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[wg-b] Famous Third-Level Domains

A possible new issue has occurred to me that has not been
discussed much here.  That is, how should famous third-level
domains be handled.  Take, for example, the real site at:

It is my understanding that the "mmm" in this example is just
a local name assigned by the ISP, which causes a redirection
to the "real" domain at http://beer.com.  But the "mmm" form
of address is presumably visible to and reachable by anyone
in any domain anywhere.  (I would be curious to know if anyone
can't reach the site.)  I also understand that "mmm" could be
replaced with any character string.  What if that string were
famous?  For example, what if I used http://ibm.joe.com?
I think that, clearly, not only would IBM have something to
say about this, but this usage may even constitute dilution,
so it could be dealt with under the existing trademark laws.

The potential issue relevant to our group is, regardless of
what sort of registry, registrar or other rule outside of
trademark law that we come up with for dealing with
famous names, a famous third-level domain might not be
subject to such rules because it might fall totally outside
the jurisdiction of any domain or Internet organization
other than the local ISP.  It is my understanding that
registrars never even see these names because they
don't need to be registered.

Here is a quote that I am borrowing from a certain hosting
company's web site FAQ section:

"Yes, we can give you a third level domain name such as
'yourname.yourname.net'.  The advantage to these is
interNIC registration is not needed. This means no
interNIC registration fees and no additional setup fee ...."

To put it in the context of the current discussion, take a
look at "Issue #6" that Michael posted on 11/10/99:
"If you adopt an exclusionary model, where does the
ultimate responsibility rest, the registrar or the registry?"

In the case of famous third-level domains, it seems like
the answer would be "neither", unless we recommend a
rule that requires the registration of third-level domains, or
otherwise requires the ISP to get approval from a registry
or registrar before issuing such a name to a customer.

Comments would be appreciated.

Otho Ross