WASHINGTON, February 1, 2010 – The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA), global brand owners, academics, and government representatives examined far-reaching proposals that may impact businesses at a policy forum CADNA held on January 29. Keynote speaker Utah State Senate Transportation and Public Utilities and Technology Committee Chair Stephen Urquhart (R-UT 29th District) traveled to Washington, D.C. to present his Utah E-Commerce Integrity Act, which is considered a harbinger for changes to the federal Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). Following Urquhart’s speech, Congressional staff and policy experts discussed the potential for changes to ACPA at the national level this year. Panelists also contemplated the future of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in light of its new Affirmation of Commitments (AOC) with the United States.
Senator Urquhart said that he is pleased to have the support of CADNA as well as the support of local Utah businesses that likewise find themselves affected by cybersquatting. Senator Urquhart said his bill, the Utah E-Commerce Integrity Act, was a part of making Utah a business-friendly state where commerce could flourish. The Utah E-Commerce Integrity Act will be brought before Senator Urquhart’s committee on Tuesday, February 2.
The Utah E-Commerce Integrity Act aims to strengthen intellectual property protection and establish stronger sanctions for cybersquatting and other malicious conduct online. The Utah bill closely mirrors ACPA, which was introduced by U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in 1999, but includes a few key adjustments. Many worry that ACPA, a federal law intended to protect businesses from the bad faith registration and use of their trademarks in domain names, is ineffective at preventing cybercrimes due to its typically low rewards for damages and loopholes that allow cybersquatters to continue their infringing practices. The Utah E-Commerce Integrity Act closes such loopholes by increasing the minimum damages awarded in a cybersquatting suit and holding affiliates of cybersquatters responsible for their role in the practice.
Forum attendees also heard from a panel featuring Internet policy experts and congressional staff members who spoke about their reactions to ICANN’s AOC. Four months have passed since ICANN and the US Government signed the AOC, and panelists discussed potential resulting policy changes in the future and their expectations for ICANN in 2010. The consensus was that there are structural and procedural issues with ICANN that need to be addressed in order for the organization to be able to better serve the Internet community.
At the forum, CADNA President Josh Bourne praised brand owners for their efforts to combat Internet governance issues harming their businesses. “2010 is going to be a critical year for ICANN governance and anticybersquatting law changes. CADNA is hearing more and more concerns from brand owners about ICANN governance and accountability. Senator Urquhart’s bill in Utah will pave the way for federal changes to anticybersquatting laws,” said Bourne. “An overall audit of ICANN as an organization is necessary to resolve the underlying problems found on the Internet. CADNA looks forward to being heavily involved in improving the Internet for companies and consumers. I was very pleased to see a high level of interest at this forum.”
The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the systemic domain name abuses that plague the Internet today. For more information, please visit www.cadna.org.