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Who ultimately controls a .com domain?

   
2:40 pm on Oct 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



My question is related to the subject of the Kentucky domain takedown [webmasterworld.com]. We all know that the .com registry is run by a US company (VeriSign). Simply put, if a non-US entity registers a .com domain with a domain registrar outside the US and which has no US presence, that registrar is under no obligation to respond to a court order emanating from the US. However, will the domain be subject to action by VeriSign (the domain registry) following a US court order? Has this scenario ever really happened?

Or even more simply, are all .com domains technically under the juristiction of US courts?

Note: I'm NOT interested in the political discussion, I'm looking for facts and specific cases if possible.

3:03 pm on Oct 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



No idea but I had always assumed that registrars simply acted as agents for VeriSign.

The converse of course is should a non US court be involved in a dispute between non US parties over a .com?

12:19 am on Oct 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



However, will the domain be subject to action by VeriSign (the domain registry) following a US court order? Has this scenario ever really happened?

That's what Dell's lawyer did when they blocked out 3 non-U.S. registrars from
their .com registrations in their trademark suit. Unfortunately I only have a link
to a blog entry on that, which generally isn't allowed here.

Not really sure either how Kentucky is going to enforce that order on registrars
who aren't within their state, although those within the U.S. might choose to
comply. They can indeed go upwards for offshore ones like Fabulous since it's
based in Australia, so I'd say it'll depend how far all the parties want to go.

David

12:37 am on Oct 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Many thanks for the replies.

should a non US court be involved in a dispute between non US parties over a .com?

In my theoretical scenario, we are talking about a US-based entity (person, company, government department) using their local US court system to shut down or otherwise gain control of a .com domain held by a non-US entity and registered with an accredited registrar also based outside the US.

That's what Dell's lawyer did when they blocked out 3 non-U.S. registrars from their .com registrations in their trademark suit.

I am not sure exactly what they did from your description, sorry. If they successfully acted against a non-US entity and non-US registrar by obtaining a court order to force VeriSign to act, then that is my answer: all .com domains are subject to the juristiction of the US court system - the .com gTLD is therefore US-controlled and registrants must abide by the laws of the United States. True or false?

10:21 pm on Oct 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I am not sure exactly what they did from your description, sorry.

Dell Computer filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against 3 registrars (one
of which is BelgiumDomains at the top of my head) wherein all 3 are not within
the U.S. Along the way, Dell secured and enforced a court order on VeriSign
to lock the registrars' domain registrations, which prevented the 3 from doing
anything to those domains.

Given the .com Registry is in Virginia, obviously it's obligated to obey laws and
court orders within its jurisdiction. Unfortunately, that rather places a burden
on non-U.S. registrants as well, although one can only do so much.

David

 

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