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Old 26th March 2008, 05:27 PM
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Snowe Bill Fight!

Snowe Bill Fight!

Internet Commerce Association News

InternetCommerce.org
(202) 657-4570

Dear Domain Name Investors and Developers:

Founded in 2006, the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) is a non-profit trade organization representing domain name investors and developers and the direct search industry. ICA is made up of responsible businesses and individuals who have joined together to improve public confidence in internet commerce. Thank you to Sedo for including our message in their newsletter. Sedo is a founding member of ICA and has thereby contributed to preserving your rights at ICANN and in Washington.

I have been involved in the domain industry since 2002, when I invested in my first generic domain name. That will be six years ago in a few weeks. I know that isn’t a long time in most industries, but a lot has changed in the domain industry over these years. In the past six years, the biggest threat that I have seen to our industry is the Snowe bill (S. 2661) introduced in the US Senate on February 25th,2008.

Even though this bill is named “Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008”, it is actually a trademark bill, creating trademark rights far superior to current rights. To win a case under this act, brand owners, government officials, ISPs and state attorneys do not need to prove that a domain is used for phishing, only that it is “confusingly similar to the name or brand name of a government office, nonprofit organization, business, or other entity”. These entities will not be required to actually register a trademark. Brand owners will only have to have a “brand” or company name to seek protection under the Snowe bill.

Geo-domains are particularly at risk since new protection is established for names of government offices. If this bill is passed, the city of Rome, Georgia could take action against the owner of Rome.com. Just consider what that domain would do for the budget of this city of 35,000. The city could also go after RomeHotels.com, but they would have to beat Hotels.com to that one. Since trademark registration is not required and bad faith registration does not have to be proven, people who want your name could just create a business matching your domain name and then take it from you. You might own LuxuryCars.com, and if someone wanted to acquire it without paying you a fair market price, they start a new business named Luxury Cars, LLC (no trademark required) and then take action under this bill to claim it. Furthermore, they could recover “damages” from you.

I hope that you can see what a disaster this bill will be if passed. The bill has some powerful supporters and it has a great title. What senator wants to be on record opposing “Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008”? ICA is actively working in Washington on your behalf. Philip Corwin, our counsel, is educating senators and their staff to the real content of this bill, building coalition of other entities and groups opposed to this bill and getting our story published in the press. However, we need more help from domainers who care about this industry. More funding and a larger membership would enable us to fight this battle to the end. I encourage you to join ICA; be part of the solution. http://www.internetcommerce.org/membership_application

If you are a US resident, write to your senator. Find out more about how to write an effective letter about this issue at InternetCommerce.org. http://www.internetcommerce.org/OPPOSE_THE_SNOWE_BILL

If you are not a US resident, do not think that you won’t be affected. “ The Anti-Cybersquatting Protection Act” was determined by a US court to have jurisdiction over .com domain names based on the location of the registry rather than the registrar. Are you confident that a similar ruling will not be made for the improperly named “Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008”?

I look forward to writing for Sedo newsletter again and hope to have a more positive story next time.

Best regards,
Michael Collins
Internet Commerce Association
InternetCommerce.org

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Old 26th March 2008, 05:44 PM
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Re: Snowe Bill Fight!

If Frank's not worried about it, then I guess I'm not worried about it.

.
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Old 27th March 2008, 12:39 AM
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Re: Snowe Bill Fight!

Worth a few minutes to pen a note to your Senators.
I got response back from my guy the next day so hope it helps.
This bill in its current form will not pass, but you can see the hadwriting on the
wall that this sort of legislation has potential to pose problems in the future.
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