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DanielHarris-SecondPaper 8 - 13 Jan 2012 - Main.IanSullivan
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 In the end, it may be best to do nothing (or close to nothing) and let .com continue toward exhaustion. Some anti-speculation reform may help postpone this, although UDRP and its reliance on findings of good and bad faith provide a practical limit. By the time the .com namespace is exhausted, there may be a Web successor. All the alternatives above would cause too much pain to users and entrenched interests. Meanwhile, third-party DNS services can experiment with new taxonomies. If a new method proves popular, users can adapt to it at leisure and the root servers might find themselves out of work before .com fills.
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DanielHarris-SecondPaper 7 - 12 Jan 2009 - Main.IanSullivan
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Domain Names, Trademarks and Taxonomies


DanielHarris-SecondPaper 6 - 13 Jun 2008 - Main.DanielHarris
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The Problem of Exhaustion

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Domains must be unique; there can be only one pizza.com. Fortunately, .com is not alone: it is just one Top Level Domain (TLD). .net, .edu, and country domains (.ca, .us, .cn...) exist. However, because the .com TLD is pre-eminent and so closely associated with The Internet, a non-.com site will not stick as firmly with customers. Commercial sites face consumer scorn and forgetfulness in .biz, .info, and so on. When have you seen a Super Bowl advertisement for a .biz?
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Domains must be unique; there can be only one pizza.com. Fortunately, .com is not alone: it is just one Top Level Domain (TLD). .net, .edu, and country domains (.ca, .us, .cn...) exist. However, because the .com TLD is pre-eminent and so closely associated with the Internet, a non-.com site will not resonate. Commercial sites in .biz or .info face consumer scorn and forgetfulness. When have you seen a Super Bowl advertisement for a .biz?
 
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Exhaustion may not occur soon naturally, but the practices of "cybersquatting" and "domain tasting" may bring an artificially early end to the .com namespace.
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Exhaustion may not naturally occur soon, but the practices of "cybersquatting" and "domain tasting" may bring an artificially early end to the .com namespace.
 

Categorizing the Problem Away

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The .biz domain is the worst example of attempting to create a new .com. Although it includes safeguards for trademark owners, .biz and .com's markets overlap. This creates yet another domain name for big corporations to buy, as anticipated in RFC 2353 3(b).
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The .biz domain is the worst example of attempting to create a new .com. Although .biz includes safeguards for trademark owners, .biz and .com's markets overlap. This creates yet another name for big corporations to buy, as anticipated in RFC 2353 3(b).
 
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Another approach is to create more generic TLDs, such as .museum and .aero. However, with the search-based navigation popular today, .museum looks odd: why re-train patrons to type danish.national.museum instead of "danish national museum" into a search engine? .aero has great potential for usefulness because the wide use of IATA codes for airlines and airports: business travelers might like to be able to type jfk.aero or ua.aero (not registered). However, not all airlines and airports are convinced and .aero coverage is spotty.
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Another approach is to create more generic TLDs, such as .museum and .aero. However, with the search-based navigation popular today, .museum looks odd: why re-train patrons to type danish.national.museum instead of "danish national museum?" .aero has great potential for usefulness because the wide use of IATA airline and airport codes: business travelers might like to be able to type jfk.aero or ua.aero (not registered). However, not all airlines and airports are convinced and .aero coverage is spotty.
 

