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    Class Action Alleges ICANN's .biz Is an Illegal Lottery | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 52 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: Class Action Alleges ICANN's .biz Is an Illega
    by Buckshot6 on Monday July 30 2001, @10:37AM (#1537)
    User #2948 Info
    July 30, 2001



    Suit Filed in Registration of Domain Names

    By SUSAN STELLIN

    nternet users upset about the process for registering addresses with the new dot-biz extension have complained that the system is being run like a lottery, and a new lawsuit says that is exactly what it is.

    The lawsuit, filed last Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, says that because the company in charge of the dot-biz domain, NeuLevel Inc., charges a $2 fee merely to submit an application for an address, with plans to select one application at random if there are multiple requests for the same address, the system qualifies as an illegal lottery in California and the 49 other states.

    "It's an illegal lottery," said Derek Newman, a lawyer with Newman & Newman in Seattle, one of three law firms handling the case, "because people are paying money but they're not getting anything in return."

    If there are multiple applications for one address, those who file unsuccessful applications will not get a refund on their application fee. Companies that register Internet addresses on behalf of the public, known as registrars, are passing along NeuLevel's $2 fee to customers, plus fees of their own for the service of submitting an application.

    Besides NeuLevel, based in Sterling, Va., the suit, which is seeking class-action status, names as defendants the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the organization responsible for the Internet's address system; and more than 60 companies accredited by Icann to register dot-biz domain names.

    Jeff Neuman, NeuLevel's director of policy and intellectual property, declined to comment on the case, as did a spokeswoman for Icann, which approved the contract governing the rollout of dot-biz addresses — one of seven new extensions being added to the Internet's address system.

    But on Thursday, NeuLevel issued a statement saying: "We believe that the dot-biz domain name selection process is the most fair and equitable way to distribute domain names. We believe the lawsuit is without merit and has been filed in an attempt to derail the successful introduction of dot-biz."

    The plaintiffs named in the suit are David Scott Smiley, a radio D.J. from Scottsdale, Ariz., who Mr. Newman said had tried to register radio.biz and dj.biz; and Skyscraper Productions, which offers traffic safety courses online and which hopes to register trafficschool.biz.

    But they are not the only ones to question the process.

    "Somebody had raised the issue a while back on a mailing list," said Larry Erlich, president of the Internet registrar DomainRegistry.com. "And at that point I thought, `That's a good point; I'll look into it.' "

    Mr. Erlich said he was unable to get satisfactory assurance from NeuLevel or Icann that the system was not a lottery, so he decided not to accept applications for dot-biz addresses, although his company was still named as a defendant in the suit.

    "They should not have included us," he said. "We've stated very clearly on our Web site that we're not taking applications. And luckily we didn't at this point."

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]


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