On January 29, the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA), which FairWinds helped found and runs, hosted a policy forum here in Washington, D.C. The forum focused on emerging challenges for the Internet community in 2010, specifically the future of ICANN under the Affirmation of Commitments (AOC) and potential reform to the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. Attendees heard from two panels regarding these issues, which featured brand owners, online policy experts and Congressional staff members. The keynote address was given by Senator Stephen Urquhart (R-UT 29th District), the Chairman of the Utah State Senate Transportation and Public Utilities and Technology Committee. Urquhart recently introduced the E-Commerce Integrity Act to the Utah state legislature. This bill is designed to make the state of Utah more business-friendly by creating greater deterrents to prevent cybersquatting: firstly, the bill raises the damages that can be levied on a cybersquatter, and secondly, it holds affiliates of domain name registrants liable if it is found that they benefit from cybersquatting behavior.
In addition to Sen. Urquhart, representatives of Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee spoke on the panels. Cybersquatting is an issue that hits close to home for the Senators they work for: PatrickLeahy.com and JohnDRockefeller.com both point to pay-per-click (PPC) sites. (JayRockefeller.com, however, does lead to the Senator’s Web site.) SteveUrquhart.com also leads to a PPC site.
When discussing the problem of cybersquatting, much of the attention often gets focused on businesses and infringements on brands and trademarks. However, individuals like politicians and celebrities are also frequently the victims of squatting and other malicious conduct online. It’s great to know that Senator Urquhart and Congressional staff members understand this issue, and we’re happy to have them involved in efforts to create a safe, stable and flourishing Internet.
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