Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Canadian Judge Rules Domain Names Are Property

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the radical-libertarians-all dept.

Canada 142

farrellj writes "A recent decision in the Ontario Appeals court has ruled in favour of Tucows, saying that domain names are considered property, rather than being a license. This has major ramifications for a people both inside and outside Canada, doubly so since Tucows is a major domain registrar. This ruling comes from a very high court, which means that any appeal must go to the Supreme Court of Canada. So there is a good chance this ruling will stand."

cancel ×

142 comments

dr;nca (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37078934)

no car analogy

Re:dr;nca (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079188)

From the ruling:

The registered owner of the domain name has the right to exclusively direct traffic to the domain name’s corresponding website and to exclude anyone else from using the same name. The ability to exclude others from the enjoyment of, interference with or appropriation of a specific legal right was held by Cory J. in Bouckhuyt, as a necessary incident of property.

Therefore, infringing a copyright is just like stealing a car. Have I got this right?

Re:dr;nca (5, Informative)

skywire (469351) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079548)

No, you do not have it right. You have made the common error of imagining that it is the copyrighted work that is "intellectual property", the thing that is owned by the copyright owner. Actually, what is owned is the copyright itself, that is, the exclusive right to authorize copying of the work.

The analog of car theft would be not infringement, but the act of assuming the ownership of a copyright without the consent of the rightful owner. This could happen if a person were to fraudulently convince the state agency that administers copyrights that the owner of the copyright has assigned it to him.

Infringement is more like a trespass -- like someone finding your car unlocked and sitting in it. The copyright owner is still recognized as owner and is still for the most part enjoying the state's enforcement of his monopoly.

Please do not misread me as a defender of the justice of copyright law. That is a question for another time.

Re:dr;nca (2)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080014)

Oddly though, I think that

This could happen if a person were to fraudulently convince the state agency that administers copyrights that the owner of the copyright has assigned it to him.

sounds a lot more like registering a fraudulent title to the car.

Pure theft of the car would be far more like destroying all copies of the work the copyright owner has. The copyright owner is still lawfully regarded as the owner in that case, just like with the car theft case, but down must track down a copy in order to fully utilize their ownership rights.

The big difference is that with a car, there is only one that could be tracked down, while with a copyrighted work, there are potentially many, and the owner may be able to use any of them.

Re:dr;nca (1)

skywire (469351) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080652)

more like registering a fraudulent title to the car

You are perceptive to notice this difference; it arises from the fact that a car is physical, and so subject to a physical theft without transfer of title. But a copyright is not a physical object; it is a legal right enforced by the state. One could effectively steal it from its owner only by fraudulently convincing others, including the state, that one owns it, which under a registration regime would most effectively be accomplished by getting it registered in one's name.

I'm afraid you have run off the rails with all the talk about destroying and tracking down copies. Destroying a copy or copies of a work is a non-event from a copyright standpoint. It neither infringes nor steals the copyright. And a copyright owner need not track down or even possess copies of the work he owns the copyright in to exercise his exclusive rights with respect to the work.

So who owns it? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078942)

Who owns the domain name?

Re:So who owns it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37078966)

The registrant. And FWIW, the term "domain name investor" is the best euphemism for "scumbag speculator" I've seen yet.

Re:So who owns it? (0, Troll)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079018)

Without speculators, there is no liquidity; without liquidity, there is no well-defined price. What makes a speculator a scumbag or not a scumbag?

Re:So who owns it? (5, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079024)

Why do we need liquidity for domain names?

Re:So who owns it? (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079136)

That's completely untrue. You need some speculators in the stock market because there's a lot of businesses that need the proceeds of stock sales before they're a reliable bet and during times of risk.

But this is a completely different matter. Domain names are for the purpose of not having to type an IP address in to access a site. Having people licensing sites with no intention of using the site does nothing helpful.

As for the ruling, as much as I typically like to see people sticking it to corporations this was an idiotic court decision that will have real consequences in the long term. If you're now the owner of a particular domain, that means that there is no way that the registration can be stripped or a means of a registrar seizing the domain if payment is withheld.

Analogy to property tax (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079514)

Now I see your point that speculators are more useful where all units of the commodity are identical, such as shares of stock, not so much where each piece of property is a unique "location, location, location".

If you're now the owner of a particular domain, that means that there is no way that the registration can be stripped or a means of a registrar seizing the domain if payment is withheld.

The owner of a piece of real estate still has to pay property tax to the state.

Re:Analogy to property tax (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079984)

There is only and only one owner of domain names, that is the domain registrar, the entity that owns the database that provides the link between domain names and IP addresses. People pay them to make changes to that database, basically a licence to print money.

This is largely a an act of modern marketing as it is driven by getting all significant entities to direct traffic to DNS services that recognise the leading registrars.

It is likely that the whole Domain Service will come under growing attack as countries seek to take greater control over their citizens addressing and those citizens themselves likely start to become more humorously rebellious and seek to devalue domain names and stick it to ass hat corporations by using alternate domain name services for certain marketing driven ranges.

Domain names, a marketing illusion, not property.

