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The Internet

Henley.com, Reznor.com. Is Your Name Next? 160

Here at Slashdot we tend to get certain things submitted a lot. Big companies going after "The Little Guy", especially regarding domain names seems to be one of them. Sometimes I feel bad for people because they owned trademarked names, but it looks like they are just squatting, but what about your name? Henley.com is being chased by Don Henley (thanks Netizen) and Reznor.com is owned by AJ Reznor being chased by Thomas & Betts. In each case, a person registered the name given to them at birth, but now a corporation wants to take it because they have a trademark. How do you protect your name?
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Henley.com, Reznor.com. Is Your Name Next?

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  • Canada has a similar policy, available at the CA domain registrar [cdnnet.ca]. According to this policy, registrations are given names according to their scope. National organizations can try to register "foo.ca", provincial ones can shoot for "bar.province.ca", and local ones can try for "foobar.town.province.ca". Individuals are assigned a "local" scope and can register "name.city.province.ca".

    This is not 100% cast in stone; a friend registered a national-level domain by getting someone in another province to go in on the application. However, sorting individuals by location makes collisions like the ones in the article less likely to happen. The ".ind" TLD for individuals is a neat idea, but we'd still have a race condition between those of us with common names :-)
    ==================================
    neophase

  • All you ever wanted to know about Renzor Heaters ;p

    The following Was taken from the official unofficial ninfaq version 7.3 [riconnect.com]

    "As a matter of fact, there *is* a connection! The Reznor company was founded in 1888 in (you guessed it!) Mercer, PA by one George Reznor, an ancestor of Trent's. (We don't know the specifics of the relationship, but we think it's his great- or great-great grandfather...) In addition to starting the company, George also invented the original Reznor gas heater, which was one of the first heaters designed for domestic use. To quote the company brochure:

    "Reznor was founded in 1888 to manufacture the 'Reznor' reflective heater, which utilized a luminous flame gas burner developed by George Reznor. This technological breakthrough was an immediate success and hastened the expansion of gas heating in residential and commercial applications. Technological development and innovation have been the hallmark of Reznor through the years."

    (In other words, if not for Trent's family, we'd all be sitting around freezing our butts off and listening to (your choice of lousy band or musician here)...so think of them whenever you're snuggled up in your nice toasty home listening to music while it's freezing cold outside!)

    The Reznor family apparently sold the business to an outside company around World War II (it's currently owned by ITT/Thomas & Betts), but it's still in business today, cranking out various types of heaters and central heating & cooling units, in addition to being the single largest employer in Mercer. (According to the regional representative's secretary, the biggest Reznor customers in Georgia are schools and prisons; the company doesn't really do small-scale domestic heating any more, but a few homes do still have Reznor systems.) The most common places to run into Reznors are restaurants, small stores and boutiques, garages, barns, nightclubs and bars, especially if they're located in an older building or a warehouse-type setting. Most of the heaters you'll see are small-to-medium sized ceiling- mounted, gas-powered units w/a fan in the back, and tend to come in 2 basic styles: (1) silver-toned metal with "REZNOR" in raised letters on the front; and (2) painted metal with a small plaque (or "ratings plate") that says "REZNOR/Mercer, Pennsylvania" bolted onto either the lower front corner or on the side.

    Apparently a Reznor heater plays a prominent role in the Sean Connery/ Nicolas Cage movie The Rock, falling on and squishing one of the actors.

    Probably a bit too much info but hey we only use 10% of our brain anway the other 90%, can hold some of this Mindless BS


    ------------------------------------

  • What if the Don Henley who owns the domain is older than Don Henley the musician?

  • I just went to have a look... wtf is a dropbear? :)

    Well, I have a free subdomain anyway... *.obsidian.darker.net - except it makes people think I'm a goth (nothing wrong with that, I'm just not), as well as my own *.distortedreality.net

  • Even if you want to look at that as a contract...
    You violated it by not having the banner ad up.
    It's his domain, he paid for it.


    There's nothing you can, or even should be able to do.
    Sounds to me like you're whineing because you didn't get your way with these domains.

    I donno why I'm even replying to this. It will just drag out this "Someone else got there and did what I wanted to do first, and I dont like it" thread.
  • This brings up an interesting point. The fact that you are _allowed_ to register any *.com domain. Does this mean that American law should not view whatever.com as being even possible to infringe on a copyright?

    The legaleze seems pretty crap and half-hearted anyway, perhaps why the lawyer didn't reply to Mr Henley's correspondance. It's only about 1 in 5 times that you guess a domain for something famous and it turns out to be right, we'd use search engines, and as Don Henley points out, his is registered as such and has probably had a lot of visitors that had searched for him specifically.

    A phone book lists lots of Don or D Henley's, perhaps they should sue the phone companies for publishing misleading data that aren't really "Don Henley's".
  • I think you'll find every single 'normal' dictionary word (and its plural) as well as every 3 letter combinations has been registered on the .com, .net and .org domains. If you find any that haven't been registered then let me know!
  • Unless you infringe a trademark. Cheaper for Mega Co to pay a few 1000 bucks than take you to court though....
  • I registered my family name as a domain name in Germany: www.koehntopp.de [koehntopp.de]. To protect me from lawsuits, and to offer other people of the same name an opportunity to have their family name as a domain name, I offer free links to homepages and mail aliases for that domain, if they live in Germany and go by the proper family name.

    Some other people I know are doing just the same, even linking companies of that name. Avoids confusion and creates fair access to the name.
  • On the first point, if they do really have operations that legitimately fall under all three TLD classifications, then they should be able to legitimately get domains in all three. As for shell entities, you'll never be able to stop them but you can make them go to the hassle of setting up believable entities. To be honest, I'd add one more rule to DNS, basically 'use it or lose it'. If a domain isn't active, has no active addresses registered under it and has no traffic except to bounce people to another domain, anyone who wants it can use that as grounds to challenge the registration and get it revoked. It won't stop a determined company, but it will raise the bar some.

