Massachusetts
13 February 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

EFF slams proposals for UDRP-style copyright infringement system


The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has slammed the Domain Name Association’s (DNA) proposal for a third-party copyright infringement system, calling it “ill-conceived” and “the very epitome of shadow regulation”.

According to the DNA, the voluntary system works in a similar way to the UDRP for trademarks.

DNA’s proposal came as part of its Healthy Domains Initiative, which aims to encourage “sound stewardship of the internet namespace” through consultations with various industry players, including law enforcement authorities and content providers.

The other proposals included addressing online security abuse, enhancing child abuse mitigation systems and streamlining complaint handling from illegal or ‘rogue’ online pharmacies.

But the EFF warned: “Any voluntary, private dispute resolution system paid for by the complaining parties will be captured by copyright holders and become a privatised version of the failed internet censorship bills SOPA and PIPA.”

“The Healthy Domains Initiative proposal was written by a group of domain name companies. They include Donuts.”

“Donuts has taken many steps that serve the interests of major corporate trademark and copyright holders over those of other internet users.”

“These include a private agreement with the Motion Picture Association of America to suspend domain names on request based on accusations of copyright infringement, and a ‘Domain Protected Marks List Plus’ that gives brand owners the power to stop others from using common words and phrases in domain names—a degree of control that they don't get from either ICANN procedures or trademark law.”

Mason Cole, vice president at Donuts and chair of the Healthy Domains Initiative committee, said that the proposal would address “pervasive and systemic copyright infringement”.

According to the Healthy Domains Initiative committee, the system’s “legal construct must be sound”. It must accurately reflect applicable law, be flexible in the face of copyright laws varying among jurisdictions, ensure due process for respondents and that complaintants pay panel fees, and not allow registries or registrars to be named as parties.

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