22
Jun/03

Pornography for Children, Zuccarini, Joker and ICANN.


Perhaps parents want to show their pre-school children the BOB THE BUILDER website at BOBTHEBUILDER.COM

Oops, that was really BOBTHEBIULDER.COM, which directs to a pornography site.

Maybe your children want to see websites about Aaron Carter,  Britney Spears,  Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Digimon, Dragonball Z, the Muppets, Rug Rats, or Sailor Moon.  They better type carefully because domain names consisting of close misspellings have been registered for all these names, registered to someone or something named Zuccarini, and registered with a registrar named Joker.

So who picks names like these to typo-squat, and who continues to do business with him?

Zuccarini is reportedly a fugitive for justice.  The FTC obtained an order freezing 5000 or so names and attempting to collect $!.8 million from him.  Some U.S. registrars have complied.  Joker, of Germany, refuses.   In fact, he appears to have registered another 3000 names since the FTC order, according to this report.  Not only that, but Joker is refusing to comply with UDRP panels ordering it to transfer names.  Ben Edelman, at my request, compiled a new report indicating that there are 21 domain names subject to un-appealed UDRP transfer orders which still remain registered to the originat registrant, usually an alias for Zuccarini.

It is too easy and incorrect to conclude that this is an unsolvable problem caused by the borderless Interet.  It is reasonable to conclude that ICANN can and should do something about this.  Joker is allowed to register gTLDs to the root solely due to its accreditation agreement with ICANN.  This agreement requires it to, among other things, enforce UDRP decisions, and maintain correct whois info (and de-register names which have willfuly false contact data).  In my opinion, Joker’s refusal to honor these UDRP decisions, and its actual knowledge of Zuccarini’s names containing false data, puts it in breach of its agreement.

ICANN’s behavior to date on Joker is sphinx-like in view of what is now common knowledge.  Two years ago an attorney wrote ICANN’s general counsel to advise him of Joker’s systematic refusal to honor the UDRP.   The letter was not acknowledged.  When I indicated to a high-ranking ICANN official that I was having troubles with a registrar, his immediate reaction was: “Joker, right?”

The rationale for privatization of the DNS was that ICANN’s ‘web of contracts’ would provide a regulatory mechanism.  If ICANN can enforce the accreditation agreement, then it should either advise Joker that it is in breach of the agreement, or it should explain to the public why it chooses not to.  If you are attending the ICANN meeting today, ask ICANN that question.

In the meanwhile, BOBTHEBIULDER.COM and MUPPITS.COM and many other names like them primarily of interest to children, point to pornography.