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UN wants to stop "cybersquatting" 99

Pugget writes "The UN announced a plan to stop the buying up of domain names buy people unrelated to the name. " Basically they say they're gonna create a list of trademarks that can't be registered. I'm more concerned about the 'misleadingly similiar' clause. That'll make parodies a lot trickier.
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UN wants to stop "cybersquatting"

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    it solves no problems, and creates new ones.

    first off, why is the UN doing this? what right do they have to do this? what is up with this? and since the UN is doing it and not NSI, does this mean it would apply to other countries (.uk, .jp, .is..) whether or not the countries wanted it to apply?

    anyway this won't stop "squatting". I don't call registering "" squatting. i call registering hundreds of domains at once, using none of them, and trying to sell them to other people "squatting".

    the only point of this is to prevent the usage of trademarks, and make things more difficult for people who for some reason might want to be using trademarks. But since there's already a system of laws set up to deal with this (especially dealing with selling people their own trademarks), what's the point? It just limits the freedom of information further.
    i fear it.

    --anonymous lazy person
    what's my password again?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's not "somebody else's trademark". Did you notice the bit that says "or misleadingly similar"? So who decides what's "misleadingly similar"? This would never be biased towards large companies with a lot of pull and the resources for a long court fight, nooo...
    Presumably "" would be out. Does this mean "", "", "", (ad infinitum) are also out? What about ""? What if "yahoo" is a word in Xybekistani, and someone tries to register "yahoo.xy"? What about "yahhoo.xy"? One can see how this might remove a lot of names from possible usage...

    And how about this part: "The contract would also bar selling, renting or otherwise transferring the domain name to the owner of the trade or service mark". Apparently we're not even allowed to sell things that belong to us to people who really want them. The UN sucks.
  • If there's a dispute, the contract you sign makes you responsible for the legal bills.

    What they don't seem to understand (Or maybe they do) is that they really don't have that much authority over the net. Due to the way the net was built, anyone can go off and do his own thing, all that's necessary is the time and the resources. Once the DNS crack side effects get bad enough, I expect that people will start up their own competing services. If those take off, there's not a hell of a lot the UN can do.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If trademark holders really want a place where they can be guaranteed ownership of trademark based domain names, perhaps we should establish a new top-level domain "trademark" and let them play in a different sandbox.


    I like it. :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've read about several people who register domain names for the purpose of denying others the use of the name. An example of this are the guys that registered names based on the 'Trench Coat Mafia' after the shootings in Colorado. I think the same thing was done with the KKK and other groups. Would this law cover things like this?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I always found it wierd how the simple existance of a name within a computer database becomes so important to everybody suddenly. For a span of 10-15 years nobody gave a damm about it. What if we created another dns type of thing (like the http2 thing I have seen) and it becomes popular and all of the sudden, companies feel they have the rights within that also. It is kind of like a kid who picks a toy from a pile and seeing that somebody else picks up another toy, wants that instead.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    While nominally part of the UN organization, the WIPO is actually quite independent in funding and policies. As a matter of fact, they have immense backing from Western states, to the exclusion of underdeveloped nations that really don't have much to say in our global post-industrial economy.

    I normally wouldn't quite bother pointing this out, but reading the messages talking about this being yet another attempt at subverting American democracy and freedom of speech by an evil global force made me do it. Face it, folks, the WIPO is the US/EU, not Malaysia, China or Russia.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    First of all, are some of the more fanatical anti-UN, anti-business posts in this thread from the same person? What you've got here is a situation where someone is registered on /. but still remains essentially an AC, and can post multiple times making it look like different people all having the same opinion.

    Otherwise, the Cybersquatters, Domain Hoarders (as well as Spammers and Pornographers) are totally taking advantage of this network in ways which are hindering the rest of us. It's time the rest of us fought back. We do that through a thing called "our elected Government".

    No one should have to pay a fee to someone who is squatting on a regular word for a potential domain name. (not using it for a legit purpose).

    NSI should not allow domain names to go live until they are PAID FOR. These squatters are running scripts that re-register whole lists of names every 90 days. They essentially own the names without ever paying a cent.

