2017-07-30

News Review: EFF Warns Registrants To Avoid New gTLD Domain Names

News Review | ©2016 DomainMondo.com
Domain Mondo's weekly internet domain news review (NR 2017-07-30) with analysis and opinion: Features •  1) EFF Warns Registrants To Avoid New gTLD Domain Names,  2) ICANN news: ICANN Chairman Tells GNSO new gTLDs' hucksters to stick it, 3) Names, Domains & Trademarks: Cannabis Domainer has 7500 domain names, $20 million in losses, $199 in the bank, 4) ICYMI Internet Domain News, 5) Investing: Q2 2017 Results, R.I.P. Rightside $NAME: it wasn't supposed to end this way, 6) Most Read Posts This Past Week.

1)  EFF is now encouraging registrants to avoid domain names that are subject to the TMCH (i.e., all the new gTLDs delegated by ICANN since 2012):
Read  How Threats Against Domain Names Are Used to Censor Content | Electronic Frontier Foundation | eff.org July 27, 2017: "Today EFF and Public Knowledge are releasing a whitepaper titled Which Internet registries offer the best protection for domain owners? ..." (embedded below):

Excerpt from EFF's linked article above, also announced on an ICANN public mail list (emphasis added):
".... This probably means you'll want to think twice about registering in any of the newer global [generic] top-level domains ([new] gTLDs), which provide brand owners access to a privately-run Trademark Clearinghouse that gives them veto powers that go far beyond those they would receive under the trademark law of the United States or those of most other countries.
"For example, under U.S. trademark law, if a trademark applicant sought to register an ordinary word such as smart, forex, hotel, one, love, cloud, nyc, london, abc, or luxury, they would have to specify the category of goods or services they provide, and protection for the mark might only be extended to its use in a logo, rather than as a plain word. Yet each of the plain words above has been registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse, to prevent them being used in any of the new gTLDs without triggering a warning to prospective registrants about possible infringement.
"This applies regardless of whether the planned usage covers the same category of goods or services as the original trademark—indeed there isn't even any way for the registrant to find out what that category was, or even which country accepted the mark for registration, because the contents of the Trademark Clearinghouse database are secret. And since 94% of prospective registrants abandon their attempted registration of a domain after receiving a trademark warning, this has a drastic chilling effect on speech.
"EFF is currently participating in an ICANN working group fighting to ensure that brand owners' veto rights aren't extended even further (for example to catch domains that include typos of brand names), and to prevent these outrageous rules being applied to older gTLDs such as .com, .net, and .org. But for now, you can minimize your exposure to trademark bullying by avoiding registering your website in one of the new domains that is subject to these unfair policies. Our whitepaper explains what to look for."-- Jeremy Malcolm, Senior Global Policy Analyst, Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Also caveat emptor: The URS Also Applies to These Top-Level Domains (in addition to the new gTLDs).  [Editor's note: the Bottom Line? Stick with .COM domain names and "safe" ccTLDs, and leave the "garbage extensions" a/k/a new gTLDs for cybercriminals, spammers, cybersquatters, and those mostly ignorant speculators in China and elsewhere who are such easy prey for the con artists and hucksters of the new gTLDs domain name industry and its "partner" ICANN.]

2) ICANN news
•  ICANN Chairman a/k/a "old man Crocker" told (in a nice way) the new gTLDs' hucksters (members of the GNSO Registries Stakeholder Group a/k/a RySG), where to stick it--correspondence/crocker-to-diaz-26jul17-en.pdf:

•  Geographic NamesFinal Paper – June 2017 | Country Code Names Supporting Organisation (pdf) Cross-Community Working Group - Framework for use of Country and Territory Names as TLDs: A substantial majority of the members recommend that the chartering organisations:
  • Close this CWG in accordance with and as foreseen in the charter.
  • Recommend that the ICANN community consolidate all policy efforts relating to geographic names (as that term has traditionally very broadly been defined in the ICANN environment to this point) to enable in-depth analyses and discussions on all aspects related to all geographic-related names. This is the only way, in our view, to determine whether a harmonized framework is truly achievable.
  • Recommend that future policy development work must facilitate an all-inclusive dialogue to ensure that all members of the community have the opportunity to participate. Again, we believe that this is the only way to determine whether a harmonized framework is truly achievable.
•  ICANN’s new Chief Data Protection Officer (CDPO) | ICANN.orgDaniel Halloran who "will take on this role, in addition to his current responsibilities as [ICANN] Deputy General Counsel."
•  Public CommentGNSO Operating Procedures and ICANN Bylaws | ICANN.org: Close Date 10 Aug 2017 23:59 UTC.
•   Contracting Stats | ICANN New gTLDs | newgtlds.icann.org
 ICANN Active Cooperative Engagement Process (CEP) Proceedings Status Update 18 July 2017 (pdf):
The Cooperative Engagement Process (CEP) is a process voluntarily invoked by a complainant prior to the filing of an Independent Review Process (IRP). More info here (pdf).
3) Names, Domains & Trademarks
•  Northsight Capital Makes Cannabis Stocks Look Bad | SeekingAlpha.com: "The company has recorded $20 million in losses and has $199 in the bank ... It's a media company that owns 7,500 domain names centered on the cannabis industry. The main platform is called The Marijuana Marketing Network and its biggest concept is WeedDepot.com."

