Comment of AIPPI - US Group: WHOIS Data
WHOIS records are an important tool for locating domain name registrants for the purpose of resolving domain name disputes. Under consideration are revised rules that would reduce the data disclosed in WHOIS records so that personal data identifying the registrant of the domain name would no longer be disclosed. Current proposals could limit disclosure to contacts necessary to resolve technical issues, without including contact information sufficient to resolve legal issues. Such limitations are undesirable for many reasons: they hinder the ability to protect trademark rights on the Internet, shield cybersquatters from enforcement efforts, increase the costs of investigation and dispute resolution, and facilitate consumer fraud and deception. In 2003, AIPPI adopted a Resolution regarding WHOIS information (attached), which included the following statement: "Accurate registrant and contact information (name, postal address, email address, telephone and fax number) should be readily available to the public, free of charge, in an online Whois database, which should include a local address for service of legal notice/process and other information sufficient to assert local jurisdiction. Such database should also include information regarding assignments (including the registration history), original creation date, encumbrances and security interests/pledges. The provision of false or misleading registrant and contact information should be a ground for rejection or cancellation of domain name registrations." A key aspect of this statement is AIPPI's recognition that WHOIS data must include information sufficient to locate and contact the domain name registrant for resolution of legal disputes, not merely technical problems. The Federal Trade Commission has also expressed concern about proposals to limit WHOIS disclosures in a statement issued in June 2006: "Whois databases [are] critical to the agency's consumer protection mission, to other law enforcement agencies around the world, and to consumers. . . . The use of these databases to protect consumers is at risk. . . . any attempt to limit Whois . . . will put its ability to protect consumers and their privacy in peril." Thus, as demonstrated by the positions of AIPPI and the FTC, limitations on WHOIS disclosures are contrary to the best interests of intellectual property owners and consumers alike. Clark W. Lackert, Esq. President AIPPI - US Group =============================================================== Clark W. Lackert, Esq. Partner King & Spalding LLP 1185 Avenue of the Americas New York, New York 10036 Direct Dial Tel. 212 556 2329 Office Tel. 212 556 2100 Fax 212 556 2222 E-mail clackert@xxxxxxxxx Website www.kslaw.com <<Q173_E.pdf>> Confidentiality Notice This message is being sent by or on behalf of a lawyer. It is intended exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. This communication may contain information that is proprietary, privileged or confidential or otherwise legally exempt from disclosure. If you are not the named addressee, you are not authorized to read, print, retain, copy or disseminate this message or any part of it. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately by e-mail and delete all copies of the message.