    As for those who do shell out the $70, they rarely have them available for sale for less than $2500. Perhaps we should use ticket scalping laws as a precedent to curb this.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm curious about one thing mentioned in the article: "The contract would also bar selling, renting or otherwise transferring the domain name to the owner of the trade or service mark..."
    Uh, what is going on here? This can't mean that if I already own a trademarked domain name I am barred from transferring it to the trademark owner and am instead forced to enter arbitration.
    What if I own one of the trademarks on the list? How would I go about acquiring from its owner a domain name that includes my trademarked name?
    This is boggling.
  • I don't like it either, but it's better for the closest thing we have to a World Government to be doing this than that US government of yours, which seems to treat *.com, *.org as if it owned them, and has the arrogance to have *.gov and *.mil.
  • ...Disney was in a bit of trouble a year or so ago when the copyright or whatever on Mickey Mouse expired and he would suddenly be in the public domain, and anyone could make profits on him. I forget how they solved the issue...

    They got Congress to extend the length of time a copyright is valid (retroactively, to boot). It's now life of the author plus 95 years in the case of copyright held by a corporation.

  • I think the point of the second part is to combat the practice of buying someone's name at NSI rates and scalping them for $K,000. See [].

  • I don't know for certain, but it's very likely that all UN members must obey resolutions passed by the UN as a whole. Break those and you'll be breaking the law in your country automatically.

  • I was impressed until I got to this part:

    "Under the proposed rules, ICANN would establish a list of protected "famous or well-known marks" that would not be available for registration to the average Internet user."

    I mean, is this really meant to stop squatters? I don't think so. Remember, this would also screw many websites that we've championned here in the past.

    Look more like several corporations decided bullying Joe Public out of his domain name wasn't working as well as they had hoped. So they lobby the UN and ICANN to "pre-reserve" their domain names.
  • Oh damn there goes my plan to get and .org etc ;]
  • Posted by PasswdIs ScoreOne:

    What business does microsoft have mucking around with Companies should only have power in .com. That's what the TLD is for.
  • I am also peeved at domain squatters -- I've had
    many a good idea for a web site and jumped into
    whois to check the domain name and lo' and behold
    some "Domains For Sale" jack off is squatting on

    ...this is because anyone can squat on a domain
    name for 6 months and not pay for it. When the 6
    months is up, they let it go, then register it
    again under another name. They can squat on
    hundreds of names and their cost is almost
    nothing. They hold the names hostage until some
    poor dumbass coughs up thousands of dollars for


    Make registrants pay the two year fee *before*
    the domain is registered rather than giving
    them a 6 month free ride.

    True, some slimes will still find it worth their
    while to squat on hot names and trademarks but
    the larger issue these scumbags who hold half
    of the dictionary of common words hostage would
    quickly find another scam business to get into.

  • I just finished email with Prof. Froomkin and he informs me I referenced an old version of the criticism, targeting a previous draft of the WIPO proposal. The final proposal is now much improved; two-thirds of the issues he identified have been dealt with in some degree (still problems with the last three). His preliminary critique of the final WIPO proposal can be found at .htm [] -- "a fuller analysis is in progress"

  • by coats ( 1068 ) on Tuesday May 04, 1999 @09:00AM (#1905496) Homepage
    Have a look at this analysis by A. Michael Froomkin, Professor of Law at the University of Miami, and a Member, WIPO Panel of Experts, Internet Domain Name Process: de.htm []

    In short, Froomkin says the plan is seriously flawed, and constitutes a radical subversion of existing legal checks and balances:

    • Bias. The plan is biased in favor of trademark holders [as opposed to others using the web as a means of speech and press];
    • Enabling censorship. The WIPO plan fails to protect fundamental free-speech interests including parody, and criticism of corporations;
    • Zero Privacy. The WIPO plan provides zero privacy protections for the name, address and phone number of individual registrants;
    • Intimidation. The WIPO plan creates an expensive loser-pays arbitration process with uncertain rules [Plaintiff gets to choose rules anywhere in the world!! -- not just in defendant's country] that will intimidate persons who have registered into surrendering valid registrations;
    • Tilts the playing field. The WIPO plan would always allow challengers to domain names registrations to appeal to a court, but would often deny this privilege to the original registrant;
    • Smorgasbord approach to law. Instead of directing arbitrators to apply applicable law, WIPO proposes using additional, different, rules it selected-rules that will often disadvantage registrants.

