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Username: antipodes
Date/Time: Fri, October 12, 2001 at 8:12 PM GMT
Browser: Netscape Communicator V4.74 using Windows 98
Subject: .info cybersquatting in the Sydney Morning Herald

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          no journalism awards for this young lady but the .info abomination is in the media.  Story from Afternic's Urlyindicator  - link below


http://www.smh.com.au/news/0110/08/national1/national10.html  
 

                   Cybersquatters nab trademarks as new dot.info
                   domain goes live

                   By Kirsty Needham

Sydney, Dick Smith and the Wallabies have been knocked off, along with some of Australia's biggest corporations.

The rollout of the first new Internet domains in 15 years promised to avoid the opportunistic cybersquatting that saw some dot.com names exchange hands on the blackmarket for millions of dollars, and become the subject of long court battles.

But as dot.info, the first of up to seven new domains went live, it did not appear to be off to a good start.

The website address australia.info is now in the custodianship of the Australian Tourist Commission. But sydney.info has been awarded to Sydney Nolan of Sydney Limited in Castle Street, Sydney.

It is a bogus name and the trademark Sydney Limited doesn't exist, admits the owner of the Internet company which processed the application. Mr Jim Carey - he insists this name is real - said he was acting for a client.

"It sounded a bit dubious to me," said Mr Carey. "I received a money order for $US65 to register the name. I think he was just trying to get away with it because everyone knows that the checking of applications was very poor. There is a huge number of bogus trademarks."

Trademark holders had been offered a timeframe in which, for a fee, they could preserve their dot.info names online ahead of the general public. But it appears many of the supposed trademarked applications have not been vetted.

Dicksmith.info has been registered by a Queenslander called Kevin. But the general manager of Dick Smith Foods, Mr Chres James, says the company knows nothing about it.

NSW.info, plus a hundred or so other Australian place names, have gone to Victorian businessman Marc Gough. A Chinese Internet user has wallabies.info, while koala has gone to the French. Curiously, a New Zealand company, Kiwi Co-op Dairies purportedly owns yahoo.info.

One week on, more than 350,000 dot.info names have been registered, but at least 400 are in dispute, ranging from joy.info to jesus and islam.info.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation is offering to settle name disputes for a $US295 arbitration fee.

Sydney.info is already being challenged -- by a British company with the registered trademark Sydney Brasseries.

In many cases, cybersquatters have picked up the names because major companies,including McDonalds, Westfield and Coles Myer, had not acted to claim them.

Peter Knight, a lawyer with Clayton Utz, said it was inevitable that cybersquatters would emerge with every new domain name released, but the new dispute process should prove quicker and cheaper than the court action relied on in the past.

Mr Knight was surprised, however, that geographical names had been released.

He said: "No-one can really claim they are entitled to a domain like Sydney. It should not have been given out."
   
     

 


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