The Trademark Wrinkle™

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The .com domain, although not under .us, is de facto a US domain and hosts frequent run-ins with US trademark law. Registrars now follow the UDRP, which attempts to resolve disputes against bad-faith users and in favor of trademark holders. As a result, the .com namespace has some overlap with the trademark namespace. However, trademarks have features unlike domain names. [US] trademarks must be used in commerce: one cannot speculate. Similarly, trademarks are granted for "goods and services"--a situation which might be mirrored in domains by the introduction of new TLDs (with the problems noted). RFC 2352's assertion that "all names are unique" is not true. Even using a .tm.us system (where the US trademark holder for X gets x.tm.us), there are multiple legitimate claims to delta.tm.us.
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The .com domain, although not under .us, is de facto a US domain and hosts frequent run-ins with US trademark law. Registrars now follow the UDRP, which attempts to resolve disputes against bad-faith users and in favor of trademark holders. As a result, .com namespace overlaps trademark namespace. However, trademarks have features unlike domain names. [US] trademarks must be used in commerce: one cannot speculate. Similarly, trademarks are granted for "goods and services"--a situation which might be mirrored in domains by the introduction of new TLDs (with the problems noted). RFC 2352's assertion that "all names are unique" is not true. Even using a .tm.us system (where the US trademark holder for X gets x.tm.us), there are multiple legitimate claims to delta.tm.us.
 "Skadden" is a trademark for legal services. "Skadden Stairs, Inc," a hypothetical escalator maintenance company, may still go by "Skadden." This restriction would only work with DNS if .com were to be abolished (or reserved for conglomerates) and specific domains (.lawfirm?) introduced. This system has many advantages: the owner of nissan.com would use nissan.computers and leave nissan.cars free. Aside from the loss of brand equity (a taking? is this really property or even a state actor?), overhead costs, and mass user confusion, what would be wrong with getting used to yahoo.search or moglenravicher.lawfirm?
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Domain names are not always commercial. I own three domains, one of which is used in (negligible) commerce. I could be punted to some version of .name, with its own exhaustion problems, or to a .personal or .homepage. If .com were reserved for commercial use, current .com denizens would undergo token monetization. I once sold a t-shirt for one of my domains on Cafepress: that is entrepreneurial enough. The current bad-faith provisions of the UDRP should prevent this from being abused. I think most problems (except for users) could be worked around, but how can you make such a drastic change when some still cannot use the search box?
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Domain names are not always commercial. I own three domains, one of which is used in (negligible) commerce. I could be punted to some version of .name, with its own exhaustion problems, or to a .personal or .homepage. If .com were reserved for commercial use, current .com denizens might undergo token monetization. I once sold a t-shirt for one of my domains on Cafepress: that is entrepreneurial enough. The current bad-faith provisions of the UDRP should prevent this from being abused. I think most problems (except for users) could be worked around, but how can you make such a drastic change when some still cannot use the search box?
 

Going Local

A subdivided namespace has met some success in the use of country domains. When operating Skadden Stairs in Tuvalu, skadden.tv is yours. Of course, .tv and .to, among others, provide an example of another problem (country codes being usable as English-language generics or typo-squatting as .cm. Sub-categorization has been attempted in the .us domain, and is often used for schools ( ... .county.k12.state.us, combining both types of classification).

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Businesses did not flock to obtain .city.county.state.us names before the overhaul of .us. Would you go to hamdel.ny.ny.ny.us for lunch? How about hamilton.deli.ny.ny.ny.us? Even the less granular international-business-machines.co.ny.us suggested by the RFC editor's preface is unacceptable.
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Businesses did not flock to obtain .city.county.state.us names before the .us overhaul. Would you go to hamdel.ny.ny.ny.us for lunch? How about hamilton.deli.ny.ny.ny.us? Even the less-unwieldy international-business-machines.co.ny.us suggested by the RFC editor is unacceptable. Any classification which does not eliminate generic .com names is doomed by .com’s primacy, and big corporations will not want to give up the .coms they bought for millions.
 

Abandoning the DNS?

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Can we abandon the DNS? With the increased use of search, I should be able to just type "delta airlines." The details underneath are irrelevant: maybe the server would be at delta.airlines.atlanta.ga.us, or maybe it would be at a globally unique string of symbols. If I type in "delta," I should get a disambiguation page or perhaps be directed to the one I am more likely seeking (according to my history). An unwieldy unique identifier, however, could make citation difficult or impossible.
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Can we abandon the DNS? With increased use of search, I should be able to just type "delta airlines." The details are irrelevant: maybe the server would be at delta.airlines.atlanta.ga.us, or maybe it would be at a unique string of symbols. If I type in "delta," I should get a disambiguation page or be directed to the one I am most likely seeking (according to history). An unwieldy unique identifier, however, could make citation difficult or impossible.
 
