Trademarks and Internet Domain Name System

Trademarks and Internet Domain Name System

I don't unserstant why the internet community at large isn't up in arms about the capture of the Internet Domain Name system and ICANN by the trademark lobby. These are the same guys that constitute the RIAA and MPAA.

In the world of video and music, the trademark presence is widely understood, yet in the domain name organization, despite the fact they have usurped the discussion and control of the DNS from the technical community that invented and ran it their presence there is not well understood by the public at large. While ICANN tries to foster the appearance of a bunch of guys that invented the net and just know everything about it - being the guiding force in reality the entire process has been a function of what the trademark attorneys will permit.

In 1997 the Trademark lobby convinced Jon Postel and other that the ITU and WIPO, both UN chartered intergovernmental non profit Geneva based organizations, should join forces with ISOC and assume control of the Domain name system. This was "like deja vu all over again" and shades of the Montreal IETF meeting where the leaders tried to stop the development of Internet protocol in favor of the ITU led ISO-based protocols which to this day nobody uses. The net rebelled and calls of "throw the bums out" resonated and Sean Doran's famous screen entitled "ISOC = It Seeks Overall Control" summed up the feelings for many.

In both cases the ISOC was rebuked - in Montreal it was explained to them that they were there as volunteer administrative staff to foster tge growth of tcp/ip internetworking and if they had something else in mine they were cordially invited to go do it somewhere else.

The made-in-the-shadows 1997 IAHC/ITU/INTA/ISOC plan was rejected both by half the net and shut down by the US government, although ISOC, always eager to make a "deal with the decil" with the trademark community, it is now fairly intertwined throughout the ICANN org chart and follow-the-money chain of command.

Just as there is widespread advocacy for new top level domains by consumers there is serious resistance to the idea from industry that would much rather move everybody in America into .us and just scrap .com, .net and .org. But that's not going to happen.

Ten years ago the trademark poeple were cripping the then young domain industry, now, a decade later, the trademark people crippling the domain name industry.

The trademark community has spent tens of not hundreds of millions of dollars opposing the creation of new top level domains. They have controlled ICANN since its creation under the department of Commerce aegis. They are still in control. The latest word out of the most recent ICANN trade show, 2009 was from Evan Leibovitch on facebook:

Evan Leibovitch: Cynical in Sydney.... at the ICANN meetings here, trademark lawyers threaten to cripple the process of creating new top-level Internet domains. Thankfully, community opposition is significant.
In other words nothings changed in a decade of ICANN "studying" the trademark problem and new top level domains, are as they have been for the last decade, two years away from when you ask.

You can read more about ICANN here.