    As for mis-use, little can be done about that before the fact. I'd say, though, that yes if you mis-use a TLD you should have your registration yanked. If you're a for-profit business operating under a a .org name, ICANN shouldn't be going hunting for you but if anyone complains they should give you a warning to switch to the proper domain or lose your registration.

    That depends on how you organize ICANN. Personally, I'd set it up with enough people in control with enough conflicting interests that it's not feasible to bribe everyone you'd need to bribe. And the foreign law firm would still be seen as the interloper suing the local operation. The idea is to set it up so that anyone making a challenge within the ICANN system would, if the challenge is reasonable, have support within ICANN, but nobody can get enough support to write their own ticket unless they really do deserve it and nobody can try applying pressure from outside through legal maneuvering without hitting exactly the same barriers the big corporations have been using to their advantage to date. And I wouldn't pick a banana republic, but as I said some small South Pacific island where you can literally know everyone in the entire national government. Big law firms don't work against that.

    ICANN isn't entirely set up this way at present, but that can be changed under ICANN rules. And as a US citizen I really have to question whether US law should have any say in how the rather international DNS system is run. I really think that ICANN and such should be outside any one country's laws and staffed by people who are more concerned with the technical than the political/legal aspects. But maybe I'm being overly-idealistic.

  • The problem with this is that most people are for-profit, with a few exceptions such as clergy.
  • The point was that no John Smiths will be trademarked in your subdomain. If there's a big company with it TM'd, then they'd use a COMmercial domain name. I think reznor.com is a perfectly OK site...but the Don Henley one? It's a personal site, and should NOT have a .com address!
  • doh! the url for Strawberries - www.strawberriesonline.com [strawberriesonline.com]
  • Well Reznor is certenly older than trent.
  • http://www.deegan.com/ i think this is related to that guy who squatted on or is squatting on 12,000 plus family names.....he should get www.iama(insert expletive).com----its all about the almighty buck, and its absurb-i check my last name to see if its available and it isnt-and there arent that many of us out there. i hope mr. henley wins,as with mr. reznor. lets have some sanity in an otherwise insane world
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Wouldn't a lot of these problems be avoided if private individuals sought domain names in the appropriate subdomain of .us?

    You've obviously never tried to get a .us domain name. I've registered more than 250 of them in the past 6 years. Each time, it is a pain. A different organization controls each state_name.us domain, and then many more different organizations control the city_name.state_name.us. Then, even more control the organization.city_name.state_name.us names. Of course, first you have to figure-out the organization name scheme. For example co. is "county of" and ci. is "city of". Each state_name.us seems to have made-up their own complicated scheme. For example, I tried to get firesaftey.ci.paloalto.ca.us domain name for the local fire department. I had to trackdown the organization that controls the .ca.us domains to get their permission. Then, paloalto.ca.us, then ci.paloalto.ca.us. After all of that, the city turned down the request for the fire department. Also, I've had existing domains like ci.some_city.ca.us taken from the owning city, because the ca.us dictator didn't like it's content. There are not uniformly enforced rules, so it's next to impossible to obtain and keep a .us domain name. You think NSI is bad? Just wait until you have to deal with some two-bit dictator that considers the whatever.us domain name he owns to be his personal property. In several cases, I've had the appointed whatever.ca.us dictator take customers from me. It's bad when you can't get a domain name, but the dictator (in most cases, an ISP) calls-up your customer (they have that information, because you have to give it to them) and gives them a sales pitch. Atleast NSI doesn't do that.

  • by ryanr ( 30917 ) <ryan@thievco.com> on Wednesday October 06, 1999 @08:38AM (#1634220) Homepage Journal
    Some folks may remember the story here several months ago about theos.com.

    Seems there is a software company called theos, that wanted the domain. Currently, i belongs to Theo De Raadt, leader of the OpenBSD project.

    The short version of the story is that Theo got to keep it, I believe primarily because the software company realized that Theo was more popular than they, and they would be doing themselves PR damage.
  • Actually the Clan McDonald is having serious problems with some sort of fast food restarurant over this issue. Seems that the fast food place doesn't like having other businesses trade under the name McDolands [mcspotlight.org] or even use the prefix "Mc" [mcspotlight.org].
  • You are correct that AnonymousCoward.com is taken, as is iAnonymous.com. However, iCoward.com, eCoward.com, and vCoward.com are all available. (Or were a few minutes ago.)
  • If search engines updated within a reasonable amount of time, it wouldnt be bad... as it, it's hell.
  • In Sweden, everyone have an implicit right to their own names. In fact, The reason that the Furby is called "Furbee" in Sweden is simply that there is a family by the name of Furby who could have sued for copyright infringement on their name if they were offended. And the Furby looking as it does, Mattel didn't want to risk it... :-)


    -- Soon we'll be sliding down the razorblade of life...

  • Indeed.

    Hence schumann.cleveland.oh.us [cleveland.oh.us].

    I don't know what the big fuss is about. The regional domains are for regional use. And .us is a region.

  • In Finland a person is not allowed to register a .fi -domain. Only companies, registered organizations and such are allowed to register domain-names (corresponding to their company name of course). I am not saying this is the way it should be handled, but at least the aforementioned problem could not occur. If I ever want a domain of my own I will have to settle for a .com, .net or .org domain, or maybe I could buy a little island somewhere and have my own TLD :)


    --
    Mikael Riska
  • wtf is a dropbear? :)

    :)

    It's a sort of Australian wierd urban myth thing... horrible frightening snarly bear that falls out of trees and attacks you. Told to tourists in case AU's legendary snakes and spiders don't scare them enough.