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A method requiring only sufficient uniqueness to disambiguate the result fails for new businesses: "zombo" would no longer be sufficiently unique after Zombo Air takes flight. E-mail and other non-Web services would require adaptation to allow disambiguation, and any such change would run up against myriad webpages with obsolete references.
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A method requiring only sufficient uniqueness to disambiguate the result fails for new businesses: "zombo" would no longer be unique after Zombo Air takes flight. E-mail and other non-interactive services would require adaptation, and any such change would run up against myriad obsolete references.
 

Conclusion: Boldly Doing Nothing

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In the end, it may be best to do nothing (or close to nothing) and let .com continue toward exhaustion. Some anti-speculation reform may help postpone this, although UDRP and its partial reliance on findings of good and bad faith may be a practical limit. By the time the .com space is exhausted in English, there may be a Web successor. All the alternatives examined above would cause too much pain to entrenched interests and users. Meanwhile, third-party DNS services can experiment with new taxonomies. If a particular new method proves popular, users can adapt to the new method at their leisure and the root servers might find themselves out of work before .com runs out.

  • Rationalizing the namespace has many possibilities of which the RFC you cite is only one. Many other classifications would work, for example, to deal with trademark namespace (ford.cars.us.tm, for example, as opposed to ford.models.us.tm) [with apologies to the Turkmenistan registrar.]

  • But the important part is that once you provide a one-to-one mapping for the names that people are legally entitled to, in the case of trademarks and other legally reserved names, which are bounded by both an issuing jurisdiction and a line of commerce, you can cease worrying about whether anyone is legally entitled to any of the more generic locations in the FQDN namespace, and let the market or the preferences of national registrars determine the outcome freely.

  • This came up in my initial brainstorming and I'm not sure why it didn't make it into the text. Although using both a jurisdiction and line of commerce in the domain name (sort of like k12.xx.us, but longer) would give trademark holders a place to call their own / be a nice idea, the interests with established trademarks (and, generally, with money and influence) would probably prefer to keep the remaining hostile holders of generic domains worrying and subject to UDRP.
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In the end, it may be best to do nothing (or close to nothing) and let .com continue toward exhaustion. Some anti-speculation reform may help postpone this, although UDRP and its reliance on findings of good and bad faith provide a practical limit. By the time the .com namespace is exhausted, there may be a Web successor. All the alternatives above would cause too much pain to users and entrenched interests. Meanwhile, third-party DNS services can experiment with new taxonomies. If a new method proves popular, users can adapt to it at leisure and the root servers might find themselves out of work before .com fills.
 
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DanielHarris-SecondPaper 5 - 22 Apr 2008 - Main.DanielHarris
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Note: This is done enough to provide reading material for the weekend.
 

Domain Names, Trademarks and Taxonomies

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  • But the important part is that once you provide a one-to-one mapping for the names that people are legally entitled to, in the case of trademarks and other legally reserved names, which are bounded by both an issuing jurisdiction and a line of commerce, you can cease worrying about whether anyone is legally entitled to any of the more generic locations in the FQDN namespace, and let the market or the preferences of national registrars determine the outcome freely.
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  • This came up in my initial brainstorming and I'm not sure why it didn't make it into the text. Although using both a jurisdiction and line of commerce in the domain name (sort of like k12.xx.us, but longer) would give trademark holders a place to call their own / be a nice idea, the interests with established trademarks (and, generally, with money and influence) would probably prefer to keep the remaining hostile holders of generic domains worrying and subject to UDRP.
 
