Importance of WHOIS to brand owners
- To: <whois-comments-2007@xxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: Importance of WHOIS to brand owners
- From: "Diane Hamer" <Diane.Hamer@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2007 13:59:26 +0100
I am the trade mark lawyer for the British Broadcasting Corporation
(BBC), on whose behalf I am writing to you.
I understand that the council of the ICANN Generic Names Supporting
Organization (GNSO) is currently seeking feedback from internet users
prior to voting on a series of three motions regarding limiting or
eliminating entirely the WHOIS database.
The BBC would be extremely concerned about any development which limited
or eliminated the WHOIS database or public access to it. As you will be
aware, one of the most significant recent challenges facing brand owners
is the ease with which their trade mark rights can be abused through the
unauthorised registration and use of domain names which incorporate
their trade marks. The BBC regularly uses WHOIS data to identify
unauthorised registrants of domain names which incorporate the 'BBC'
mark and/or other of the BBC's trade marks.
If the GNSO motions to limit (Motion 1) or eliminate (Motion 3) the
WHOIS database are adopted, trade mark owners will no longer be able
readily to use WHOIS data to identify third party registrants of
potentially infringing domain names. Without such information, it is
difficult to see how trade mark owners will be able effectively to
initiate or resolve domain name disputes. As such, the proposal appears
to undermine ICANN's own UDRP.
The BBC also uses WHOIS information to identify the operators of website
which infringe other intellectual property rights, for example sites
which offer unauthorised copies of copyright works, such as television
programmes, for download or streaming. If the GNSO'S motions 1 or 3 are
adopted, rights owners will no longer be able to use WHOIS data in this
way, which will seriously hinder the ability to protect and enforce
In addition, the BBC uses WHOIS data to manage its own domain name
portfolio. A complete, accurate, and accessible WHOIS database is
essential for brand owners to be able to protect their valuable assets,
but without access to this information, domains management will become
significantly more difficult and expensive.
We therefore urge you to adopt Motion 2, 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.
I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.
Trade Mark Lawyer | BBC Litigation & Intellectual Property
MC3 C6 | Media Centre
Media Village | White City
201 Wood Lane | London W12 7TQ
Tel: 020 8008 1918 (external) / 81918 (internal)
Fax: 020 8008 1939
Mob: 07809 597 656
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