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Demand Media Demands Three-Strikes Rethink

By Kevin Murphy

Demand Media has asked ICANN to reconsider an anti-cybersquatting provision in the new top-level domain Applicant Guidebook that may ban the company from running a TLD.

ICANN will do background checks on the companies applying for TLDs and their officers. If they are found to have lost three UDRP decisions in the last four years, their applications will be rejected.

Demand Media, which owns eNom, calls this “draconian”, saying that three UDRP losses can hardly be considered a “pattern” of cybersquatting when a company owns thousands of domains.

As DNW reported last month, a Demand Media subsidiary has six UDRP losses to its name just this year, although the ICANN guidebook may contain enough loopholes to let the company bid anyway.

Demand said the three-strikes rule is “an extremely broad standard that we believe will unintentionally disqualify otherwise qualified applicants”.

It went on to say that such a rule was never envisioned by the UDRP, and that some respondents may have chosen to fight complaints more fiercely had they known the full consequences.

Using UDRP decisions as an additional ex post facto punishment to disqualify an otherwise qualified applicant is an inappropriate and draconian penalty. The result is a retroactive change in the legal consequences of all UDRP decisions.

Demand Media’s position is backed up by the Internet Commerce Association, which represents big-volume domain investors.

But the rules are supported by ICANN’s intellectual property stakeholders, which have been fighting for stronger IP protections in the new TLD program for years and seem to be getting their way.

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  1. Andrew Allemann says

    I agree with most of Demand Media’s comments on this issue. Yet I also found it kind of humerous how the comments like how it may “disqualify otherwise qualified applicants”.

    Hey, just come out and say it, Jeff — this might disqualify my company!

  2. John Humphrey says

    I don’t know, Demand owns a lot of domain related companies. My own research/experience with AcquireThisName.com seems to indicate a systemic abuse of Enom’s registrar powers. But sure, maybe if it were four or five UDRPs. Except it’s not http://x.co/LCtn

  3. Meyer says

    Whatever number is mentioned, Enom/Demand/
    (related companies) would be disqualified.
    That is why Enom will push to eliminate
    any number.

    As more companies get aggressive in claiming
    domains, (legitimate or hi-jacking attempts)
    Enom’s name will come up more and more.

    It is in Enom’s best interest to push for
    the rules to be vague and created now.
    As time goes by, Enom/Demand will have more
    legal attacks since the economy is slowly
    improving and passive companies are now caring
    more about their online presence.

    Furthermore, Enom will push for this point
    to be clarified since they want to go ‘public’ and a registry will add additional
    value to the IPO price.

    After that, Enom/Demand management will not care
    since they will run for the hills once they
    cash out.

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