Thursday, February 09, 2017

Healthy Domains Initiative could compromise use of common words in domain names


Electronic Frontier Foundation has an important piece by Jeremy Malcolm and Mitch Stoltz “Healthy Domains Initiative Isn’t Healthy for the Internet”  with reference to the Domain Names Association’s Healthy Domains Initiative.  There is a document of “Registry/Registrar Health Practices” which could border on what EFF calls “Shadow Regulation”.

One idea drawing criticism is that domain name owners must sign agreements accepting arbitration in case of disputes (I think that’s often the case now with ICANN).  There is concern that content lobbying groups, especially representing large legacy corporate interests in Hollywood and perhaps news organizations and trade publishing, could bring action even against the domain names for various claims of copyright infringement (over and above the DMCA).
 
Another idea is clamping down on the use of common English words in domain names (as I have done since 1999 with my “Do Ask Do Tell”, corresponding to my book titles).  This would apparently extend a practice of the UDRP.  Possibly it could be used to save these names for large corporate interests that could make more money (e.g. employ more people as in Trump-land).

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