    Froomkin gives a link to his detailed (50-page) analysis. I think this proposal needs to be sunk!

  • I buy real estate at lower prices and resell it for higher prices. There's a lot of us in this business. I fail to see how domain names are any different. When registering domains was a free service to the registrand, paid for by the gov't, I can see a "squatting issue". But the moment NSI started charging for domain names, the concept of a squatter became non-existant. He who pays for a domain gets it, and he can do whatever he likes with it, be it using it, reselling it, or just sitting on it for all eternity. He bought it. He PAID for it, with his own money. It's his. How much more simple can it be than that?
  • Since when has the UN had anything to do with the Internet? Oh yeah, all of the peace they are trying to keep between the tribe chiefs in Uganda has everything to do with it. I foresee the people in the back country buying a domain name real soon for their news, for their hunting "skillz" because they are "leet" with their spears & keyboards. Back country == the bush.

    Of course I am wrong. :)

  • The First Ammendment does not take precident over international treaties. (eg: You can't copy books and claim free speech.)

    You are fully entitled to set up your own domain name server and register whatever name you like on it. If pople point to it, that's the name you have, and what the UN thinks becomes moot.

    But, if you work through a name server that is run by a government that has signed up to an international treaty, that name server is bound by that treaty. By choosing to work through it, you are effectively agreeing to those terms. That's YOUR choice.

    (If you -really- wanted, you could set up a DNS on your Linux box and register an already-existing name. There's nothing to stop you. Mind you, unless your Linux box is in international waters, on a remote islansd, or in a country that hasn't signed up to the copyright treaties, you are likely to get nice letter asking you to visit the local magistrate, if you do. But, there is STILL nothing to stop you.)

  • by jd ( 1658 )
    The UN doesn't care about the US, it's citizens, president or laws. It's a multinational organisation and doesn't have to care. As far as it's concerned, the only significance the US has is that it owes it a LOT of money.

    Telling the US President that the people run the country will be about as effective against the UN as swatting a fly in outer Mongolia. It's not relevent to them. It never has been and never will be. That's the problem in living on a world with more than one country - the others can choose to ignore you, and survive.

  • Nobody owns the net, therefore nobody has the authority to stop any government, corporation or international body from passing whatever laws, treaties or agreements they like.

    There's nothing to stop you from running your own name server and putting whatever name you like there. So long as other name servers point to it, it'll be just as recognised as anything placed on one of the major name servers. The UN can say what it likes, but if you have your own DNS, they have very little power on what you put on it.

    (If you wanted to be really sure, just have it in international waters, on a remote island or in a country which has not signed any of the copyright treaties.)

    It never ceases to amaze me that these kinds of arguments occur. Freedom is a two-edged sword. Whatever freedoms you have, everyone else has, too. And that includes those everyone's that are in companies, governments and international bodies.

    If you've the freedom to decide what goes on your computer, so do they. If you've the freedom to decide what goes through your computer, so do they. The internet IS international and the same basic freedoms that apply to you apply to every other user, including admins for top-level domain name servers.

    If you don't like what they're doing, you've the same freedoms they have. Run your own servers. You have NO more authority to tell them how to use the Internet than they have over you.

  • The absence of a constitutional guaranteur of free speech is not in itself demonstrative of an oppressive, censorious regime. The existance of a sedition law, or a requirement that press agencies be licensed on a yearly basis, often is.

    I feel perfectly justified in pointing to Malaysia or Sinagapore to assert my points. The Anwar Ibrahim trial has shown the the current government of Malaysia does not have any tolerance for a free press.

    Singapore's government has a relationship with the press that is widely considered to be to the detriment of "free speech." I know, I know -- it's a corrupt Western value.
  • Limiting "fair use" and strengthening copyright and trademark protections has not generally been a major focus of despots, autocrats, and statist regimes.The United States has proposed all kinds of draconian measures applying to databases. Many "rogue states," to use the American pejorative of the moment, have historically enjoyed the benefits of counterfeiting and media piracy.

    But that is not to say that Intellectual Property laws are a hallmark of all that is good in government. I'm sure Malaysia and Singapore have used their laws on the subject to harrass and intimidate journalists.
  • What's the point? If you own a trademark that's important enough to be on the list, you already have the legal resources to defend / reclaim your domain name.

