Canadian.biz -- Round Two !
Date: Tuesday July 09 2002, @04:11AM
Topic: Lawsuits and Judicial Decisions

MF_Inc writes "Douglas Black, the original registrant of the generic domain name "Canadian.biz" will be in a Canadian court Tuesday (July 9th, 2002), appealing the NAF STOP arbitration decision to transfer the domain name to Molson, the Canadian beer producer."

Strangely enough, a problem which troubles Mr. Douglas Black's case is his domain registration "Registrant Name" data-field contains what appear to be URL character-encodings using the "%" syntax. Unfortunately, the Panelist (Robert R. Merhige, Jr.) in the NAF STOP ruling was not versed in such character-encodings. This, in my opinion, shows technical ignorance on the behalf of the Panelist, and is not necessarily the "fault" of Mr. Douglas Black.

The outcome of this court decision is very substantial. It involves what is, very obviously, a generic domain name. The outcome will further establish legal precedent regarding who has the "right" to use generic words in the DNS -- common folks in the internet community, often being the original domain name registrants -- OR -- the holder of what are arguably very, very weak marks.

The word "Canadian" is, unquestionably, generic. "Canadian" is a word whose usage is far, far more broad than the context of beer. A Google.com search for "canadian -beer" yields almost 4 million results!

In my opinion, Molson's previous NAF STOP activities are brutally arrogant and perhaps, an instance of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. Molson, of course, stands by their DNS "rights" ownership claims based on their mark which, quite frankly, I feel is a very, very weak mark.

This is not the first time a generic ".biz" name has been challenged by a very weak mark. The following are all domain names which, in recent history, were transfered to Complainants under the STOP process:

about.biz
acts.biz
airport.biz
brands.biz
guess.biz
heel.biz
huge.biz
monopoly.biz
paint.biz
parents.biz
peachtree.biz
premiere.biz
spy.biz
switchboard.biz
taxman.biz
timely.biz

The above-listed flurry of transfers involving generic domain names is deeply troubling to myself and, likely, the internet community at-large. As troubling, if not even more deeply troubling, is the "arbitration industry" whose growth seems to depend on the internet community at-large being bullied by the holders of weak marks.

One can only wonder how the registrant of Canadian.biz will do in court.

--Michael


ONLINE RESOURCES RELATED TO THIS CASE:

Canadian.biz case information:
http://canadian2.com/canadian

The "Canadian.biz" NAF STOP decision


News concerning upcoming Canadian.biz court hearing:
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/020707/6/nhyd.html


OTHER GENERIC DOMAIN NAME RESOURCES:

Tobacco.com UDRP Response
(EXCELLENT resource involving a SUCCESSFUL Respondent defense of a generic domain name)

Tobacco.com UDRP Case http://Tobacco.com/attempted-hijacking

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Re: Canadian.biz -- Round Two !
by ANNODOMINI2000 (reversethis-{KU.OC.OOHAY} {ta} {D0002DA}) on Tuesday July 09 2002, @09:29AM (#7744)
User #3359 Info | http://www.ad2000d.co.uk/
Reverse Domain Name Hijacking is another word for theft
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
I am confused
by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Wednesday July 10 2002, @12:09AM (#7746)
User #2810 Info
1

Read the rest of this comment...

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Re: Canadian.biz -- Round Two !
by challenge on Tuesday July 09 2002, @05:42AM (#7734)
User #3020 Info
If anything Molson is the one that is cybersquatting. They have had Canadian.info for almost a year now.

It does not even resolve.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
An off-topic rant
by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Thursday July 11 2002, @06:38AM (#7773)
User #2810 Info
I get the Canadian federal government site at gc.ca. That is using google.ca so your mileage may vary. Google snifs out my incoming IP address and knows it is from Canada so it feeds me google.ca. I can try google.com specifically but it doesn't matter, I get google.ca. I can get around this by masking my IP or in other ways, but that's a lot of bother.

A number of sites do this, Yahoo for example, and in that case if I try to sign up for an email address it wants to give me @yahoo.ca even if I want @yahoo.com. This practice is taking some power away from the end user to choose what they access online based on national boundaries, and isn't a trend I particularily care for. In the above examples it is just search engines trying to be helpful and relevant and even that causes problems. How do I know if I give a link that others will receive the content I intended? But as was suggested in the yahoo.fr case, it could be used to control content flow across national boundaries.

This does have one perhaps unintended side-effect. I used to type google.com to get to google.ca, but it's easier to type google.ca so that's what I now use. This means that Google and other highly used sites are probably educating Canadians on the existence and use of their ccTLD, and this may also be true in some other countries. I suspect an analysis of ccTLDs like .ca, .de (Germany), .uk (United Kingdom, .jp (Japan), .au (Australia), etc. would find that a greater percentage of addresses are in actual use than in gTLDs, that is, less speculation and cybersquatting, less defensive registrations. With dropjackers picking up expired names and pointing them elsewhere, and with the WLS about to turn this into a major industry for .com and .net, I expect websurfers will receive ever-increasing lessons that the use of domain names to find things isn't very accurate, and that .com and .net are generally worse that country codes (at least those of countries like the above). Not only is the DNS not very accurate, in the case of dropjackers serving up mousetrapping multiple pop-up pr0n sites, it can be downright annoying. This could transfer some power from ICANN to the ccTLDs, if ICANN and the GAC haven't taken them over.

I also think websurfers will increasingly learn that using Google is preferable to using the DNS if one is unsure of one's destination. This would put Google in a powerful position that could be misused. -g

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  • This article comes from ICANNWatch
    http://www.icannwatch.org/

    The URL for this story is:
    http://www.icannwatch.org/article.pl?sid=02/07/09/081127