Opera Now Resolves the .Crypto Top-Level Domain

Opera recently announced that its browser would start resolving .crypto addresses. The interesting thing about that is that .crypto is not an officially recognized ICANN top-level domain.

Rather it is the work of Unstoppable Domains which is an attempt to “replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human readable name.”

In an announcement of new updates to its browser, Opera wrote,

True crypto-geeks will appreciate the fact that Opera has also partnered with Unstoppable Domains, a blockchain naming system built on Ethereum.

Blockchain domain names are similar to .com or .org domains, the main difference being that they are stored on a decentralized public ledger (Ethereum). Registering .com or .org domains allows people to easily reach web addresses instead of having to type in a long IP address. A .crypto domain or wallet address works in much the same way, providing this experience on a blockchain. What this means in practice is that by owning a .crypto domain name, you can simplify your wallet address. Instead of sending someone a long set of numbers, you can use a short address like operafan.crypto, which makes it easier to send and receive cryptocurrencies in your wallet.

For those who don’t use Opera, there is a Chrome extension that will resolve the .crypto domain name space correctly within that browser as well.

WIPO Reports a Record Number of Trademark Domain Disputes in 2018

The World Intellectual Property Organization noted in a press release that the number of trademark domain disputes it adjudicated in 2018 grew by 12 percent over 2017 to a record 3,447 cases.

Trademark owners filed a record 3,447 cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) with WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center in 2018 as businesses reacted to the proliferation of websites used for counterfeit sales, fraud, phishing, and other forms of online trademark abuse.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said: “Domain names involving fraud and phishing or counterfeit goods pose the most obvious threats, but all forms of cybersquatting affect consumers. WIPO’s UDRP caseload reflects the continuing need for vigilance on the part of trademark owners around the world.”

. . .

Since the WIPO Center administered the first UDRP case in 1999, total WIPO case filings passed the 42,500 mark in 2018, encompassing over 78,500 domain names.

EFF Writes Brief Defending Domain Names as Pure Speech and Opposing CA Law Against Online Impersonation

Back in 2010, the California legislature passed and Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law making it illegal to impersonate individuals online.


SECTION 1. Section 528.5 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

528.5. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person who knowingly and without consent credibly impersonates another actual person through or on an Internet Web site or by other electronic means for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person is guilty of a public offense punishable pursuant to subdivision (d).

The law quickly became relevant to Korpi v. Collier which involved a domain registered as part of a local school board election.

Julie Collier was considering running for the school board, but ultimately decided not to. Assuming it was likely she would run, Chris Korpi registered the domain name JulieCollier.com and then redirected the domain’s visitors to the websites of Collier’s potential opponents in the election.

Collier sued. Korpi asked that the lawsuit be tossed out under California’s anti-SLAPP law, arguing that he was well within his rights under the First Amendment to register the domain name and redirect it to Collier’s potential opponents. The judge hearing the case refused to throw the case out, ruling that Korpi’s actions could potentially constitute fraud.

Korpi appealed the judge’s decision, and the EFF asked–but was ultimately denied–the appeals court to allow it to file an amicus brief defending Korpi’s right to register the domain and opposing California’s anti-online impersonation law as unconstitutionally vague.

The trial judge, however, found that Korpi had not exercised his First Amendment rights because he did not comment on any of the candidate’s qualifications. Korpi appealed the denial of his SLAPP motion, and that’s when EFF decided to weigh in, because of the important speech issues at stake.

Our amicus brief points out that the act of registering and directing a domain name is pure speech. By registering and directing the domains, Korpi claims he was saying “Hey Julie Collier supporters! Consider these candidates instead!” In contrast, Collier alleges Korpi’s message was “Julie Collier supports these candidates.” Either way, Korpi was communicating a political message. In an offline context, everyone would immediately recognize Korpi’s actions as an exercise of First Amendment rights.

EFF also argued in its brief that the state’s e-impersonation statutes are unconstitutional because they are vague, overbroad and content-based restrictions on speech that fail to meet strict scrutiny. They don’t even require that anyone have suffered any significant harm because of the impersonation. Of course, there are many important and valid uses of impersonation, and many of these uses require that the audience be at least temporarily deceived as to the speaker’s identity.

Yahoo! Raising Domain Name Renewal Costs?

Web Worker Daily is the latest to report that Yahoo! is going to increase domain renewal costs to $34.95/year effective July 1. Can you blame them? They need to raise revenue somewhere. If I were Jerry Yang, I’d start charging $20/Yahoo! search. That should bring in revenue, and give the DIY Yahoo! Resignation Letter generator more material.

Congrats to Rogers Cadenhead for Sticking It to MGM Over Wargames.Com

Rogers Cadenhead got to declare victory today in his fight against the morons at MGM over the Wargames.Com domain name.

Cadenhead registered the domain years ago to sell wargames, but MGM contended that the only possible use for the Wargames.Com domain name was for the sequel to its 1983 film War Games (and WTF is MGM thinking making War Games 2?)

The funny thing is the lengths MGM went to convince the domain arbitrator that Cadenhead clearly meant the site to reference its movie. For example, in the introduction to one of his books on Java, Cadenhead wrote,

The quote “Shall we play a game?” is from the 1983 movie War Games, in which a young computer programmer portrayed by Matthew Broderick saves mankind after almost causing global thermonuclear war and the near-extinction of humankind. You’ll learn how to do that in the next book of this series, Sams Teach Yourself to Create International Incidents with Java in 24 Hours.

According to MGM, this reference (and a few other similar references) shows the extent to which Cadenhead was obsessed with the movie which led him to register the domain.

Yeah, every time I ask my wife “Shall we play a game?” what I’m really thinking is, “I wonder how I can steal MGM’s intellectual property.”

As an aside, I saw “Wargames” during its initial theatrical run during one of my rare summer visits with my father. I never saw it again until a few weeks ago — man, the movie that looks great when you’re 14 or 15 sure looks like shit when you’re approaching 40. All I can say is that Matthew Broderick is certainly not Bill Shatner.

Doster Goes Down the Tubes

Shortly after competition for domain names was opened up, I switched all my domain names from Network Solutions to Dostster. At the time, Dotster had good word-of-mouth and positive reviews. Unfortunately, the company has really gone down hill the last couple years.

Recently it pulled off two bone-headed maneuvers.

First, it automatically created free .info domains for its users. For example, since I own LeftWatch.com, Dotster automatically gave me LeftWatch.info. But I don’t want LeftWatch.info . . . ever. All they did was clutter up my account management screen with a bunch of domain names I have no intention of ever using. Dotster does have an e-mail address to send correspondence to get rid of the .info domain names, but I just can’t take the chance of having them accidentally delete the .com address while they’re at it, so I’ll just stick it out for a year.

But it gets worse. Seth Dillingham notes that Dotster committed a major privacy faux paus in its consolidated domain name report,

Unfortunately, the email’s recipient list also included anybody else who was listed as the owner or administrative contact of any of the domains mentioned in the newsletter. My company provides full domain hosting services. Think about that.

I’m lucky that I am the sole contact on my (or Macrobyte’s) domains, and only a few clients have listed me as the admin contact on their domains. Still, those clients now have a list of most of my Dotster-registered domains, and now they all know about each other. (Good thing none of my clients are direct competitors…)

What will they try next, to top this hit? Maybe they’ll send everybody’s auto-renewal credit card info to everybody else, or do a courtesy mailing to their entire customer base with everybody’s passwords. Yeah, that would be cool.

Got that . . . if I had Seth listed as the admin contact, I’d now know about all of the Dotster-registered domains on which he is listed as an admin. Ugh.

Probably time to switch to another registrar.