    So the net benefit of this proposal is what, exactly?
  • by A well known coward ( 2835 ) on Tuesday May 04, 1999 @02:35PM (#1905505) Homepage

    Since there is a lot of speculation on what the report is all about, why not look at the real thing?

    See ng/final_report.html []
  • Pfft. I say do away with the country top levels, and increase the number of generic top level domains.

    One of the great things on the net, I thought, was the erasure of borders. OTOH, the UN is the last entity I'd want to see functioning as a government; it's structured poorly for it, and has the intelligence of a wet paper bag full of hammers. InterNIC (or whatever they're calling themsevles now) is no better. Why is it impossible to set up a distributed naming registration system, tehn impliment it on some flag day, and to hell with all of them.

    'Governing body? We don't need no steenking governing body!'
  • Too late, too stupid...
  • I agree that the "similar" clause is troublesome (and it does seem like "too little, too late"), but it seems that trademark protection should extend to domain names. I sure wouldn't want to type in something like "" and find myself on a site selling pornographic movies!

    (OK, OK... so Disney should have the $$$ to buy up most of the names that contain the word "disney", but they can't get ALL the combinations, and there are a lot more companies that don't have as much cash to throw around.)

  • Give me a friggin' break! Why is it that, every time some governing body says, "You can't do that," hordes of people mess their pants and start running around in circles chanting, "First Amendment! First Amendment"?

    Now, calm down, take a deep breath and try to engage one or two brain cells before you shoot off at the mouth. This is a Trademark issue. It has nothing to do with the content of your silly little Web page. You can still make fun of Company X, or say nasty things about them, you just can't use their Tradmark as your domain name!

  • "Such a
    proposition has no legal enforcing value by itself... it is a proposition. "

    A proposition made by an entity that has a
    standing army. When an army makes a gentle
    suggestion, it generally expects to get its
  • It doesn't take them very long to mobilize that
    "security council" force, does it? I mean, they
    don't have to go out and recruit soldiers and
    setup infrastructure in order to operate in a
    military capacity. QED
  • > They seem to be able to enforce things in Kosovo. Well, bomb stuff if not enforce things.

    Watch CNN a little more. NATO is bombing. Not the UN.
  • by Cid Highwind ( 9258 ) on Tuesday May 04, 1999 @08:57AM (#1905513) Homepage
    Look out good freedom-loving citizens of Amerika, the black helicopters are coming. Not for your guns, or your money, they want *your domain names* ! Oh, its enough to make any patriot quake in his knee-high steel-toed combat boots. All the red-blooded free men of America better move to a country where the UN cannot take our freedoms! I suggest Yugoslavia, or else Sudan, or maybe Sri Lanka. All those countries are not UN members, and they have fine traditions of respecting free speech and personal freedoms.

    *disclaimer! this is parody. If you don't like it, bite me (or moderate me)
  • Whoops. My mistake.

    I suppose if it were the UN, they'd just sit around in blue helmets and watch the domain squatters keep squatting.
  • Also brought to you by the smart people of WIPO:
    the proposal that forbids reverse engineering or
    circumvention of security in software.

    They hid that particular piece in a very big proposal about copyright protection that was almost unanimously accepted by the European Union, (whose politicians wouldn't know a harddrive from a frisbee).

    And wasn't in that same proposal the insane notion that caching was a breach of copyright and therefore illegal?

    Unfortunately, yes, these dinosaurs are for real.

  • actually, its probably
  • I don't know whether that's a troll or gross lack of knowledge.

    Are you suggesting that the UN has a standing army? Where?
  • by Submarine ( 12319 ) on Tuesday May 04, 1999 @09:52AM (#1905519) Homepage
    I think that some people here are overheating.

    What we've got here is an international agency; mainly led by the US, EU, Japan, proposing a plan pertaining to domain names. Such a proposition has no legal enforcing value by itself... it is a proposition.

    Furthermore, it does not propose the creation of any international body to oversee anything. So it would be as the current agreements on intellectual property, trademarks, and similar things.

    If you don't agree with this, don't go potty mouth about the UN. You should rather ask yourself whether those you elected to the US congress are able to understand the issues involved, because it is them who will vote any enforceable statute on the topic.
  • I don't see how the U.N. has any rights to regulate the Internet, especially when one of the world's largest producers of computer components (namely the Republic of China [Taiwan]) is barred from membership.
  • I can use a trademark for a domain name.

