The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) is proud to partner with the Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB) on the coming Know Your Net public awareness campaign to help brand owners and Internet users protect against the online dangers of an expanding Internet. Our belief is that, with education and knowledge, businesses and the public at large will enjoy more rewarding and safer experiences on the Internet.
The kickoff for the awareness campaign will take place on Capitol Hill September 18, with keynote speaker Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., who is the Vice Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. AARP and National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) will also participate. We expect a lively discussion about cybersquatting, trademark infringement, and online safety.
We are launching this campaign now because, in the coming months, roughly 600 new “open” generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) – similar to .com, .info, or .net – will begin to go online, raising an array of safety issues. Since anyone will be able to purchase website addresses in these new “open” gTLDs, brand owners will need to know how to reduce potential harm to their brands and their customers, and Internet users will need to be educated about potential fraud such as phishing, privacy invasions, malware, and other dangers.
CADNA also wants to ensure that federal law works to deter both hardened cybercriminals and casual domain name grabbers. Through our research and experience, we know that traditional defensive registration and trademark enforcement strategies aren’t doing the job. Relevant federal law (Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, or ACPA) needs to be strengthened to offer business and consumers more protection from domain name cybersquatting.
I first got involved in pressing for stiffer cybersquatting penalties when I realized that traditional safeguards weren’t working for trademark owners. The cybersquatters had no skin in the game and were fearless. We know that consumer harm from cybercrimes related to cybersquatting is growing rapidly, and brand names are being tarnished when their policing efforts fail. The domain space is expanding rapidly. More consumers are going online every day. And as businesses struggle to create well-considered defensive registration strategies to insulate them in the new domains (such as .NEWS, .LONDON, .SUCKS, .APP, etc.), they must understand the gaps that will open and the high cost of bridging them.
If businesses cannot afford to register all of their trademarks in all of the new domains, then they must hedge against the problem through systemic change.
In 2011, when the last new gTLD went live, global business spent over $16 million during a 2-month sunrise period to block 82,000 domains corresponding to their trademarks in the .XXX gTLD. The vast majority of those domains will never be used. If businesses register as aggressively in all of the new “open” gTLDs, they will be forced to spend almost $10 billion. Clearly, that is a non-starter. Stronger cybersquatting laws are essential to bridging that gap.
We are aware that many of our friends are intellectual property owners outside the United States. CADNA’s primary goal is to help pass legislation in the U.S. first, where lawmakers have an appetite for cracking down on cybersquatters and a basis – the ACPA – to build on an existing law. Once this is achieved, CADNA will work closely with the international community to modernize law wherever possible.
We encourage intellectual property owners throughout the world to send their representatives to the September 18 Know Your Net kick off event to ensure a safer Internet.