DNS Public Registration Disputes (Conflicts, Cybersquatting, "Deceptive Naming", Etc.) and Dispute Resolution
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The Internet started off as a medium for research into networking, evolved into a system for interconnecting scientists and ended up as a global communications tool used by just about everyone. As part of this evolution, the Internet also became a very important part of how business is done in the world. Money started to really come into the Internet picture in the early 1990s, and just a few short years later, its impact on the Internet was so significant that the growth of the stock market to dizzying heights in the late 1990s is now often called the Internet bubble.
Unfortunately, the increasing importance of the Internet to commercial interests crashed headlong into the non-commercial original design of Internet technology, and nowhere was this more evident than in the Domain Name System. Since there were only a few generic TLDs, since each name within a TLD had to be unique, and since humans are often confrontational creatures, it didn't take a long time before arguments broke out over who should be able to use what name, and why. And of course, from there, it didn't take long before lawsuits and other unpleasantries broke out.
There are a surprising number of significant problems associated with public registration of domain names.
The .COM domain is for corporations, but many corporations have the same name. The ACME Furniture Company, the ACME Restaurant Supply Corporation and ACME Footwear, Inc., probably all would like to have the acme.com domain. But there can be only one such domain within .COM. (These are fictional examples; acme.com is in fact owned by an organization called Acme Labs.)
There are many corporations that have names similar to or even identical to the names of individuals, leading to potential conflicts. For example, suppose your first name is Wendy and you own a small fabric store called Wendy's Fabrics. But you are Internet savvy and decide you want to register wendys.com as soon as you hear about the Internet in 1993. Then this big hamburger chain comes along and has a problem with that J
To my knowledge no such issue arose with respect to Wendys, but there actually was a widely-publicized case that shows just how recently most corporations were out of the loop with respect to domain naming. In 1994, a writer for Wired magazine was astonished to find that the mcdonalds.com domain name was unregistered! To show just how unregulated the registration process was, he registered it himself, and caused a bit of a stir as a result. The Golden Arch Folks eventually acquired the domain from him in an amicable arrangement where he relinquished the name and they made a donation to charity.
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