    I'd still rather be hypatia.id.au :)
  • your last name was microsoft. Your whole family would probably be sued out of existance. Seriously though, I would think that in that situation you would only lose if you were somehow dilluting the trademark ie: if Mr. Reznor was selling industrial heaters or something else in that market...
  • You can actually apply to be set up like that, if you're willing to admin the subdomain and can justify it...
  • The .com domains will always be fought over, we can't really help that. Money will talk. But there was a proposal a few years back for the top-level domain .ind for "individual" (I think), and I think this is a great idea. We should make it so that no courts could ever have power over certain high-level domains.

    First post ?

    Q-Bert
  • Because geographic orientation is foolish. Society is no longer tied to birthplace these days, except perhaps in backwoods areas. Of course, your solution also fails to address the case of the "John Smiths" out there. Many of us were cursed with common names.
  • As With all things net-ish (is that a word?) the first person in is usually the winner. And seeing as These people have an inherent right to there name the'll get to keep the domains.

    I remeber something a while back with Avery (yah know the labels) not being able to get a domain name for the company.

    I know in Australia, .com.au only goes to businesses, and they have some wierd one for family names


    ------------------------------------

  • You neglect to mention one important fact. The wine is *good* wine! Here is a perfect example of product quality winning out over marketing clout. (Walter "Bully Hill" T. : PepsiCo :: Linux : Win*)
  • .per? .ind? Hello! Can you say "John Smith"? (Am I the only one who sees this obvious aspect?)
  • So what's the reznor.com connection? Is there a Reznor I don't know about?

    The only thing I can think of is Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame (www.nin.com), but I kind of doubt he'd give a damn about some random site bearing his last name (there is a industrial strength heater company bearing the 'Reznor' name, founded by one of his distant relatives, that might have a problem though - a Reznor heater played a large part in 'The Rock', I believe).

    So who is complaining about that domain? 'Thomas and Betts'? Who is that?

    - Darchmare
    - Axis Mutatis, http://www.axismutatis.net
  • So you are proposing the use of an immoral Universal IDentifier that so many of us have been fighting for years? Sheesh!
  • As long as you are either not using your name by way of trade, or in a different (trade) area than than the big company, I think you should be allowed to use your own name. There would obviously be problems for a Mr Ford if he put up a web site on cars, or Ms MacDonald if she went into the food business. Otherwise, if they wanted the domain name they should have registered it before the private individual.
  • The question is, though, how legitimate are the .com claims to .org and .net entities? In my scenerio they're more jusitifications for having the names than real-world entities that accomplish much.

    This is why I suggest just eliminating TLDs alltogether. You can't *possibly* plug the loopholes to stop xyz.com from trying to claim xyz in every possible TLD, and any attempt to will just bureaucratize the registration process so badly as to make it unmanageable.

    You *might* make it work if you required a federal tax ID for every registration and then created the penalty of loss of all registrations for organizations that attempted to acquire more than one identical domain name in other TLDs. Got xyz.com? If you or any other entity you control attempts to get xyz.net or xyz.org then you lose xyz.com. You could even double-check by checking zonefiles for the other xyz.* domains for references to xyz.com or IPs found in xyz.com.

    Or, make it so that 1 xyz registation cost $100 and was good for two years, two cost $100,000 and was good for a year, all three cost $1,000,000 and was good for six months. Although I doubt you could make it expensive enough to thwart major corporations, since many of them have advertising and marketing budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars and they may look at the internet as an important enough marketing tool to justify the expense.

    The extra money should go towards the IETF or some entity that might actually do some good.
  • by Robert Link ( 42853 ) on Wednesday October 06, 1999 @06:11AM (#1634242) Homepage
    Wouldn't a lot of these problems be avoided if private individuals sought domain names in the appropriate subdomain of .us? For instance, in my case, the nation is positively littered with "Robert Link"s, but I am most likely the only one in Charlottesville. Thus, robertlink.com or the like is probably going to be a source of conflict, but I doubt anyone would fight me for robertlink.chr.va.us (or whatever the appropriate subdomain for Charlottesville is).


    We need to get over our .com fever and stop trying to use the DNS as a phone book. It isn't necessary to be able to guess a person or company's name to guess his/its domain name; that's what search engines are for.


    -r

  • Apparently, people don't count in Finland. What do you have to do in Finland to get a domain name in .fi? Form some kind of Corporation? Are people even allowed to do that? How much freedom do people in Finland really have (I know little about it, although I know in Sweden it is a lot less than in the USA). The case is entirely in the USA, so differences in the legal/ethical cultures probably don't apply. It might be a more interesting case when there is a cross-national one.
  • They should not be allowed to use any information you give them about your customer. That's just disgusting behavior. It's no wonder people don't want to mess with such a screwed up system. Maybe if it actually worked it would be an alternative.

  • And when you move from Charlottesville, VA to Portland, OR? Then what? What if there is already a Robert Link in Portland, OR?
  • My last name is Ford, and I thought about registering a domain way, way, back, but I decided it could be more trouble then it'd be worth.
  • You can check this out at www.sumpton.com [sumpton.com], where he's got a listing of all the domain names he owns. You too can have an address @bulldozer.com :)


    -mike kania
  • by thor ( 3901 )
    wouldn't it make sense to require a tax ID to register a .com (commercial) domain?!?

