ICA Counsel Philip Corwin has been asked to speak at “ICANN and Global Internet Governance: The Road to São Paulo, and Beyond”, a program being held on Friday, March 21st in Singapore just before the start of the first ICANN meeting of the year. The full day program is being sponsored by ICANN’s Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC). Corwin will be a member of the day’s first panel discussion, focused on “Setting the Scene: Overview of Recent Agenda-Setting Initiatives”. Other panelists include ICANN Board member George Sadowsky.
Number one domain name registrar GoDaddy has been hit by another trademark infringement lawsuit.
Earlier this month GoDaddy failed in its efforts to recuse U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins from presiding over a case brought against it by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[i] The litigation alleges that GoDaddy committed cybersquatting trademark infringement when it “parked” more than 100 AMPAS-related domains, including oscarlist.com, academyawardz.com and academyawardsinc.com.
Controversy continues to build in Washington, DC regarding an online campaign against Democratic candidates for the House being conducted by the National Republican Campaign Committee. As just reported by National Journal, the NRCC recently adjusted the arguably misleading series of websites and “changed the donation page to make clearer to potential contributors that their money wasn't going to the smiling Democrats pictured but instead to the Republicans”.
A German court has reached the rather startling conclusion that a domain registrar can be held responsible for alleged copyright infringement at a website even though its only contact with it was to perform the original domain registration.
While it took three months, ICANN recently responded to the Business Constituency’s fall 2013 letter raising questions about the UDRP Status Report issued the day after the conclusion of the July 2013 Durban ICANN meeting. In a key clarification, ICANN’s response concedes that the Report does not predetermine the outcome of UDRP reform efforts slated to begin in spring 2015 -- stating, “As with all PDP recommendations, ICANN would follow the Bylaws in how those recommendations are considered and implemented…the Status Report was not intended to cause any confusion or supplant any future community discussion on the issue of ICANN’s relationships with UDRP providers.”
The Internet Commerce Association and the Domain Name Association will be represented together at a Breakout Panel Session during the NamesCon domain industry conference slated to take place next week in Las Vegas. ICA Counsel Philip Corwin and DNA Executive Director Kurt Pritz will be the two speakers at “Your Voice in the New Marketplace: TheDNA.org and ICA -- Promoting the adoption of domain names and being heard in Domain Name rules, policy, standards and governance” taking place at 11:05 – 11:50 am on Wednesday, January 15th in Room C at the Tropicana Hotel. We congratulate the NamesCon organizers for hosting a sold-out event that has reached full capacity of 450 attendees. And, after seven years as the sole trade association dedicated to DNS issues, we welcome the DNA to the fray – while we expect some overlap in membership, the two organizations are more complimentary than competitive although there may well be issues on which we can work cooperatively.
Brazil Decides that Governments and IGOs will Constitute Half of Total Stakeholders at Sao Paulo MSM Meeting
Details are starting to emerge about the Brazilian meeting on Internet Governance scheduled to take place in Sao Paulo this coming April, and they make it clear that the Brazilian host is in firm control and that governments and UN-affiliated International Governmental organizations will make up half the participants – with all the other business, technical, academic and civil society stakeholders sharing the other half. That seems pretty unbalanced for a meeting that has been characterized by some as focused on reinforcing support for the multistakeholder model (MSM) in general and ICANN in particular.
ICA Supports GNSO Resolution on IGO/INGO Protections – But the UN, NATO, WIPO and Interpol Oppose It
Yesterday ICA filed a letter that generally supported the GNSO Council’s recent and unanimously adopted Resolution on Protections for International Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations (IGOs & INGOs). In particular, while supporting strong protections for exact matches of their full names at the top and second level of the DNS, we were pleased that the Resolution did not grant undue protections to acronyms of their names, and did not put existing acronyms at incumbent gTLDs at unreasonable risk.
But it turns out that ICA was the only organization to file a supportive comment in the initial comment round (the reply period is now open until January 8th) – and that the UN has coordinated a flood of letters (found at http://forum.icann.org/lists/comments-igo-ingo-recommendations-27nov13/), all protesting that the Resolution does not go far enough to protect those acronyms. Besides the UN, such organizations as NATO, WIPO (which is a UN agency), and Interpol say it doesn’t do enough to prevent potential misuse of those acronyms, especially at new gTLDs.
Deloitte, the ICANN-appointed operator of the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), has unilaterally decided that the complainant services side of the Trademark Claims Service will operate for an indefinite period, rather than the required 90-day period set by the consensus agreement of ICANN stakeholders regarding the implementation of new gTLD rights protection measures (RPMs).
This decision is strikingly wrong and extremely worrisome for multiple reasons:
It was made without community consultation or ICANN public approval and announced in a completely non-transparent manner (in fact, it wasn’t really announced at all, but leaked to a few domain industry publications).
It effectively encourages rights holders to file UDRP or URS actions against innocent and uninformed registrants who received no warning that their new gTLD domain name matched an entry in the TMCH database.
It sets a precedent that the CEO of the TMCH says may be the basis for offering a similar and possibly expanded service covering domain registrations at .Com and other incumbent gTLDs – possibly as early as Spring 2014!
On December 4th the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that will reverberate for years to come in cybersquatting cases brought under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). While the Court’s declaration that “the ACPA does not provide a cause of action for contributory cybersquatting” is important in itself, its dicta regarding the history of the ACPA – finding that “Congress did not incorporate the common law of trademark, including contributory infringement, into the ACPA” – will likely have broad future repercussions.