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Username: antipodes
Date/Time: Wed, September 26, 2001 at 9:32 AM GMT
Browser: Netscape Communicator V4.74 using Windows 98
Subject: well, what did Afilias say?

Message:
 

 
I have been posting the last few days that it appears to me that in regard to Afilias's awareness of the possibility of cybersquatting during the Sunrise phase, Afilias gave an undertaking in its Description of TLD Policies to ICANN and NSI that it would require registrars to obtain true and accurate registration information from all domain name registrants and that it, Afilias, would monitor registrar adherence to this policy which, together with all applicable laws and regulations relating to trademarks and cybersquatting would be incorporated in Afilias's RLAs.  Section E5.4 states that "If a registrar fails to comply with such laws and regulations, then Afilias will reject all registration applications from the registrar, and if such non-compliance persists, than Afilias will terminate the RLA."

It appears that in the light of Afilias subsequently saying that it would not be checking the bona fides of domain name orders, Afilias's undertaking in the Description of TLD Policies document did not transfer to its final ICANN-NSI Registry Agreement and did not enter Afilias's RLAs as it indicated it would.

I would like confirmation of this, because if these cybersquatting precautions were incorporated in the Registry Agreement and the Registrars License Agreements - then who was it who gave Afilias relief from this crucial undertaking - and why is ICANN permitting this breach of its Agreement with Afilias.

I am aware that ICANN is aware of cybersquatting by the Afilias company, and I suspect some of its Directors, and doing nothing about it.  In fact it appears that Afilias's RLAs permit registrar domain name registration in contravention of its ICANN-NSI Registry Agreement.

Afilias will continue to deny any responsibility for more than 10,000 instances of cybersquatting, but as I posted tongue-in-cheek a few days ago, if everyone else is innocent - neither ICANN nor Afilias apparently doing anything constructive, let alone admitting there is even a problem - than the Landrushers are to blame.

Closer to the truth I think is that a relationship exists between some in ICANN and the management of Afilias that has permitted Afilias make public statements which are at variance with its responsibilities as detailed in its Registry Agreement, without correction or censure by the regulatory authority. And at some stage the management of Afilias advised its approved registrars that they need not check the detail of applications as Afilias was administering the .info roll with ICANN at arms length, and should there be any attempts at fraud, then the challenge process would deal with it.

However, the powers that be would not have bargained on the registrar SpyProductions going public with what had until then been an inhouse understanding - no one was checking - and there would be a good chance you would get away with it if you attempted to commit fraud - as an expensive challenge process was only of value if you held a TM for the disputed name.  Unless of course you were a registrar, and it appears that the culture that had developed within Afilias prompted some directors and accredited registrars to do their share of cybersquatting.

What I believe to be a reasonable view is that an applicant intending to commit domain name registration fraud can not do so without the aid of a registrar and a registry.  If a registry or registry does not have safeguards against fraud/cybersquatting in place, then they are at risk of accusations of complicity when the inevitable fraud occurs. When instances of fraud number more than 10,000, I think it is apparent that some registrars and the registry are complicit.

Afilias's management of the .info extension to date indicates that ICANN was mistaken is accepting the Afilias bid over others, and ICANN's unwillingness to involve itself in the timely and efficient purging of fraudulent Sunrise registration in order to re-establish the integrity of the .info registry in order that Afilias's responsibiliries to the Landrush applicants can be met, casts serious doubts on whether the current management of ICANN are fit and proper people to hold such positions of authority.

One must ask whether a change short of a purging of the current executive of both Afilias and ICANN will be enough to restore the credibility of both institutions and start to restore the trust of the Internet community in new registries and the regulatory authority.


 


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