    Likewise, create two new TLD's:
    &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp.inc (incorporated) - requires art. of inc.
    &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp.ind (individual) - no last names

    Also, fees should be commensurate to TLD:
    &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp.inc - $1K/yr
    &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp.com - $500/yr
    &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp.ind - $100/yr

    any thoughts?!?

    thor

    ps. anyone else having probs connecting to /.?!?
  • Bear in mind, all of the domains you mentioned are government subdomains. If I read the comment correctly, the poster was referring to personal subdomains (e.g., last-name.city.state.us). These are handled completely separately from the government ones. For example, in Minnesota, most of .mn.us is administered by a handful of people at MRNet, or at least they were when I inquired before I bought my .cx domain. Furthermore, it would be interesting to hear why you had to deal with .ca.us, .paloalto.ca.us, and .ci.paloalto.ca.us. You should have only had to go to .ci.paloalto.ca.us to get what you wanted (given of course that it existed).
  • Well, giving people in a given geographic location the correct .us address would require a major overhaul of the nic.us.

    In trying to get my name, a few local interest sites and a company name at .charlottesville.va.us, I found that the registrations are handled by hand, rather than thought the InterNIC-esqe automation we all know and hate.

    However, should the nic.us become automated and local governments OK the use of name-based domain names for personal use (at the moment, nic.us infers that you've cleared the domain name *.city.state.us with that city.

    I'll apply as soon as I can to get bugger.charlottesville.va.us, feo2.charlottesville.va.us and maxfenton.charlottesville.va.us. but I doubt those will be approved by nic.us

    As for the big company coming down on the little guy, I have to side with squatters over corporations, digerati over old business. Hell, if I had reznor.com I'd set up a NIN fanpage, at trent.reznor.com, but that's just me.

    --Max
  • Think international. Think impossible to regulate.

    Enough said.

    Matt.

    perl -e 'print scalar reverse q(\)-: ,hacker Perl another Just)'
  • I wholeheartedly agree! Sorry for the brain cramp.
  • When I registered a domain name to use (should I ever be a high-priced consultant) I used PeterArmstrong.com. I obviously couldn't use Armstrong.com (since that's tile flooring, but it could have been cheese), but that didn't bother me since using one's first and last name seems a lot more personal. People whose first and last names have been registered could just add in their middle name or initial or whatever... Until .com loses its sex appeal lots of people will want a .com so that seems to be the best interim solution...
  • They've made it even harder since too many people were taking top-level .ca domains by lying on the application, they now require you to fax the lease papers for the premises you list to prove you qualify.

    A federal incorporation number is the best way to qualify for a .ca.
  • from his third letter to the lawyers:
    "I do, however, insist upon my right to use my own name, even if he uses it too. I had already been Don Henley for seven years when your client was born."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I remember seeing on 60 minutes a while back that McDonalds Corporation was suing a small English hamburger shop called MacDonalds, claiming market confusion -- even though the people were really named MacDonald. McDonalds sued for them to change their name, claiming they had the right to do so because they've used the name as a restaurant for a much longer period of time. Then, some Scot stepped forward to defend the defendants claiming he was the oldest true decendent of the McDonald clan -- and the guy runs a restaurant called McDonald's that's been around for a hundred or so years -- he counter sued McDonalds for misuse of his name. McDonalds Corporation backed off.
  • Here's [attaway.com] what seems to me a squatter on my last name. So, I had to settle for an .org [attaway.org] address. Domain squatters need to rot in hell.
  • You can register a US Domain at http://www.nic.us/ -- they also have all the information that you could possibly want about the .us domain

    If you are not american, you can go to IANA (http://www.iana.org/) to find out the URL of your countries top level domain registrar.

    -abf.
  • I say fuck copyrighting domain names. However took the initiative and registered the name first should in fact be able to rightfully keep it. I'd hate to see this boil down to people copyrighting their own names.
  • I don't even think your are 100% about the very well know names such as McDonalds.

    In the UK we have a chain of greetings card shops called McDonalds it is even written in Yellow and Red (same colours as the burger joint).

    I've heard stories that McDonalds (the burger people) have tried to sue numerous people in the UK for use of their name and lost every single time, why ? It is the one the most common Scottish names for goodness sake and people are allowed to use their family name as the trading name for their buisness.

    Also remember the case recently (I think it was posted to /.) that Microsoft was trying to sue a UK supermarket chain (Asda I think) for selling ladies undergarments using the brand name Microsoft; the court ruling was that there was no way computer software and ladies underwear could be confused.
  • I just don't understand the logic (or rather the lack thereof) on the part of these companies. If reznor.com is taken, look at reznorheaters.com or something along those lines. It's effective to customers, and saves on legal fees. If you really HAVE to have reznor.com, work with the owner. See if you can buy it. See if you can strike a deal where you'll pay to host their pages for a year, and include a pointer and keep their mail bouncing to the new address for a year or three.

    A company that I used to work for took this approach on a domain we wanted and it worked wonderfully. Cost us $10,000 plus another two grand in hosting fees. $12,000 is about what, 24 hours of time for legal counsel? Much, much cheaper AND we didn't upset the current owner and risk the associated bad press.

  • Simply what's needed is some concerete rules, regardless of who is in charge, Internic or a type of 'name government group'. The problem with 'on our own discression' without some sort of laws or rules that can clear up what is kosher and what is not. What could be written since it happens so much is 'first come, first serve'... .unfortunately, there isn't anything concerete.

    Makes you wonder if Internic isn't really afraid of the bigger companies when judging these things....

    -sporty
    rolling cows gather no moss

  • It would seem to me that domain names are equivalent to street names: if I open up a hamburger shop on "McDonald's Ave." nobody would ever claim that I am infringing upon somebody's trademark and that I should move my company. However, this is exactly what people are suggesting for domain names. Saying domain names are somehow "rightfully" owned by somebody other than the entity who purchased them is as absurd as saying that McDonalds owns all the property surrounding its resturants, even if it never bothered to purchase it.

    Domain names are a limited resource, and hence obey supply and demand.

