Tag Archives: america

Swedish Registry Answers Questions On Will It Shut Down ThePirateBay.se

With The Pirate Bay now using a .SE domain name in an attempt to avoid US authorities seizing control of its domain, the Swedish registry .se has put out a statement explaining the situation for the file sharing sites current preferred domain name.Back in February The Pirate Bay switched from using a .ORG domain to .SE following US government agencies seizing a number of .COM domains that were being used for selling counterfeit goods and other activities. Operation In Our Sites has been operated by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center). Through the operation, the US government had seized 769 domain names as of July 2012.The statement from .se is below:Will .SE shut down thepiratebay.se?When the Supreme Court of Sweden decided in February not to examine the court of appeal’s ruling in the protracted trial against The Pirate Bay (TPB), the file-sharing site was relocated from .org to .se. .SE has not been issued a formal court order to take action based on the ruling. However, we receive many questions about how we would react if the situation were to come to a head, which I would now like to address.So far, .SE has not taken any actions following the ruling against TPB since we do not consider ourselves obligated to do so based on the contents of the ruling. Nor is it possible to answer hypothetical questions regarding how we would respond if we were to receive a formal order. Our actions would largely be determined by the contents of the order and the issuing party. Accordingly, we will assess the situation on a case-by-case basis if such an order is issued.
Generally speaking, what actions can .SE take against a domain name registrant?We always have the right to take action based on a ruling against us pertaining to a specific domain name. Under Item 6 of our user agreement, we also have the right to deactivate and deregister a domain in the event that the domain itself or the manner in which it is used constitutes an obvious infraction against Swedish law. This provision is formulated in such a way as to enable us to take action in obvious cases – for example, in the distribution of child pornography or agitation against a national or ethnic group.However, this is a right not an obligation, and such action would only be taken after a decision is made by .SE’s Board of Directors. Such a decision has never before been made.We believe that the judicial authorities should determine whether or not it is appropriate to take action against a particular domain name registrant. Unless we have been ordered to do so, there is a risk that we could call the validity of the legal process into question by taking action before a ruling is passed.However, on a couple of occasions, we have deactivated a domain when suspicions of identity theft were raised and the domain in question had been used for what is known as phishing.What actions could the court order us to take?Naturally, we cannot know for certain, but a few possibilities are that the court could order the domain name to be deregistered, the name server to be removed or the domain name to be forfeited (seized) or placed on .SE’s block list.
Three ways to block a domainTPB is currently blocked in several countries. However, the methods used to block a domain are all relatively easy to circumvent and thus essentially ineffective. Three main methods exist. To illustrate these methods, we have chosen to compare them with various ways of breaking into a shoe store located in a shopping mall.1. Block the IP addressThis method is used, for example, by the Chinese state to limit its citizens’ access to websites deemed to be objectionable by the regime. The IP addresses of these sites are compiled in a list and no traffic is permitted to access them. However, it is relatively easy for the owner of the website to move it to another IP address, thereby circumventing the block.Users can also bypass a blocked IP address using an anonymity service, such as Tor, but this requires a relatively high level of technical ability.Blocking an IP address can be compared to blocking the entrance to a shoe store. While a determined customer would undoubtedly be able to enter through an emergency exit at the back of the store, most would assume the store was closed and shop elsewhere.2. Block or shut down the domain nameIt is possible to block a domain name by contacting either .SE, which can deregister the domain name, or the name server operator – usually a web hosting company – which is responsible for keeping track of the IP address or addresses associated with the domain name. However, the domain may still be accessible through the address.Removing a domain name can be compared to taking down the signs hanging outside the shoe store. Although this would make it more difficult for customers to find the store, it would still be there and any customers who were able to find it would be able to continue buying shoes there.3. Seize the serverWhen the Swedish police cracked down on web hosting company PRQ, PRQ’s servers were seized. However, it did not take long before The Pirate Bay was up and running again, since the contents of the servers had been copied in several other locations.In the physical world, this can be compared to closing the shoe store and confiscating the shoes, but the parallels end there. Since it is not possible to make back-up copies of physical products, such as shoes, it would be much more difficult for the storekeeper to resume operations.
The domain is not the problemWe believe the problem in this type of situation is not the domain, but rather its contents. The domain name itself is not an accomplice in act of copyright infringement and if thepiratebay.se, for example, were to be shut down, the site would almost certainly reopen under another top-level domain.

