Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Would SOPA be effective against "parasite" domains (based on misspellings or different tld's)?

There’s a bill in Congress, called SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) in the House and Protect-IP in the Senate, discussed on the “BillBoushka” blog particularly on Oct. 27.

Yesterday, I ran into another “social survey” when I tried to access “khanacademy.org” and misstyped it as “kahnacademy”.  It’s a very natural error.  It strikes me that the owners of legitimate sites (Khan Academy is well known for online tutorials in many subjects) would want to pursue trademark dilution claims against deliberate imitators. Perhaps SOPA makes it easier for them to shut down clones, either for parked domains (as in the past) or to send spam or malware.

The problem will be due process – whether there are areas of gray where sites that are actually legitimate could get caught in the middle.

In the meantime, larger sites ought to reserve (as equivalent domains) plausible misspellings of their domain names.  I don’t know why neither Webroot nor MyWOT caught this misspelling as an obvious “parasite”.

You can check the original and parasite names on “domain tools” (WHOIS) and see different registrants.  That could help provide some “evidence” for “due process” in a takedown.

I do see a “doaskdotell.org” (mine is doaskdotell.com) at Godaddy, and I don’t recommend going to the .org, don’t know what you might get.   (Something else I noticed: MyWOT doesn’t like “Keywordspy” which looks up domain names.)

1 comment:

Binard said...

This was a very insightful article.
More on Trademark dilution can be found on the following page:-
http://mowingthelaw.blogspot.in/2012/02/trade-mark-dilution.html
Of http://mowingthelaw.blogspot.in/