    I can even register a trademark that someone else has registered.

    It is called a TRADEmark because it relates to a trade. If I start a company that makes soft red hats, I can call it "RedHat Soft Wear" and trademark that - precisely because it is a separate trade, and therefore unrelated. I can trademark macdonalds if I set up a deep sea mining company called "macdonalds deep sea mining corporation" - precisely because it is a separate trade. I can set up a journalism and parody site with "Microsoft" in it's name - precisely because it's a different trade.
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Tuesday May 04, 1999 @08:40AM (#1905522)
    It doesn't surprise me at all that the UN membership would generally support censorship and restrictions on free speech. Of the member states of the UN, what perctentage of those governments do you suppose have a real permissive attitude towards parody and satire in general?

    Would you put it at about the same percentage of countries that have a free press and a constitutionally or legally enshrined free speech protections? Or do you think there's some kind of UN High Committee for Increasing Freedom of Speech and Parody And Satire, co-chaired by China and Myanmar, with Afghanistan and Nigeria as contributers?

    Considering that in most countries criticizing big business it tantamount to criticizing whatever jackbooted thugs happen to be in charge of the junta that week (since it's usually the leadership's relatives that get the mining/planatation/slave labor concessions anyway), it's hardly surprising that the UN members would want to restrict anything that might enable criticism.

    Remember, in lots of these places a mimmeograph machine is considered a threat to the government. God only knows what kind of fears wide-open communications means to those people.
  • Just what we need. UN involvement in the domain name game. as if interNIC needs any help being more incompetent.

    we now return you to the previously scheduled "peacekeeping" mission.

  • Sigh, this is going to ramble, but actually Disney was in a bit of trouble a year or so ago when the copyright or whatever on Mickey Mouse expired and he would suddenly be in the public domain, and anyone could make profits on him. I forget how they solved the issue,
    They passed the "Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998", extending the term of copyright protection by another 20 years.

    For more information and links (from a law professor opposed to the extension), follow this link [].

  • My newspaper, the Dartmouth Review, bought our domain name several years ago. Unfortunately, it seems our ex-Internet guy at the time registered it to himself and now operates a business from that site. We're currently trying to legally compell him to hand over the address, but this takes time, patience, and money. It is quite a pain in the ass. And apparently, his site gets over 5000 hits/month intended for our site, [].
    I welcome this development.

    --Andrew Grossman
  • Do a web search for "alternic" to find info on this. It was tried, in a way.

    --Andrew Grossman
  • Disney was in a bit of trouble a year or so ago when the copyright or whatever on Mickey Mouse expired and he would suddenly be in the public domain, and anyone could make profits on him. I forget how they solved the issue, but what a frightening thought, that your popular culture doesn't even belong to you.

    They got Congress to extend copyright for existing holders so that MM is still covered. The law is currently being challanged in the courts. Stay tuned.
  • Nothing was wrong with this guys post, but it doesn't deserve a level 2 rating, much less 3! Whats up with that?
  • Dude, you're an AC, you posts always start at 0....
  • for domain sqwatting to end. It is extremely frustrating to look for a company's web site and some squatter has it.
  • I was pissed in January when I found that some mook in California had registered the domain I wanted :( including .org and .net
    Of course, the same .ca domain is still available, and it is currently free to register Canadian domains,
    though according to the .ca registrar, they're going to start charging soon.
    Unfortunately, it costs C$300 to federally register a company in Canada to get a .ca domain.
    No way to win this one: ya pays yer money and takes yer chances

  • No! Wait! That's my critique of the OLD draft. The new draft is quite a lot better. It fixes several -- but not all -- of the problems I identified in my 50+ page critique of the Interim Report. For my initial take on the Final Draft see here []. More detailed comments will appear on my WIPO Comments Page [] Real Soon Now.
    Here's the key part:

    The World Intellectual Property Organization's Final Report on "The Management of Internet Names And Addresses: Intellectual Property Issues" [] is in all but one major respect a substantial improvement on the Interim Report.