Seized Sites: The In Rem Forfeiture of Copyright-Infringing Domain Names by Andrew Sellars

Abstract: In the summer of 2010, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division of the Department of Homeland Security began “Operation In Our Sites,” an enforcement sweep targeted towards websites allegedly dealing in counterfeit goods and copyright-infringing files. The operation targeted the websites by proceeding in rem against their respective domain names. For websites targeted for copyright infringement, ICE Agents used recently-expanded copyright forfeiture remedies passed under the 2008 PRO-IP Act, providing no adversarial hearing prior to the websites being removed, and only a probable cause standard of proof.This Paper examines three specific harms resulting from Operation In Our Sites, and three ways in which the enforcement sweep could be changed to better balance the interests of intellectual property enforcement and free expression. By removing content from the Internet before being fully adjudicated as infringing, the civil forfeiture remedy works a prior restraint of speech. To avoid this, this Paper urges Congress and the courts to institute the same procedural First Amendment protections in place in the area of obscenity to copyright infringement. Secondly, the alleged infringement here appears to be conducted by third parties posting material on the websites. By keeping website owners out of the dispute process, this remedy disrupts the cooperative spirit sought to be instilled by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s inclusion of statutory safe-harbors for online service providers. To reinstate this cooperative spirit, agents should be required to attempt in personam contact against the website owners before proceeding against the websites in rem. Finally, by targeting website domain names instead of actual content servers, Operation In Our Sites has not effectively disrupted the activities of the targeted websites. In fact, many websites have grown in popularity since this enforcement sweep began. Due to the dubious efficacy of targeting domain names, this remedy should be reserved for situations where there exists some other extrinsic reason to believe that the enforcement tactic will work.To download and read this paper by Andrew Sellars in full, go to:
ssrn.com/abstract=1835604

US Seizes Three Domains Involved In Illegal Distribution Of Android Apps

Three domain names were seized as part of an enforcement action taken by the FBI to prevent the infringement of copyrighted mobile device apps. It was the first time domains involving mobile phone app marketplaces have been seized.Seizure orders were executed against the three domain names engaged as they were involved in the illegal distribution of copies of copyrighted Android cell phone apps, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates of the Northern District of Georgia and Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Lamkin of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office announced. The operation was coordinated with international law enforcement, including Dutch and French law enforcement officials.The three seized domain names – applanet.net, appbucket.net and snappzmarket.com – are in the custody of the federal government. Visitors to the sites will now find a seizure banner that notifies them that the domain name has been seized by federal authorities and educates them that wilful copyright infringement is a federal crime.”Cracking down on piracy of copyrighted works – including popular apps – is a top priority of the Criminal Division,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Software apps have become an increasingly essential part of our nation’s economy and creative culture, and the Criminal Division is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the creators of these apps and other forms of intellectual property from those who seek to steal it.””Criminal copyright laws apply to apps for cell phones and tablets, just as they do to other software, music and writings. These laws protect and encourage the hard work and ingenuity of software developers entering this growing and important part of our economy. We will continue to seize and shut down websites that market pirated apps, and to pursue those responsible for criminal charges if appropriate,” said U.S. Attorney Yates.”The theft of intellectual property, particularly within the cyber arena, is a growing problem and one that cannot be ignored by the U.S government’s law enforcement community. These thefts cost companies millions of dollars and can even inhibit the development and implementation of new ideas and applications. The FBI, in working with its various corporate and government partners, is not only committed to combating such thefts but is well poised to coordinate with the many jurisdictions that are impacted by such activities,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Lamkin.During the operation, FBI agents downloaded thousands of copies of popular copyrighted mobile device apps from the alternative online markets suspected of distributing copies of apps without permission from the software developers who would otherwise sell copies of the apps on legitimate online markets for a fee. In most cases, the servers storing the apps sold by these alternative online markets were being hosted in other countries, and our international law enforcement partners assisted in obtaining or seizing evidence stored on these servers. Nine search warrants were also executed in six different districts across the country today as part of the operation.The operation reflects a coordinated effort by the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and the Office of International Affairs; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia; the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office; and six other U.S. Attorney’s Offices, including the Southern District of Mississippi, the Middle District of Florida, the Western District of Michigan, the Southern District of Indiana, the District of Rhode Island and the Northern District of Texas.The FBI is a full partner at the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center). The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. The IPR Center uses the expertise of its 19 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to intellectual property (IP) theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public’s health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters. To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit www.IPRCenter.gov.The enforcement actions announced today are one of many efforts being undertaken by the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property (IP Task Force). Attorney General Eric Holder created the IP Task Force to combat the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property crimes, protect the health and safety of American consumers, and safeguard the nation’s economic security against those who seek to profit illegally from American creativity, innovation and hard work. The IP Task Force seeks to strengthen intellectual property rights protection through heightened criminal and civil enforcement, greater coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement partners, and increased focus on international enforcement efforts, including reinforcing relationships with key foreign partners and U.S. industry leaders. To learn more about the IP Task Force, go to www.justice.gov/dag/iptaskforce/.

