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Feedback about Motions 1, 2 and 3

  • To: <whois-comments-2007@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Feedback about Motions 1, 2 and 3
  • From: "Holland, Donald S." <dsh@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2007 10:49:55 -0400

To whom it may concern:

It is my understanding that on October 31, 2007, ICANN's policy advisory
body (the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council) will
vote on three motions ("Motions 1, 2 and 3") that will determine the
future structure of the domain name and Whois system.  Also, ICANN is
currently seeking feedback from Internet stakeholders and their
representatives on whether to change or eliminate the Whois database -
the online system that provides free public access to contact and
ownership details for all generic Top-Level Domain name registrations
(.com, .net, .info, .biz, .org, etc.).

My name is Donald S. Holland.  I am the Senior Partner in an
Intellectual Property law firm, which represents 75-100 corporate
trademark clients.  Included in those clients is a manufacturer of
currency paper and security documents used in several countries.  

On behalf of my clients, the GNSO Council should adopt Motion 2 and
reject Motions 1 and 3.  Those motions are described below: 

*       Motion 1 proposes a new 'Operational Point of Contact' (OPoC) -
with undefined legal responsibilities - to replace the current domain
registration contacts. The 'OPoC' proposal also limits the amount of
publicly displayed domain name ownership information - data which is
often used by consumers, law enforcement and Internet stakeholders to
manage, police and protect consumer and intellectual property rights on
the Internet.

*       Motion 2 proposes that ICANN conduct an objective and
comprehensive study on the legitimate abuses and uses of Whois data -
before making policy changes that may permanently alter the structure of
the domain name and Whois system.

*       Motion 3 proposes eliminating all contractual obligations which
require registrars to display domain name ownership and contact details,
effectively abolishing the entire Whois system for Generic-Top-Level
domain names.
The Whois system is important for our trademark clients to locate and
contact the true owners of problematic web sites.  In many cases, free
open access to domain name ownership information is a prerequisite for
taking swift legal action that can prevent Internet fraud and other
schemes that confuse and deceive the public in the Internet marketplace.

In the last five years, we have used the Whois database to send over
cease-and-desist 100 letters to cyber squatters and to trademark
infringers using active, competitive sites.  Because of the contact
information obtained from Whois, we were all able to locate the cyber
squatters and infringers and send those letters to the appropriate
source.  All but five of the cease-and-desist letters were successful.
The other five matters were resolved through UDRP or ICANN proceedings.
Virtually none of this would have been possible, without heavy outside
investigatory expenses, but for the Whois database.

Thank you for your consideration.


Donald S. Holland, Esq.
Holland & Bonzagni, P.C.
171 Dwight Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Tel.: (413) 567-2076; Ext. 115
Fax: (413) 567-2079
E-mail: dsh@xxxxxxxxx

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