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Cyber-squatting a real concern as industry gears up for .xxx Adult Entertainment Domain launch

by david.nunes

18th August 2011

Cyber-squatting a real concern as industry gears up for .xxx Adult Entertainment Domain launch

 

Industry experts remind businesses to protect trademarks and online brand reputation as new domain increases potential for misuse

FAST and the Cloud Industry Forum have called on British businesses to be aware of the latest domain launch in order to protect their trademarks, online brand and reputation as the deadline for the launch of the new .xxx top level domain (TLD) approaches.

On the 7th September 2011 the ICM registry will start selling the range of .xxx domain names.  This domain is primarily targeted at the adult entertainment industry, intended to allow clear identification of adult sites and to protect and alert other internet users to the potential content of the website in question.

However, as Dawn Osborne, Partner at leading UK law firm Palmer Biggs and a Chairman of FLAG, the Legal Advisory arm of FAST points out “Of course, there is no barrier at time of purchase on who may buy one of these domains after the initial launch period (called ‘sunrise’) which runs from the 7th Sept through to the 28th October 2011, and the added association of the .xxx could lead to inappropriate and unintended misuse of your brand.”

Dawn continued, “We are advising non-adult industry businesses to protect their brands, reputations and trademarks from any malicious or inappropriate activity by blocking access to the .xxx domain name that would bear their name. If they do it initially during the sunrise period it is permanent subject to the terms and conditions of the ICM Registry. If they wait beyond Sunrise, they have to do it annually at extra cost.”

Andy Burton, Chairman of the Cloud Industry Forum, and CEO of the leading webhost Fasthosts, commented: “We are pleased to see that the ICM Registry that controls this domain type recognises the potential conflicts between mainstream businesses and the adult entertainment industry and has made it possible for organisations concerned about mis-use of their brand and trademark to block anyone attempting to purchase a .xxx domain bearing their identity. However, trademark holders not only need to be made aware of this new domain type but also the need to act within the Sunrise period to minimise the commercial risk and the cost of registering their desire to block a domain. We are advising all trademark holders to assess the risk for themselves within a timeframe that enables them to act if they wish to do so.

“As with any sunrise, businesses and brands need to be aware of the changes to the domain landscape and will need to agree their strategy in response. This time, there’s a different way of responding to a new domain – a service that allows businesses with a verifiable trademark to block their name from being registered. Given the sensitivities around .xxx  – it will be interesting to see how many brands opt for preventative action,” says Phil Kingsland, Marketing and Communications Director of Nominet.

 

About FAST and the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF)

The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), a sub-group of FAST, was established in direct response to the evolving supply models for the delivery of software and IT services that has expanded well beyond the traditional on-premise method to one that now embraces hosted and/or, pay-as-you-use Cloud solutions.  FAST is committed to the development and protection of intellectual property by software and IT service developers and aims to ensure the legitimate propagation of technology for the benefit of the industry and consumers alike.

FAST CIF’s purpose is twofold: To drive a common and public level of transparency about the capability, substance and best practices of online Service Providers (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, Web hosting providers etc) through a process of Self Certification to a Code of Practice.  Second, this Code of Practice, and the use of the related Certification Mark on participant’s web sites, will provide comfort and promote trust to business and individuals wishing to leverage the commercial, financial and agile operations capabilities that the Cloud based and hosted solutions can offer.  CIF will ensure the integrity and governance of the Self Certification process through regular random audits as well as investigate complaints from parties that challenge any specific participants self-certification status.

Our ambition is to bring business consumers and suppliers of Cloud and Hosted Services closer together in a trusted, sustainable and rewarding ecosystem.

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