US Lawmakers Want Assurance New gTLDs Will Protect Trademarks And Not Break Internet

Key members of the US Congress are still raising concerns about ICANN’s plan to new gTLDs, writing to the organisation outlining concerns that any new strings introduced will not harm trademark holders and requesting assurance the public will have adequate opportunity to comment.In a letter to ICANN, that follows an earlier one in December 2011, said that since the earlier letter, “brand-owners, consumers, and members of the law enforcement community have continued to voice concerns about the adequacy of ICANN’ s proposed steps to protect against increased risks of cyber-squatting, fraud, and abuse in the new gTLDs.”The letter from the chairman and ranking member of both the Senate and House judiciary committees [PDF] asks ICANN to provide them “with further details about the steps ICANN is taking to fulfil its commitment to ensure that the New gTLD process will provide ‘a secure, stable marketplace’ with input from ‘the community as a whole.'”Responding to the earlier letter, “ICANN emphasised that the New gTLD programme ‘includes robust processes to assure that the community as a whole – with particular opportunities for governments and rights holders – has the opportunity to raise objections that could lead to the rejection of applications,’ including because of user confusion, infringement of legal rights, and misappropriation of community names or labels.”But the lawmakers are unconvinced saying that “despite this assurance, many members of the public outside the ICANN community are unaware that the New gTLD programme is underway. Of those who are aware, few know about the public comment process or comprehend that their opportunity to participate in this forum is scheduled to end in less than a week.”The committee members ask ICANN to answer the following three questions:

  • what steps has ICANN taken to inform members of the public outside the ICANN community about the New gTLD public comment process
  • what steps is the Independent Objector taking to encourage and maximise public input and what role will the Independent Objector play in articulating and representing public concerns about specific gTLD applications
  • will ICANN keep open the New gTLD public comment forum to enable comments from the broader public and allow the Independent Objector to receive their views?

The letter reiterates their concerns regarding inadequate protections for trademark holders, including that the Trademark Clearinghouse will only allow complaints from trademark holders for 60 days. And asks is there any reason not to extend this period. Other concerns here are when will the review occur for the Clearinghouse policies and concerns of high registration fees in new gTLDs for trademark holders protecting their brands.

US Presidential Campaigns Stock Up On Domains, Particularly Negative Domains

The US presidential campaign teams for Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are busy buying up domain names to be ready to hurl insults at one another!Theapologistinchief.com and agingrockstar2012.com are two of dozens of domain names Romney’s team has registered, spending $32,261 on domain-related purchases while the Obama campaign has spent $29,627 on “domain websites,” according to campaign-finance reports the USA Today reports.The USA Today report quotes experts in digital media who say “campaigns and political organisations of all stripes increasingly use the ‘microsites’ as tools to draw attention to an issue, brand an opposing candidate or raise money around specific themes.””It’s absolutely a good strategy,” Vincent Harris, a digital consultant who worked with the GOP presidential campaigns of Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, told the USA Today. “The shorter, the catchier the name the better.”Josh Bourne, president of the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, told the paper that the fact that the Romney campaign appears not to own any of the combinations of his name and potential vice presidential contenders could be a problem soon.”There’s a ‘snooze, you lose’ aspect,” he said. “When they announce that running mate, unfortunately it tends to dawn on them then: … The good name is gone; now they have to use something that is less memorable.”