    • The attempt to define "abusive registrations" represents a good-faith effort to define cybersquatting. While this new definition will no doubt benefit from public comment and discussion, it seems to hew closely to the definitions evolving in the various courts that have considered the issue.
    • Unfortunately, the Final Report leaves essentially unchanged the proposals in the Interim Report regarding the proposed treatment of globally famous trademarks. It proposes a baroque ad hoc quasi-judicial procedure based on vague (and in once case prejudicial) criteria to define when a trademark is sufficiently internationally famous to be granted special privileges on the Internet that the mark would not currently have under law. At present there is no agreed definition of a globally famous mark, although WIPO-sponsored panels have been seeking formulate a definition for years. Furthermore, the WIPO proposal rejects imposing any upper limit on the number of trademarks that may be declared "famous," perhaps because it is impossible to predict how many marks will qualify.
    • As noted regarding the Interim Report, parties who lose their domain names under the proposed dispute resolution procedure and believe the arbitrator erred may find it difficult to find a court capable of hearing their claim. Because the Final Report restricts the dispute resolution procedure to a much narrower class of cases than did the Interim Report, one can expect that there will be many fewer such cases than initially feared - but not zero.
    • In addition, there are a number of relatively minor ambiguities and possible errors relating to material which appears for the first time in the Final Report. This material will benefit from public review; and in some cases some of this material may need minor revision.
    • While not strictly an intellectual property issue, and without wishing to minimize the complexity and importance of the real issues that remain to be determined, the Final Report's discussion of new gTLDs and especially the creation of a new privacy-enhanced gTLD for non-commercial uses, is a less ringing endorsement than one might have hoped.
    -- Michael Froomkin []
    A. Michael Froomkin [mailto]
    U. Miami School of Law,POB 248087
    Coral Gables, FL 33124,USA
  • OK, I have a question. Is this kind of thing going to be squished firmly for its chilling effect on the First Amendment? Or are we going to get sold out again by our pseudoelected pseudoleaders and abandon any claim we have to govern ourselves?

    What used to be the land of the free and the home of the brave is rapidly becoming neither... and efforts like this aren't helping.

    Those who would give up a little freedom for a little security will soon have neither. -- Poor Richard, more or less.
  • For every domain name that you could possibly think of someone else has already, and paid for it :( - They should have done this seven years ago. The only people who have any sort of control are the government based registrars e.g. '.ca' In Canada you cannot get a '.ca' registration uless you are federally incorporated under the name or you own the XXX trademark .

    my $.02
  • Why are they now trying to regulate the internet ?
    Don't they have some third-world countries to abuse these days ?
    I just wish that sometime they'd stay out of our business. They didnt want to take care of it before, but now that it's become mainstream, they feel like they have to regulate all over it. The U.N. has no place here. What are we going to see next ? U.N. regulating communication charges ?

    Sun Tzu must have been running Linux...
    - Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. (Sun Tzu, The art of war)
  • But these squatters didn't pay for anything... You don't have to pay for the domain immediately. They just hold the domain for 6 months, and when their time runs out, they release and register it under a different name...

    This means they can register any number of domains at practicaly ZERO cost...
  • The UN has no jurisdiction over this matter. What's it going to do? Pass resolutions condemning me if i violate there little rules? Perhaps they'll send peacekeepers or white cars with UNSCOM license plates to my house?
  • Believe it or not, the world does not revolve around the US of A.

    Wouldn't it be nice if the internet referred to the "International Net"? I'm not even sure the US has the majority of the world's traffic anymore - or its margin has been cut down severely.

  • Oh, praise be to America. All of us in other countries have no freedom of speech, and suffer severely as a result. Such a second-rate country I must live in. What percentage have protection on freedom of speech? Quite a majority (Clue: you don't *need* a constitution for freedom of speech, much as most Americans would have us believe).

    So much freedom in the US. So little elsewhere. Explain to me again why I can't legally download SecureCRT from the States?

  • I suppose the UN already registered for itself.
  • They've missed the point.. its not the fact that these 'squatters' (How cynically fitting, by the way) have REGISTERED the domains.. its the fact that they are charging a high-school kid's yearly salary for it! If someone gets it before a company decides to buy a ticket into the online world, then that's just the way it is. Unless they are claiming to be that company, there is no harm done.. True, most urls wouldn't exactly fit this..but just because someone has a company (large, small, or monopolized), does -not- entitle them to a domain name of the same name.
    Life is not fair, use your time and resources for things that are halfway important. If they want to bust cybersquatters, make them put something constructive up, not "This is mine, pay me the equivalent of a small country to have it"...
  • "Under the proposed rules, ICANN would stablish a list of protected "famous or well-known marks" that would not be available for registration to the average Internet user."

