By Doug Isenberg
Keeping up with domain name law and news is a challenging task, but after nearly 17 years of legal practice in this area, I’ve compiled a short list of “go-to” websites that keep me informed and educated. Here, then, are the best and most important sites I visit on a regular basis (some, daily), which should be of help to anyone interested in this area of law:
1. ICANN’s UDRP Page. This website contains the text of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), the most important document for resolving domain name disputes. Although I can recite large parts of it verbatim sight-unseen, I still refer to it (and the UDRP Rules linked to it) regularly when advising clients on domain name disputes, drafting UDRP complaints (or, occasionally, UDRP responses) or writing UDRP decisions in my role as a panelist.
2. WIPO’s “Domain Name Dispute Resolution” Page. Probably one of the best sources of information about the UDRP and other domain name dispute policies, the website of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) offers a searchable database of decisions, statistics about domain name disputes, filing details, information about country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs), model forms and much more.
3. WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition. Although a part of the WIPO website listed above, the “Overview” is important enough to merit its own spot on my list. I often refer to this document as a “mini treatise” on the most important and challenging issues in UDRP cases. It offers the “consensus or clear majority views” on these issues, based upon thousands of UDRP decisions through the years.
4. National Arbitration Forum’s Page on Domain Name Disputes. The NAF is the second-most popular provider of domain name dispute services (behind WIPO), and, like WIPO, its website offers a very useful and searchable database of domain name dispute decisions (as well as basic information about the process). As the first approved provider of services under the forthcoming Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS), NAF’s website likely will become even more important.
5. ICANN’s Microsite for the New Generic Top-Level Domain Program. With more than 1,900 applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) in the pipeline, I am now visiting ICANN’s microsite on a daily basis to review the status of applications, monitor news, and gain access to resources essential to the important objection process.
6. InterNIC. Often overlooked (and quite dated in its appearance), the InterNIC website still offers authoritative information about “whois” domain name records (and a link to report inaccurate listings) and a complete list of ICANN-accredited registrars, with contact information.
7. IANA’s “Root Zone Database.” Now a department of ICANN, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) offers a simple and complete list of information about ccTLDs and is often my first stop when I want to learn about registration requirements and dispute details for a ccTLD I don’t often encounter.
8. DomainTools. This website boasts that it has “the most comprehensive collection of domain name ownership records in the world,” and it is very useful (though often for a fee) for finding historical whois records, related domain names and other information helpful for domain name disputes.
9. Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine.” This website says that it offers “over 240 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago” — all for free. I often use it to discover how domain names were used in the past, which can be quite helpful in negotiating domain name sales or preparing filings for domain name disputes. It is often referred to in UDRP decisions (including at least one by yours truly) as “a reputable source for tracking the history of some content on the Internet.”
10. Domain Incite. There are many websites that offer news about domain name developments, but I especially like Domain Incite because of its breadth and fairness. I also enjoy DN Journal, which offers weekly updates on domain name sales; and Domain Sherpa, which offers excellent video interviews with domain industry players and a weekly news roundup.
This list is certainly not comprehensive, as many other sites offer great resources on domain name news and law, but I consider these among the most helpful. If you have others to suggest, please drop me a note.