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Recap of CIRA Annual General Meeting and Symposium

September 23rd, 2010 Comments off

Zak Muscovitch

Zak Muscovitch at DomainConvergence 2008

Guest contributor Zak Muscovitch is a domain name lawyer, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been practicing domain name law for over ten years and is now running for the election for a seat on the CIRA Board of Directors. Go to http://www.DNattorney.com and http://zak-for-cira.ca/ for more information. Voting is open to CIRA members until noon ET September 29th, 2010.

Two days ago, on September 21, 2010, CIRA (the Canadian Internet Registration Authority) held its Annual General Meeting and Symposium in Toronto, called, “Canadians Connected”, and it was a world class event.

Integrated into the usual corporate housekeeping involved in annual meetings, the Symposium brought together .CA domain name owners from all over the country and a CIRA attendance record was set. Nearly 500 people  participated in person, and hundreds more online.

Orchestrated by CIRA CEO Byron Holland with the support of a small army of capable and dedicated staff, Canadians Connected presented what can only be considered a visionary, and arguably somewhat miraculous, approach to  reinvigorating the Canadian Internet community.

Continue reading after the jump.

CIRA put together some of the best and brightest minds in the digital world. Speakers included:

  • Terry O’Reilly, advertising and marketing guru, and host of the groundbreaking CBC radio show, The Age of Persuasion;
  • Mitch Joel, social media evangelist and superstar consultant to the world’s top companies;
  • Paul Vixie, Internet pioneer and creative genius behind many of the technological innovations that helped create and maintain the Internet;
  • John Demco, a living legend who basically gave birth to the .CA registry; and
  • Chris O’Neil, Internet advertising expert and newly appointed Google Country Director for Canada, after having returned to his native Canada from the U.S.

We heard Terry O’Neil explain Canada’s unique characteristics and heard him describe how Canada is perceived by others and by ourselves. His insights enabled us to see that Canadians need to be told stories from a Canadian perspective in order to be persuaded. We also learned that Canadians need to be aware of how they are perceived internationally when trying to persuade others. Internet-minded Canadians must appreciate and understand these insights when learning how to market within Canada and abroad. Marketing Canadian goods and services on the Internet is something that Canadians need to do much better to compete globally and Terry O’Reilly inspired us to do that.

We heard Mitch Joel explain that ‘the future is now’, and that we had better learn to embrace the Internet and take advantage of the paradigm-shifting capabilities that it offers. He implored us to ‘burn the ships’ and explore, in a reference to the discovery of the ‘new world’. He showed us how advertising and marketing in the digital age is dramatically different from the old world and we must adapt or be unable to compete.

We heard from John Demco some of the background on how CIRA came to be. Operating from a basement at UBC with a handful of volunteers, he managed and operated the .CA domain name system well before it was transferred to CIRA. Recalling the rudimentary origins of the Canadian Internet and embodying the pioneering spirit, we were inspired to create, to solve, and to innovate.

We heard from Paul Vixie, who can only be described as a one-of-a-kind technological grown-up wiz kid. We felt that he was on a first name basis with the Internet and even knew its parents. He reminded us that the fancy graphical user interfaces and speedy services are supported by a labyrinth of software and hardware that only exists as a result of scientists like him who have come up with solutions and fixes without us even being aware.

We heard from Chris O’Neil who set out what Google believes to be its ‘big bets’ on the future of the Internet. Having the most senior person in Canada from the world’s greatest commercial Internet innovator reminded us that Canada can have an important leadership role in developing Internet commerce both locally and globally.

CIRA was clearly staking its ground as a leader in not only domain name registry management, but also in Internet thought and innovation. Having observed CIRA for many years as a seemingly bureaucratic organization that was not particularly attune to the exciting and important developments in the Internet world, it felt like we were observing the miraculous transformation of a dusty Canadian paperweight to a world-class and visionary exploration vessel. By exploring Canada’s past, place, and future in the Internet world, CIRA presented a convincing case for Canada to lead world in the development and use of the Internet.