 
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DanielHarris-SecondPaper 4 - 21 Apr 2008 - Main.EbenMoglen
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Note: This is done enough to provide reading material for the weekend.
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 In the end, it may be best to do nothing (or close to nothing) and let .com continue toward exhaustion. Some anti-speculation reform may help postpone this, although UDRP and its partial reliance on findings of good and bad faith may be a practical limit. By the time the .com space is exhausted in English, there may be a Web successor. All the alternatives examined above would cause too much pain to entrenched interests and users. Meanwhile, third-party DNS services can experiment with new taxonomies. If a particular new method proves popular, users can adapt to the new method at their leisure and the root servers might find themselves out of work before .com runs out.
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  • Rationalizing the namespace has many possibilities of which the RFC you cite is only one. Many other classifications would work, for example, to deal with trademark namespace (ford.cars.us.tm, for example, as opposed to ford.models.us.tm) [with apologies to the Turkmenistan registrar.]

  • But the important part is that once you provide a one-to-one mapping for the names that people are legally entitled to, in the case of trademarks and other legally reserved names, which are bounded by both an issuing jurisdiction and a line of commerce, you can cease worrying about whether anyone is legally entitled to any of the more generic locations in the FQDN namespace, and let the market or the preferences of national registrars determine the outcome freely.

 
 
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DanielHarris-SecondPaper 3 - 04 Apr 2008 - Main.DanielHarris
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Note: This is done enough to provide reading material for the weekend.
 
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Domain Names: Trademarks and Taxonomy

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Domain Names, Trademarks and Taxonomies

 

Disclaimer

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This idea, although independently conceived, has been loosely covered in RFC 2352. I will later briefly address its proposal.
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This problem, independently conceived, was addressed in RFC 2352.
 

Background

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The Domain Name System, to over-simplify, translates between host names (such as moglen.law.columbia.edu) and IP addresses (like 128.59.177.251). One registers a domain name (columbia.edu) with the appropriate registry (in this case, for .edu), sometimes through an intermediary registrar, usually for an annual fee. Domain ownership is a sort of property, although it might also be thought of as a lease from the registry--the owner (tenant?) of the domain has the right to exclude others from it, the right to subdivide it, and the right to sell it (transfer the lease).
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The Domain Name System translates between host names (such as moglen.law.columbia.edu) and IP addresses (like 128.59.177.251). One registers a domain name (columbia.edu) with the appropriate registry, sometimes through an intermediary, usually for an annual fee. Domain ownership is a sort of property, although it might also be thought of as a lease: the owner (tenant?) of the domain has the right to "occupy," exclude others, subdivide, and sell/assign.
 

The Problem of Exhaustion

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Because domains must be unique, they are subject to exhaustion. There can be only one pizza.com, only one google.com, and so on. Fortunately, we are not limited to .com: it is just one of the Top Level Domains (TLD). .net, .edu, and non-generic domains (.ca, .us, .cn...). However, the .com TLD is pre-eminent: because it is so closely associated with American consumer perceptions of "The Internet," a non-.com site won't stick as firmly in customers' heads. Sites targeted at a general e-commerce audience face consumer scorn and forgetfulness if they are exiled to the hinterlands of .biz, .info, and so on. When have you seen a Super Bowl advertisement for a .biz site? Exhaustion of the .com domain, then, is something worth considering.
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Domains must be unique; there can be only one pizza.com. Fortunately, .com is not alone: it is just one Top Level Domain (TLD). .net, .edu, and country domains (.ca, .us, .cn...) exist. However, because the .com TLD is pre-eminent and so closely associated with The Internet, a non-.com site will not stick as firmly with customers. Commercial sites face consumer scorn and forgetfulness in .biz, .info, and so on. When have you seen a Super Bowl advertisement for a .biz?
 
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Exhaustion may not occur very soon "naturally," but the practices of "cybersquatting," "domain tasting," and other speculation may bring an artificially early end to the .com namespace.
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Exhaustion may not occur soon naturally, but the practices of "cybersquatting" and "domain tasting" may bring an artificially early end to the .com namespace.
 
