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[comments-wipo] RE: [wg-b] me thinks thou dost protect too much ...

I would like to comment on some things written by Steve Hartman on the
subject of famous marks and trademarks.  I am not on the wg-b distribution,
but I have been following it through the web interface.  If you are on the
distribution, you may forward my comments to the list, if you wish.

"Hartman, Steve" <HartmanS@Nabisco.com> wrote:

> Cybersquatting of well known names fosters miscommunication and is
> exploitative.Who should be entitled to reap the benefits (whatever they may
> be) of names such as <nabisco.com> or <billgates.com>? Those domains have
> recognition value because of the efforts of Nabisco and Bill Gates. If
> others believe they are entitled to own them, they ought to bear the burden
> of demonstrating a right or consumer benefit to use those domain names
> greater than Nabisco's or Bill Gate's and the confusion such unauthorized
> use causes.

However, declaring certain character strings as famous unfairly (imho)
excludes them from use by people who might make legitimate use of them.
For example, if you have a sister or spouse named Mary, she might wish
to register maryhartman.com (it is available).  However, if it is declared
famous, her ability to use it would be denied.

I have a lot of problems with the entire famous names issue, since
determining how famous a character string is is not something that can
be done conclusively.  Even if you could somehow get the entire world's
population to vote on how famous something is, their opinions might
change in a short period of time.  (How famous were the Beatles a week
before their first major tour?).

I also disagree that allowing other users besides the famous name
mark holders to use domains affects the integrity of the Internet.
In any naming system, there are bound to be clashes and conflicts that
may (temporarily) cause confusion.  If you are in a crowded room and
you hear someone say "Steve", you're probably going to turn around and
see who is calling your name.  This does not undermine the integrity
of naming people.  Generally speaking, we do not decide not to name
children certain names merely because they are famous.  Likewise, we
choose names for Internet resources we wish others to access that help 
identify the resource somehow.  Thus, a registration for maryhartman.com
does not undermine the Internet's integrity any more than your having a
sister or spouse who's named Mary undermines the human naming system.

There actually are remedies to the solution of conflicting DNS names
that work within the scope of the existing system.  Some people put
up links on their sites to pages that their pages are mistaken for,
for example.

Please consider this.