With more than 100 million .com domains already registered, finding something that doesn’t sound absolutely ridiculous is getting much harder than it used to be. One might simply assume that more people are joining the virtual land rush, and while that’s probably true, you can also blame a small handful of domain speculators such as Mike Mann pictured to the right. CNET profiled Mann as part of a larger story on domain hoarders, and considering that he snatched up 14,962 domain names over a 24 hour period, I would say he certainly falls into that category.
Do you own a .com domain? If so, the U.S. government can seize it at any time. The same applies to .net, org. .biz, and other top-level domains (TLDs), and it doesn't matter where you live. You could reside half way around the world. You could be hiding out in Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific ocean that you probably never heard of, and the U.S. government could still take control of your .com website.
Let's go ahead and drop all pretenses that anyone uses private browsing modes to shop for birthday gifts or to plan surprise anniversary getaways. There's a reason it's referred to as "porn mode," and like it or not, the Internet can be a naughty place. In just a couple hours from now (11AM EST), the Internet will be home to more than 100,000 ".XXX" domains, and you can bet that number will swell in quick order.
The poorly named Cyber Monday may be a great time to cash in on online deals and discounts, but your chance to grab some criminally low-priced items may have been snatched away today by the US government. Last year, the DOJ and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency caused a big online stir when they joined forces for “Operation In Our Sites” (har, har) and seized the domains of 82 different sites that sold counterfeit goods on the Web. Today, one year to the day after last year’s announcement, the agencies announced that they’ve seized yet another 150 counterfeit sites.
VeriSign manages the .com domain (amongst others), but it doesn’t really OWN it. There’s a whole host of ICANN regulations in the way that keeps VeriSign from being able to take down any website it wants, anytime it wants. It’s looking for relief for some of those restraints in an appeal to ICANN that is first and foremost about responding to governmental takedown requests – at least on the surface – but contains slippery verbiage that could cause headaches for website owners around the world.
If you’re the owner of a Furry fetish page and sick of receiving concerned emails sent by dog-loving (just not that kind of loving) grannies who inadvertently stumble across your site, today’s your day: the .xxx domain is officially kinda open for registration. Porn and adult sites who aren’t ashamed of having those scarlet letters branded into their webpage URL can now call dibs with ICM Registry, the owner of the .xxx domain. It’s the first step in the Web’s cautious move to create a virtual red light district.
American businesses are scrambling to protect their brand names before .xxx Internet domains launch in December, and the $200ish fee has a few them feeling a bit peeved. What's rubbing them the wrong way is the potential for cybersquatters to cherry pick high profile brand names and turn them into sultry websites. A person could, for example, scoop up Nike.xxx and get creative with the company's "Just Do It" slogan, or Reebok.xxx with its "Life is short, play hard" tagline.
It might seem like the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is on a wild goose chase if it hopes to extradite foreign .com and .net Web admins accused of copyright violations simply because their sites are routed through Verisign, a registry service based in Virginia. But one thing ICE's tactics aren't proving are futile. It seems, for now at least, that the threat of extradition is causing once defiant Web admins to second guess whether keeping their sites alive is really worth the risk of going up against the U.S. government.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency believes it has the authority to shut down any and all .com and .net websites that run afoul of copyright law, even if the site's servers are hosted overseas. Erik Barnett, the agency's assistant deputy director, told the U.K.'s Guardian that ICE will seek to shut down overseas sites it believes are breaking U.S. copyright law and attempt to extradite website owners. Has ICE found a legal loophole?
The U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency has been the Dirty Harry of the World Wide Web the past year or so, shooting its virtual guns and taking down websites playing host to copyrighted materials. Fire first and silly legal questions be damned! Now, the gung-ho nature of "Operation in Our Sites" (see what they did there?) could be coming back to haunt ICE. Puerto 80, the owner of Spanish sports site Rojadirecta.com, has petitioned the courts for the return of its seized website – and it has the EFF in its corner.