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Trying to Categorize the Problem Away

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Categorizing the Problem Away

 
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The .biz is the most flagrant example of attempting to create a new .com. Although it includes some safeguards for trademark owners, .biz and .com's target markets overlap. This creates yet another domain name for big corporations to buy, as anticipated in RFC 2353 3(b).
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The .biz domain is the worst example of attempting to create a new .com. Although it includes safeguards for trademark owners, .biz and .com's markets overlap. This creates yet another domain name for big corporations to buy, as anticipated in RFC 2353 3(b).
 
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Another approach is to create more specific TLDs, such as .museum and .aero. However, with the search-based navigation popular on today's World Wide Web, .museum looks odd: why re-train patrons to type danish.national.museum when they could type "danish national museum" into a search engine? .aero has great potential for usefulness because the wide use of IATA codes for airlines and airports: business travelers might like to be able to type jfk.aero or ua.aero (not registered, corresponding to United). However, because the .aero registry wants to get money and because most airlines and airports do not think it worth their time, .aero coverage is spotty.
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Another approach is to create more generic TLDs, such as .museum and .aero. However, with the search-based navigation popular today, .museum looks odd: why re-train patrons to type danish.national.museum instead of "danish national museum" into a search engine? .aero has great potential for usefulness because the wide use of IATA codes for airlines and airports: business travelers might like to be able to type jfk.aero or ua.aero (not registered). However, not all airlines and airports are convinced and .aero coverage is spotty.
 

The Trademark Wrinkle™

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Trademarks and domains have an uneasy relationship. The .com domain, although not under .us, is de facto a US domain and hosts frequent run-ins with US trademark law. Registrars now follow the URDP, which attempts to resolve disputes against bad-faith users and in favor of trademark holders. As a result, the .com namespace has some overlap with the trademark namespace. However, trademarks have some features which make them less than analogous to domain names. [US] Trademarks must be used in commerce: one cannot speculate on trademarks. Similarly, trademarks are granted with respect to specific goods and services--a situation which might be mirrored in domains by the introduction of new TLDs (with the accompanying problems noted above). RFC 2352's assertion that "all names are unique" is not true and destroys its usefulness. Even going with a .tm.us system (where x.tm.us goes to the trademark holder of "x" in the United States), there would be multiple legitimate claims to delta.tm.us.
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The .com domain, although not under .us, is de facto a US domain and hosts frequent run-ins with US trademark law. Registrars now follow the UDRP, which attempts to resolve disputes against bad-faith users and in favor of trademark holders. As a result, the .com namespace has some overlap with the trademark namespace. However, trademarks have features unlike domain names. [US] trademarks must be used in commerce: one cannot speculate. Similarly, trademarks are granted for "goods and services"--a situation which might be mirrored in domains by the introduction of new TLDs (with the problems noted). RFC 2352's assertion that "all names are unique" is not true. Even using a .tm.us system (where the US trademark holder for X gets x.tm.us), there are multiple legitimate claims to delta.tm.us.

"Skadden" is a trademark for legal services. "Skadden Stairs, Inc," a hypothetical escalator maintenance company, may still go by "Skadden." This restriction would only work with DNS if .com were to be abolished (or reserved for conglomerates) and specific domains (.lawfirm?) introduced. This system has many advantages: the owner of nissan.com would use nissan.computers and leave nissan.cars free. Aside from the loss of brand equity (a taking? is this really property or even a state actor?), overhead costs, and mass user confusion, what would be wrong with getting used to yahoo.search or moglenravicher.lawfirm?

Domain names are not always commercial. I own three domains, one of which is used in (negligible) commerce. I could be punted to some version of .name, with its own exhaustion problems, or to a .personal or .homepage. If .com were reserved for commercial use, current .com denizens would undergo token monetization. I once sold a t-shirt for one of my domains on Cafepress: that is entrepreneurial enough. The current bad-faith provisions of the UDRP should prevent this from being abused. I think most problems (except for users) could be worked around, but how can you make such a drastic change when some still cannot use the search box?

