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Username: MicrowvCat
Date/Time: Sat, September 1, 2001 at 7:24 AM GMT
Browser: AOL Browser V5.0 using Windows 95
Subject: Heresy



I'm certain that what I'm about to say will be considered heresy by Gary and a few other posters but I will say it anyway since this is a free forum and (generally) a free world.  I've followed the dot info saga and the postings in this forum and have seen many distressing things on both sides.

First I would say that the dot info rollout has been about as successful as a jail cell beauty pageant.  Most of the winners are not what they seem, the judges are getting favors on the side and those that should be in charge seem to be looking the other way.

Now it seems that there are two different views you can take on this.  The view of some posters is that trademarks are criminal and that they should hold no sway on new domains.  They argue that the whole dot info Sunrise process should be scrapped and that things should start from scratch.  Others have suggested that there should be separate TLDs for the various types of trademarks.  Both arguments have many valid points for their basis.  I do not argue against their foundation.  I do, however, question their practicality.

Trademarks, for better or worse, serve a purpose in modern society.  They protect the investment of various interests.  I do agree that when it comes to TLDs that a couple dozen entities (if not hundred or thousand in some cases) could claim rights to similar names.  My point is that to base a challenge on the dot info fiasco on the fact that trademarks are unjust is to fight an unwinable war in this case.  It distracts from the cesspool that the process has become.  Fighting the global trademark system is very different than fighting to clean up the dot info fiasco. You will find little support from anyone with power and in fact will offer ammunition for the other side.   You will make it easy for Afilias to dismiss you as cybersquatters or (god forbid) anarchists.   The idea of a TLD for Trademark holders is good in the brainstorming realm of things but not very practical.  How many people would actually know whether the brand they are trying to look up is state, local or international?

Although conspiracy theories abound there are specific facts.

The dot info rollout was based on certain rules.  Those rules included a number of clauses.

1) Afilias gets a number of reserved addresses.  This can include, and such.  That was in the rules.  It was their right.  Deal with it.

2) Registrar organizations can get up to 10 names provided they have the .com, .org or .net address AND the trademark.  If a registrar organization meets this requirement they have the right to take advantage of it.  I have no problem with this EXCEPT that it wasn't in the public statements.  Since most (almost all) registrars charged for pre-registration and this fact wasn't released to the public or in the consent statements the fact that they charged people to register names that would be unregisterable puts them in breach of contract.  It may have been wrong of Afilias to provide the registrars with this privilege but it would not have been beyond their scope.  What was certainly criminal was allowing individuals to pay for the "chance" at sites that would never be open to them (the public).

As I see it these are not the arguments.  The argument comes down to fraud in the Sunrise period and Afilias' response to it.  I assume that they will let bygones be bygones and let the challenge period play out and then hold another landrush for whatever domain they deem challengable.  There is more money in it that way (more pre-registration fees or auction fees).  There is more money but it compiles injustice upon injustice.

I believe that the original Domebase and the Simple Solution are still the best and most equitable solutions.  They keep with the original intent of the TLD distribution, they keep Afilias' liability to a minimum and they are generally agreed upon as a just solution.

If the dot info fiasco is to be corrected there are a couple steps I would strongly support.

1) The effort of those involved in ferreting out the corruption in the Sunrise Period has been incredible.  I personally commend those who have posted in this forum and especially the Challenge list.  What has been shown is that 1,000 eyes are better than one.  The efforts have put a spotlight on those who have tried to take advantage of the dot info fiasco for personal gain.  This includes showing how those involved with the process have tried for personal gain.  There is strength in numbers and a benefit to exposing the depth of corruption.

2) I've read the press releases written by forum posters about the dot info fiasco and have found them to be both well written and well documented.  Both are important things if you want to focus the eyes of the public on the process.  I would strongly advise everyone in this forum to write their local paper and to copy it to their local political representatives.  Don't exaggerate or put too much emotion into it.  The facts are damning enough and will speak louder.
3) Keep exposing the truth.  There is an expose, a story and a book that will come of this.  Find names and expose connections and conflicts of interest.  See what dirt you can keep digging up on Afilias, its registrar organizations and board members.  I'm betting the well goes deep.

3) If Afilias and its member (registrar) organizations have broken their promise on the rules of the rollout then deny your pre-registration fees.  Let them challenge them.  The burden will be on them to prove that they have provided the service they professed to offer.  Review your agreements closely.  By choosing inaction on the fraudulent Sunrise registrars they have taken your money unfairly.

I assume that some poster will be unhappy with some of what they perceive to be conciliatory tones but differences of opinion are the norm in a public forum.  My comments were not meant to be inflammatory.  I look forward to responses.


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