[comments-whois] Comments of Warner Music Group Inc. Interim Report of the NamesC ouncil's Whois Task Force
Comments of Warner Music Group Inc.
Interim Report of the Names Council's Whois Task Force
November 8, 2002
Warner Music Group Inc. ("WMG") is pleased to provide its comments in
response to the "Interim Report of the Names Council's Whois Task Force."
WMG is a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner, Inc. and is one of the world's
largest music companies. With operations in more than 70 countries, WMG
includes a roster of many of the world's leading artists and record labels
as well as a preeminent music publishing company and an unparalleled
catalog. We thank the Task Force for their time and effort in developing
Generally speaking, reliable and substantially unrestricted access to
current and accurate Whois data is critical to both the management of WMG's
own domain name portfolio and protecting WMG's intellectual property from
unlawful activity, such as cybersquatting, trademark infringement, dilution,
tarnishment and other harms. Moreover, we utilize Whois information in the
carrying out of our legal audits of intellectual property rights, conducting
due diligence in merger and acquisition transactions and the clearance of
Along these lines, we support many of the Task Force's suggestions in the
Interim Report and specifically endorse the recommendations pertaining to
the accuracy of Whois data, the uniformity and consistency of Whois data
across gTLDS and ccTLDS, and searchability issues as follows:
1. Accuracy of Whois Data
We endorse the recommendation that ICANN enforce the existing contractual
obligations (in the Registrar Accreditation Agreement and in the ICANN
agreements with the new gTLD registries) regarding accuracy of Whois data.
The Interim Report includes several recommendations that would improve
compliance with these existing obligations. These include:
a) Requiring the use of commonly available automated
mechanisms to screen out obviously false contact data;
b) Cancellation of registrations whose contact data
reflect "willful provision of inaccurate or unreliable information;"
c) Demanding verification of "corrected" data supplied
by a registrant that has already deliberately provided incorrect data;
d) Handling registrations based on the same false
contact data together;
e) Requiring registrants to review and revalidate all
Whois data upon the renewal of a registration.
2. Uniformity and Consistency of Whois Data Across GTLDS and CCTLDS
WMG also supports the Interim Report's call for greater uniformity and
consistency in Whois data across gTLDs and ccTLDs. We agree that
"uniformity of data elements and formats across as many TLDs as possible
would be in the best interests of Internet users." Ultimately, we hope that
all registries would move toward policies that include explicit requirements
that a registrant provide accurate and reliable contact details, that these
details be available through Whois services, and that the provision of
inaccurate or unreliable data have consequences that include cancellation of
the domain name registration.
Finally, WMG supports the task force recommendation that broader
searchability is needed on search fields other than the domain names. It
should be possible, for example to search using the name of the registrant.
Such a function is necessary in that it aids trademark owners in determining
whether a particular individual has developed a pattern of cybersquatting,
which is an indicator of bad faith under the Uniform Dispute Resolution
Policy. We agree with the Interim Report that the current obligations to
provide this increased searchability should be enforced.
Erin S. Hennessy
Counsel, Intellectual Property
AOL Time Warner Inc.
On behalf of Warner Music Group Inc.