Web & communication software

Copyright Infingement Will Lead ICANN Registrars to Lose Accreditation

Registrars that fail to comply with copyright infringement contract terms given by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will lose their accreditation.

Copyright infringement issues have resulted in domain take down and ICANN maintains that it will continue with the take down, as provided by the Registrar Accreditation Agreement.

"We have a registrar accreditation agreement and if one party doesn't comply, ICANN will give a warning and if no compliance, the registrar will lose the accreditation," said Rod Beckstrom, ICANN president and CEO.

Beckstrom clarified that registrars are the recipients of court orders and not ICANN in case a trademark or copyright holder wants a certain domain to be taken down. He said ICANN's role is to make policies and standards.

Governments and law enforcement authorities want registrars to be held more accountable in cases where domain registrations are done with bogus data that makes it hard for law enforcement to arrest the culprits. Registrars attending ICANN meeting in Costa Rica two weeks ago felt that it was unfair for ICANN and law enforcement authorities to demand they keep client data because they have no authority to do so for online transactions.

The issue of protection of trademark and copyright was discussed at length during the meeting in Costa Rica. The U.N., IMF and 26 other international organizations wrote a letter expressing concern over the new generic top-level domain Domain program saying that their names could be misused or taken advantage of.

"The rights holders have protection under the new gTLD program and that is why it has taken six years to develop; trademark and copyright owners have a right to initiate proceedings incase another party applies for a gTLD in their name," Beckstrom said.

The special provisions under the applicants guidebook that protect copyright and trademark holders are also expected to protect international organizations such as those that have voiced their concerns with ICANN.

The new gTLD application will cost $185,000 exclusive of legal and other consultancy fees. There is financial support available but interested applicants must have submitted applications by the April 12 deadline. There are over 500 registrations, but ICANN will reveal the actual number of applications in May.

The domain takedown requirements relate only to existing generic TLDs and the new ones coming up but not the country code TLDs, which have the right to license own registrars and enforce country specific laws.

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