ICA DEEPLY CONCERNED WITH  PROPOSAL TO ENABLE  DOMAIN TRANSFERS BASED UPON COPYRIGHT CLAIMS

On Wednesday, our fellow trade association, the Domain Name Association (DNA), announced the rollout of its “Healthy Domains Initiative” (HDI).  The ICA joins the DNA in seeking solutions for stopping online abuse.  However, the ICA is particularly concerned  about its proposed remedy to combat online copyright infringement.

The HDI proposes to establish a “Copyright ADRP” with the power to order the transfer of domain names on the basis of claims of copyright infringement.   This proposal would establish a new unregulated private legal dispute system for domain names involving claims of copyright infringement outside of any ICANN-mandated legal rights protection mechanisms (RPMs).  It would also likely slam the door shut on the growing and legitimate practice of licensing and leasing domain names with no trademark issues.  Nevertheless, the .Org registry operator, Public Interest Registry (PIR), has already announced its intent to soon launch its own such “Copyright ADRP” that would award domain names to prevailing copyright claimants.

This is a deeply troubling development as ICANN has up to now been the sole source of all  domain name related RPMs that can result in domain transfer or suspension at gTLDs.  The ICA is concerned that such a development outside of the ICANN multi-stakeholder, community-based consensus model, without public consultation, effectively circumvents ICANN’s established role and obligations, and may lead to private companies electing to force their own private legal regimes on Internet users and domain name registrants.

Unilateral actions, such as those proposed by the DNA and  PIR, should not be undertaken on an ad hoc, commercial basis, outside of the ICANN framework.  ICANN must not abrogate its primary responsibility to provide the policy framework for its contracted parties.

The ICA will be closely examining the HDI and PIR proposals, and will be actively engaged in opposing any unilateral actions which purport to impose private legal systems upon public resources outside of the ICANN community-based framework.

For more information visit http://www.internetcommerce.org/dna-unveils-hdi-with-copyright-udrp/

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