(Author’s note - I am not against anti-fraud, anti-phishing, or anti-cyber squatting / typo squatting legistlation, but people really need to look into the misleading titles of many of our laws to see what they truly involve. This is truly a don’t judge a book by it’s cover case).
Senator Bill Nelson,
While the cover of this bill does seem for the better good of every person in the US, the law itself opens the gateway to take control of a large part of the internet from the people to large corporations.
The two major points in the bill are both already illegal or against parent-organization policies.
Typo-Squatting and Cyber-Squatting (a.k.a. the use of a trademark in a domain or something that is “confusingly similar” to a trademark and/or creating a site that is confusingly similar to the copyrighted material in order to profit (either though ads or the sale of the site and/or domain). This is already against ICANN and WIPO policies, so once again, this addition to the law is redundant to current policies.
Both of the main points in this law are not needed in new legislation since they already exist with their respective governing bodies.
The main concern is that this bill allows entities to register a trademark then file a case with WIPO and obtain any domain name (including generic words), even if it is used for legitimate purposes and had been registered long before the trademark was submitted.
For example, if I own the domain “laptops.com” (I do not, just an example) that I registered years ago and had a site dedicated to laptops (sales, support, reviews, etc.). A large computer company could easily trademark “laptops” and then file a claim against me for the domain forcing me to hand it over. I would lose all the time and money I put into the site plus the large corporation would then quickly and easily gain from all of my hard work (by getting in all the traffic I was getting on the site) and my reputation as a web master would be tarnished since I would have this case against me and would have a “cyber squatter” black mark on my name. While this bill is proposing to prevent cyber squatting the exact opposite would happen, large corporations would be able to profit from the hard work of small businesses and individuals who pour a lot of hard work into developing a successful site.
I can understand that many members of the senate may not have the most current knowledge of web development, domaining, and related industries. If you’d like, feel free to contact me (information at the bottom of this letter) and I can give you a list of names of people who are very well educated as well as ethical in this industry who can discuss it in full detail. This bill is bad news for small web-based businesses and I’m sure you can agree that small businesses are the backbone of this country’s economy more so than the large corporations who would fully benefit from the points in the bill that are not already covered under other laws and policies.