    I too had to take a long hard look at this sentence. I don't like the phrase "average Internet user" at all, and such a proposal would only serve to create more of a rift between the corporate entities intent on turning this communications medium into Glorified Television and the "average user" who just wants to be able to communicate freely and get their ideas across.

    "Register what?! I'm sorry, you're not a company, you can't do that on the Internet."

    Of course, from what I've gathered, the "average" Internet user only wants to see stock quotes 'n tits nowadays, so they're safe from all this. But I don't want to feel like a prole in this medium. Not when the devices are in place to allow me to make what I want of it.


  • No! Any sort of regulation on the Internet is REALLY bad!
    Who the h3ll do they think they are?
  • I guess something else that would need to be considered is the enforcement issue. If the UN cannot even get the US to pay their dues, than how are they going to enforce this? Sure, ICANN might go with it, but, and correct me if I am wrong, doesn't NSI's contract run through 2000? And isn't there the possiblity it will be renewed? If yes, than mighten it be possible, as an American corporation, that they migh not adhere to this proposal (assuming it passes)? Then, you have to consider the US laws in the matter; Congress has several times specified that no foreign entity's laws and/or regulations shall superceed US law on US territory without express permission from Congress (actually, the Senate; it was ruled these regualtions where in effect treaties). So, what if Congress doesn't agree? Will the NSI directly conter ICANN? Gosh I hope NSI can renew their contract (and I believe that was the first time I have ever said that)...

  • Please read me out I will keep this short.

    As I understand it a top level DNS is nothing special other than its size and it's listed
    in the standard dns setup everyone uses.

    Is there something to prevent an alternative. It would answere what requests it could and pass the rest on to the traditional top level. Of course the names could not be the same but a few new .xxx .yyy would not be so bad. The big thing would be getting people to make the change in there DNS setup. This could be done with a setup/script.

    It looks to me like the NSI is a hollow monopoly that only exists because we think it should.
  • This is JUST what we need... a bunch of overzealous beaurocrats with
    delusions of gradeur who can't get their OWN affairs in order deciding
    to poke their noses in other people's business...

    They should just keep their 'contributions' to themselves until AFTER
    the UN achieves global peace (which ain't gonna happen until long
    after they've learned to stop squabbling amongst

    It doesn't surprise me that WIPO is involved though...
  • by JoeWalsh ( 32530 ) on Tuesday May 04, 1999 @09:24AM (#1905548)
    Yes, let's put a stop to cyber-squatting. By golly, it's high time someone did something about this.

    Oh, but wait. That list they're putting together probably isn't going to have the name of MY company on it, will it? It's going to have Coca-Cola, Pepsi, KFC, and all the other huge multinationals, plus whichever companies are most favored in the various nations sponsoring this initiative.

    But, hey, those big, favored companies need protection from the little guy, by golly! McDonalds and Microsoft are in real danger from the little guys. Let's expend more resources on helping them out.

    Gosh, I love how things always work out in the best interests of the most vulnerable of the world's constituencies.

  • Remember, the UN were the ones who said "Oh sorry, we didn't realize, this is YOUR Suez Canal. We'll go home now; to hell with Israel".
  • It's not that they don't apply to INTERNATIONAL copyright regulations, but rather that they don't apply to ANY copyright regulations. Congress (Senate) cannot simply evade the constitution by enacting its unconstitutional legislation as a treaty. If the UN decided that countries should amputate the legs of all their citizens, it would still violate the 8th ammendment.

  • Who's going to stop useless, bloated beaurocracies
    from interfering in things THEY are totally
    unrelated to...
  • The answer is neither to overreact nor underreact. No force of law is necessary for this to be devastating to the Internet, if domain name registries comply with the WIPO proposals, and compel their registrants to agree by private legislation (contract) to its terms.