To make matters even more exciting, Byron Holland announced the creation of the Canadian Internet Governance Forum. This demonstrated a very serious commitment to exploring Internet and public policy issues with numerous national consultations focusing on Economic Development and Digital Literacy. Byron Holland just returned from Vilnius, Lithuania where he represented Canada at the Internet Governance Forum, where the international participants debated the most important issues regarding the nature and use of the Internet, such as net neutrality, freedom of expression, cyber security, and interoperability. Clearly CIRA has shown through its actions, that it fundamentally understands the need to balance its mandate in both economic and social development and that CIRA can be at its best when it is a leader in the Internet community. Not exactly the staid and simple domain name administrator that it once was.

Canada can very proud that CIRA is leading the way into the great debates and policy discussions that are necessary to inspire change and innovation in the digital universe. Now we must all do our part to harness the inspiration to do better, create more, solve more, adapt more, and take our place as a leader in the global Internet community.

(c) 2010 DomainNameNews.com

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The .CA Registry (CIRA) and “Public Interest”

September 3rd, 2010 Comments off
Zak Muscovitch

Zak Muscovitch at DomainConvergence 2008

Guest contributor Zak Muscovitch is a domain name lawyer, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been practicing domain name law for over ten years and is now running for the election for a seat on the CIRA Board of Directors. Go to http://www.DNattorney.com and http://zak-for-cira.ca/ for more information.

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (“CIRA”) operates Canada’s .CA domain name registry in the “public interest”. Where does this authority come from and what is the “public interest”? During the current 2010 election for CIRA’s Board of Directors, these questions should be raised and debated. CIRA has an important role to fill as the operational manager of the registry, but has an equally important role to fill in terms of governing the .CA space in the public interest.

Read the full article after the jump.

When CIRA was incorporated as a Canadian federal corporation without share capital (otherwise known as a not-for-profit corporation) on December 30, 1998, there was no mention of “the public interest” in its formal objectives as filed with Industry Canada. CIRA’s formal objectives were:

a) to act as the registry for the .CA Internet domain;

b) to provide professional registry services comparable to other major national and international Internet registries;

c) to develop and carry out any other Internet-related registration activities in Canada; and

d) to do all such other things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objects.

In 2006, CIRA made apparently minor revisions to their filed objectives with Industry Canada, so that c), above, now read;

“to develop, carry out and/or support any other Internet-related activities in Canada”.

The change is small, but noteworthy. One can see that “support” of “any internet-related activities” was added, ostensibly expanding CIRA’a objectives to include broader involvement and support in anything Internet related, not just registration related. This is the foundation for CIRA’s mandate to be actively involved in supporting Internet related activities in Canada. But there was still no mention of the “public interest” in CIRA’s formal objectives. So where does the “public interest” come into play for CIRA?

On March 11, 1999, Michael Binder, Assistant Deputy Minister Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications (Industry Canada), wrote a letter to Rob Hall, then Chairman of the Board of CIRA, to thank John Demco for his management of the registry for the previous ten years, to congratulate CIRA on its incorporation, and to “recognize CIRA as the administrator of the .ca domain space” (the “Binder Letter”).

The Binder Letter essentially confirmed that the Government of Canada was permitting CIRA to run the registry and that CIRA was expected to adopt certain principles in its operation. The term “public interest” however, did not appear in this letter. Rather, the term “public resource” was used in the following manner:

“The .CA domain space is a key public resource, helping to promote the development of electronic commerce in Canada and important to our country’s future social and economic development”.

The term “public resource” was used within a context that suggested that .CA domain names had two important roles to play, which were both in the public interest;

a) economic development through the development of Internet businesses for wealth creation; and

b) social development so Canada could fulfill its aspirations as a society.

Accordingly, even though the term, “public interest” was not expressly used by Industry Canada in confirming CIRA’s mandate, it was nonetheless made clear CIRA was to operate the .CA registry with this combination of public interest priorities in mind; namely economic and social development.

The first express use of the term “public interest” as it relates to CIRA, appeared shortly thereafter. On October 10, 2000, Industry Canada confirmed to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”), that CIRA was formally being designated as Canada’s administrator of the .CA registry. In this letter, Industry Canada expressly confirmed that CIRA was to operate in the “public interest”:

This agreement provides that the Government of Canada will designate CIRA to be the new administrator of the .ca and that CIRA will manage the .ca in accordance with principles set by the Government of Canada in the March 11, 1999 letter referred to above and any additional principles that are in the public interest and reasonable. [emphasis added]

The “agreement” referred to by Industry Canada, above, was the “Umbrella Agreement” wherein UBC (the former .CA administrator under the leadership of John Demco), the Government of Canada, and CIRA, agreed on the transition to administration of the .CA registry by CIRA. The Umbrella Agreement expressly made reference to both CIRA being mandated to operate the .CA registry as a “public resource” and in the “public interest”.

