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    CIRA Commits One Million Dollars to Improving Canada's Internet

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    Thursday February 06, 2014
    The Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the organization that manages the dot-ca domain, has unveiled an exciting new initiative that will deliver a million dollars toward community projects, research, and other related activities (full disclosure: I am a member of the CIRA board and chair of the committee that will review applications). The typical grant is expected to be worth $25,000 - $50,000, though grants can climb as high as $100,000. Funds are available for community groups, not-for-profit organizations, academic institutions, and associated researchers. The application period opened earlier this week and will run until February 28th. Application guidelines can be found here and the application form is here. This is a great initiative that holds the promise of injecting much needed support into Canadian Internet initiatives. Take a closer look and apply today!
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    American Girl Loses Battle for AmericanGirl.ca Domain

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    Monday January 21, 2013
    American Girl, the well-known doll maker, recently lost a domain name battle over AmericanGirl.ca as panelist Bradley Freedman ruled that the company failed to meet the basic requirements in the dot-ca dispute resolution policy. The case should have been a slam dunk as the company's trademark pre-dates the domain name registration, the domain was being used for a pay-per-click site, and the domain name registrant did not even respond to the complaint.  Yet American Girl still lost as it failed meet one of the policy's basic requirements of providing some evidence that the registrant did not have a legitimate interest in the domain name.  In reading Freedman's decision, it is readily apparent that there was ample opportunity to do so, yet the company oddly did not take advantage of a CIRA policy that would have assisted it in making the case.  The left Freedman with little alternative but to conclude:

    Policy paragraph 1.1 provides that the purpose of the Policy is to provide a forum in which cases of bad faith domain name registration can be dealt with relatively inexpensively and quickly. Nevertheless, a proceeding under the Policy affects the respective rights of the parties regarding a disputed domain name, and the Policy and Rules expressly require a panel to consider all of the evidence and argument presented in the proceeding and render its decision in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and applicable law. Accordingly, a panel must determine whether a complainant has met its onus regarding each of the elements specified in Policy paragraph 4.1, and if a complainant has failed to do so the panel must dismiss the complaint.

    For the reasons set forth above, the Panel is compelled to conclude that the Complainant has failed to satisfy the onus to provide "some evidence" that the Registrant has no legitimate interest in the Domain Name as described in Policy paragraphs 3.4(e) and (f). Consequently, the Complaint cannot succeed.
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    Internet Governance World Meets in Toronto Amid New Domains Controversy

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    Tuesday October 16, 2012
    The Internet governance world gathers in Toronto this week as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the California-based non-profit corporation charged with the principal responsibility for maintaining the Internet's domain name system, holds one of its meetings in Canada for only the third time. My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the Toronto ICANN meeting comes at a particularly tumultuous time for the organization with mounting criticism over its process for creating new domain name extensions that could reshape the Internet.

    After years of debate and discussion, ICANN last year unveiled a policy that opened the door to hundreds of new domain name extensions. While most Internet users are accustomed to the current generic (dot-com, dot-net, and dot-org) and country-code (dot-ca in Canada) extensions, ICANN's plans will radically change the domain name landscape by creating hundreds of new extensions linked to brand names, geographic regions, and even generic words.

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    CIRA's Opportunity

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    Friday September 28, 2012
    The Canadian Internet Registration Authority released the results of its board of directors election yesterday and I was very pleased to be elected to the board with the largest number of votes of any candidate. I'm grateful to CIRA members for their support, particularly given the many excellent candidates who were running for the board. It is notable that this election brings five new directors to the board, which likely ranks as the largest ever influx of new perspectives to the CIRA board. I believe this presents a tremendous opportunity for CIRA to rethink its approach on a wide range of issues from member engagement (the number of CIRA members that participate in the election process is still far too low) to policy development models (an external policy advisory committee never took off) to how to best serve the public interest (I've called for the creation of a separate public interest body funded by CIRA similar to the New Zealand model). CIRA has made great strides in recent years and I'm very excited to work with new and existing board members to help the organization meet its public interest mandate and make an important contribution to Canadian digital policy.
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