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Username: antipodes
Date/Time: Sun, December 16, 2001 at 4:47 PM GMT
Browser: Netscape Communicator V4.74 using Windows 98
Subject: 6/12/01 press release, Hal and Roland have a sense of humour

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Some extracts from the Afilias press release of December 6, which indicates that the boys and girls at Afilias Ltd. haven't lost their sense of humour, even after the public humiliation of the .info fiasco, and are still prepared to try to spin doctor their way out of the crapper.          


"Afilias Strengthens Sunrise Policies to Ferret Out Phony Registrants

"New policies take effect today to eliminate *improper Sunrise registrations*

*improper Sunrise registrations* - what a lovely euphemism for the process which resulted from ICANN approving the Afilias Registry Agreement devoid of any protections against cyber fraud - around 10,000 instances of cybersquatting made public through Richard Henderson's theinternetchallenge.com, before Richard had to bow to pressure from those who were embarrassed by the scale of the fiasco, the facts of which Afilias had tried diminish in their all too infrequent press releases.

NEWTOWN, PA - 6 December, 2001 - "Afilias announced today that it has
strengthened its Sunrise policies and challenge process to ensure the
effectiveness of  *the Sunrise registration system which was designed to protect intellectual property*  in the rollout of the new .INFO top-level domain. These include revisions to the existing Sunrise Challenge policy as well as additional policy enhancements.

*the Sunrise registration system which was designed to protect intellectual property* - Hal and Roland have forgotten that SpyProductions made a public announcement prior to the .info Sunrise that there were no protections for intellectual property in the .info rollout and that for five years registration instead of two, any one could register a .info domain name without an eligible trademark.  Indeed, as was demonstrated by the applicant Lorenz and several others, one didn't even have to falsify TM details to have Afilias register Sunrise names for you.

**Afilias had in fact put in place an "after the event" policy to protect intellectual property and I think Afilias, in the minds of most observers, can be considered to have aided and abetted in the fraudulent registration of around 10,000 ineligible applications for .info Sunrise registrations.

*"Afilias is eager to ensure that the Sunrise registration process is an effective test bed from which to learn how intellectual property can be adequately protected during the rollout of a new top-level domain,"*  said Hal Lubsen, Afilias' Chief Executive Officer.  *"With some strategic enhancements to our policies we believe we will be able to clear the .INFO domain of Sunrise registrations that were improperly submitted."*

** - The first Hal Lubsen quote can be answered in this manner - an "after the event" policy will not adequately protect intellectual property DURING a rollout.  That this should be a surprise to the Afilias and ICANN executive is beyond belief and is the source of the conspiracy theories which say the Afilias and ICANN executive managerial failure produced a financial windfall for the company Afilias and its registrars - albeit at too high a price for Sunrise and Landrush applicants who collectively lost a small fortune on preregistrations for names fraudulently removed from the lottery barrel.  Afilias through its registrars will sell, for a third time, the chance of winning the same prized generics when they are offered to the public following the challenge process.

*"With some strategic enhancements to our policies we believe we will be able to clear the .INFO domain of Sunrise registrations that were improperly submitted."*  - this second Lubsen quote is Lubsen speak for - NOW we will want proof of TM and NOW we will check it - shucks, who would have thought any one would have cheated when it became common knowledge there was no adequate process in place to stop cheating?

That the integrity of the .info registry was destroyed on the first day of the Sunrise and the process continued for a couple of weeks while some registrars sold Landrush preregistrations for the same names should be a matter considered when the Afilias and ICANN executive are called to explain their actions.

For Hal Lubsen to describe the fraudulent applications which Afilias processed into fraudulent or ineligible registrations WITHOUT CHECKS  as "improperly submitted" is sheer hypocracy, but typical of the manner in which the Internet community has been treated by Afilias and ICANN during the sorry saga of the .info launch.

Some might say that the process of selection of Afilias as the .info Registry was improper, that the ICANN-Afilias Registry Agreement was improper because it was inadequate to provide IP protection and due care to the interests of bona fide Sunrise and Landrush applicants, but none of the thousands of people who lost preregistration fees due to the scam would describe the 10,000 odd ineligible registrations as resulting from "improperly submitted" applications.

Improperly processed by registrars - yes, as no applications were checked; improperly processed by the registry - yes, as no applications were checked; improperly submitted - no, once the first round Sunrise registration details became available in the .info whois, it was apparent that SpyProductions was correct, any one could have a Sunrise registration, as the only checks been made were an applicant's credit card details.

"First, Afilias will strengthen its Sunrise Challenge policy by requiring anyone wanting to register a successfully challenged Sunrise name to produce proof of their valid trademark. This policy change, which was posted two weeks ago and became effective today, was made in accordance with Afilias' agreement with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the manager of the expedited dispute process for .INFO.

"Second, Afilias will also offer registrars the ability to correct some WHOIS data and request deletions of domain names. Afilias' initial Sunrise policy required all registrants who participated in the Sunrise registration period to have a valid trademark of national effect prior to October 2, 2000 and submit the corresponding information at registration. As a tool to battle cybersquatters who resell names quickly, Afilias locked these registrations for 180 days to both secure the data and ensure that no domains avoided scrutiny under the subsequent challenge process.

"The ability to correct and delete records will be facilitated through the introduction of two databases that will parallel the existing WHOIS directory of .INFO names. One of the new databases will now allow registrars to correct certain contact and trademark information that was incorrectly submitted. The other will allow registrants whose domains may have been improperly submitted during the Sunrise process to request that their domain names be deleted. Registrars will be able to submit these changes on behalf of Sunrise registrants.

"In August of this year, Afilias also announced it would exercise its rights under the Sunrise Challenge process and submit a bulk challenge against remaining Sunrise names that appear to be facially invalid. The introduction of these auxiliary databases strengthens Afilias' ability to submit this bulk challenge by narrowing the number of names that it will need to consider. Afilias will release a list of names being considered prior to issuing its bulk challenge. Names that are
successfully canceled as a result of Afilias' bulk challenge, as well as requested deletions and other names that may have been canceled due to challenge proceedings but that have not been registered, will be returned to public availability in early 2002.

"Registrants interested in updating their data or requesting to delete names are urged to contact their Afilias-authorized registrar as soon as possible. Those interested in challenging names registered during the Sunrise Period may do so with WIPO until December 26, 2001. A list of decisions, as well as instructions for filing a challenge, is available at http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/gtld/info/. For those
wishing to register a name, a list of Afilias-authorized registrars is also available at http://www.afilias.info/register/.

                             

 


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