URGENT: Intellectual Property Consortium wants .net domains to be subject to TRADEMARK seizures and to abolish privacy-shielded .NETs

The Intellectual Property Constituency has asked that, as a condition of Verisign's ongoing management of the .NET top-level domain, that they should be required to act as private copyright trademark cops. Among the IPC's demands are that .NET domains should be subject to suspension on copyright trademark complaints and that anonymous or privacy-shielded .NET domains should be abolished. You can comment on the process by emailing net-agreement-renewal@icann.org, but you must do so today.

Urgent: Now Intellectual Property Group Wants to Apply New Rights Protections to .Net

Update: I've just filed comments on behalf of Boing Boing. A copy is here.


  1. Great idea about emailing (I tried), but not so great because the address isn’t valid. Fail.

  2. Can someone explain to me in English what is special about certain .net domains and why they want this changed?

  3. ….on copyright complaints and that anonymous or privacy-shielded .NET domains should be abolished.

    That’s just rich! Considering that their domain is registered with a privacy-shielded:

    Domain ID:D94768629-LROR
    Created On:14-Mar-2003 09:21:08 UTC
    Last Updated On:07-May-2011 03:40:12 UTC
    Expiration Date:14-Mar-2012 09:21:08 UTC
    Sponsoring Registrar:Register.com Inc. (R71-LROR)
    Registrant ID:87043528a6af6642
    Registrant Name:Domain Discreet
    Registrant Organization:ATTN: ipconstituency.org



    I wonder if these folks know the difference between a goose and a gander?

  4. To whom it may concern:

    I am a co-owner and co-editor of BoingBoing.net, owned by Happy Mutants, LLC, on whose behalf I write today. I am writing to express Happy Mutants’ objections to the comments filed by the Intellectual Property Constituency, available here:




    The past year has seen ample evidence that domain seizures don’t work. The extrajudicial, streamlined rough justice that the IPC and its members advocate resulted in the erroneous seizure of 80,000 websites and their replacement with an incorrect warning that they had previously hosted child pornography.


    Meanwhile, practically every site seized went back up immediately. Of course, some of the seized sites had been found legal in their local courts, so it’s not surprising:


    Site operators accused of copyright infringement should be sued in the appropriate courts, which can issue injunctions during or after the proceeding, on the basis of evidence. It is not appropriate to ask Verisign to adjudicate technically complex copyright claims. The outcome will be similar to what we’ve seen already: overreaching claims, seizures of legitimate sites, and a shoot-first, ask-questions-later approach characteristic of the IPC’s members.



    Unlike Happy Mutants or the IPC, many domain registrants are private individuals, lacking a commercial office, PO box or other address for use in domain registration. Compelling registrars to publish their customers’ home addresses on the public Internet isn’t a “best practice” — it’s a privacy disaster in the making, a gift to identity thieves and stalkers, and anything but common sense. We don’t publish our home addresses on the Internet, and neither do the people who pay the bills at the IPC. Why should everyone else be required to, just to save the IPC’s members the trouble of securing a court order when they believe their rights are being infringed?


    For these reasons, we ask that you disregard the comments of the IPC in their entirety.

    Thank you,

    Cory Doctorow
    Happy Mutants, LLC

    PO Box 306
    128 Aldersgate Street
    London, UK
    EC1A 4AE

    (not my home address)

  5. in related news: power-hungry greed-driven douchebags who only value commercial art and mass-produced culture already own almost everything.

  6. Thanks for the alert. As the owner of a vanity .net domain, I find this attack quite disturbing. Have sent my objection to ICANN.

