BNA: House Lawmaker Examining New Domains, Expects at Least One Hearing on Protections

Reproduced with permission from Electronic Commerce & Law Report, 18 ECLR 2181 (July 17, 2013). Copyright 2013 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) <

By Amy E. Bivins

Lawmakers on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet are exploring whether added intellectual property or consumer protections should be implemented in light of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers new top-level domains (TLDs) program, subcommittee vice-chairman Tom Marino (R-Pa.) said Sept. 18.

“I’m sure there will be a hearing or hearings,” Marino said, calling on all stakeholders to reach out to lawmakers with more information about the program.

Marino spoke at an event sponsored by the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA), a group that aims to decrease the incidence of cybersquatting through educational outreach and lobbying.

Lobbying Heats Up, Lawmakers Are Listening

CADNA is pushing for legislation to amend the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d), to better protect brand owners as the domain name space expands from tens to hundreds of generic TLDs, Josh Bourne, president of the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, Washington, D.C., told Bloomberg BNA.

At this point in the program, CADNA is focusing its efforts on ACPA rather than on pushing for added protections via ICANN, Bourne said. CADNA announced the launch of a four-week “Know Your Net” educational and letter-writing campaign at the event.

CADNA has met with several members of the subcommittee, Bourne said.

Other stakeholders are busy lobbying too. Marino said that members of the subcommittee have had many meetings with interests from all sides of the new TLDs program.

“The solution begins with education,” Marino said, adding that many consumers—and members of Congress—are still unaware of new TLDs. Marino said that the program offers many benefits for brand owners, but also raises real risks, including opportunities for new fraud schemes and “a web of complications for trademark holders.”

The added rights protections that ICANN designed for new TLDs are welcome, as are additional security requirements in the new TLDs registry agreement, Marino said. But those protections mean nothing without enforcement.

The subcommittee is moving slowly and considering the ramifications of any legislation, Marino said. “We’re determined to do this right.”