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Username: antipodes
Date/Time: Thu, September 20, 2001 at 2:01 PM GMT
Browser: Netscape Communicator V4.74 using Windows 98
Subject: the importance of the William Lorenz case


Vera has given me the opportunity to share a view I have on the matter of the one hundred or more .info Sunrise applications made by William Lorenz.

When the IFCC, the DoC, a Congressional Committee or whomever commence investigation of the Afilias abomination, I am sure it will be noted that W.Lorenz was smarter than your average XYZ12345 TM detail applicant, who, by trying to gain advantage by falcifying detail of a non-existant TM, contravened TM law and made themselves liable to prosecution under that law.  I certainly hope that they all will be.

However, what is most important about Lorenz is that he indicated in his applications that he did not hold a TM for any of the names for which he applied and was telling the registry Afilias that his applications were ineligible for the Sunrise lottery. But, Afilias duly registered the Lorenz applications.

This breach of vigilence is not important if the integrity of the new .info registry is not important.

However, as we all know too well, the integrity of the new registry was and remains vitally important.

Afilias through its member registrars and its accredited registrars had entered into Landrush preregistration agreements that I suspect numbered in the hundreds of thousands from which an estimated value can be determined - and I would not be surprised if Landrush preregistrants invested somewhere between USD$5,000,000 and USD$10,000,000.

Now we are advised by some analysts that it was the Landrush names - an estimated 25-30% of the 50,000 odd Sunrise registrations - which were hardest hit by the cybersquatting facilitated by the ICANN/Afilias model for .info.

I think it is possible that half of the dollar value above - as much as USD$5,000,000 - could have been bet by Landrushers on the most popular Landrush names - like the favourites in a race - which were fraudulently registered in Sunrise and effectively scratched from the Landrush race - unless the registry Afilias had been concerned about the integrity of its new registry and the implications for its Landrush customers - and freed the fraudulently registered names for the Landrush lottery.

Now, on the eve of the Landrush phase and more than a month since it became apparent that the Sunrise phase was in tatters - the registry Afilias and the industry watchdog ICANN have done nothing to address the implications of an inadequate model, inadequate vigilence and a compromised registry on the Landrush applicants.

I believe that those responsible for the investigation of the Afilias abomination will not accept that Afilias had put in place an adequate challenge process, nor will they accept that once it was apparent to everybody that cybersquatting was occuring on a scale never before seen, Afilias could do nothing to protect the thousands of its registrars's customers who had paid for Landrush preregistrations.

Unacceptable will be the fact that Afilias was able to handcheck the applications from its owm members and accredited registrars, and registered the names whether of not the applications breached TM law or the Afilias agreements with its accredited registrars, but not reject the Lorenz applications and the many thousands of others which were patently fraudulent.

Unacceptable will be the fact that ICANN and Afilias did nothing to protect the interests of the Landrush customers, despite vocal protest and the submission of equitable proposals for a solution to the fiasco in ICANN's own public forum.

Unacceptable will be the fact that Afilias and ICANN did nothing when some registrars became provocateurs encouraging Sunrise TM fraud in the name of good service - pointing out the inadequacy of the Afilias model to catch or penalise cheats and the unlikelihood that (all but a very few) registrars would check the bona fide of Sunrise applications.

Unacceptable will be an Afilias response that it was the registrars who took the money for preregistrations and that it was the registrars who benefitted, not Afilias.

There were a number of categories of fraudulent applications, many of which were as easy to detect as those from William Lorenz, all of which could have been rejected, the integrity of the new registry maintained, and the Landrush applicants satisfied that they had been dealing with a professional and ethical company which had acted to protect the interests of the Landrush applicants.

Now on the eve of Landrush, I suspect that there are very few of us who bought Landrush preregistrations who are not already poorer for the experience, as much of our preregistration budget will win us nothing, as Afilias and ICANN have presided over the .info rollout in such a way as to deny us the chances we had hoped and paid for.

The following questions I imagine will be in the minds of those with the responsibility to investigate the ICANN/Afilias .info abomination:

How can a professional and ethical registrar or registry provide a reliable and equitable service when the registry is know to be inaccurate, to have had its integrity compromised?

Would a professional, reputable, ethical registrar or registry continue to do business when it is public knowledge that the registry is know to be inaccurate, to have had its integrity compromised?

Would a professional, ethical registry postpone the purging of thousands of fraudulent applicants, so doing, effectively purging tens of thousands of preregistrations worth may be USD$5,000,000 purchased in good faith?


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