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[comments-whois] What Do They Mean By "Inaccurate Data"

In briefly looking over the whois task force report, there is quite a bit of
emphasis on "inaccurate" contact data, including a scale of graduated fines
for "inaccurate" data maintained by registrars.

I do not find anywhere in the document, a definition of "inaccurate" data, or
who ultimately determines whether data is "inaccurate".  It is amazing that
any person of competence would draft a document revolving around a central
concept, and never provide a definition of that concept.

As a point of reference, I am currently defending a domain name registrant in
a UDRP dispute, who has had a domain name corresponding to their corporate
name since 1995, and which has an annual revenue from this corporation of
several hundred thousands of dollars per year.  The business is a software
consultancy, let's call it XYZ Corp., which provides services on-site to
corporate customers.  The business operates out of an office in one of the
homes of the principals of the corporation, and communicates primarily
electronically with its clients, through its domain name XYZ.com.  For
telephone calls, they utilize a telephone which is listed to the wife of one
of the principals (they appropriated her phone number for use in the family

The main argument being advanced by the complainant is that the respondent
has supplied "false" whois data.  The complainant and its three Beverly Hills
lawyers have submitted several pages of argument and affidavits which boil
down to an assertion of "Because the telephone number is not listed by the
phone company to XYZ Corp., then it is not the telephone number of XYZ Corp.,
therefore the contact data is false and the domain name is registered in bad

Now, I'm not an idiot, and I don't imagine for one red-hot minute that these
people would hesitate to spend thousands of dollars to apply pressure to a
registrar to cancel the domain name or else risk being fined on the same
stupid and specious argument.

So, my question is, when an idiot persists in making such an argument that
contact data is "inaccurate", just what is the standard of "accuracy" to be
applied, and who makes the final determination that it is inaccurate.  The
whois task force document addresses none of these questions, and it is clear
to me that these questions will be of central importance in this whole
"assertion of inaccuracy" and "documented proof of accuracy" business.  It is
a standardless standard.

Also, please make it clear that these rules require the domain name
registrant to have a working voice telephone number, and that having same is
a requirement for registering a domain name.  Does the telephone number need
to be listed to the named registrant?  Does the domain name registrant need
to be the named party on bills for that number, or is it possible for one
family member to register a domain name using a telephone number listed to
another family member?  Is it permissible for a home-based corporation to use
a residential telephone number listed to a principal's wife as its telephone
number?  Or is that "inaccurate"?  These are not joke questions, as this very
issue has cost my clients hundreds of dollars to argue about.

Does the registrant have to answer the telephone when it rings?  I kid you
not, I have been in other disputes where contact data was alleged to be
"false" on the basis that the disputing party had called several times and
had not gotten an answer.  Ditto for domain name registrants who choose not
to answer every item of email sent to them.

There should be a procedure under which, once contact data has been confirmed
as accurate, the domain name registrant will not subsequently be required to
confirm the same contact data.  It is as predictable as rain in September
that registrants who manage multiple domain names will be subject to
unremitting harassment, since there are no fines assessed against anyone who
submits a "false contact data" inquiry.  Such complaints can apparently be
submitted for free and as often as one desires.  Predictably, there are no
burdens placed upon parties making complaints, only upon domain name
registrants and their registrars.   Even a nominal fee imposed on
complainants for processing complaints would be an improvement.

Ah, but once again, we see a proposed policy which has been drafted by those
intent on making complaints, and not those who have to deal with the
consequences of repetitive spurious complaints.  In the minds of the
complainers, all complaints have merit, and it is the job of the rest of the
world to pay their way, thus providing another petty harassment tool to the
less high-minded.

Please explain where these issues are addressed in the interim report, as it
is hard to believe that something as basic as a definition of "inaccurate"
cannot be found therein.  There is not even a definition of something as
basic as "registrant name" and whether it includes nicknames, pen-names,
latinized non-Roman script names, names of unincorporated businesses
organizations such as partnerships etc.  It is clear that lack of definitions
will lead to endless disputes over "accuracy" when one attempts to apply ones
personal and vague definition of 'accurate' upon a registration system that
encompasses millions of entities from all parts of our planet.


John Berryhill

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