18 November 2014

Domain Names and the Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

The US government together with other governments, are by-passing ICANN and the ITU, and entering the realm of direct internet governance of Domain Names and the DNS, through the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement--essentially mandating a WHOIS and UDRP (cybersquatting remedies) for all ccTLDs--

Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - IP Chapter: "...WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents. Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states..."

DNS Policy Notes | Bloomberg BNA: "The text of the TPP's Intellectual Property Chapter calls for signatories to do just two things regarding domain names: (1) provide a cybersquatting remedy [UDRP] for ccTLDs along the lines of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy and (2) provide a reliable and accurate database of domain name registrants [WHOIS] in the ccTLDs. All of the countries participating in the TPP -- except for Brunei (.bn) -- have what the TPP is looking for... Fast-forward to the May 2014 IP chapter draft. According to WikiLeaks, the cybersquatting provision appears to have been amended to each country's satisfaction:

Article QQ.C.12: {Domain Name Cybersquatting}
1.In connection with each Party's system for the management of its country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) domain names, the following shall be available:

(a) an appropriate procedure for the settlement of disputes, based on, or modeled along the same lines as, the principles established in the Uniform Domain Name Dispute-Resolution Policy, or that is: (i) designed to resolve disputes expeditiously and at low cost, (ii) fair and equitable, (iii) not overly burdensome, and (iv) does not preclude resort to court litigation; and

(b) online public access to a reliable and accurate database of contact information concerning domain-name registrants; in accordance with each Party's laws and, or relevant administrator policies regarding protection of privacy and personal data.

2.In connection with each Party's system for the management of ccTLD domain names, appropriate remedies, *shall be available, at least in cases where a person registers or holds, with a bad faith intent to profit, a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark.

*It is understood that such remedies may but need not include, for example, revocation, cancellation, transfer, damages, or injunctive relief.

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