info (class action lawsuits, ambulance-chaser lawyer ads, etc), and the tobacco companies might find it cost-effective to pay you a million to take the domain off your hands (after all, literally hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake).

  • Wow. This is good stuff. Read their PDF report.

    A very STRONG tip: if you are the respondant in a domain dispute, the other party gets to select which agency handles the dispute. Your only chance in counter-rigging the decision ahead of time is to pay (at a 50% discount) for a 3 member panel to hear the case. If they already paid for a 3 member panel, they've done you a service.

    As a bonus, with a three party panel, YOU get to select one of the members! Further, the numbers show a STRONG statistical coorelation between 3 member panels (where the defendant makes an argument) and 1 member panels (where the defendant makes an argument) that are less leaned towards the party bringing the complaint.

    Note of interest: when the party bringing the complaint paid for a 3 person panel, the three person panel also ruled in favor of the complaintant less often than on a 1 person panel.

    Also interesting were the numbers at one of the arbitration agencies that (not the words of the researchers) pointed out a number of 'hanging judges'. And guess what? These hanging judges were assigned a disproportionate amount of the caseload.

    What does this all say? Peer review. You're less likely to have a rogue judge if his actions are reviewed by other judges. And yes, they have pointed out rouge judges which have completely ignored the rules of arbitration.

    Peer review is good for code, and it is good for arbitration.
  • WIPO. That is sign of further commercialization
    of internet infrastructure. There must be a
    better way, like alternative DNS servers, that
    can be distributed to all internet users.
    First DNS server is a rogue DNS server that will
    redirect any A queries to a defaced versions of
    websites , or rather sites that will explain
    what kind of nasty things the company does and
    and what kind of things can be done to hurt the
    bottom line of the company.

    The flag of the movement can be, to advertise an
    IP adress to be inserted as primary DNS server.
    Loads maybe high, but it might be justified
    for it be located and even sponsored by Exodus
    or some other entity and there will be free
    advertising for whoever does it. Exodus,
    actually would be excellent choice.

    I am currently busy and don't have this many
    resources as to run a rogue DNS server for masses
    but this can be potentially good thing.
    If server has good availability maybe an added
    benefit compared to those fucked up @home and other ISP dns servers.
  • The US Government and Internet authorities know the simple solution to trademark and domain name problems.

    I have been corresponding with United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Department of Commerce (also UK Patent Office).

    They do not deny this solution would separately identify all trademarks.

    Every common word is trademarked, from Alpha to Zeta and Aardvark to Zulu - most many times.

    The authorities wish to abridge peoples use of these words - the US Government violate peoples First Amendment rights.

    People were clever enough to buy these domains - it is their Intellectual Property.

    Big business decided it wanted to steal these words from people - even though these words are NOT just used solely by them.

    For trademarks to claim it as their OWN is an abuse of 'unfair competition' law.

    They all use spin, lies and propaganda.

    The big lie being there is no answer to these 'consumer confusion', 'trademark conflict' or 'passing off' problems.

    The Sunrise Period for new TLDs is a propaganda solution - ask authorities to deny this:

    A THOUSAND new open TLD, each with sunrise, will not solve the problems.

    Apple computers, will still make claim to every Apple.[anything] - even though they share word with 727 other trademarks in the USA - plus all those in 200+ countries.

    You still not know which owns apple.info - it is all a load of bull.

    To see solution, please visit WIPO.org.uk [wipo.org.uk] - World Intellectual Piracy Organization.

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