Feeds

HuffPo .XXX squatter turfed out in crackdown

Dozens of domains seized from smut site opportunists

New hybrid storage solutions

ICM Registry has suspended scores of .xxx domain names it says were registered by cyber-squatters in a large-scale trademark infringement scam.

Domains such as washingtonpost.xxx, verizonwireless.xxx and businessweek.xxx were among more than 70 seized under the unprecedented crackdown yesterday.

ICM CEO Stuart Lawley told The Register that the infringements were "clear and wilful and widespread". The individuals who registered the domains had already tried to sell them to the owners of the respective trademarks, he said.

One opportunist, who registered huffingtonpost.xxx with a plan to sell it on to the highest bidder, forfeited about 50 domains, according to Lawley. It would have cost the registrant approximately $5,000 to snap up these web addresses when the .xxx space opened up last week.

"We will not tolerate nefarious conduct and will exercise our right to take appropriate action when we detect widespread repeat patterns of cyber-squatting activity," Lawley said in a statement. "Would-be cyber-squatters are on notice – neither ICM Registry nor the .xxx community will be complicit in the theft or abuse of intellectual property."

The suspensions come shortly after ICM raked in millions selling almost 80,000 defensive brand registrations, at about $160 a pop, to companies both inside and outside the porn business.

It's unheard of for a registry operator to unilaterally suspend domain names in its zone based on third-party trademark infringement claims.

Domains are regularly seized in .com and other suffixes if they are being used to distribute malware, such as Conficker, but allegations of cyber-squatting usually have to be decided under ICANN's Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy.

UDRP cases are heard by arbitrators hired by the World Intellectual Property Organisation and other groups. They incur legal fees and take several weeks to resolve. If a trademark holder wins, they are awarded the domain.

However, while .xxx is also covered by the UDRP, ICM also has a fairly Draconian secondary policy when it comes to obvious cyber-squatters. Not only do they lose their cyber-squatted domains, but they lose every domain they own in .xxx.

This is possible because, unlike in .com and other top-level domains, ICM verifies the identity of .xxx registrants and makes them sign up to a registry-registrant agreement.

Lawley said that a minority of the domains suspended yesterday may not actually infringe trademarks. The company has not yet decided whether to freeze the domains permanently or release them back into the available pool.

However, one of the domains in question, huffingtonpost.xxx, appears to have already been transferred to the Huffington Post, according to Whois records.

While ICM's move may put a smile on the faces of some in the intellectual property community, the unilateral nature of the suspensions is causing disquiet amongst legal domain name speculators.

Lawley said that "single complaints over single names, we won't act on as a registry" but that due to the cybersquatting pattern exhibited by chancres and others "to have not done anything would have been us in dereliction of our duty". ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.