[DNS] Cybersquatting and secondary market

[DNS] Cybersquatting and secondary market

From: Ian Smith <smithi§nimnet.asn.au>
Date: Sun, 25 Sep 2005 18:01:24 +1000 (EST)
On Fri, 23 Sep 2005, Bruce Tonkin wrote:

 > Hello Kim,
 > > 
 > > What are the community benefits from encouraging a secondary 
 > > market (which seems like a euphemism for encouraging cybersquatting)?
 > > 
 > I define cybersquatting as registering, selling or using a domain name
 > with the intent of profiting from the goodwill of someone else's
 > trademark.   Dispute resolution policies such as auRP and UDRP have
 > substantially reduced this practice.

I think that's much too narrow a definition, Bruce.  Trademarks are just
one issue, and many com.au domains are not associated with trademarks.

I'll define cybersquatting as registering, (attempting to be) selling or
using a domain name not legitimately associated with the activities of
the business concerned, with the intent of profitting from its resale
rather than using it in the pursuit of the company's business.

I'd have thought the recent 'winning' of placenames all over the country
by (paraphrasing) 'Generic Company P/L #1', 'Generic Company P/L #2' etc
would be a pointer that there's already serious breakage in the 'Close
and Substantial' rulekeeping.  We've yet to see if AuDA will do anything
about this, though on current form I'm none too optimistic. 

 > The secondary market is about transferring licences between eligible
 > licence holders.  The secondary market exists in most other areas of
 > life.   
 > E.g You can buy a work of art from the artist (primary market), and
 > subsequently trade that work of art with others.   What is not
 > appropriate is copying someone's work of art and then trying to sell it
 > (ie violate someone's intellectual property rights).

This is not a valid analogy.  Art or real estate are tangible goods that
are actually owned, not just licenced for use as domain names are.

Your secondary market proposal for com.au transfers would just ensure
that AuDA was even further cut out of the loop in regard to eligibility
requirement enforcements, flimsy as requirements already are after the
supply-side coup when the board ignored Name Panel Recommendations on
the eve of New Regime.


 > Overtime the secondary market in most areas (e.g real-estate) takes over
 > the primary market.  For example in Sydney and Melbourne, most of the
 > market is people buying and selling existing houses.   There is a mcuh
 > smaller primary market on the edges of cities where government land is
 > converted into residential land.

Interesting that you should be first to draw a real estate analogy.  As
above, it's inappropriate.  For one thing, real estate is constrained by
real, physical limitations, such as how many buildings fit on so much
land, the price of building materials and labour, and how much more of
the remaining 5% or so of undeveloped land can be sacrificed without
further catastophic environmental consequences, as well of course as the
usual factors of desirability or affordability of certain locations. 

If you take the real estate analogy - ie domain names as being tangible
property rather than as licences to reserve a unique identifier for some
amount of IP address space - just a little bit further, then what's to
stop registrars from doing what real estate agents do, namely charging
commissions or brokerage fees for domain names now given highly inflated
values under this 'secondary market' system?  5% of $1 million, anyone?

Elsewhere you mentioned the generic and placename auctions as examples
of this trend that's clearly sought by some supply class members.  I
think that's right, in that both those releases were, in my view, huge
mistakes, the thin end of what's now appearing to be a very thick wedge
towards open-slathering of the .au domain space, more like the US/ICANN
model, with which you are clearly (and not surprisingly :) sympathetic.

Cheers, Ian
Received on Sun Sep 25 2005 - 08:01:24 UTC

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