I deliberately waited until the last minute to post because
I knew that there would be those who could and would state my opinions as well, if
not better, than I could. I was correct.
First, let me say that Dr. Mueller's
answers were right on target. There is no reason to restrict the introduction
to new gTLDs. It may dilute some value to the .com's, but not really in the
long haul. Just as in the 800 vanity numbers, the .coms will retain great value,
if only because people are used to them. Even if they are somewhat devalued,
they will still be quite viable. Those who are speculating in names will simply
add to their inventory in the new gTLD's.
Also, keep in mind that speculation
is not illegal. If it were, then real estate agents would fill our prisons,
as would those who purchase a rental home or a piece of land hoping to sell and retire
on the increased value at age 65.
I am truly tired of the misuse of the terms "cybersquatting"
and "bad faith" by WIPO and the TM lobby. The intent of the Anticybersquatting
Consumer Protection Act (for which there is no consumer protection) was to stop those
who would register a known trademark as a domain name and attempt to resell it to
the mark holder for a greatly inflated price (extortion). It has been perverted
to include any person who would register a domain name, not use it immediately, advertise
it for resale, or even include a trademark as part of the name. The TM lobby
(WIPO influenced) would love to disallow any trademark from being included in any
name, thus preventing the use of just about any word in the English language from
being used in a domain name. Example (from a WG-B post) tenNISSANyone.com would
be a target under this proposal. In fact, such cases exist under UDRP with
"Bad Faith" has been perverted to include simply registering
a name, period.
Even the existing anticybersquatting law has been perverted
by UDRP arbitrators, who have set precedents outside the law and have ordered transfer
of names to complainants when the name is purely generic and there has been no infringement.
They have perverted the term dilution. It is a disgrace. The net result
is a complete mistrust of the UDRP and ICANN's policies.
The agreements between
ICANN and registrars hold the registrars hostage to enforce the UDRP and include
agreements of adhesion. They must do this because they also are required to
sign such agreements and must protect themselves. Also a disgrace.
board seated itself when Mr. Postel passed away in the middle of the organization
of ICANN. These "nominees" decided among themselves to seat themselves as the
interim board, thus circumventing any other means of selecting directors. The
present makeup of the board is weighted heavily on the side of the TM lobby and it
Yes, we should introduce some new gTLD's and they should be open to all
on a first come, first served basis, just as the DNS was intended to function.
For those who have the foresight and means to take a chance on the new TLD's, great.
Go for it. For those who choose to wait, take your chances on not getting the
name you want without having to purchase it from someone who got it first.
trademark holders, there is no way the trademark model fits into the internet model
due to the unique name constraint and multiple identical trademarks. In addition,
we are dealing with largely country specific laws in a global internet environment.
It just does not work. IMO, the best ICANN could do is provide a closed TLD
(.reg, .mark, .tmk,...) and let the TM holders duke it out. In doing so, there
would be no infringement challenges allowed in the gTLD's, period, except for truly
obvious duplications such as coca-cola, pepsicola, etc. Names like Ford, MacDonalds,
and multiple marks would not apply. Use of parody names are not illegal and
should never be the subject of challenge. The inclusion of a TM in a series
of generic words is not and should not be construed as an infringement, confusing
or dilutive, as has been done by the UDRP.
There is also nothing illegal about
"warehousing" names either. Major corporations do it all the time. It
seems that WIPO only considers it hoarding when it is an individual or small business
registering multiple names. I find that interesting, but typical. At
least speculators are returning the names to the marketplace while the major corps
are simply preventing anyone from using them. Either way, it is not illegal.
arbitration process, if it is kept at all, should be entirely re-written. At
the very least it must be make equitable for both sides in selecting the arbitrator,
appeal process, etc. If it cannot be re-done, then abolish it and start over.
ICANN continues to operate as an extra legal body, which is against it's mandate,
then I question whether it is in breach of its agreement with the USG. If so,
it can and should be terminated.
The introduction of new TLDs is one crucial measure
by which we, the at-large community can make our decisions.
do not think we really need new gTLD's, but recognize that the majority of the community
feels the need to have them. I will concede to the majority, as I do not feel
it can do any harm. The internet community will adapt to as many new names
and TLD's as appear in the registry.
We must all realize that as the internet evolves,
there will be massive changes and we will all adapt to them. Most people now
realize that a domain name does not necessarily match a company name, and that the
site content is more at issue. Banners and icons have more recognition than
the names themselves. If we don't find a match in .com, we automatically look
in the other tld's. Search engines are using Titles, descriptions, meta tags,
etc. to find sites. More and more, there will be different methods of branding.
We need to get away from the IP aspect of domain names. They are simple locators
- easier to remember than a series of numbers.
If ICANN continues down the road
they seem to have chosen, we will all be in a situation described by Judith Oppenheimer
in her satire, "Cyber HQ - The New Imperialism." It describes an era, not too
far from now, where the corporations own the internet and netizens are oppressed.
Don't think so? Read the editorial.
There WILL be new gTLD's. For those
who are not in favor, suck it up. We're outnumbered. I say, welcome the
challenge! It could be fun. For those who are so concerned about the
registrars making money, I say so what? It's a new industry. People are
entitled to free enterprise. Let them make millions - as long as they don't
penalize or gauge us. It is not inexpensive to set up and meet the requirements
to become a registrar. If they are willing to take the risk, good for them
In the meantime, the at-large membership must band together and
become one loud voice. Civil discourse is good, but divisiveness is not.
On some issues, we must all agree to disagree, but form a consensus and vote that
way. The IPC (TM lobby and WIPO) have done so and, therefore, have control.
Take part in whatever elections are available and strive to find others to join
and make their voices heard as well. There is little time.
I hope you have
all pre registered to participate in the limited web cast meetings in Yokohama.
If not, there may still be time to do so. Even if ICANN ignores us now, there
will be other elections and meetings in which we can participate. If there
is little response from the internet community, they can say we don't care and have
numbers to prove it.
Be smart. Join together as a cohesive group.