The Umbrella Agreement expressly confirmed that the “public interest”, as originally expressed in the Binder Letter, involved both a concern for economic and social development:

“the parties are of the view that the .ca domain space should be developed as a key public resource for social and economic development for all Canadians”. [emphasis added]

The Umbrella Agreement further confirmed that in accordance with Industry Canada’s mandate to CIRA of October 10, 1999:

“CIRA was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation with the intention of managing the .ca domain space in the public interest”. [emphasis added]

The next appearance of the express use of the term, “public interest”, as it relates to CIRA, appeared in the “Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domain Names”, Presented by ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee on February 23, 2000 (the “GAC Principles”). This document’s objective was to suggest principles that will assist in the development of best practice for the delegation and administration of ccTLDs (country code top-level domain names, such as .CA).

Section 5.1 of the GAC Principles stated:

The relevant government or public authority ultimately represents the interests of the people of the country or territory for which the ccTLD has been delegated. Accordingly, the role of the relevant government or public authority is to ensure that the ccTLD is being administered in the public interest, whilst taking into consideration issues of public policy and relevant law and regulation. [emphasis added]

The GAC Principles also laid out some broader principles that emphasized that while a ccTLD manager such as CIRA has a duty to serve the public interest of its local community, it also has a duty to the global Internet community:

The Internet has evolved from a tool reserved for computer and networking research, to a global medium for commerce, education, and communication. The new realities of the Internet, including its increased importance as a vehicle for national economic growth, and the expanding and more diverse nature of the Internet community necessitated evolution in the traditional means of managing and administering Internet technical functions.

The manager of a ccTLD performs a public service on behalf of the relevant local community and as such the designated manager has a duty to serve this community. The designated manager also has a responsibility to the global Internet community. By ‘global Internet community’ we do not mean any specific legal or international entity, but rather we interpret the term to refer to all of those who are affected by, now or in the future, the operation of the relevant TLD, because such operation may impinge on more than one jurisdiction and affect the interests of individuals and entities from both within the relevant country or territory and elsewhere.

Although this was an ICANN document and an ICANN set of principles, CIRA formally and legally adopted certain of the GAC Principles on November 30, 2000. Then Chair of the CIRA Board, Maureen Cubberley, wrote to Michael Roberts, President of ICANN, and stated that “CIRA supports the framework of the GAC principles as a sound basis for the ongoing relationships concerning the delegation and administration of ccTLDs” and confirmed CIRA’s commitment to administering the .CA registry as a “public resource” in accordance with the Binder Letter.

Accordingly, CIRA’s mandate to operate the .CA registry both as a public resource for economic and social development, and in the public interest, has a well established foundation and history. The question then turns to the myriad of possible applications of these important but very broad principles and to what degree CIRA has followed them.

On October 7, 2009, renowned Internet Law expert, Professor Michael Geist, expressed his concern for what he felt was a “Disappearing Public Interest Mandate”. He noted that “CIRA has not done enough to advance the potential social side of the mandate despite [is] and leaving it to its directors to question whether the social contributions found in leading country-code domains around the world are even part of CIRA’s mandate.” This followed Professor Geist’s previous Blog posting and Toronto Star article wherein he questioned “an unmistakable shift toward prioritizing commercial gain over the public interest”. As examples of this shift, Professor Geist noted a “decision to effectively terminate plans to create an external, public interest body to address “excess” funds”, a decision to “expand CIRA’s registry services to new generic top-level domains”, and “killed a planned submission to the CRTC’s net neutrality hearings”.

In response to Professor Geist, CIRA Chief Executive Office, Byron Holland, disputed Professor Geist’s observations while confirming that “the dot-ca domain is essential to social and economic development within Canada, and we take our mandate of effective stewardship of this key public resource very seriously”. Mr. Holland stated that CIRA “[had] not abandoned plans to actively pursue other public-interest elements of [CIRA’s] mandate”, but noted “[CIRA has] been steadily building [a] reserve but [CIRA] is not quite there yet”.

