Recently in Domain Names Category

COICA

In the lame duck session, Congress may take further action on S.3804 Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, a bill that would give the federal government broad powers over internet domain names and blocking internet traffic in order to prevent the infringement of copyrighted works.

While the US government is opposed to other countries regulating speech online, Congress is willing to consider a measure that would allow the US to do the same.

Juliana Gruenwald, Tech Daily Dose, Senate Judiciary Backs Online Piracy Bill: "The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Thursday aimed at cracking down on online piracy and counterfeiting with a particular emphasis on rogue foreign websites."

Peter Eckersley, Electronic Frontier Foundation: The Case Against COICA, "COICA gives the government dramatic new copyright enforcement powers, in particular the ability to make entire websites disappear from the Internet if infringement, or even links to infringement, are deemed to be 'central' to the purpose of the site. Rather than just targeting files that actually infringe copyright law, COICA's 'nuclear-option' design has the government blacklisting entire sites out of the domain name system -- a reckless scheme that will undermine global Internet infrastructure and censor legitimate online speech."

Center for Democracy and Technology The Dangers Of S. 3804: Domain Name Seizures And Blocking Pose Threats To Free Expression, Global Internet Freedom, And The Internet’s Open Architecture "Copyright infringement is a serious problem, and CDT harbors no sympathy for websites whose primary purpose is to enable widespread violation of copyright and other intellectual property rights. But methods embraced by S. 3804, the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act,” would mark a sea change in U.S. policy towards the Internet. In particular, U.S. government action to seize domain names and to direct Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block government-blacklisted sites would set dangerous precedents with serious consequences for free expression, global Internet freedom, and the Internetʼs open and global architecture."

Law Professors’ Letter in Opposition to S. 3804 "The Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to consider a bill that, if enacted, will have dangerous consequences for free expression online and the integrity of the Internet's domain name system, and will undermine United States foreign policy and strong support of Internet freedom abroad."

An Open Letter From Internet Engineers to the Senate Judiciary Committee: "We are writing to oppose the Committee's proposed new Internet censorship and copyright bill. If enacted, this legislation will risk fragmenting the Internet's global domain name system (DNS), create an environment of tremendous fear and uncertainty for technological innovation, and seriously harm the credibility of the United States in its role as a steward of key Internet infrastructure. In exchange for this, the bill will introduce censorship that will simultaneously be circumvented by deliberate infringers while hampering innocent parties' ability to communicate."

-sucks dot com

"The noncommercial use of a trademark as the domain name of a website — the subject of which is consumer commentary about the products and services represented by the mark — does not constitute infringement under the Lanham Act." Bosley Medical Institute v. Kremer (9th Cir., Apr. 4, 2005).

See also: Noncommercial use of BOSLEY MEDICAL trademark as domain name does not constitute infringement:

In a decision released April 4, 2005, the Ninth Circuit has affirmed the district court's determination in Bosley Medical Institute, Inc. v. Kremer that the registration by defendant of the domain name bosleymedical.com did not constitute infringement of plaintiff's BOSLEY MEDICAL trademark. The court remanded the matter for further proceedings, however, on plaintiff's Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) claim, as the district court improperly required a showing of commercial use of the domain name as necessary to sustain an anticybersquatting claim.

Eric Goldman: Bosley Medical Institute v. Kremer--Victory for Gripers

Many courts have upheld gripers’ rights so long as do not use TM.com, so this case could be a turning point for letting gripers pick a domain name of choice. The court disagreed with the PETA v. Doughney case on the argument that registering TM.com blocks customers of the TM owner from obtaining the TM owner’s goods, because in this case the bosleymedical.com site was, indeed, about Bosley Medical. The court limits the doctrine to situations where the domain name registrant offers competing services.

iTunes UK domain name dispute

BBC News reports: Legal row over iTunes domain name:

Benjamin Cohen, 22, registered itunes.co.uk in 2000, but earlier this month the UK domain name registry, Nominet, handed the name over to Apple.

Mr Cohen, of Hackney, east London, has applied to the High Court for a judicial review, saying Nominet is biased against small businesses.

But Nominet say legal experts found Mr Cohen was abusing his registration.

The body's judgement, dated the 10 March, states by offering to sell the domain name and by continuing to re-direct people from itunes.co.uk Mr Cohen is abusing his registration.

In the decision: Apple Computer Inc v. CyberBritain Group Ltd, the independent arbitrator concludes: "I find that the Complainant has Rights in a name or mark which is similar to the Domain Name. On the balance of probabilities, I find that the Domain Name, in the hands of the Respondent, is an Abusive Registration on the grounds of its use in a manner taking unfair advantage of, and being unfairly detrimental to, the Rights of the Complainant. I direct that the Domain Name be transferred to the Complainant."

A federal district judge dismissed the anti-trust portion of Verisign's complaint against ICANN: Verisign v. ICANN.

For background, let me refer you to this article by Jonathan Weinberg in the University of Ottawa Journal of Law and Tech: Site Finder and Internet Governance

On September 15, 2003, VeriSign, Inc., the company that operates the databases that allow Internet users to reach any Internet resource ending in .com or .net, introduced a new service it called Site Finder. Less than three weeks later, after widespread protest from the technical community, at least three lawsuits, and a stern demand from ICANN (the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers, which has undertaken responsibility for managing the Internet domain name space), VeriSign agreed to shut Site Finder down.

Verisign then sued ICANN for violating federal anti-trust law and for breach of contract.

Steven Forrest has covered the ruling well: Core Issue Remains As VeriSign vs. ICANN Moves to State Court, Lawsuit Coverage, and ICANN Spin

CircleID: VeriSign's Anti-Trust Claim Against ICANN Dismissed

News.com: VeriSign's antitrust suit against ICANN dismissed

Internet domain name registry VeriSign just can't seem to convince anyone that redirecting misspelled Web addresses to its own site is a good thing.

A federal district court judge on Thursday threw out VeriSign's legal arguments that ICANN's ban on this tactic amounted to a violation of U.S. antitrust law.

ICANN's 85 page report on Sitefinder: Redirection in the Com and Net Domains

In 95 pages, Verisign responds. See also some excerpts and analysis from Steven Forrest: VeriSign Responds to SSAC on SiteFinder Report.

Screech loses his website

In a UDRP arbitration hearing, actor Dustian Diamond could not recover DustinDiamond.com from its owner, because the site is a non-commercial parody.

(via TechLaw Advisor)