INTA Whois Subcommittee's Comments on TF 3
- To: "'whois-tf3-report-comments@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx'" <whois-tf3-report-comments@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: INTA Whois Subcommittee's Comments on TF 3
- From: Michael Heltzer <mheltzer@xxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 09:02:22 -0400
- Cc: "'barritt@xxxxxx'" <barritt@xxxxxx>, "'jse@xxxxxxxxxxxx'" <jse@xxxxxxxxxxxx>, "'ellen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx'" <ellen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
The Whois Subcommittee of the International Trademark Association's Internet
Committee welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Whois TF 3 preliminary
report, which was posted on ICANN's website on May 28, 2004. The
subcommittee would like to take this opportunity to thank the task forces
for their hard work in putting together the proposals.
The mission of INTA's Internet Committee is to evaluate treaties, laws,
regulations and procedures relating to domain name assignment, use of
trademarks on the Internet, and unfair competition on the Internet. The
Whois Subcommittee, which is charged specifically with evaluating proposals
concerning domain name contact information, consists of representatives from
1. Improvement and follow up of existing resources to collect further
The Whois Subcommittee believes that it is still very important to collect
further information in connection with data accuracy issues in order to
determine where efforts are most needed. Consequently, the subcommittee
encourages further use and improvement of existing resources such as the
Whois Data Problem Report System (WDPRS) in order to collect further
information regarding, inter alia, the following up of reported
2. The need for registrars' full cooperation: financial burden to be
borne by the "bad registrants"
In order to improve data accuracy, the Whois Subcommittee believes that
action needs to be undertaken with full cooperation from all registrars.
This can be difficult to achieve if sanctions or other coercive measures are
the only tools available to elicit registrar cooperation.
As a result, the subcommittee recommends exploring the feasibility of a
system in which verification tasks are invoiced to the domain name holder,
perhaps by way of a fee for those that do not reply to verification
inquiries from the registrars.
For example, registrars might be authorized (or even required) by ICANN to
automatically charge registrants a "false Whois penalty" when they submit
contact data that is inaccurate. Such a penalty could perhaps be based on a
multiple of the pro-rated annual registration fee and be payable when the
registrant fails to respond to a verification inquiry by the registrar.
Registrars would not be required to distinguish between deliberately false
and negligently false data. Provided the penalty is sufficient, this system
would encourage registrars to act on their own in order to verify the data.
Registrants who correct the data would then receive back a portion of the
penalty (to be set by ICANN) to encourage them to act in a responsible
manner. Such a system would provide real financial incentives to both the
registrars to take action to verify the data submitted to them, and to
registrants to correct inaccurate data. While surely not perfect, it might
begin to move the Internet community towards a fairer allocation of the
expenses and burdens of maintaining accurate Whois data.
3. Possible drawbacks must be examined
The Whois Subcommittee suggests taking into account from the outset the
possible drawbacks to any proposed system. For example, the suggested 15-day
correction deadline before cancellation of a domain name (item number 8 in
the Task Force's list of "Matters Requiring Further Consideration") might
end up being a problem rather than an improvement to the current situation.
Indeed, there may be situations where a domain name holder has legitimate
reasons for not being able to respond with 15 days and losing the domain
name would be a harsh result.
We appreciate the opportunity to participate, and hope our comments will be
Michael E. Heltzer
External Relations Manager
International Trademark Association