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The Right of the Dot

14 October 2016 |

Associate Solicitor, Ed Boal, joined internet governance and privacy expert, Emily Taylor, to speak at ‘The Right of the Dot’ event in Bristol. The event, held by the Society of Computers & Law South West Group of which Ed is a committee member, was hosted and sponsored by the University of Bristol Law School.

‘The Right of the Dot’ explored the world of top-level domains (TLDs) such as .com and .org and the growing number of new generic TLDs (gTLDs) launched as part of a  programme introduced in 2012 by ICANN, the Internet’s main governance body, to promote competition and enhance consumer choice in the domain name market.

Ed provided an overview of the Domain Name System (DNS) – the naming system which connects websites and apps with the Web’s infrastructure – before looking at the domain name industry and the various parties involved, from registry operators (the keepers of the gTLD address books), to registrars (the businesses that sell domain names)  and registrants (the individuals and organisations that buy domain names).

Emily, who has over 17 years’ experience in the internet governance sphere, then took the stage to explain the strategic importance of ICANN’s role in the smooth operation of the Internet, its multistakeholder governance model and its controversial relationship with the US Government, beginning with its establishment by the Clinton Administration in 1998. Following mounting international pressure, Emily explained the process which led to the approval on 1 October 2016 of the transition from the US Government of the role of overseeing the critical functions in managing the DNS to ICANN (the ‘IANA transition’. Emily rounded-off her session with an overview of the new gTLD programme launched by ICANN, which has resulted in the creation of 1,186 new gTLDs and counting.

Finally, Ed took the stage once again to talk about the process for resolving disputes involving domain names registered under the new gTLDs (the Uniform Dispute Resolution Process, or UDRP), the new mechanisms introduced by ICANN to provide further protection for brand owners and the main issues for intellectual property lawyers to consider.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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