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Please support the rule of law by rejecting the Intellectual Property Constituency's demands for extra-judicial domain confiscation.

  • To: <net-agreement-renewal@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Please support the rule of law by rejecting the Intellectual Property Constituency's demands for extra-judicial domain confiscation.
  • From: Ted Lemon <Ted.Lemon@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 10 May 2011 15:15:26 -0400

I am the co-chair of the Dynamic Host Configuration working group of the 
Internet Engineering Task Force, and an employee of Nominum, Inc., a company 
that specializes in DHCP and DNS servers.   I have been working in the computer 
industry as an Internet server engineer since 1997.

I am writing because the Intellectual Property Constituency has asked that, as 
a condition of Verisign's ongoing management of the .NET top-level domain, that 
they should be required to act as a private judicial system, acting to shut 
down domains accused of copyright violations.

An extra-legal judicial system is just that: extra-legal.   We have a judicial 
system for a reason: not merely to safeguard the rights of plaintiffs, but also 
to safeguard the rights of defendants.   Asking a private concern, Verisign, to 
perform that same function, not only threatens to waste money duplicating 
effort, but also threatens to undermine the role of the courts in safeguarding 
litigants' rights.

Unfortunately, plaintiffs cannot be relied upon to only make legitimate claims; 
there is ample evidence that copyright holders often make claims that, when 
adjudicated, turn out not to be sustainable.   Furthermore, there have been 
cases recently where plaintiffs who did not hold copyright on materials made 
available on the net, nevertheless filed suit against individuals claiming 
online infringement.   There have also been cases where plaintiffs have claimed 
copyright on online material based on the title of the work, without verifying 
that the titled work was actually the work on which they held copyright.

It is completely unrealistic to expect that Verisign could reliably validate 
these requests.   Even assuming that they sincerely wanted to, where is the 
revenue stream that would pay for this validation process?   Adjudicating such 
claims is the purpose of the courts.   Removing a domain because it is accused 
of copyright infringement is a substantial penalty.   Businesses can fail as a 
result of such losses.   Even when businesses don't fail, the losses incurred 
while attempting to restore the domain can be substantial, and since this 
process involves the court system, delays can be substantial.

If there were some way to streamline the takedown of domains legitimately 
responsible for infringement, perhaps that would be a good idea. However, this 
is not such a way.   Please reject the Intellectual Property Constituency's 


Ted Lemon

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