Going Local

A subdivided namespace has met some success in the use of country domains. When operating Skadden Stairs in Tuvalu, skadden.tv is yours. Of course, .tv and .to, among others, provide an example of another problem (country codes being usable as English-language generics or typo-squatting as .cm. Sub-categorization has been attempted in the .us domain, and is often used for schools ( ... .county.k12.state.us, combining both types of classification).

 
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For example, "Skadden" is a live trademark for legal services. "Skadden Stairs, Inc," a hypothetical escalator maintenance company, may still go by "Skadden." This mandatory category restriction on trademarks would only be found in domain names if .com were to be abolished (or reserved for companies operating in a certain number of different fields simultaneously) and specific domains (.lawfirm?) introduced. This system would have prevented quite a mess: the owner of nissan.com would have set up shop at nissan.computers and left nissan.cars free. Aside from the loss of brand equity (a taking? is this really property or even a state actor?), overhead costs, and mass user confusion, what would be wrong with getting used to yahoo.search or moglenravicher.lawfirm?
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Businesses did not flock to obtain .city.county.state.us names before the overhaul of .us. Would you go to hamdel.ny.ny.ny.us for lunch? How about hamilton.deli.ny.ny.ny.us? Even the less granular international-business-machines.co.ny.us suggested by the RFC editor's preface is unacceptable.
 
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Domain names are not (yet) the same as trademarks. I currently own three domains, only one of which is (sort of) used in commerce. I supposed I could be punted to some version of .name, which has its own obvious exhaustion problems, or to a .personal or .homepage or .whatnot. .com could be reserved for commercial use, and other current .com denizens would be forced to undergo token monetization to stay in place. I once sold a (one) t-shirt for one of my domains on Cafepress: that's entrepreneurial enough, I suppose. The current bad-faith provisions of the UDRP should prevent this from being abused to squat on existing trademarks. I think most problems (except for users) could be worked around, but how can you make such a drastic change when some people still don't know the difference between the search box and the location bar?
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Abandoning the DNS?

 
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Local is Trendy

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Can we abandon the DNS? With the increased use of search, I should be able to just type "delta airlines." The details underneath are irrelevant: maybe the server would be at delta.airlines.atlanta.ga.us, or maybe it would be at a globally unique string of symbols. If I type in "delta," I should get a disambiguation page or perhaps be directed to the one I am more likely seeking (according to my history). An unwieldy unique identifier, however, could make citation difficult or impossible.
 
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One area where a subdivided namespace has met some success is in country domains (other than .us). If you're operating Skadden Stairs in lovely Tuvalu, skadden.tv is yours for the taking. Of course, .tv and .to, among others, provide an example of a different problem (country codes being usable as English-language generics or typo-squatting pastures as .cm. Sub-categorization has been attempted in the .us domain, and is often used for schools ( ... .county.k12.state.us, in some areas, which combines both geographic and non-geographic classification.
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A method requiring only sufficient uniqueness to disambiguate the result fails for new businesses: "zombo" would no longer be sufficiently unique after Zombo Air takes flight. E-mail and other non-Web services would require adaptation to allow disambiguation, and any such change would run up against myriad webpages with obsolete references.
 
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There is a reason that businesses did not flock to obtain .city.county.state.us names before the overhaul of the .us registry: they are hard to remember. Would you go to hamdel.ny.ny.ny.us for lunch? How about hamilton.deli.ny.ny.ny.us? Even the less repetitive international-business-machines.co.ny.us suggested by the RFC editor's preface will not be happening any time soon.
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Conclusion: Boldly Doing Nothing

 
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In the end, it may be best to do nothing (or close to nothing) and let .com continue toward exhaustion. Some anti-speculation reform may help postpone this, although UDRP and its partial reliance on findings of good and bad faith may be a practical limit. By the time the .com space is exhausted in English, there may be a Web successor. All the alternatives examined above would cause too much pain to entrenched interests and users. Meanwhile, third-party DNS services can experiment with new taxonomies. If a particular new method proves popular, users can adapt to the new method at their leisure and the root servers might find themselves out of work before .com runs out.
 
