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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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?