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Subject: IP: more on : Dead Education Dots becoming Porn sites

  • From: David Farber <>
  • Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001 13:17:55 -0500

>Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001 12:48:41 -0500
>From: "David P. Reed" <>
>Subject: Re: IP: Issue: Dead Education Dots becoming Porn sites
>(for IP?)
>My friend Bob Frankston has been striving mightily to point out that the 
>instability of domain name binding is one of the major issues that we need 
>to solve.  This is another great example of the problem.
>People link to sites using domain names.  These domain names change hands, 
>and then the link becomes captured in some new web of meaning.  It's the 
>burden of meaning that creates the problem, and reducing that burden is 
>probably the best place to fix these issues.
>It's easy to imagine that in a Utopia somehow domain names should be 
>permanent, but they aren't.  Besides the scenario of running out of money 
>to retain a registration, we also have the scenario of sites being taken 
>over by the weak and WIPO-centric dispute resolution policies being set up 
>by folks like Verisign and ICANN.  Suppose someone like Seymour Papert 
>created a domain name like "" (Seymour is known for likening 
>learning to "hard fun").  And then some major magazine creates a 
>pornography magazine trademarked "HardFun".  Well, if that magazine gets 
>as notorious as Playboy, they have a strong claim to take "" 
>from Papert, possibly even if Papert registered a trademark (IANAL, YMMV).
>I recently read a travel writer's column online that strongly criticized 
>Reed-Elsevier for not trying to get "" away from me to reinforce 
>their brand in the travel business.  He seemed to think that it was their 
>fiduciary responsibility to punish me and those who connect to me for 
>having registered my last name.  I think Reed-Elsevier is doing fine 
>without "", myself, just as Smith and Wesson is doing quite well 
>without "".
>Similarly, when a business stops using a name (i.e. a trademark) not 
>online, it has no duty to prevent others from using it in confusing or 
>offensive ways.
>None of this has anything to do with "good business practice"  but it does 
>have a lot to do with attempts to overload a simple mechanism called DNS 
>with a burden of semantics, public policy, moral values, trademark 
>enforcement, etc. that it cannot support - it just doesn't work that way.
>I'm thinking of setting up a non-profit educational site to explain to 
>people what domain names are, and what they are not.

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