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[wg-b] "Cybersquatting" legislation only gives NFL and others a big stick

So, the NFL says it has the right under this latest law to challenge every
site that uses "NFL" in a domain name. Well, good luck to them. 

There are currently 887 domain names registered in the gTLDs that begin
with "NFL" and more than 5,000 others with "NFL" somewhere in the name. Is
the NFL going to claim that each and every one of these -- that they don't
currently own -- belongs to them simply because the letters N, F and L fall
into place in the right order?

Trying to create legislation for something that is basically an addressing
system -- much like the way we name and number streets in the United States
so postal carriers and emergency vehicles can find us -- is just plain
futile. This is yet another example of why "cybersquatting" legislation is
just the product of reactionary rhetoric promoted and sustained by large
corporations and their lawyers as a way to stake a claim to something that,
by definition, belongs to everyone. This type of narrow-minded and
badly-worded legislation is only intended to give corporations (and only
U.S. corporations at that) the ability to scare people from even
considering using the combination of letters N-F-L for anything the NFL
doesn't have on its agenda.

These laws are not intended to help streamline or enhance use of the
internet, they are largely being constructed by people that haven't got an
ounce of vision and don't have the first clue as to how the internet is
developing and regulating itself. They are acting in reaction to a few,
highly overdramatized cases of abusive behavior, which is something we
should try to curb.

Abusive behavior is bad and we should try to keep people from wantonly
trying to confuse or abuse, but by giving corporations and other entities
the ability to claim combinations of letters that exist in an addressing
system is ridiculous. If someone is trying to make money by protraying
their website as something it is not, that is one thing. But why should a
corporation or entity have the right under U.S. Law to all combinations of
letters that happen to spell their name?

So, anyway...the lesson here is this:

Before we go offering definitions to ICANN as to what a protected trademark
and famous name is and why we should protect them from the evil
cybersquatters, we should first consider that in the ultimate marketplace
of ideas -- the internet where everyone on the globe theoretically can
participate -- the best ideas will eventually win out by default. What
works the best is going to survive. Badly planned and overly-managed
systems will die out on their own.

Let's adopt a completely first-come, first-serve system and let the chips
fall where they may. Let the lawyers and courts decide on a case-by-case
basis what is abusive and in need of remedy and take ICANN out of the
process completely. 

Jeff Shrewsbury

At 09:00 AM 12/10/99 -0500, Attyross@aol.com wrote:
>NFL Sues Web Site for Cybersquatting
>That was fast.  The bill was just signed last week.
>Maybe they should start the Clock of the Long Now today.
>Then maybe it won't tick until 01/01/00, so we can digest
>all the good position papers and give the authors a break. :-)
>Otho Ross