    Anyone who has actually dealt with NSI on a domain name dispute (particularly in their earlier, more ugly days) knows that trademark law has little to do with whether a domain name is placed on hold. You CAN'T HAVE a domain name unless you agree to the terms and provisions of NSI's dispute resolution policy (including indemnification of NSI, by the way), and NSI can do with it as they will, your only recourse being set forth in contract under the policy.

    The WIPO domain name registrars will likely sign on to the policy as a condition of being able to dole out the names, and will enforce the policy upon its registrants. That's as close to law as it needs to be.

    See Professor Froomkin's remarks for examples of how this can hurt you.
  • by werdna ( 39029 ) on Tuesday May 04, 1999 @09:15AM (#1905553) Journal
    I agree with the criticisms about the UN and WIPO overstepping their bounds. However, I disagree with the sense that they cannot do anything harmful, and should be ignored. WIPO policies have been widely adopted, and when adopted by domain name registries, they can become as effective as though they were the law.

    The difference here is that these rules are being promulgated by people accountable to no constituency except, of course, the special interests that sponsored their international activism. (This translates about 95% to large multinationals seeking to end-run enforceability limitations of the U.S. trademark laws.)

    Understanding that it is highly likely that WIPO policies can become domain name dispute resolution policies; and that these policies, if applied, can effectively create quasi-judicial rights in gross for these well-heeled interests that they could not obtain otherwise (often for which the loser probably has no meaningful legal recourse in the courts of any nation) something must be done.

    A few brave souls have been active in fighting the good fight, and have been desperate to get someone, anyone, to get interested enough to chime in and comment. Michael Froomkin at the University of Miami has been one of the leaders. He writes about the details at: []

    I would advise anyone with an interest to get "active." Whatever your thoughts about the propriety of international government, the non-governmental nature of the internet makes it quite vulnerable to this kind of de-facto policy-making, which policy-making can in time become effective as though it were the law.
  • The head of the Dartmouth Review supporting a UN initiative? If people hear about this, they'll think you've gone soft....

    Seriously, though, what would you do if this proposal were made law and somebody else who owns the name Dart Review gets to you before you get to the guy?

  • Hee hee, I forgot the s in and came up with a pornographic postcard site. It was quite a shock for me. I thought, what happened to ABE???

    I think trademark protection is going a bit too far. LM give you an example. I subscribe to a model horse list and a woman made a sculpture of a new type of breed (a type, not a breed, remember)called a Gypsy Vanner Horse. Turns out the guy who came up with the type trademarked the name Gypsy Vanner Horse. He went after the sculptor, who is quite beloved in the MHE community. In the end, the trademark only applied to LIVING horses, and not resin sculptures. But you know, let's not get our panties in a bunch sort of thing...

    It's the same with Barbie. They even trademarked a colour, Barbie Pink. What if you named your kid Barbie, are you infringing on a trademark? (or a dog say, or a horse...there is a horse called Malibu Barbie)

    Heaven help the writer who uses Rollerblading [TM] instead of inline skating (Rollerblade says it has TM's on the words blading, rollerblade, etc, weird stuff) or Velcro [TM] instead of hook and loop fastner.

    While I can understand how these companies don't want their trademarks become a common usage like xerox, it's inevitable...hee hee, my dad's word for any cartoon was Mickey Mouse...even when we were watching The Flintstones :-)

    Sigh, this is going to ramble, but actually Disney was in a bit of trouble a year or so ago when the copyright or whatever on Mickey Mouse expired and he would suddenly be in the public domain, and anyone could make profits on him. I forget how they solved the issue, but what a frightening thought, that your popular culture doesn't even belong to you.

  • I fear that this idea is one that had been concocted by the usual politiciens that have no email address, yet alone used the internet. There are no sane reasons for just stopping people from registering domain names. For example, I own the, rather lame admittedly, [] domain. I have a few hundred visitors a week, nothing much, *but* I do receive a fair amount of mail from strangers asking for help. If this domain was taken over by Hasbros (Who own the Atari trademark) then I doubt very much if this service would still be there. However, if the UN were going to put something through, I would like to see the general hoarding and unuse of domain names stopped. I've know several domain names which I could have made site with to be taken, and when looked up in the whois database, they have no DNS settings... no email then there.
  • What does anyone care what the UN thinks? Last time I checked we (earthlings) hadn't yet agreed to global governance.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling