Are domain name registrars responsible for intellectual property infringement?

Following the recent “case filed by Dell against a number of domain tasters and their registrars attempts to hold the registrars liable for infringing some of Dell’s intellectual property,” The Whir’s David Snead asks if “those who facilitated the infringement of the copyrighted work were liable as third parties since they facilitated the infringement, and profited from it through the fees they collected.”Snead says that “[w]hile the facts in Dell’s case are pretty sensational (a chain of registrars profiting off a nuance in ICANN rules), the case shows that transparent attempts to exploit legal loopholes, are often only temporarily successful.”Snead answers his original question by giving two responses, the first “that the doctrine of third party liability for intellectual property infringement is alive and well. This means that you need to remain aware and vigilant about your business activities. … A second lesson relates to Domaining. While initially a suspect business, domaining has become a legitimate part of the Internet. Hosts and other Internet infrastructure providers need to be aware that registering domain names involves a different risk assessment than other business efforts. Because domainers tend to be very creative in their business, and business creativity often requires a higher level of legal analysis, those who provide business services to domainers need to examine whether the processes and procedures they have put into place effectively isolate the risk that these new customers may pose to their business.”The full article by David Snead is available in The Whir at www.thewhir.com/blogs/David-Snead/index.cfm/2007/12/11/Are-domain-name-registrars-responsible-for-intellectual-property-infringement

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