 
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DanielHarris-SecondPaper 2 - 04 Apr 2008 - Main.DanielHarris
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I'm just jotting down an idea here for now so I won't forget it.
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This idea, although independently conceived, has been covered (with holes) in RFC 2352.
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Domain Names: Trademarks and Taxonomy

 
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Domain Name Exhaustion and Trademarks
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Disclaimer

 
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Is exhaustion really a problem?
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This idea, although independently conceived, has been loosely covered in RFC 2352. I will later briefly address its proposal.
 
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Trademarks and domains have an uneasy relationship. Describe, at least for USA, and also describe why not the same.
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Background

 
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For (trademarks, domains) describe: localizing (.ny.us?, state trademarks, national trademarks) categorization (TM for airline operations vs. .aero?)
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The Domain Name System, to over-simplify, translates between host names (such as moglen.law.columbia.edu) and IP addresses (like 128.59.177.251). One registers a domain name (columbia.edu) with the appropriate registry (in this case, for .edu), sometimes through an intermediary registrar, usually for an annual fee. Domain ownership is a sort of property, although it might also be thought of as a lease from the registry--the owner (tenant?) of the domain has the right to exclude others from it, the right to subdivide it, and the right to sell it (transfer the lease).
 
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Business names (as in the RFC) can be granted on a very local level. Inconvenience of trying to shoehorn in a geographic classification. Impossibility of categorizing conglomerates.
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The Problem of Exhaustion

 
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Use in commerce requirement of TM (but domains aren't just for commerce)... an analogue for domains? Anti-parking measures?
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Because domains must be unique, they are subject to exhaustion. There can be only one pizza.com, only one google.com, and so on. Fortunately, we are not limited to .com: it is just one of the Top Level Domains (TLD). .net, .edu, and non-generic domains (.ca, .us, .cn...). However, the .com TLD is pre-eminent: because it is so closely associated with American consumer perceptions of "The Internet," a non-.com site won't stick as firmly in customers' heads. Sites targeted at a general e-commerce audience face consumer scorn and forgetfulness if they are exiled to the hinterlands of .biz, .info, and so on. When have you seen a Super Bowl advertisement for a .biz site? Exhaustion of the .com domain, then, is something worth considering.
 
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ICANN blog on categorization http://blog.icann.org/?p=183
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Exhaustion may not occur very soon "naturally," but the practices of "cybersquatting," "domain tasting," and other speculation may bring an artificially early end to the .com namespace.
 
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the .com pre-eminence problem
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Trying to Categorize the Problem Away

 
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-- DanielHarris - 29 Mar 2008
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The .biz is the most flagrant example of attempting to create a new .com. Although it includes some safeguards for trademark owners, .biz and .com's target markets overlap. This creates yet another domain name for big corporations to buy, as anticipated in RFC 2353 3(b).

Another approach is to create more specific TLDs, such as .museum and .aero. However, with the search-based navigation popular on today's World Wide Web, .museum looks odd: why re-train patrons to type danish.national.museum when they could type "danish national museum" into a search engine? .aero has great potential for usefulness because the wide use of IATA codes for airlines and airports: business travelers might like to be able to type jfk.aero or ua.aero (not registered, corresponding to United). However, because the .aero registry wants to get money and because most airlines and airports do not think it worth their time, .aero coverage is spotty.