Mr. Holland also noted that, “CIRA is pursuing additional sources of revenue from other potential registry services to ensure that we have the funds necessary to live up to our stated operational obligations and increased activity in the public interest side of the Canadian domain space.”

Accordingly, what can be seen here, is the struggle to follow both tracks that the Government of Canada mandated CIRA to follow, namely social and economic development, in the public interest. Professor Geist has correctly pointed out that social development in the public interest, is a key component of Canada’s mandate to CIRA, and yet there is scarce evidence that CIRA has embarked on what could be considered an appropriately ambitious course. Professor Geist cites the fact that  “other countries have used their domain name authorities to fund research, engage in public policy, or even grant every citizen the right to a domain name at no cost”, yet Canada appears to have not pursued any of these social development opportunities in any substantial manner.

On the other hand, Mr. Holland correctly points out that in order to fulfill Canada’s mandate to CIRA to engage in social development, CIRA must raise funds from economic development opportunities, including managing CIRA with “reliance on market forces and private sector leadership”, as required in the Binder letter. CIRA cannot of course make any substantial headway into social development projects without adequate resources, and therefore the exploration of revenue generation opportunities is required and closely tied to CIRA’s mandate of social development.

Nevertheless, an election is now underway for the Board of Directors of CIRA, and it is imperative, indeed it is in the public interest, for all concerned to vigorously debate how CIRA can better follow the two tracks of social and economic development mandated by the Government of Canada by seeking and applying all appropriate sources of revenue.

CIRA is in an enviable position of being able to realize reoccurring revenues from its monopoly over .CA registrations. It gets $8.50 year after year, for each .CA registered. CIRA currently has nearly 1.5 million .CA’s registered. By promoting the .CA registry and by increasing access to .CA domain names in a manner consistent with CIRA’s mandate, CIRA could potentially reap millions more on an annual basis that it could, and should, apply to ambitious social and economic development projects. The nature of such projects should be debated and raised in the election with all ideas put on the table, from free domain names for all Canadians, to a special fund for Canadian Internet entrepreneurs.

As someone standing for election for the single public seat available this year on the CIRA Board, I intend to continue to raise these issues in public and would like for others to do the same.

Zak Muscovitch is a Canadian domain name lawyer and his CIRA election web site is zak-for-cira.ca.

(c) 2010 DomainNameNews.com

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WIPO Panel Debates Definition of “Bad Faith” in UDRP Decision

July 5th, 2010 Comments off

In a recent decision in the dispute for the domain name Evoq.com, the WIPO panel let the original registrant keep the domain name. However the 3-person panel did not agree how exactly the “bad faith” criteria should be applied. The panel was not clear whether it mattered if a domain name was registered in bad faith when compared to the complainant’s trademark, or if this criteria could be applied against any existing trademark.

From the decision (emphasis added):

Faced with the fact that the Domain Name was registered in 2004, well before the Complainant was formed in 2007, the Complainant argues that the Domain Name was registered in bad faith directed at General Motors, which had announced a concept car called “Evoq” in 1999.

Some members of the Panel are inclined to conclude that, to prove bad faith registration, the Respondent must have had a bad faith intention with respect to the Complainant’s mark. However, the Panel does not need to reach a definitive conclusion on that issue because, even if bad faith directed at third parties could constitute bad faith for the purpose of this requirement, the Panel does not find the existence of any such bad faith on the evidence in this case.

So while the panel clearly thought that the domain owner did not register this domain in order to infringe on the complainant’s brand, at least one panelist thought it may have been infringing on another companies’ brand and thus could potentially constitute a bad faith registration.

In a conversation with DNN, Zak Muscovitch of DNAttorney commented as follows:

Zak Muscovitch

Zak Muscovitch at DomainConvergence

The Complainant’s position is absurd. The Complainant argues that the Respondent should be found to have registered the domain name in bad faith, even though the Complainant wasn’t even in existence at the time the domain name was registered, because the disputed domain name was registered after  an unrelated third party; General Motors, acquired trademark rights. The fact that the Complainant was able to adopt EVOQ as a trade name and trademark for its communications and branding business years after General  Motors acquired trademark rights,  in ostensible “good faith”, means that  the Respondent was equally able to register the domain name in good faith notwithstanding General Motor’s limited rights. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. EVOQ is a name that could lend itself to any number of business endeavours. This is a case of attempted domain name hijacking in my opinion, pure and simple.

