Open Letter to Internet Commerce Association (Response)

Thank you for your considered response to a proposal by the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) to strengthen the 1999 Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). There is no substitute for frank dialogue when it comes to sorting through controversial issues, so we appreciate that you have opened the door for conversation.  We look forward to working with you and other interested parties to find optimal solutions informed by the most relevant and latest information available.

Given that an increasing amount of the global economy – and every other aspect of our lives – is reliant on the Internet, we believe policy makers should address cybersquatting and cyber crime with the same urgency with which they once addressed trespassing, intellectual property theft, and fraud in the non-virtual world.  And just as our national security is threatened by attacks on and thefts from military, corporate, and other sensitive databases, we believe the nation’s economic interests are endangered by the abusive registration and use of trusted trademarks to profit online, dupe consumers, and divert business revenue.
Since ACPA became law in 1999, cybersquatting has become a profitable and sophisticated practice that continues to grow, and thus we believe the law is overdue for reconsideration.

The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) report you cite in your blog post on the Internet Commerce Association website contains a number of eye-opening statistics. Among them is the fact that 720 institutions – or brands – were targeted by phishers in the first half of 2013, an increase of almost 18 percent over the second half of 2012. Phishers are looking for and finding new opportunities, which may well increase when new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) are launched.

You also point out that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has instituted a number of rights protections for trademark owners applying for new gTLDs, including the Legal Rights Objections (LRO) process, the Trademark Clearinghouse, sunrise periods,the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS), and the Post Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure (PDDRP).  CADNA fully supports these developments and is encouraged by the evolution in rights protections mechanisms.  We also recognize that the New gTLD Program includes many new players who have the best of intentions, and that the vast majority of them will implement best practices to protect consumers and other users of new gTLDs.

CADNA supports new gTLDs. It recognizes the vast opportunities that lie ahead for both businesses and consumers in this unprecedented expansion of Internet real estate – particularly for branded gTLDs, which promise trust and security to the Internet community including partners, consumers, and governments. Our organization is also dedicated to a safe Internet.

CADNA has worked closely with ICANN and others, and will continue to do
so, to strengthen the rights protections of new gTLD applicants and
trademark owners. We would be pleased to work with you and your
organization to achieve realistic deterrents to the bad actors who
undermine the rule of law.

Again, thank you for taking the time to respond to CADNA’s proposal. We look forward to a vigorous and constructive debate in the coming months.

Josh Bourne
Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA)

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