Should registries be the internet police?


Should registries be the internet police?

If a website is found to infringe a brand owner’s IP rights, how much liability can be laid at the registry’s feet? TBO looks at the interesting situation confronting Nominet, the .uk domain registry.

If someone commits a crime in a town, it’s perhaps unfair to tarnish the town’s name because of that one person; the town itself is not responsible for how its inhabitants behave. 

To an extent, this theory can be applied to a domain name registry, which provides access to a web address but does not take the blame for rogue behaviour on that site.

But when a website is found to infringe intellectual property rights, how much blame can be levied on the registry?

That question has been posed by a dispute between Cartier, the French watch and jewellery designer, and Nominet, the registry for .uk domain names. Nominet has more than 10 million .uk domain names in its portfolio; other registries, including Verisign, which manages the .com top-level domain (TLD), have many more to manage.

branding, Nominet, Cartier, counterfeit, trademark infringement, Whois