[Thank you safesys/DBR]

(c) 2010 DomainNameNews.com

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NBA Star Chris Bosh Now Owns 800 “Cybersquatted” Domain Names

February 2nd, 2010 Comments off

Guest contributor Zak Muscovitch is a domain name lawyer, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been practicing domain name law for over ten years. Go to http://www.DNattorney.com and http://www.muscovitch.com. This time he follows up on a case we reported on earlier, where Chris Bosh won his own domain name, ChrisBosh.com along with 800 additional similar domains for other stars.

Is Chris Bosh a “Cyber-hero” or “Cybersquatter”?

Many domainers are now familiar with the remarkable news item reporting that Toronto Raptors NBA star Chris Bosh won a judgment for $120,000 against a domainer, Luis Zavala (Hoopology.com), for registering ChrisBosh.com. The judgment apparently came down in April, but then Bosh’s lawyers reportedly convinced the judge to order that the domainer’s 800 other mainly sports and celebrity domain names domains be handed over to Chris Bosh as well, since the defendant wasn’t likely to pay the $120,000 judgement that Chris Bosh had obtained in an action under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, for cybersquatting.

Bosh’s lawyer reportedly stated, that “the Raptors’ star has no intention of holding onto any of them except his own. He’s not trying to make any money here. He just wants to give these players their names back“.

Accordingly, Chris Bosh sues a guy for cybersquatting and then takes 800 cybersquatted domain names as ‘damages’. Bosh’s lawyers are apparently going to decide for themselves, who deserves the domain names: “We are notifying the world that anyone whose name is on this list that has a legitimate right to the domain name, Chris will transfer it to them for free,” said Brian Heidelberger, one of three lawyers who represented Bosh.” Accordingly, it appears that the Judge may have enabled a sports star and his lawyers to determine ‘who has the rights to particular domain names’. Here is the actual text of the lawyers’ terms for handing over the domain names – a kind of topsy-turvy “para-UDRP” process which is apparently entirely within the discretion of a basketball star and his lawyers:

Chris Bosh and Max Deal offer the return of the domain name free of charge as a courtesy to the celebrity named herein, provided that such person promptly requests the return of such domain name in writing from Max Deal. Domain names will not be returned without a direct written request from an authorized person to Hadi@MaxDealTechnologies.com. Prior to transferring any domain name on this list, Chris Bosh and Max Deal reserve the right to require documentation in their reasonable discretion to support the requester’s rights in the domain name. Domain names on this list may or may not be renewed at Chris Bosh and Max Deal’s sole discretion. Chris Bosh and Max Deal reserve the right to at any time in their sole discretion to delete or cancel domain names on this list. Chris Bosh and Max Deal will not charge any fees for the transfer of domain names on this list. All third party costs relating to transfer of any domain name on this list to an authorized rights holder, including but not limited to transfer fees charged by the requester’s registrar, are the sole responsibility of the party requesting transfer. Chris Bosh and Max Deal make no representations express or implied regarding any domain name on this list. By requesting or accepting the transfer of a domain name, you hereby release Chris Bosh and Max Deal from any and all liabilities in connection therewith.

But who is Max Deal? Max Deal is short for “Max Deal Technologies”, a company reportedly founded by Chris Bosh and partner, Hadi Teheran. According to Bosh’s lawyers’ press release, “Max Deal is a social media company that allows brands to increase their reach“. Certainly using the ‘recovered’ domain names as aforesaid demonstrates an impressive reach, even for an NBA star. This is what Chris Bosh has to say according to the press release:

“I will offer the return of the domain names free of charge, but I’d also love the opportunity to show their owners how Max Deal can help.”

Accordingly, it appears that when someone calls up to ‘get their domain name back’ from Chris Bosh, who is the new owner of the formerly cybersquatted domain names, Bosh will take the opportunity to try to sell them on ‘how they can use the domain names in connection with his social media business’. Furthermore, according to the terms referred to above, Chris Bosh can delete or cancel any domain name in his sole discretion. Accordingly, one had better be careful or the domain name could get dropped and picked up by another cybersquatter.

