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[comments-whois] Comments of Time4 Media, Inc. - Interim Report of the NamesCounc il's Whois Task Force

Comments of Time4 Media, Inc.
Interim Report of the Names Council's Whois Task Force
November 8, 2002

Time4 Media, Inc. ("T4M") appreciates the efforts and accomplishments of the
Task Force in developing the "Interim Report of the Names Council's Whois
Task Force" and is pleased to provide its comments in response to that
Report.  T4M is an AOL Time Warner company, a subsidiary of Time Inc. and
the world's leading publisher of leisure-time magazines, including such
titles as Golf, Field & Stream, Popular Science, Outdoor Life, Saltwater
Sportsman and Yachting.

In our experience, we have found that speedy and reliable access to current
and accurate Whois data is critical to the management of T4M's domain name
portfolio, as well as to protecting T4M's intellectual property, trademarks
in particular, from unlawful activity, such as cybersquatting, trademark
infringement, dilution, tarnishment and other harms.  Moreover, we regularly
consult Whois information in carrying out our legal audits of intellectual
property rights, conducting due diligence in merger and acquisition
transactions and clearing the availability of new trademarks.

T4M supports many of the Task Force's recommendations in the Interim Report.
Specifically, we endorse the recommendations pertaining to i) accuracy of
Whois data, ii) uniformity and consistency of Whois data across gTLDS and
ccTLDS, and ii) searchability issues, as follows:

1.  	Accuracy of Whois Data

The availability of accurate Whois data enables us to quickly and easily
contact domain name owners in order to resolve real or potential trademark
disputes, or in some cases to acquire domain names held by other parties.
Without such accurate data, we are likely to experience, and have in fact
experienced, costly delays in locating domain name owners.  These delays
exacerbate the real or potential harm to our trademark rights, cost us more
time and money to resolve disputes and impede implementation of our business

Consequently, we endorse the recommendation that ICANN enforce the existing
contractual obligations in the Registrar Accreditation Agreement and in the
ICANN agreements with new gTLD registries regarding accuracy of Whois data,
as well as the recommendations that would improve compliance with existing
obligations, such as i) requiring the use of commonly available automated
mechanisms to screen out obviously false contact data; ii) canceling
registrations with contact data that reflects "willful provision of
inaccurate or unreliable information;" iii) demanding verification of
"corrected" data supplied by a registrant that has already deliberately
provided incorrect data; iv) handling registrations based on the same false
contact data together; and v) 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

We have witnessed in so many realms - international trademark law and
protection, customs and banking practices, to name a few - how efforts
toward uniformity and consistency in international law and practice have
promoted progress in international commerce.  At this still relatively early
stage in the development of Internet law and practice, we have an
opportunity to promote similar progress in Internet commerce and
communications.  Accordingly, T4M supports the Interim Report's call for
greater uniformity and consistency in Whois data across gTLDs and ccTLDs.,
which we agree would be in the best interests of Internet users.
Ultimately, we hope that all registries would move toward policies i) that
include explicit requirements that a registrant provide accurate and
reliable contact details, ii) that these details be available through Whois
services, and iii) that the provision of inaccurate or unreliable data have
consequences that include cancellation of the domain name registration.  

3.	Searchability

In addition to accuracy and uniformity, ease of use is essential for us in
resolving trademark or domain name disputes, as well as in promoting
progress in the area of Internet commerce and communications.  T4M supports
the task force recommendation that broader searchability is needed for
search fields other than the domain names, including searching on
registrants' names.  Such a function is necessary in that it aids us as
trademark owners in determining i) whether an individual or company is in a
field of business that relates to our own, and ii) whether it 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

Respectfully submitted,

Paul A. Lee
Counsel, Intellectual Property
AOL Time Warner Inc.
75 Rockefeller Plaza, 24th Floor
New York, NY 10019
Tel. No.: 212-484-8973
Fax No.: 212-258-3006
E-mail: paul.lee@aoltw.com

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