  7. i fired one off…
    not feeling great about being considered untrustworthy by default by these slimeballs but we all know that history is written by the richest slimeballs.

    meh =\

  8. To Whom it may concern:
    I am a web developer and computer technician with 20 years of
    experience. The recommendations of the IPC directly affect me and my
    clients. After reading the recommendations I would like to suggest
    that they be disregarded and not used in future considerations for
    regulation or policies.
    The IPC is either very short sighted in this or is influenced by some
    form of financial gain. There simply seems no other explanation for
    their recommendations. These actions would violate the constitutional
    rights of due process and personal property. Ignoring for a moment
    that personal privacy on the internet is a fundamental necessity for
    the safety of some domain registrants. Please consider that the IPC’s
    recommendations would cause harm to both businesses and individuals
    with no due process or recourse. If a site is seized or taken down due
    to false accusations, what defense or recompense is allowed the
    registrant? Compensation for damages to past victims of this type of
    overstepping bureaucracy have been either elusive and meager or worse
    We have laws to protect the owners of intellectual property. If
    someone feels that they have cause for legal action then let them use
    the existing laws to pursue such grievances.
    Please do not enact more regulations that will have far reaching
    unintended consequences.

  9. Er, reading over the PDF linked above: http://forum.icann.org/lists/net-agreement-renewal/pdfTeYfTqqAOg.pdf I don’t see the recommendation to remove privacy-shielded domains. They do recommend use of the unjust, too quick and too cheep “uniform rapid suspension (URS) system”. The other recommendations seem to be: a central .net whois server, rather than one per registrar; an abuse contact point, investigation of false WHOIS data, that false WHOIS data cause registrations to be canceled, to let other people instigate these investigations, to have periodic audits, and continuity plans.

    I’ve written an email (quoted below) objecting to the URS recommendation, but can someone clarify the privacy-shield issue?
    I’m a holder of a .org domain, and astonished and alarmed to hear about demands by the IPC that the .net TLD be subject to the untried, unjust and inappropriate URS system. This over-reaching is ineffective, and should be rejected.

    Thanks for your attention,

    Jesse Weinstein

    1. Jesse, the whole document is about implementing “Think whois information”, which is basically code for “You can’t list you domain provider as the infringement reporting contact”

      This paragraph summarises their position:
      “Furthermore, the critical registrant protections provided by features such as thick (and more accurate) Whois, abuse point of contact requirements, and emergency and transition plans, will be much more effective and comprehensive once they are extended to the huge .NET

      @Anon #2:
      Can someone explain to me in English what is special about certain .net domains and why they want this changed?

      Basically, when you do a whois lookup on a domain there HAS to be a contact listed. At present you can request that this contact is the actual domain provider themselves, or a 3rd party company. In the case of a company or large organization it is no issue as a PO box can be listed, thereby retaining location privacy for the domain registrant. For sole-operators of .net domains it is less likely that they will have PO box or office HQ, meaning that their HOME address would be required. This is obviously not an option if the site in question is inflammatory or widely unpopular, because or the potential of meat-space retribution.

      The present BB whois info is:
      Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 017334163
      96 Mowat Ave
      Toronto, ON M6K 3M1

      Domain name: BOINGBOING.NET

      Administrative Contact:
      Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 017334163, boingboing.net@contactprivacy.com
      96 Mowat Ave
      Toronto, ON M6K 3M1

      Under the changes proposed by IPC, these details would have to be the real name and address of someone related to the site.

      1. I suspected the reference to “think WHOIS” might be code for “no-privacy-shielded-domains”, but it doesn’t actually say that. Can you (or someone else) point me to some other documents or analysis that more explicitly links these two claims?

  10. Sent the following off a short while ago, after doing a little bit of research.

    Now I wish I had followed through with my application for membership in ICANN, all those years ago…


    To whom it may concern;

    Earlier today I read the IPC’s request that .NET be required to make a uniform rapid suspension system available as part of the new contract with VeriSign to manage the .NET domain.

    I would like to remind ICANN of two things. First, there are already laws and procedures in place that support the right of due process for all parties in a lawsuit. Requirements like that the IPC are requesting are an attempt to circumvent due process. Second, the practical legal principle that ‘Ownership is nine tenths of the law’ is just as true on line as it is in the material world. As an owner of a .net domain for over ten years, I believe that my rights to my domain name would be severely lessened if a third party could, with little to no notice, suspend access to my domain without due process. This is because, once the service is suspended, it then becomes solely my burden to prove that I was not guilty of whatever charges might (or might not) have been brought (if they actually are). This ‘guilty when charged’ attitude is repugnant to one of the fundamental legal principles of my country.

