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  • To: <whois-comments@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject:
  • From: "Dow, Troy" <Troy.Dow@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2006 15:14:37 -0500

I am pleased to submit comments on behalf of The Walt Disney Company in 
response to the recently posted Preliminary Task Force Report on the purpose of 


Disney supports overall the comments submitted by the Commercial and Business 
Users Constituency and the Intellectual Property Constituency, both of which 
are reprinted in the Preliminary Task Force Report.  With respect to the 
specific question of which of the two proposed formulations most appropriately 
reflects the purpose of Whois in light of considerations articulated in the 
Terms of Reference, Disney strongly urges the Task Force to adopt the second of 
the two formulations:


âThe purpose of the gTLD Whois service is to provide information sufficient 
to contact a responsible party or parties for a particular gTLD domain name who 
can resolve, or reliably pass on data to a party who can resolve, technical, 
legal or other issues related to the registration or use of a domain name.â 

For more than 80 years, Disney has been committed to serving consumers with 
unparalleled entertainment experiences. Today, Disney is a market leader in a 
number of market segments, including Studio Entertainment, Parks and Resorts, 
Consumer Products, and Media Networks.  Each of our businesses in these areas 
has a robust and growing presence online and owns numerous domain names in the 
generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs).

Disney makes frequent use of Whois data regarding gTLD domain name 
registrations, for a variety of purposes.  We rely upon this data in our 
efforts to protect some of the worldâs best-known and valuable brands against 
a range of illegal behavior, including cybersquatting, online distribution of 
counterfeit products, and piracy of copyrighted Disney audiovisual materials.  
Access to reliable Whois data is also critical to addressing online fraud 
involving Disney products, services or destinations.  In all these instances, 
Whois data is the first stop in identifying and locating the perpetrators of 
this online misconduct.  It enables us to resolve many of these issues quickly 
and efficiently, without the need for litigation.  Whois data is also essential 
to us in investigating and preparing those cases that ultimately lead to 
criminal prosecution.  This data is used in many other ways as well, including 
the management of our own domain name portfolio, and in due diligence 
activities on the frequent occasions when our company makes acquisitions that 
involve a significant portfolio of domain names. 

Access to reliable Whois data for the purposes outlined in the proposed 
âFormulation 2â is also important as a means of maintaining consumer 
confidence in security, reliability, and accountability in online commerce.  
The inability of consumers, law enforcement, and companies like ours to access 
and utilize Whois data in order to promote a safe and reliable Internet 
environment directly impacts the ability of legitimate business to grow new 
opportunities and consumer offerings in the online space.

One quality that unites all these disparate uses of Whois data is that they 
would become impossible, or at least much more difficult, costly and 
time-consuming, if ICANN were to adopt proposed âFormulation 1â and to 
modify the Whois policies that it sets for gTLD registries and registrars to 
conform to this narrow purpose.  Few, if any, of these activities involve 
resolution of âissues related to the configuration of the records associated 
with the domain name within a DNS nameserver;â and if this were the only 
purpose of Whois, as âFormulation 1â proposes, the contact data regarding 
ownership and use of domain names would be extremely sparse and limited to 
technical contacts.  We believe that the uses that we make of Whois data 
promote the healthy growth of e-commerce by making it harder for fraud, 
infringement, and other misconduct to take place online.  All these benefits 
would be significantly undermined if âFormulation 1â were adopted. 

Formulation 2, in our view, much more closely reflects the uses of Whois since 
its inception, and certainly since it came under ICANNâs auspices in the late 
1990âs.  We believe it is also more closely aligned with the contextual 
considerations outlined in the Terms of Reference.  For example, those 
constituencies supporting âFormulation 1â cite the âcore valuesâ of 
âpreserving and enhancing the operational stability, reliability, security, 
and global interoperability of the Internetâ and âRespecting creativity, 
innovation, and flow of information made possible by the Internet.â  A 
formulation that unduly restrains the purpose of Whois to addressing technical 
problems related to the configuration of records within a DNS server actually 
undercuts these âcore values.â  Reliability and security as a purely 
technical matter is of little use where a lack of online accountability and 
reliability drives people away from the Internet as a mode of communications, 
commercial transactions, or other forms of interaction.  Similarly, the 
publicâs interest in creativity, innovation and the flow of information is 
only hindered by a restrictive definition of the purpose of Whois that leads to 
less transparency and less trust in the Internet as a means of communication 
and distribution.

For all these reasons we urge ICANN to continue the course of a workable Whois 
policy by adopting âFormulation 2,â not to take a giant step backward by 
adopting âFormulation 1.â  

Respectfully submitted, 

Troy Dow



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