US Seizes Another 70 Domains Selling Counterfeit Goods

Another 70 domain names allegedly involved in selling counterfeit merchandise were seized by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center).The 70 websites seized are part of Project Copy Cat, an iteration of Operation In Our Sites (IOS), and closely mimicked legitimate websites selling authentic merchandise and duped consumers into unknowingly buying counterfeit goods. Many of the websites so closely resembled the legitimate websites that it would be difficult for even the most discerning consumer to tell the difference.The websites are now shut down and their domain names are in the custody of the federal government. Visitors to these websites will find a seizure banner that notifies them that the domain name has been seized by federal authorities and educates them about the federal crime of willful copyright infringement.”This operation targeted criminals making a buck by trying to trick consumers into believing they were buying name brand products from legitimate websites when in fact they were buying counterfeits from illegal but sophisticated imposter sites located overseas,” said ICE Director John Morton. “The imposter sites were simply a fraud from start to finish and served no purpose other than to defraud and dupe unwary shoppers.”A new twist in the websites seized in Project Copy Cat involved the appearance of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. SSL certificates provide authentication for financial information, meaning consumers should be able to trust that they are sending information to the intended server and not to a criminal’s server. Trusted SSL providers should only issue SSL certificates to verified companies that have gone through several identity checks. In addition to providing authentication, SSL certificates also provide encryption, enhancing the security of credit card numbers, usernames, passwords and other sensitive information. These websites, however, displayed SSL certificates, further duping the consumer into thinking they were shopping on a legitimate website, potentially putting customers’ financial information at risk.During this operation, federal law enforcement officers made undercover purchases of a host of products, including baby carriers, professional sports jerseys, language and fitness DVD sets, and a variety of clothing, jewelry and luxury goods from online retailers who were suspected of selling counterfeit products. In most cases, the goods were shipped directly into the United States from suppliers in other countries. If the copyright holders confirmed that the purchased products were counterfeit or otherwise illegal, seizure orders for the domain names of the websites that sold the goods were obtained from federal magistrate judges.”Every day the U.S. economy and American jobs are negatively impacted by criminal organisations engaged in the sale of counterfeit merchandise through rogue websites. Even more importantly, consumer’s health and safety can be threatened when they unknowingly purchase counterfeit products,” said IPR Center Director Lev Kubiak. “Our goal at the IPR Center is to protect the public’s safety and economic welfare through robust intellectual property enforcement and we hope that today’s enforcement actions raise the public’s awareness to this pervasive crime.”This operation was the next phase of IOS, a sustained law enforcement initiative that began two years ago to protect consumers by targeting the sale of counterfeit merchandise on the Internet. These 70 domain name seizures bring the total number of IOS domain names seized in the last two years to 839. This enforcement action coincides with the two-year anniversary of the 2010 launch of IOS. Since then, the seizure banner has received more than 103 million individual views.Of the 769 previous domain names seized, 229 have now been forfeited to the U.S. government. The federal forfeiture process affords individuals who have an interest in seized domain names a period of time after a “Notice of Seizure” to file a petition with a federal court and additional time after a “Notice of Forfeiture” to contest the forfeiture. If no petitions or claims are filed, the domain names become the property of the U.S. government. Additionally, a public service announcement, launched in April 2011, is linked from the seizure banner on each of the 229 forfeited websites. This video educates the public about the economic impact of counterfeiting.The operation was spearheaded by the IPR Center in coordination with HSI field offices in Denver, El Paso, Houston, Newark and Salt Lake City. U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Western District of Texas, Southern District of Texas, District of New Jersey, District of Colorado and the District of Utah issued the warrants for the seizures. The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. The IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public’s health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters.During the first phase of IOS in 2010, the IPR Center received information from the Motion Picture Association of America that a website, www.ninjavideo.net (Ninja Video), was illegally distributing pirated copies of motion pictures and other audiovisual works. Ninja Video provided its millions of visitors the ability to illegally download high quality copies of copyrighted movies including movies that were currently in theaters or not yet released.Following the seizure of the website, search warrants were executed at the residences of the primary suspects in the United States and funds were seized from 15 separate financial accounts. To date, the Ninja Video investigation has resulted in the arrest and conviction of five of the six co-conspirators with sentences ranging from 22 months in federal prison to three years of probation with a combined restitution exceeding $470,000 to the victims. A sixth co-conspirator remains a fugitive. In addition to Ninja Video, IOS phase one also targeted eight other websites selling counterfeit merchandise in New York.Previous website seizures include:

  • First phase: 9 domain names
  • Second phase: 83 domain names
  • Third phase: 10 domain names
  • Fourth phase: 18 domain names
  • Fifth phase: 5 domain names
  • Sixth phase: 17 domain names
  • Seventh phase: 58 domain names
  • Eight phase: 156 domain names
  • Ninth phase: 10 domain names
  • Tenth phase: 385 domain names
  • Salt Lake City: 7 domain names
  • Sustained Effort: 11 domain names

These cases are part of efforts being undertaken by the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property (IP Task Force) to stop the theft of intellectual property. Attorney General Eric Holder created the IP Task Force to combat the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property crimes, protect the health and safety of American consumers, and safeguard the nation’s economic security against those who seek to profit illegally from American creativity, innovation and hard work. The IP Task Force seeks to strengthen intellectual property rights protection through heightened criminal and civil enforcement, greater coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement partners, and increased focus on international enforcement efforts, including reinforcing relationships with key foreign partners and U.S. industry leaders.

Kickstart America with Neustar! by Morgan Linton

Start With DotUS logoIt has been my favorite ccTLD on the planet since 2007 and now I’m excited to sayNeustar is taking it to the next level and promoting .US in a new campaign aimed at small businesses. Kickstart America is all about Small Businesses and how they can build their brands on .US. For many Small Businesses shelling-out $10,000+ for a domain name just isn’t possible, think of the flower shop down the street from you or your local independent coffee shop.

I have always been a big fan of .US because I think it’s a great way to identify a business in the US or a site with information that is US-specific. There are plenty of brands that have already established a home on .US and with the Kickstart America campaign in full swing the TLD is back in the spotlight and in front of Small Business owners across the US. A new site,About.us was launched yesterday as part of the campaign, the site gives Small Businesses the chance to learn more about .US, collaborate, and learn from other businesses that have build brands on the .US.

The new site looks great and I think this campaign will do a lot to really help get the .US TLD in front of so many small businesses that probably didn’t even know it existed. I’ve been waiting for something like this for years and look forward to following along, go .US and rock on Neustar, the new campaign looks great!

America Registry logoTo register your .US domain name, check out America Registry here.

Neustar Kickstarts America’s Interest in .US

Start With DotUS logoNeustar have started a publicity campaign to both alert Americans to and encourage their use of the .US ccTLD.

The campaign wants small business to consider using a .US domain name for their business. Neustar say they spoke to small business, listened to their concerns and the KickStart America Campaign is the result.

As part of the campaign, Neustar have developed a toolkit to assist small business in getting online with help on how to choose a good domain name, information on what to consider on developing a website, and whether the business should do it themselves or hire a professional, and then, once online, how to promote the website and business.

And to help with this “kickstart”, Neustar and .US are also giving away an all-expenses paid trip to Washington DC to attend a national small business conference.

To find out more about the campaign, go to www.about.us.

America Registry logoTo register your .US domain name, check out America Registry here.