    Like other individuals and groups that have been in the news over the last several years, the IPC knows this, and wishes to short circuit the legal system and individual rights for the ease and financial goals of their dues paying members. As a sometime writer, artist and photographer, this is far beyond what I consider appropriate means to support and defend my IP rights, or those of anyone else.

    Please do _not_ require the new owner of the .NET contract, wether VeriSign or some other, to implement a URS system as a part of that contract.

    Thank you


    We will see if this makes any difference.

    These continuing attempted power grabs by the big IP owning corporations and their representatives (sadly, many of them US based) is getting tiresome. And as long as they can throw their money behind the politicos that are willing to support their agenda, it is not going to let up.

  11. Well, I just emailed. I’ll try to get the message out to others. Thanks for the heads up Cory.

  12. My email sent earlier today:

    I don’t know where to start, but to say that this potential ruling could be exercised in the most arbitrary, and patently unfair ways imaginable.

    My domain, XXXX.net, is for my personal use And for the dissemination of technical information. I have been using this domain for approximately 15 years, and was unable to secure the .com domain due to a cybersquatter. Once the .com domain was released a musical act secured the rights, and under this ruling could possibly lay claim to my domain claiming prior use and copyright infringement.

    Although .net domains have been used for commercial enterprises, the prevalence of .com, .co, .biz, and other extensions provide many options to rights holders to extend their reach.

    I respectfully request that you deny this motion and remove a potentially disastrous situation from many domain holders such as myself.


    Name Withheld
    New York, USA

  13. Fired off my email to ICANN and have been alerting others as well. Thanks Cory. Hopefully they will see what an unmitigated clusterfuck such a policy would be.

  14. I’m getting “Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 550 550 5.1.1 <net-agreement-renewal@icann.org>… User unknown (state 14).”

  15. Disclosure: I work for a competitor to Verisign, but I am not posting in any kind of official capacity.

    Cory, I think there is some confusion. The URS is an alternative to the UDRP, which already governs every registration on every generic top-level domain, sponsored or unsponsored. This policy doesn’t have anything to do with copyright, it has to do with wordmarks, such as trademarks, and only regarding the domain name itself, not the content on any particular website. If I somehow register, for example, coke.net, this policy would apply; if I somehow discover the secret coke formula and post it on my website, this policy would not.

    This is a flawed analogy, but the proposed URS is sort of a small-claims-court alternative to the slower, more expensive UDRP. The new policy is arguably better for domain-holders in terms of protection from abusive copyright holders:

    – complainants have to pay $300 to file; domain holders pay no fee unless they are being accused of 26 or more bad-faith registrations at the same time.

    – the standard of proof is higher; not only does the examiner have to find that the complainant is in the right, but also that the current domain holder acted in bad faith (e.g. with the intent to confuse people).

    – the domain name will continue to resolve while the proceedings are underway (though the domain owner won’t be able to make changes to the DNS information).

    – If the complainant wins, they don’t get to keep the domain; it points to a generic URS page until it would naturally expire, then it is up for grabs again.

    By the way, the current UDRS policy can be found here: http://www.icann.org/en/dndr/udrp/policy.htm

  16. oh, it is on…

    well this has finally got me to set up a boingboing account. i just had to comment on this. this is ridiculous.. i have itison.net and itison.tv for many years and the goal of which is about freedom of information in the digital world. it is about storytelling, it is about culture, it is about using the media around you to help tell you own stories. it is remix culture. it is free culture. it is activism. i want this to be a network of like-minded “open” people who value our potential as humans and want a better world for all of us, irrespective of borders. the .net domain has always symbolised the decentralised aspect of the internet for me. i want .net to be open, not a tool of the censorship / copyright industries. recently i’ve had a trademark takedown on youtube, which is an obvious abuse by the potential plaintiff. i’ve not heard back from them yet but i’m very interested to know for sure who ordered the takedown..
    please have a quik read here for more info on that

    mark o’cúlar it.is.on

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