Saturday, April 28, 2012

Domain Name Dispute Resolution In India

India has for long avoided enactment of laws pertaining to domain name protection. The truth is that domain name protection law in India needed to be enacted as soon as possible. Securing of domain name protection in India is presently undertaken under the Trade Marks Act, 1999.

However, the importance of domain name has increased tremendously especially after the ICANN’s new generic top level domain names (new GTLDs) registration has already begun. With new GTLDs domain names, goodwill and brands would be more closely related. There are good chances that domain name disputes would also increase in future.

Perry4Law and Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) strongly recommend that Indian government must formulate a dedicated domain name protection law for India. We cannot drag this issue for by using parallel laws and judicial activism.

Further a domain name, new GTLDs and dispute resolution is not an easy task to manage. We need to develop techno legal expertise in India so that Indian can be a hub for resolving these disputes.

If we continue to redress domain name violations under the existing trademark law, it may be counter productive in the long run. Of course, we use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism like arbitration to resolve domain name disputes out of the court. Surprisingly, online dispute resolution (ODR) in India has still not been considered to resolve domain name disputes on large scale in India.

In particular, India must be ready to offer services for legal rights objections under ICANN's new GTLD program as legal issues of new GTLDs application, their registration and subsequent litigations would definitely surface. Legal rights objection assistance can also be taken by interested stakeholders.

The phase for independent objections and legal rights objections for ICANN’s new GTLDs would be open very soon. Presently, the application time for new GTLDs has been extended by ICANN due to a software flaw.

India is definitely not ready for these contemporary developments and it must start working in this direction as soon as possible. We must ensure that domain name dispute resolution services in India are world class in order to become a hub for domain name dispute resolution world over.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DMCA Notices And US Websites And Intermediaries Response

Copyright and trademark violation is common in cyberspace. You work really hard to generate original and unique contents and unscrupulous individuals and organisations pick up the same without your consent. Either you can remain silent about such blatant copyright violation and violation of your rights or you can fight back against such unscrupulous individuals and organisations.

If such an individual or organisation belongs to India, you are better situated as he/she/it can be hauled as per Indian Copyright Act, 1957 and other laws. However, if such an individual or organisation is located outside India, that make the whole equation complicated. In such cases you have to invoke laws of foreign jurisdictions.

In United States (US), the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA) primarily cover copyright issues of cyberspace. They confer a “safe harbour” upon US online service providers (OSPs) and intermediaries if they exercise due diligence and remove the offending contents upon proper intimation to them. 

On similar principles, Internet intermediary liability in India has been prescribed through the cyber law of India. The Internet intermediaries in India are required to remove an offending material within 36 hours of sending of the intimation to them in this regard.

Perry4Law and Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) have been sending DMCA notices and Intermediary notices to US and Indian websites and companies for long. Till now we have sent more than 100 successful DMCA notices to US websites. All of them have been duly complied with by US websites and companies.

In this article we are discussing about those US websites/companies that have been very supportive and cooperative regarding DMCA notices for alleged copyright violation, trademark infringement and removal of other objectionable contents. We have arranged them in alphabetic order (with no preference or priority).

These US/foreign websites/companies are:

(1) Google/Blogspot

(2) Hostgator

(3) Maars Net

(4) Posterous

(5) Singlehop

(6) Typepad

Further, we also found Facebook very cooperative while resolving a copyright violation matter with a third party.

All you have to do to get desired results is to send the DMCA notice in proper format to the most appropriate person in the best possible manner. We would cover this issue subsequently.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

ICANN’s Software Flaw Jeoparadised Entire Bidding Process Of New GTLDS

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has recently admitted that a technical issue with the TLD application system software, or TAS, has allowed a limited number of users to view some other users’ file names and user names in certain scenarios.

TAS has been taken temporarily offline by ICANN. Further, in order to ensure all applicants have sufficient time to complete their applications during the disruption, the application period has been extended till 20-04-2012, 23:59 UTC.

Although cyber security incidents like these cannot be avoided absolutely yet keeping in mind the importance of this issue and stakes involved, ICANN should have taken the entire process more seriously.

This is just the beginning and in future many more techno legal issues could also arise. ICANN must revisit its strategy regarding new GTLDs application procedure, the scrutiny stage and finally the awarding of new GTLDs to the most deserving applicants.

Having a knowledge about rival’s bid amount and other crucial details can jeoparadise the chances of the applicant whose details were accessible to others. The confidentiality and integrity of the entire bidding system is doubtful in such circumstances.

This incidence would also affect the legal rights objection and dispute resolution process put in place by ICANN. ICANN must not only come out with a convincing explanation regarding revelation of competitor’s bids but must also ensure that the entire process of new GTLDs allotment is managed in a techno legal manner and free from irregularities and glitches.