US Government Seizes More Domains In Operation In Our Sites

Seven domain names were seized in an operation by US government authorities as well as more than $896,000 in proceeds from the distribution of counterfeit sports apparel as the result of an investigation into the sale of counterfeit goods on commercial websites.The operation, by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) and the Department of Justice took the number of domain names seized in similar operations to a total of 758 for websites engaged in the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and illegal copyrighted works in Operation In Our Sites, the agencies announced Tuesday.The most recent operation also saw the seizure of more than $896,000 in proceeds from the alleged criminal activities from interbank accounts and three PayPal accounts.The investigation by ICE’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is a result of Operation In Our Sites, which targets online commercial intellectual property crime, and began in June 2010. Operation In Our Sites targets online retailers for a diverse array of counterfeit goods, including sports equipment, shoes, handbags, athletic apparel, sunglasses and DVD boxed sets.”Counterfeiting and intellectual property theft are seriously undermining U.S. business and innovation,” said ICE Director John Morton. “Consumers are at risk, American industry is harmed and U.S. jobs are lost. As a country, we can ill afford the toll that intellectual property theft exacts on our economy and industries. Operation In Our Sites and the related efforts of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center are critical to combating intellectual property crime and consumer fraud over the Internet.”According to court documents, investigation by federal law enforcement officers revealed that several subjects whose domain names had been seized in a November 2010 through Operation In Our Sites continued to sell counterfeit goods using new domain names. In particular, the individuals, based in China, sold counterfeit professional and collegiate sports apparel, primarily counterfeit sports jerseys. Law enforcement officers made numerous undercover purchases from the websites associated with the new domain names. After the goods were confirmed to be counterfeit or infringing, seizure warrants for seven domain names used to sell the goods were obtained from a U.S. magistrate judge in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.The individuals conducted sales and processed payments for the counterfeit goods using PayPal accounts and then wired their proceeds to bank accounts held at Chinese banks. Pursuant to warrants issued by a U.S. district judge, law enforcement officers seized $826,883 in proceeds that had been transferred from PayPal accounts to various bank accounts in China. The funds were seized from correspondent, or interbank, accounts held by the Chinese banks in the United States. Pursuant to additional seizure warrants issued by a U.S. magistrate judge, law enforcement officers also seized $69,504 in funds remaining in three PayPal accounts used by the subjects.”We are working hard to protect American businesses and consumers from the damaging effects of intellectual property crime,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “This investigation disrupted an online counterfeit goods operation, and also struck at the heart of the criminal enterprise by seizing hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal profits. The Justice Department, together with our partners at ICE, will continue to do all that we can to punish and deter the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods.””Those who traffic in counterfeit goods harm the American economy as well as the consumers who purchase the substandard merchandise,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Seizing the domain names of these unscrupulous operators was one big step, and seizing their ill-gotten proceeds should send them another message that these counterfeit sales will not be tolerated.”The investigation was conducted by the IPR Center and HSI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan Hooks and Diane Lucas, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Katharine Wagner of the District of Columbia; Senior Trial Attorney Pamela Hicks of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; and Trial Attorney Thomas Dougherty of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.As the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, HSI plays a leading role in targeting criminal organizations responsible for producing, smuggling and distributing counterfeit products. HSI focuses not only on keeping counterfeit products off our streets, but also on dismantling the criminal organizations behind such illicit activity.HSI manages the IPR Center in Washington. The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. As a task force, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 20 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public’s health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters.

US Govt Cancels RFP For ICANN’s IANA Contract

The US Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has cancelled the Request For Proposal (RFP) into the role of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), that being the key technical functions supporting the Domain Name System, because they received no proposals that met the requirements requested by the global community.In their announcement, while noting no proposals met requirements, the NTIA does not say if they received any bids, even from ICANN. ICANN’s CEO and president, Rod Beckstrom, also refused to comment on if ICANN had submitted a bid at their meeting currently underway in Costa Rica.The Department says they intend to reissue the RFP at a future date to be determined so that the requirements of the global internet community can be served.There are some that believe the announcement sends a wake-up call to ICANN that they need to get their house in order. And in particular criticisms have come from those groups that ignored the top level domain consultation process that was ongoing for over five years. These groups such as the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) are now using any available method to lobby the US government to stop the TLD process. And if this means getting their two cents worth of lobbying on unrelated issues to discredit ICANN, then so be it.”This RFP cancellation, announced as ICANN convenes its March 11 – 16, 2012 meeting in Costa Rica, can only be seen as a clear message to ICANN that it must seriously address concerns by NTIA and multiple global stakeholders. These include federal policymakers, the ANA, Internet security experts, the Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (CRIDO) and other stakeholders that have criticized ICANN’s expansion of the domain name system with hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of new generic top-level domains,” said Douglas J. Wood, General Counsel to the ANA, and a partner with Reed Smith LLP.However despite the lobbying and browbeating of those such as the ANA, “one of the key sticking points is the NTIA’s demand that the IANA contractor – ICANN – must document that all new gTLD delegations are in ‘the global public interest,” reported Domain Incite.”This demand is a way to prevent another controversy such as the approval of .xxx a year ago, which the Governmental Advisory Committee objected to on the grounds that it was not the ‘the global public interest.'””Coupled with newly strengthened Applicant Guidebook powers for the GAC to object to new gTLD application,” Domain Incite continued, “the IANA language could be described as ‘if the GAC objects, you must reject.'””NTIA’s cancellation is even more telling because ICANN changed its conflict of interest policy subsequent to Thrush’s departure and the issuance of the RFP. Many people believe the changes ICANN made to its conflict of interest policy were entirely inadequate in addressing NTIA’s legitimate concerns,” Wood went on to say in a statement. “With sixteen directors accountable through no independent oversight, their powers are unrestrained and, as recent decisions illustrate, ignore what the stakeholders want or, more importantly, need.”For now, the NTIA has reached an agreement with ICANN to continue performing the IANA functions until 30 September 2012.