    There are a couple of ways this system could work, the simplest being what we currently have: first come first served. This FCFS system is effectively treating domain names like land property -- whoever owns the land controls how it is used, regardless of whether or not somebody else could use it "better" (a subjective and essentially meaningless term). With this mindset, it is totally absurd to even suggest that somebody else could "claim" a domain that they don't own (minus the government, of course) -- it would be like McDonald's claiming to own the property next to it's resturants, or claiming to own all the land that is on all roads named "McDonald", "McDonald's", "MacDonalds", etc. I understand that it's important for companies to protect their trademarks, but the location of their business (their domanin name is merely a convenient, easy to remember name for their business location -- like saying "the corner of 5th and 7th") is completely unrelated to this.

    Now, some may say "But some companies name themselves based upon their location: Amazon.com, EBay.com, etc." This works just fine as long as you own the location -- it would be like me naming my resturant "5th and 7th". However, if I name my business as such *before* purchasing the land, and it turns out that somebody else owns that land, I have no claim upon it.

    By saying that companies somehow own all the land associated with their name, it is yet another way that The System is biased toward the large corporations over the small companies. First we must recognize that none of what we talk about is handed to us from God or written in stone -- there are no intrinsic Rights involved. As such, whatever we say you "can" and "cannot" do is purely fictional, and purely up to us to decide. We can decide to create a system that doesn't make any sense and ends up benefiting only those people that can pay enough in legal fees to keep the issue so clouded up that it will never be resolved, or we can choose to make a system that is simple and self regulating. By saying that trademark owners somehow have implicit Rights concerning domain names, we have a system that is chaotic and totally subjective -- there is no objective way to measure who is "right". If, on the other hand, we create system where domain names are owned by a single entity, there is no fuzziness to the issue, and we can objectively ask "Who owns this Domain Name", an it can be resolved without conflict or bias by looking at the deed.

  • Unlimited TLDs eliminates squatting by making it infinitely expensive to register all combinations of algoresucks.*

    This doesn't fix squatting. It simply shifts the period. There would still be legal battles over popular TLDs, like *.sucks

    Now, how hard would it be to implement and manage infinite TLDs? Not that hard.

    This would be harder than you think. The root name servers are not designed to be very dynamic. Also, lots of apps (and firmware) have fixed ideas of what the TLDs are. I guess this would give all the Y2K programmers something to work on next year :)

  • That would be a good idea, except that would create too many possibilities. A domain name is used because it's easy to remember. Otherwise why have one? With all those possible variations, a company would get stuck with a name that no one new. .com is engrained in America's mind, and that's the first thing they think off when they type in an address. I know when I first heard about Slashdot, I tried slashdot.com first, then slashdot.net, and finally slashdot.org. And under your proposed idea, it might be slashdot.linuxnerds or something. And I'd have never guessed that. I guess a company could market it good enough (come to amazon.books!) but it won't be the first thing that someone has in mind when they type in an address.
  • New TLDs won't help much. Everyone wants a .com.

    Even if you create .web, .mag, etc.. That will mostly serve the registrars. Folks like myself who register domains for my company will have to register the new ones as a protection mechanism, even if we don't want to. If we don't, we have to go through the trademark dispute process, which isn't any fun. It's much cheaper to pay for the new domains.

    The country TLDs are only of interest to foreigners (of that TLD's country) if they happen to spell out something cute like the .to domain. That, or folks like me who have to register company.* again for protection reasons. Not all countries have a trademark dispute, or even have trademarks!

  • My First MI AND Last are all taken.
    Personaly i think whom ever registers a domain name forst gets it .
    Just like owning any other resource a company may want.
    If you thought some big company is going to want something and you could sell it to them for a profit, you probably would.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Common words can be trademarked, but it can be difficult to defend these trademarks. Unless the earth.com website was being used to sell shoes, they wouldn't be able to do anything about it (Earth Shoes dropped the lawsuit, but are threatening to sue again). The same thing goes for common names. A company can't prevent you from using your own name, but they can still try to sue them - many people just give in because they don't have the money to defend themselves.
  • by Pariah ( 88204 ) on Wednesday October 06, 1999 @12:15PM (#1634281)
    A while ago, I saw a feature story on an evening news show about a restaurant in Scotland called McDonald's. The McDonalds company sued to make the owner change the name, which turned out to be a mistake because the owner was THE McDonald of Clan McDonald, and Scottish law is pretty biased toward his side. McDonalds (the company) backed down pretty quick when they realized he had the power to force THEM to change the name of all their fast food joints (in Scotland), if he so choose.
  • Just enforce the rules on TLD usage. You're a commercial operation? Any application for a .org name will be denied automatically. Not providing network services to others? Forget getting a .net domain name. Not operating commercially ( eg. an individual or non-profit organization )? No .com for you. Just because the corporations want to pollute the DNs doesn't mean we have to let them. And just to make it harder, put ICANN outside the United States, maybe on one of those South Pacific islands who don't care about politics as long as your checks clear. Let the corporations sue in a country where they're the interlopers and the people they're suing are the locals.

  • Your exatly right.

    I got mine. Grennan.com

  • I looked into registering my name as a .us domain several years ago. The irritating thing about .us domains is that they are geographically organized. I may live in chi.il.us right now, but next month I could move to nyc.ny.us. In this event I'm either saddled with a domain that is long, cluttered, and doesn't even reflect reality, or I'm forced to change my domain name, only to quite possibly find someone else in the nyc.ny.us domain already has it.

