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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Here We Go Again: New URS Ploy From Overreaching TM Interests Aims to Make It Easier to Take Away Your Domains 

Every time someone asks me what the biggest threats to the domain industry are I always put attempts by covetous parties to change ICANN policies (or even the laws of the land) to make it easier for them  to take your domains without paying for them at or near the top of the list. Well, they are at it again - this time trying to slip one such trojan horse into the .net contract with ICANN that Verisign has up for renewal.

In this case, ICANN's Commercial and Business Users Constituency is proposing that .net be required to adopt some " rights protection" mechanisms from the new gTLD program (even though that program hasn't even been implemented yet!), including the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) system that could prove to be enormously damaging to domain owners. If this plan, which would open the door for valuable domains to be suspended, and even transferred, based on a proceeding that costs only $300, slips through unchallenged, the untested URS could be available to complainants against .net domains as soon as July 1st. Even worse, you can then expect it to be imposed on .com next year when that contract comes up again.  

I'm sure it is no coincidence that this proposal was made late in the game - ICANN"s public comment period on the .net contract renewal ends tomorrow (Tuesday, May 10). So, if you want to help head off this latest assault on your assets, you must file your own comment by the end of the day Tuesday by sending an e-mail to net-agreement-renewal@icann.org (as comments come in you can view them here). 

The Internet Commerce Association's Legal Counsel, Phil Corwin, has already posted a strong public objection to the .net contract being altered in this way (other comments in that discussion can be viewed here, including the original objectionable proposal from Mark Monitor's Director of Product Marketing, Elisa Cooper, that URS be inserted into the .net 

ICA Legal Counsel Phil Corwin

contract upon renewal). Corwin wrote, "There has never been any suggestion in the debate on RPMs (rights protection mechanisms) for new gTLDs that whatever was adopted would be immediately imposed on the incumbent gTLDs via the contract renewal process. That position was never even considered, much less supported, by the RAPWG (Registration Abuse Policies Working Group). And imposing URS right now on .net (and by implication, on .com next year) is at complete odds with a balanced UDRP reform process that is informed by, but not necessarily bound to, the experience with new RPMs at the new gTLDs."

Corwin added, "To be clear, ICA has consistently advocated that the goal should be to have equivalent RPMs across all gTLDs so that registrants have the same rights and responsibilities throughout the DNS. But we oppose the immediate imposition of URS on .net, the second largest gTLD and third 

largest overall, through a contract renewal process where those changes would take effect in less than two months - when we don't even know what the final form of those RPMs will be... much less have any real world experience with their workings, effectiveness, and potential for abuse."

So, again, if you want to head this extraordinarily bad idea off at the pass, email your own comment to ICANN at net-agreement-renewal@icann.org letting them know you do not want untested rules developed for new gTLDS to be applied to existing TLDs, particularly through an attempted last minute end run like this one meant to bypass debate on a critical issue and proper vetting of the URS system before it is applied to any gTLD. 

(Posted May 9, 2011 


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