The question then arises, ‘what happens if Chris Bosh decides to not give back a name because the claimant doesn’t meet his criteria?’ Maybe Bosh takes the position that one of the highschool basketball players or Venezuelan racecar drivers on his list doesn’t have common law trademark rights? Could Bosh be the Respondent in an ICANN UDRP proceeding or ACPA action? The Complainant could argue that Bosh registered the domain names in bad faith and is using them in bad faith because he won’t give them back and registered them with the intention of using them in bad faith as part of his monetization scheme in Max Deal…

Can you imagine if a domainer registered 800 celebrity domain names and his defence was that he would give them back to anyone who convinced him that they were the rightful owner and listened to his pitch that they could do great business together by letting the domainer monetize their name? What would happen to the domainer in a case like that?….

Apparently, this situation has raised the ire of at least one domain name owner. If you visit MaxDeal.com (registered to “Donain [sic] Name for Sale of Staten Island, NY”, and apparently not associated with the MaxDealTechnologies.com web site registered to Bosh’s partner, Hadi Teheran, which is currently down) the site states that it’s slogan is, MaxDeal.com, Creating an Unfair Advantage for Sports Agents”. Will this be the next target on Bosh’s domain name acquisition spree? Or will it be MaxDeals.com (the plural) currently operated as a jewellery store founded by a Max Beloff in 1933?

According to Bosh’s lawyer, Chris Bosh is a “cyber-hero”. Nevertheless, having become the owner of some 800 domain names ‘belonging’ to someone else, one must wonder whether he has been made into an unwitting cybersquatter.

For more information on domain name law please contact Zak Muscovitch at zak@muscovitch.com and visit http://www.dnattorney.com/

(c) 2009 DomainNameNews.com

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Google Loses Domain Name Dispute Over Groovle.com

December 29th, 2009 Comments off

gfailInternet giant Google.com has lost an arbitration case over the domain name Groovle.com. In a decision released today, The National Arbitration Forum, dismissed Google’s complaint which claimed that it was entitled to the domain name Groovle.com. Google claimed that the domain name  is “confusingly similar” to its trademark for “Google”.

The unanimous three person panel ruled that Groovle.com “is not confusingly similar” to Google’s trademark, “Google”.  Google has commenced 65 similar domain name disputes and this is only the second time that it has ever lost. Domain name lawyer and Internet law expert, Zak Muscovitch is responsible for successfully defending the “little guy” against the mega-corp Google.

The domain is owned by Canadian entrepreneurs Jacob Fuller and Ryan Fitzgibbon, who launched Groovle.com in 2007. As Fuller explains, “Groovle was created to provide users the ability to upload photos and customize their Internet start page. We thought it would be a cool feature to have a nice photo of friends, family etc., every time you launch your web browser”. Says Fitzgibbon, “since we launched Groovle in 2007, Google, Bing and Ask.com have each come out with something similar”.

The pair are elated with the decision. “We were stunned when Google launched the domain name dispute as we have great respect for Google and have always had a good relationship with them”, said Fitzgibbon. Fuller added that, “Google never had anything to fear from our web site. The arbitrators’ decision that the two domain names are sufficiently different should put Google at ease and we look forward to a renewed positive relationship with Google”.

Muscovitch concluded “Google clearly miscalculated here however my clients are prepared to put this behind them”.

(c) 2009 DomainNameNews.com

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Privacy Protection for .CA Domain Names Kills Business for Domainers

October 10th, 2009 Comments off

Guest contributor Zak Muscovitch is a domain name lawyer, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been practising domain name law for ten years. Go to http://www.DNattorney.com and http://www.muscovitch.com.

Privacy Protection for domainers who have legitimate portfolios is a little like a burka on a bikini model.

Although keeping one’s domain name registration details private is an attractive concept and may even help wary registrants avoid imparting too much information to prospective domain name dispute claimants, in my humble opinion, the practice is a business killer in the .CA realm. As a domain name lawyer I can rarely find out who owns what to try and put together deals. I can’t trace the history of domains to perform due diligence. I can’t identify connections between web sites and domain owners. It stymies me. And if it stymies me from doing .CA deals, that means that it is hurting business for .CA owners , who dont need any more negative factors affecting the Canadian market than they already have. Sure I can sometimes use other methods, but the utility of domaintools.com whois archives is lessening as time goes on, because it carries no new information for most .ca’s since all recent records are privacy protected.