    Most other nations (e.g. .uk, .au, .nl, .de) have wisely avoided this, either by subdomaining themselves along the "com", "edu", etc. heiarchy (e.g. co.uk) or by simply allowing more flexible domains beneath the national domain. I took advantage of this to get "jean.nu", though "jean.personal.us" or even "jean.liddle.private.us" would have been fine with me as well. "jean.chi.il.us" (even if it were still available) becomes really irritating when I've moved to nyc.ny.us. Of course, one could continue this rant forever, discussing the lack of relevance geography has with respect to the internet and the World Wide Web in the first place, but perhaps this is enough to communicate the reason why some (many?) of us aren't all that enthralled with the .us domain, even though the price is right ...
  • Seems to me this has already been decided in a few court cases. There are a bunch of people right now registering every domain name they can think of, then reselling them for (requesting bids at upwards of 1 million) big bucks. No one can or has stopped them. The biggest thing I would face, if I could get "www.rollingstones.com" before they (the band or the mag) got it, would be continued harassment by someone, but all in all, i think it is perfectly legal, because you are not using that name to promote or associate yourself with them.. just to have the name. Otherwise you would be forced to pay a royalty every time you wrote, or spoke those names, wouldnt you? As for Trent.. quit being a weenie.. you already HAVE nothing.nin.com or whatever it is..
  • I personally don't like the idea of a domain name corresponding to its physical location. I don't want to need to change my domain name if I move. Thats the reason I bought it. Its a level of abstraction that separates the address from its location. Plus, having my own address makes it really easy for people to remember my email and web addresses.

    This goes true for businesses. If a company does most of its business through the web, they want their customers/users to be able to find it easily. Using a search engine is actually a complicated step for a large percentage of the computer user population. The way most businesses look at it, if they don't have a nice domain name, they will lose customers due to them not being able to find the place.

    The way DNS is currently used is exactly its orginal intent. Name services were developed to give those non-sense IP numbers some kind of human readable relevance. If we went with search engines to do all of our reference lookups, we don't need DNS. We could do just fine with plain ol' 192.168.113.17. If you think about it, what is DNS really? Its a lookup, a basic search engine.

    As for using the .us top level domain. Sure, we could start doing that, as soon as they allow us to register those. It seems that the US government is trying to reserve those domains for its public schools.

    I think the domain name thing should be a first-come first-serve system, as long as the person/entity that has the domain registered is actually using (as opposed to squatting). I would be pissed of some corp came a long and tried to strip my domain from me.
  • All this is just pointing out the inadequacy of the way DNS is currently being used to categorize different types of names. There needs to be some kind of way to distinguish between the Real Names of legal entities, as well as "trademarks" that entities might "own".

    BTW, does it seem wrong to anybody else that a entities which have no corporeal existence (corporations, for example) have more rights than real individuals?
  • The need for a new way of registering domains is enormous. Just think.... how many domains have been registered in just the past three years? How many domain name disputes have there been? Now if we are to continue use this system, how in the world will the internet support all of the domains registered in the next 10 years? Will names have to become enormous, for instance johnsmithdiamondsofvirginia.com?

    On a side note, I've heard of an interesting way to deal with internet porn: let porn be allowed on sites with a .prn domain, but not anywhere else. This will allow it to exist, but will also allow parents and anybody else concerned (libraries, etc) an easy way to block it. If it is ever found elsewhere, it could be shut down. Of course this gets into the issue of defining what porn *is* exactly, but let's leave that for later......... =)

  • The Swedish view of domain names (by nic.se) goes something like this:

    "ÖÖööö, umm, like, this Inter-net thing, ööööm ummm, like companies, öööö, extort individuals, ööööö, yeah, like, öööö, we are imcompetent bastards, öööö, we don't know shit of what we are doing ,öööö, we have to work less if ,öööö, we just um only let companies have, ööö, domain names."

    "Anyone on for a little corruption and golf after lunch?"

    (the swedish letter 'ö' is pronounced like a long 'uh' btw.)

    -
    /. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.
  • Not to mention that Slashdot isn't a nonprofit organization, and freshmeat isn't a network provider.
  • No matter how many new domains they come up with I'm never going to get to use my last name.....It sucks too, cuz there are only about 1500 people who share this name on the entire planet!!! I share my last name (Delaware)with a state, a river, two universities, several cities and counties and tons of companies in my area (I live very close to the state, river and one of the counties)!!! They really need to force people to stay within the domain they should be in....ie .com for COMMERCIAL only etc....
  • Do you need to RDNS to foo.prn as well?
  • You can't seriously be suggesting that MailBank [mailbank.com] is a squatter.

    For those just tuning in, MailBank is a company that buys second level domain names, and rents third level namespace under that (e.g. if they own smith.com, they can rent out john.smith.com and the john@smith.com email address).

    By buying yourname.com, you're explicitly preventing every other person with that name from getting some nice-sounding namespace of their own. The folks at MailBank aren't humanitarians, but at least it's democratic--they allow many people to share parts of the namespace that would have otherwise been hogged by a single buyer.

    One could conceivably make the case that you're the "squatter," preventing other people with your last name from acquiring some decent namespace (after all, what gives you the right to essentially declare yourself the preeminent holder of your last name?)
  • I want my phone number to follow me for life, too. Having to change all of your personal contact information just because you move is a bogus hack.

    The fact that my phone number indicates where I live is silly, since someone who's phoning me doesn't really care where I am physically. In fact, since I only have a cel phone, I'm often not even in my area code.

    Right now there's a proposal before the CRTC (Canadian equivalent of the FCC) to allow cel phone users to keep their numbers when they switch companies. It's probably not going to go through because of the technical issues involved, but it would be really cool if it did.

    I want to have one email address, one domain name and one phone number for the rest of my life.

    (Having one postal address would be cool, too. Some sort of meta address which is mapped to your physical address by the post office.)

