Tags: Agency | Calls | for | Web | Name | Controls

UN Agency Calls for Web Name Controls

Tuesday, 04 September 2001 12:00 AM

The report by the United Nation's copyright protection agency found widespread cyber squatting and little recourse for individuals or companies with disputes.

Even the domain name southafrica.com is the subject of a court battle in the United States between the South African government and a U.S.-based company.

The WIPO report recommended enhancement of the current system, which only protects registered trademarks.

"There is evidence of widespread registration as domain names of these identifiers by persons who are totally unconnected with the naming systems in question," said Francis Gurry, WIPO's assistant director-general.

The report examined identifiers, other than trademarks - which have a tight Internet enforcement - such as International Nonproprietary Names, or INNs, for pharmaceutical substances, names and acronyms of international intergovernmental organizations like the International Monetary Fund, personal names, geographical indications and trade names.

The authors of the report suggested ways to tackle areas still marked by the absence of legally agreed international norms.

The WIPO recommended that a simple mechanism be established to protect INNs - the unique and distinctive names of pharmaceutical substances that are selected by the World Health Organization and maintained as generic names free from private rights in order to protect the safety of patients worldwide.

It also urged that IGOs be protected against use and registration as trademarks, and provided with the right to bring a claim if a domain name is the same as, or confusingly similar to, its name or acronym.

On the question of personal names, the report admitted that at present there is a "lack of an international norms protecting personal names."

The authors argued, however, that the most appropriate way to protect personal names is to establish clear guidelines for the registration of personal names, geographical indications and terms.

Gurry said internationally three policy instruments could be used for the domain name system: self-regulation, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers - or ICANN - contractual system for Domain Name Dispute Resolution, or an international treaty.

The advantage of self-regulation, he said, is that it's easy to implement. The disadvantage is that it cannot be enforced. ICANN has ready enforcement but is only a technical body and therefore not the appropriate avenue for crafting new intellectual norms.

Gurry argued a treaty is "the tried instrument" for hammering binding norms, but said warned it could take a long time to negotiate and implement for sufficient geographical coverage to be relevant to the Internet.

Since the UDRP entered into force in December 1999 as the referee for TLD.com,.net,.org, a total of 4,155 cases have been initiated, which included a number "cyber squatting" incidents.

Of these, a total of 2,821 have been filed with WIPO's arbitration and mediation center, which has so far resolved 88 percent.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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The report by the United Nation's copyright protection agency found widespread cyber squatting and little recourse for individuals or companies with disputes. Even the domain name southafrica.com is the subject of a court battle in the United States between the South...
Agency,Calls,for,Web,Name,Controls
465
2001-00-04
Tuesday, 04 September 2001 12:00 AM
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