The Trademark Wrinkle™

Trademarks and domains have an uneasy relationship. The .com domain, although not under .us, is de facto a US domain and hosts frequent run-ins with US trademark law. Registrars now follow the URDP, which attempts to resolve disputes against bad-faith users and in favor of trademark holders. As a result, the .com namespace has some overlap with the trademark namespace. However, trademarks have some features which make them less than analogous to domain names. [US] Trademarks must be used in commerce: one cannot speculate on trademarks. Similarly, trademarks are granted with respect to specific goods and services--a situation which might be mirrored in domains by the introduction of new TLDs (with the accompanying problems noted above). RFC 2352's assertion that "all names are unique" is not true and destroys its usefulness. Even going with a .tm.us system (where x.tm.us goes to the trademark holder of "x" in the United States), there would be multiple legitimate claims to delta.tm.us.

For example, "Skadden" is a live trademark for legal services. "Skadden Stairs, Inc," a hypothetical escalator maintenance company, may still go by "Skadden." This mandatory category restriction on trademarks would only be found in domain names if .com were to be abolished (or reserved for companies operating in a certain number of different fields simultaneously) and specific domains (.lawfirm?) introduced. This system would have prevented quite a mess: the owner of nissan.com would have set up shop at nissan.computers and left nissan.cars free. Aside from the loss of brand equity (a taking? is this really property or even a state actor?), overhead costs, and mass user confusion, what would be wrong with getting used to yahoo.search or moglenravicher.lawfirm?

Domain names are not (yet) the same as trademarks. I currently own three domains, only one of which is (sort of) used in commerce. I supposed I could be punted to some version of .name, which has its own obvious exhaustion problems, or to a .personal or .homepage or .whatnot. .com could be reserved for commercial use, and other current .com denizens would be forced to undergo token monetization to stay in place. I once sold a (one) t-shirt for one of my domains on Cafepress: that's entrepreneurial enough, I suppose. The current bad-faith provisions of the UDRP should prevent this from being abused to squat on existing trademarks. I think most problems (except for users) could be worked around, but how can you make such a drastic change when some people still don't know the difference between the search box and the location bar?

Local is Trendy

One area where a subdivided namespace has met some success is in country domains (other than .us). If you're operating Skadden Stairs in lovely Tuvalu, skadden.tv is yours for the taking. Of course, .tv and .to, among others, provide an example of a different problem (country codes being usable as English-language generics or typo-squatting pastures as .cm. Sub-categorization has been attempted in the .us domain, and is often used for schools ( ... .county.k12.state.us, in some areas, which combines both geographic and non-geographic classification.

There is a reason that businesses did not flock to obtain .city.county.state.us names before the overhaul of the .us registry: they are hard to remember. Would you go to hamdel.ny.ny.ny.us for lunch? How about hamilton.deli.ny.ny.ny.us? Even the less repetitive international-business-machines.co.ny.us suggested by the RFC editor's preface will not be happening any time soon.

 

 
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I'm just jotting down an idea here for now so I won't forget it.

This idea, although independently conceived, has been covered (with holes) in RFC 2352.

Domain Name Exhaustion and Trademarks

Is exhaustion really a problem?

Trademarks and domains have an uneasy relationship. Describe, at least for USA, and also describe why not the same.

For (trademarks, domains) describe: localizing (.ny.us?, state trademarks, national trademarks) categorization (TM for airline operations vs. .aero?)

Business names (as in the RFC) can be granted on a very local level. Inconvenience of trying to shoehorn in a geographic classification. Impossibility of categorizing conglomerates.

Use in commerce requirement of TM (but domains aren't just for commerce)... an analogue for domains? Anti-parking measures?

ICANN blog on categorization http://blog.icann.org/?p=183

the .com pre-eminence problem

-- DanielHarris - 29 Mar 2008

 
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Revision 8r8 - 13 Jan 2012 - 23:34:19 - IanSullivan
Revision 7r7 - 12 Jan 2009 - 22:58:05 - IanSullivan
Revision 6r6 - 13 Jun 2008 - 03:11:06 - DanielHarris
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