    /peter
  • I have the domain slumberland.seattle.wa.us, registered after NSI shut off my old domain, slumberland.com, in a domain name dispute with Slumberland Furniture. (I wasn't "domain-squatting" -- the domain was the name of my BBS, and at the time I got the domain name, Slumberland wasn't trademarked in the US -- not only that, they don't do business in my part of the US, so I didn't know they existed.) Anyway, the dispute has been satisfactorily settled, and I now have slumberland.org -- but I still use slumberland.seattle.wa.us most of the time when I am filling out forms on the web.

    Why would I use the longer, harder to type, more confusing domain name?

    Easy. In 2 years of having slumberland.seattle.wa.us, I've only gotten 2 or 3 spams to that address. (The first one was in June. The address was spam free for more than a year!) This is even though I have my address on my web page.

    My other addresses such as my business addresses, started getting spammed almost immediately after being set up, and now they get a deluge -- but my slumberland.seattle.wa.us address is immune. (Email to my old slumberland.com address gets forwarded to me, and it's 98% spam now as well.)

    Recently I was looking at one of the spams that my other addresses get -- a spam to sell bulk email addresses. I noticed that the spam said something to the effect of "Our addresses are high quality -- we've weeded out all .gov, .mil, and .us addresses so you get 100% .com and .net addresses!"

    A-HA! :) I think I'll keep using the .us address for a while. Free and nearly spamproof? Sounds good to me.
  • I'd agree lots: just because something is American, it doesn't necessarily deserve a .com address. We have .us for American stuff, and it's *high* time that got enforced. That'd clean-up .com no end.
    Second, people putting their names as .com domains seem to be selling their soul a bit - I am not a commercial entity, and hope never to be "for sale". (In much the same way as, say, microsoft.com is a company, selling "stuff", and theoretically open for potential sale as an entity - I'll never want PigleT.com on the same grounds!).

    Roll on IPv6 with a *new* domain name scheme, I say.

    I'd agree that either the US' justice system is screwy, and with you point about corporeality though. If it doesn't *exist*, who cares how much it's worth?
  • Why exactly is squatting bad? People buy property around cities not because they want to develop it, but because they think it will be valuable to other people that may want to develop it. Is this "squatting" as well, and is it bad? If not, how is it different than Domain Names?
  • at least Nate won't have to worry about a corportation trying to get his site. who would want oostendorp.net anyway? >=D
  • Actually in AU to register a .com.au you need to register a business name. Since these are all supposed to be unique, there should be no problems (in theory).
    But as for me, I've got a .cx [www.nic.cx] domain so I hope no-one will bother me there.
  • Here in Australia they don't let anyone register a domain in the wrong area. You must be a registered business to get a .com.au, a registered network provider (eg isp) to get a .net.au (and there is someones overlap between the last two), or a registered not-for-profit organisation to get a .org.au.

    For individual names, they have .id.au, which is split up further into names like dropbear.id.au, wattle.id.au, and others. Each one of these subdomains has its own policies as to what they allow and disallow. Some charge, some don't.

    This system isn't bad, I guess you could do worse.

    http://www.id.au/id-au.html [www.id.au] for more info.
  • One thing I will never understand is why so many non-commercial sites insist on a ".com" domain name. Most recently, I discovered my township has a web site - www.yourtaxdollarsatwork.COM. Jeez!

    You'll never understand it? Don't be so hard on yourself. When you type "blahblahblah" into your browser (and there's no machine of that name in your local domain), where's the first place your browser looks for it? Since the world has unfortunately been conditioned that most websites use "www." and ".com" as universal quotation marks, it's natural to just put your site's distinctive name right in the middle.

  • Or lucky, patient bird gets the worm.


    I got my domain when i saw that it had gone on hold, so i waited and waited and the minute it became available i snatched it up. This was a couple years ago; i reckon most four-letter common english word domains have been grabbed by those domain clearinghouses.


    every once in awhile i get email from clueless people with aol addresses asking for a subscription to jane magazine.

  • In Australia, they have a subdomain called .id.au for individual IDs... have only very rarely seen it used though.
  • by substrate ( 2628 ) on Wednesday October 06, 1999 @06:28AM (#1634305)
    As long as you're not violating trademark law or extorting somebody domain names should be first come first serve. If an individual registers their surname as a domain name first its theirs, if a company registers their trademark as a domain name first its theirs. If somebody (a corporation, an individual or whatever) registers a domain name which is somebodies trademark and uses it to compete against them then the registrants rights to the domain name should be terminable.

    Basically the way it should work comes down to a simple concept: Play fair. The way it presently works is also a simple concept: Carry the biggest stick.
  • In France I think everyone has full ownership of its name, which means you can call your business with your name and can't be sued even if it is a tradermark. I dunno how this would stand in a trial over a .com domain name, because the trial would take place in US with different trademarks laws. What a legal mess !
  • If I was a domain name squatter, I would look in a phone book, for people with the last name of the company I was going to poach the domain name from. Therefore, I would at least have a chance at winning a lawsuit, and could probably make a cut of the money if the domain name was sold. Just a potential way for cyber squatters to make money.
  • There is a slight problem when you move though. I have a personal domain, for example, lerdorf.on.ca, but now that I no longer live in Ontario, Canada, it is a bit silly.

    -Rasmus
  • by Follansbee ( 99248 ) on Wednesday October 06, 1999 @06:38AM (#1634310)
    Some years ago, I had a brief acquaintance with a man named Walter Taylor. His family founded the Taylor Wine Company in Hammondsport New York, which was purchased by Pepsi-Cola. They manipulated the law, permitting them to import Algerian wine by the railroad car, and mix it with the legal minimum of New York state grapes and called the resulting garbage "Taylor" New York State wine. Walter founded the Bully Hill Vineyards, which is a small estate bottled wine in Hammondsport. Although he never attempted to use his name in conjunction with the product, Pepsi sued to prevent him using his name anywhere on the bottle. They won; the also lost. Walter's next wine was called "Goat White Wine" and featured an original woodcut of his on the lable of a goat sticking out his tongue. The label read, "they can take my heritage they can take my name but they cant get my goat!" and was signed "Mr. X, the Secret Proprietor of Bully Hill Vineyards." Such is reality.
  • by Amokscience ( 86909 ) on Wednesday October 06, 1999 @06:39AM (#1634311) Homepage
    People are in the mindset of lastname identity.
    Heh, the same last name you share with countless relatives and strangers.

