Regulating the Domain Name System

Is the “.biz” Domain Name Distribution Scheme an Illegal Lottery?

By now, any Internet user is familiar with the importance of the domain name registry connected to the site where they are headed. Each registry is entitled to distribute the domain names which precede the registry. The distribution of these domain names and registries, however, has been marred by legal disputes, especially in the area of trademark infringe-ment.Ms. Wang addresses two main issues in her note: the legal implications of the inconsistent distribution schemes among domain registries and the legal battle over domain names between trademark holders and non–trademark holders. After a thorough history of the varying domain name distribution schemes, the author examines the application of California anti-lottery law and the Federal Trademark Dilution Act to the “.biz” domain name distribution scheme.Wang argues that with the privatization of domain name distribution, the systems require regulation rather than expanded safe harbor provisions. She concludes that such regulation does not call for the enactment of new Internet-specific laws. Rather, existing state and federal laws appropri-ately address the concerns over fairness in distribution and continue to provide an adequate balance between concerns of trademark holders and the rest of the Internet community.

The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.