By way of background, CIRA, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority made privacy protection a “default setting” [ed. for individual registrants], and considered this move a leadership position in the Internet world. And I did too. I am a big fan of privacy and thought that CIRA’s privacy protection policy was extraordinarily progressive and consumer-friendly. But I was wrong. It kills business. Imagine a stock exchange where there are no listings….That is what has happened here. And the benefit of privacy is nil for a domainer who is trying to hide, because there a CDRP [ed:.CA Dispute Resolution Policy] reveals your identity anhow….and hiding can actually encourage a CDRP…So it gets you nowhere other than to avoid someone like me finding out what domain name you own so I can easily contact you and know who you are, to make a deal.

In the Canadian .CA realm, domains are extraordinarily underdeveloped so we need all the contact and attention that we can get – not privacy! We dont want a marketplace with hidden vendors. We want a marketplace with vendors showing their wares off in public and making themselves available to bargain with each other.

(c) 2009 DomainNameNews.com

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Li Ka Shing – World’s 16th Richest Man – Linked to Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

August 5th, 2009 Comments off

Li Ka Shing, the 16th richest man in the world with $16.2 billion, has been linked to an unusual case of reverse domain name hijacking.

Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited and Cheung Kong Property Development Limited of Hong Kong (the “Complainant”), two companies owned by Li Ka Shing, were found guilty in a WIPO domain name dispute for Attempted Reverse Domain Name Hijacking over the international domain name (IDN) 長江.com - which is owned and operated by Netego DotCom of Edmonton (the “Respondent”), who was represented by the Muscovitch Law Firm.

The details within this decision, however, is what makes this case particularly unique.

In July 2008, the Complainant filed an initial complaint against the respondent over 長江.com, claiming that it is identical or confusingly similar to its trademarked name since “長江” translates to “Cheung Kong” in traditional Chinese (as seen on Wikipedia). While the panel agreed that the domain name was identical or confusingly similar and that the Respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, they also ruled that the Complainant failed to prove that the Respondent acted in bad faith since “長江” also translates to “Yangtze River” in traditional Chinese (also demonstrated on Wikipedia).

“The fact is that the Yangtze River was around long before Li Ka Shing’s corporate name,” explained Zak Muscovitch of the Muscovitch Law Firm in a recent news release. “In fact he selected his corporate name after the river, not the other way around. Accordingly, anyone in the world, including my client, has the right to register this domain name.”

Not satisfied with the ruling, the complainant felt the need to file for another complaint on April 24, 2009, alleging once again that the respondent was guilty on infringing on its trademarked name - and that it was acting in bad faith since the domain name had never been put to legitimate use since being registered in 2000. However, it also attempted to hide the fact that this was a re-filed complaint.

Bad move, according to the official panelist decision:

“The Panel is not unsympathetic to the Complainants’ concerns on the merits … However, even if reasonable panelists could differ, the fact is that a panel already decided this issue. If Complainants did not like the result, they had the right to pursue a claim through national courts … they did not on the provided evidence have the right to file a re-filed Complaint.

What is particularly troubling here is that Complainants never even notified the Panel that this was a re-filed Complaint.The fact that the submitted Complaint nowhere refers to the previous UDRP proceeding, suggests to the Panel that Complainants may have deliberately attempted to hide that fact from the Panel. Not only does that constitute an abuse of the UDRP process, but also, it caused substantial delay and increased cost to both parties…

…For these reasons, the Panel finds that Complainants’ actions constitute an abuse of the UDRP process. The Panel thus enters a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking”

The decision adds to a long list of successful domain name cases handled by The Muscovitch Law Firm from Toronto, Canada. The firm was recently featured on DNN.com for winning a .CA domain name dispute in the first ever case of reverse domain name hijacking by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA).

[via DNAttorney.com]

(c) 2009 DomainNameNews.com

DomainConvergence | August 12-13, 2009 | Toronto, ON, Canada
Keynote speakers: The Castello Brothers on "Branding your Domain"
Christian Heilmann, Developer Evangelist, Yahoo!