    There should be a new internet domain hierarchy for family domains, personal web pages, etc (didn't this happen a while ago?). That should fix part of the problem.

    I'm really surprised people haven't thought about fixing the problem instead of the symptoms. The web lends itself to hierarchical organization and this isn't taken advantage of as much as it should.

    Now for the people who use some big companies name for their website and run some sort of commercial venture... you're on your own. It's part of business to research before you step into possible legal troubles. Counterpoint: you're a big enough company to go after a domain name withlegal muscle... how come you didn't do that a long time ago? You missed the boat.

    That said, I also would like to see the littles guys treated as equally as the big companies.

    (And squatting is a no-no.)
  • I tried looking for stephenson.com and stephenson.net a while back. Several companies have beaten me to them. In fact, one of those companies hosts my personal web site at jason.stephenson.net.

    The whole domain name thing is a real mess. We need to come up with something completely different.
  • Let's see the corps try and stop that! From there I my son can legally get personalized licensed plates, pencils, phone book listings, etc. Muhahahaha!!
  • It appears that the real problem is that we are
    using domain names as a phonebook, or as a lookup.
    We just have too many repeating names, for example,
    who should get diamond.com? Diamond MultiMedia,
    the jewler's association, or one of the thousand other
    companies with diamond in the name?
    Even if we used a .ind for individuals, there are thousands
    of people in the country with the same name as me, how do we resolve that?
    Perhaps we should be civil and let everyone with a rational reason to need the domain name share it and have an index on that (page), then split off into sub-domains.
    There are already a number of sites that do something similar.
  • One of the big problems with this type of suit is the excessive financial burden of defense. Whether the person wins or not, they typically still have to pay their legal bills.

    There have been some high-profile successes against companies in the past (ajax.org, veronica.org, avery.net/dennison.net, etc.), but far more common is the silent, unpublicized acquiescence to business interests. When the defendent is a non-profit interest like ajax.org or veronica.org, public pressure can help avoid the need for a costly legal defense, as when Colgate-Palmolive dropped their suit for ajax.org after receiving a petition from slashdotters.

    But for-profit interests don't have it so easy, and there are hundreds of cases currently under dispute or litigation. I've chatted with defendents in the midst of lawsuits whose legal bills are in the $30,000-$50,000 range, with stacks of depositions and other legal papers measuring a meter or two in height. These aren't surname domains, but would normally be considered generic phrases or business names; see http://www.goofoff.com [goofoff.com] for one example (a chemical company, Lilly Industries, has a trademark for a product called "Goof Off.")

    When "victory" means paying $100,000 to keep using the domain name you already "own," accepting defeat from the start is the most attractive option for many individuals and small businesses.
  • by nphinit ( 36616 )
    Dude, you can imagine how I feel.
    I wanted to register my last name, but this computer company I've never heard of already has it. It totally stinks.

    Jonathan Apple
    aka
  • It seems to me that these problems wouldn't be an issue if people would register domains as they should. The big three top-level domains were created with a specific purpose/market in mind. .com should be registered for corporations and for-profit endevours (.com as in company). .org should be registered or organizations - non-profit, big-name organizations (like the American Cancer Society, Red Cross, etc), as well as the Triange Area Spider Silk Knitting Circle. .net are for network providers - ISPs and those they provide for.

    If people would register like this, it would make life far less confusing. As well, it would be nice if people *could* easilly register their local area domain name (ie: mur.rdu.nc.us) or even better, an individual or personal top-level domain address (mur.ind or mur.per or mur.tmd - this is my domain) which was specifically designed for personal web pages. Now, if they did something like this, they cold even stratify domain registration fees depending on the top-level domain you want - .org and .per(.ind, whatever) would be less expensive (or free, provided you keep up the paperwork), while .com and .net could be more expensive - which companies could afford to pay because they save all the money they're spending now going around suing people for domain names/trademark infringement!
  • I registered and have been using the name easel.com in good faith; now a company that makes an "easel" line of clothing is disputing my rights to it. Their prior trademark on the word "easel" involves clothing, my site contains art and a children's advent calendar. Does this make sense? More info at easel.com [easel.com]
  • This is where I found info:

    http://www.isi.edu/in-notes/usdnr/
  • by Ticker ( 79929 ) on Wednesday October 06, 1999 @06:53AM (#1634357) Homepage
    IANAL, but my father is.

    My understanding is that trademarks typically only apply to the specific trade that it is associated with. For example, you might be able to use the term "FooBars", even if it's trademarked by a certain company, if the context you're using it in doesn't create confusion.

    There are sometimes exceptions on very well known trademarks like "McDonalds". But I don't think that "Henley" or "Reznor" are very well known trademarks. I've never heard of either of them before.

    Besides, these people have a legal right to use their names, unless their name happens to be McDonald and they're using it in the CONTEXT OF A TRADEMARK. The Henley site is a personal site. The Reznor site appears not to be, but I honestly don't think that matters because I doubt that Reznor is selling the same thing as whatever it is that Thomas & Betts sells.

    I guess these companies are just hoping that the people won't be able to afford a lawyer to defend the proper use of their names.

FORTRAN is not a flower but a weed -- it is hardy, occasionally blooms, and grows in every computer. -- A.J. Perlis

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