[At-Large] FW: Withdraw the gun database

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Mon Jan 21 22:03:35 UTC 2013

On 01/21/2013 11:31 AM, Evan Leibovitch wrote:

> If your intent is to limit access to WHOIS to the investigation of
> trade-name abuse, I can't go along with that narrow a definition.

Yes, that is within the intent ... but read on.

The accusation of a violation of the trademark rights of the person
making the inquiry is a valid accusation, as long as it is backed by
some concrete evidence that supports that allegation.

(There is a subtle aspect to the above paragraph - which is that the
complaint be made by someone with "standing", in particular the person
who has the mark.  At the end of this note I'll mention something more
about that.)

In other words, if I have domain name foo and you have a trademark of
foo or something close to it and you can come up with evidence that I am
actually using the domain name in a way that violates your legal rights
provided by trademark law, then, after you comply procedures of the
process then you should have no trouble getting access to the data.

I made a small aside in the original post that suggested that groups
that do a lot of whois inquiries could pre-establish credentials to
speed access and lower costs.  I did not mention that in those case the
$$ posting could act as a blanket and thus avoid the per-access charge.
 In other words, for those who tend to make a lot of inquiries there are
ways to streamline the process.

I envision most of this stuff being merely a web form - or these days,
an app - that one fills out.  The main delay would be for some human to
look at the contents and bless it as sufficient.  That human step is
also where I think my proposal has its greatest weakness in that it is a
step that is subjective, non-instantaneous, and where the greatest
portions of the cost of the system are to be found.

Back to the "standing" point - I know that the general public has come
to use WHOIS when they are suspicious or curious.  We ought to leave
some room for that and not burden that access with the weight of the
procedures I have suggested.  However, in those cases the data returned
should be fuzzed to remove significant digits.  For example, rather than
returning street addresses, only return postal code, and rather than
returning telephone numbers return only the area-code.

(I might note in passing that WHOIS data has already escaped its proper
use.  I run several websites on behalf of non-profit historical
preservation groups.  And the WHOIS information has apparently been
merged into AT&T's directory assistance to the degree that if one is
looking for the railroad station in San Jose, California [10 largest
city in the US] they get my home phone number - I received one of those
calls at 5:30am today.)


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