•  Cannabis Industry FAQ | Pepper Hamilton LLP | JDSupra.com: "Can marijuana businesses receive federal trademark registrations? No. Because marijuana is still illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will deny applications for trademarks for marijuana retailers or marijuana products because they are not used in "lawful commerce.""

•  What's the Best Domain Name Registrar? | lifehacker.com: Namecheap or _____?

•  Do You Even Trademark, Bro? | Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. | JDSupra.com"... According to the Complaint ... Defendants have . . . recently resorted to ... using a trademark eatketobro and domain name, EATKETOBRO.COM, that are confusingly similar to Plaintiffs’ EAT CLEAN BRO Trademarks and Plaintiffs’ EATCLEANBRO.COM domain name.” Giovinazzo alleges both trademark infringement and dilution. What do you think? Is Eat Keto Bro confusingly similar to Eat Clean Bro?  What about these other bro-related food services? DoYouEvenEatBro.com ... CookingForBros.com ... MuscleBrothersPerformance.com ... SuperMealBros.com ..."

•  Amazon Tips Its Hand With New Trademark Application | Weintraub Tobin | JDSupra.com: The trademark that Amazon.com, Inc., seeks to register is WE DO THE PREP.  YOU BE THE CHEF. Does this concept sound familiar? Perhaps even a bit like Blue Apron? If so, that’s probably because it is exactly like Blue Apron [domain: BlueApron.com]."

•  New gTLD domain name registrations continue to decline:
 nTLDStats.com
Source: ntldstats.com/tld
And remember, reportedly millions of those new gTLD domain names shown as "registered" above, are actually held by ICANN's new gTLD registry operators and their affiliates. How many millions? ICANN has no interest in finding out and doesn't want you to know. ICANN calls that operating in the "global public interest" with transparency and accountability, in order to foster a free, fair, open and competitive domain names market. LOL!

4) ICYMI Internet Domain News 
•   Internet Shutdowns: India shut down internet 29 times in 2017 | IndiaTimes.com: A list of internet shutdowns that have taken place at India in 2017 so far.

•  Court rules FBI can continue to request data in secret | CNET.com"The US government can issue surveillance orders to tech companies without having to make them public."

•  Apple has removed all major VPN apps from its App Store in China which allowed users to bypass China's internet censorship.--TechCrunch.com

•  In Cuba, Growing Numbers Of Bloggers Manage To Operate In A Vulnerable Gray Area | WBUR.org

•  Liu Xiaobo: A Voice of Freedom | cato.org"Denying China’s 1.4 billion people a free market in ideas has led to one of the lowest rankings in the World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters without Borders."  See also Globe editorial: Liu Xiaobo’s death is one more reminder of who rules China | TheGlobeandMail.com: "Mr. Liu’s ... death at age 61, in a Chinese hospital with guards at the doors, stand as a reminder of exactly who runs things in Beijing, and what kind of a regime the Trudeau government is so eager to be friends with. The Communist Party of China has joined ignominious company; the only other Nobel Peace Prize laureate to die in custody was imprisoned by Nazi Germany."

5) Investing
  • Apple $AAPL (principal domain: Apple.com) conference call to discuss third fiscal quarter results is scheduled for Tuesday, August 1, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. EDT (US).
Rightside was a new gTLDs "true believer" until near the end--it wasn't supposed to end this way--
Rightside $NAME (2014-2017 R.I.P.)
6) Most read posts (# of pageviews Sun-Sat) this past week on DomainMondo.com: 
1. News Review: ICANN Accountability, FY16 IRS Form 990 Redux
2. Alphabet $GOOG $GOOGL Q2 2017 Results LIVE Video July 24 5pm EDT
3. Facebook $FB Q2 2017 Earnings LIVE Webcast July 26 5pm EDT

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo 

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