some comments on the new .info domain rollout and the early
"domain grab" in the name of intellectual property...
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 08 Aug 2001 00:33:31 +0200
Subject: <nettime> dot-info: september 19, 2001 will not take place
".info domain names are expected to become live and accessible through all
internet web browsers on or about september 19, 2001."
today, a message on politech (http://www.politechbot.com/p-02357.html) lead me
to do some quick research on the current state of the dot-info domain "sunrise"
pre-registration process. if you want the good news and the bad news in one
single headline, i can report that the whole process is totally fucked up.
since the "sunrise" period (july 25 to august 27) was agreed on by icann and
afilias ltd. (the multinational consortium operating the dot-info registry) in
order do give trademark holders a chance to grab their domains before the public
"landrush" period, you might now expect the usual complaints about the state-
sanctioned protection of business interests under the name of "intellectual
property". (ok, here it is: intellectual property is legalized theft. period.)
but in fact, things are much worse (or better, if you like): even though
afilias' whois service was shut down for "quality assurance" shortly after its
launch, a lot of people had the chance to take a glimpse. reports said that
hundreds of random whois lookups for common generic terms revealed accepted
"sunrise" registrations that were not only fraudulent, but obviously bogus.
highlights include music.info registered with a corea trademark for "dumping",
analsex.info with a morocco trademark for "sandip singh sandhu", or newyork.info
obtained by the holder of the u.s. trademark no. "e.g. 12345". by today, whois
is back, so you can take a look yourself.
apparently, afilias and their authorized registrars are not even able (or
willing) to correctly handle the form data that the registrants submit: the
large amount of domain names registered with an albanian patent for "unknown"
from 2040-01-02 can easily be identified as the result of incomplete entries
filled with default values. to me, something is terribly wrong with a
"consortium of eighteen of the world's leading domain name registrars" that
routinely manages secure online transactions but then fails to implement a
trivial date check.
any of these domains are now considered taken and blocked unless you initiate a
so-called "sunrise challenge" process. unfortunately, this is not a process but
a market, "provided exclusively" by the wipo and monopolized by afilias ltd.,
who'll charge you $295 without any guarantee that you'll get the domain name.
by now, hovever, even debugging (if not rebooting) the "sunrise" process in mid-
execution would imply unforseeable legal problems. all in all, the current
situation rather looks like sunset for afilias. first statements are out calling
isps to boycott resolving dot-info addresses until the registry operator meets
any resonable standards. further, it's hard to imagine how icann will explain
why after years to discuss and months to negociate the implementation of new
tlds, their very first attempt leads to a monumental fiasco. that is, unless
icann finally admits they're nothing more than an international olympic
committee of domain names, i.e. a senile global mafia.
maybe it's too early (or rather: too late) to make any predictions, but i'd say
september 19, 2001 will not take place, and dot-info will have been that tld
operated for a short period in summer 2001 with only a single functional domain,
afilias.info, which belonged to an illegal, icann-accredited lottery.
-------- begin quote from icann forum --------
Subject: .INFO Sunrise - Dawn of the Dead
From: Bill Bezzant <bill.bezzantATsaipan.com>
Date: Sat, August 4, 2001 at 12:19 AM GMT
Greetings ICANN Community,
Following is the text of a news story I have written and attempted to publish in
the news media, but because Afilias has shut down their WHOIS service, the facts
cannot be verified at this time by the news publishers. Story follows:
The much anticipated launch of ".INFO", the first of seven new ICANN-approved
gTLDs to augment the availability of ".com" and ".net" domain names, got
underway on August 1st when Afilias (http://www.afilias.info) , the registrar
awarded management of the .info gTLD, began its "Sunrise" advance registration
for trademark-holders worldwide. The first round Sunrise registrations were
awarded by lottery among customer entries submitted earlier through dozens of
retail domain registrars, and the results were posted late yesterday on the
Afilias website (http://www.afilias.info) through their WHOIS lookup.
But the .info launch is permeated with fraudulent registrations by trademark
imposters, and despite Afilias' preparations for the launch, no steps have been
taken to prevent trademark fraud by Sunrise registrants. According to
registration requirements posted on both the Afilias website
(http://www.afilias.info/faq/ip-owners.html) and the ICANN website
Sunrise registration must be for a domain name exactly matching the trademark
name, registered in the national trademark registry of a recognized country,
registered before October 2, 2000. But the Sunrise registrations for such
notable domain names as "china.info", "japan.info", "australia.info",
"cruises.info", "rice.info" and "taxes.info" indicate trademark names having no
similarity to the domain name, and in one case the trademark is simply
Domain names such as "lasvegas.info" were registered with trademark numbers that
simply do not exist in the U.S. Trademark online database, strongly indicating
their questionable authenticity. Patrick Nobriga registered the Sunrise domain
names "Reno.info", "LosAngeles.info", "chicken.info" and "beef.info" all using
the same trademark number "137636599", which does not exist in the U.S.
Trademark online database. Patrick also successfully registered the Sunrise
domain name "news.info" using the trademark number "123456789". Should we look
that one up too?
Sunrise registrations such as "taxes.info", "Japan.info", and "China.info" have
trademark dates later than October 2, 2000 (the "taxes.info" trademark submittal
indicates a date just last week, July 27, 2001). Yet these domains were
accepted and processed in the Afilias Sunrise registration without question.
"Employment.info" and "Hotels.info" were both registered using the same Israel-
issued trademark number 153278563 during the Sunrise period to Cass Foster of
Communigal Communications. Nice domain names; but which one, if any, is the
real Israeli trademark 153278563?
And the enterprising Stephen Rumney of World Information Services has entered
authentic-looking Egyptian trademark numbers for "Asia.info", "Jobs.info",
"Loans.info", and "Sports.info", but the trademark names are "asiainfo",
"jobsinfo", "loansinfo", and "sportsinfo" which should have resulted in the
domain names "AsiaInfo.info", "JobsInfo.info" etc.
Despite years of planning by ICANN, and months of contract negotiations between
ICANN and Afilias, extensive public relations by Afilias, and extensive
certification processes for .info authorized registrars, Afilias' disregard for
obviously fraudulent trademark submissions during the Sunrise period has
prevented tens of thousands of legitimate customers from competing for non-
trademarked domain names during the public registration periods that will not
open until September 2001. Now that these important domain names have been
fraudulently awarded during the Sunrise registration they are no longer
available for legitimate customers until after a lengthy and costly "Sunrise
Challenge" process or through legal action in the courts.
Perhaps disgruntled domain name customers could visit www.attorneys.info to find
an attorney who might file a class-action lawsuit, but...ooops! The domain name
"attorneys.info" was registered during the Sunrise period to Gregory Carbonaro
using U.S. Trademark No. 2469675, and according to the U.S. Patent Office
online database at http://www.uspto.gov the U.S. Trademark 2469675 was issued in
July 2001 to the Dairy Farmers of America for a form of dried skim milk
trademarked "Savortex"; not "Attorneys".
-------- end quote from icann forum --------
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