Re:Analogy to property tax (1)

daath93 (1356187) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080290)

Okay, so someone buys a lakeside house in a trendy community and sits on it to sell it later because they understand the property will be in high demand in a couple years is a scumbag speculator because someone who wants to buy it (because of its exclusive location) wants to live in it now. This is a dumb conversation full of ignorance.

Re:Analogy to property tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080694)

How true!

Re:So who owns it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079360)

Let me guess: You've made some "investments"?

Re:So who owns it? (1)

daath93 (1356187) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080266)

Wah, someone thought of this domain name first and registered it. They want money for having done so before me. Wah. *yawn*

Re:So who owns it? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079034)

By that ruling, Tucows owns it. They registered it previously, and the court says it is still theirs and theirs alone to do with as they please.

Re:So who owns it? (4, Informative)

redkingca (610398) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079170)

By that ruling, Tucows owns it. They registered it previously, and the court says it is still theirs and theirs alone to do with as they please.

Actually the ruling says that Tucows as the register does not have to turn the domain name over to the person in Brazil, who demanded the domain(because the domain name is the same as his last name). The domain name was in use, and also hosted 14 active domain email addresses that did not have to be surrendered by the person that registered the name with Tucows. The court ruled that the domain name and the domain email have a "real value" which makes them equal to property(as in I can't demand you give me your car because my last name was ford).

Re:So who owns it? (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079320)

By that ruling, Tucows owns it. They registered it previously, and the court says it is still theirs and theirs alone to do with as they please.

...The domain name was in use, and also hosted 14 active domain email addresses that did not have to be surrendered by the person that registered the name with Tucows.

The article also mentions :

Tucows acquired the domain name when it bought MailBank.

So the answer to the question of who owns it is still Tucows. Whether you want to call the original registration domain speculation or not, the end result is the same in that the registrar is in this case the owner as well. Hence at this point there is no "person that registered the name with Tucows", as the registrant and registrar are one and the same.

FWIW, there is a little more information on mailbank.com on the Tucows wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] .

cool story bro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37078946)

but what sort of effect would such a ruling have?

ie: why the fuck should we care?

Re:cool story bro (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078962)

I guess it depends on who owns the domain name. Since I don't know the entities mentioned int he article, nor the case it speaks about, I can't tell. Now if the domain name is property of ICANN or the registrar, I guess not much changes. However if the domain name is owned by whoever registered it, I don't see how the registrar could legally reclaim the domain name, or demand continued payment for it.

Re:cool story bro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079000)

If registering a domain means you own it and registrars can no longer get yearly fees out of you, that's liable to cause a price increase in domain names, yes?

Re:cool story bro (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078984)

but what sort of effect would such a ruling have? ie: why the fuck should we care?

Well, among other minor matters, it would tend to suggest that your registrar is more in the position of a landlord than of a software-licensor(ie. he doesn't have complete power to fuck you over arbitrarily) and it would also tend to suggest that your friendly local feds would be bound by whatever pitiful shreds of procedural protection govern seizing property, rather than something even weaker...

so once you buy one its yours for life? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37078982)

and then it should also mean if i attach an ip to said domain that all the protections of law regarding my private home must be observed aka you must have a warrant to enter or view anything that iis behind my domain....THIS will really put a crimp in the lawfull access law that wants warrantless search and seizure of internet ....home users i suggest you get a static ip and point a domain at your ip....

Re:so once you buy one its yours for life? (2)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079398)

Attaching an IP to the domain and opening up a web server could be implied invitation.

NOT if you have a login and pass and say PRIVATE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080232)

then its no different then having house guests or friends over...

Re:so once you buy one its yours for life? (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080270)

THIS will really put a crimp in the lawfull access law that wants warrantless search and seizure of internet

You say this as if the Justice Department doesn't already do what it damn well pleases...at the end of the day, if they want in, they'll get in.

Court not Judge (1)

Jerry Rivers (881171) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078986)

TFA explains that it was a panel of three judges, so it was the Court of Appeal for Ontario's decision, not the decision of a single judge.

Re:Court not Judge (3, Informative)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079410)

TFA explains that it was a panel of three judges, so it was the Court of Appeal for Ontario's decision, not the decision of a single judge.

Yes, but as often happens in cases where there is a panel, only one of them gave a judgment, the others just agreed.

If anyone is interested in what the ruling actually says, the judgment is here [ontariocourts.on.ca] with the relevant part starting at [41]. The judge seems to have noted that in both the US and UK, domain names are already being treated as a form of intangible property in law (like patents, copyrights etc.), which could, as discussed elsewhere in the comments, lead to greater "rights" for those who have "bought" a domain name; making it more like renting than licensing.

The reason the court needed to consider this was due to jurisdictional issues; the claimants needed to show a "real and substantial connection with Ontario", i.e. that the case concerned property there. The case seems to be mainly about procedure rather than substantive law. [For the record IAALS]

Re:Court not Judge (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080132)

In Canada, in a panel of judges or justices, they all give their views. This looks to be just the brief, which means it'll take upto a month before the full record is posted since it's not a breaking or earth shattering case. "Property" cases in Canada rank low, personal cases rank high, and are published quickly.

Anyway, I recommend reading CanLII's page, since it automatically links decisions to make this decision, and has the reflex record built in.

http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onca/doc/2011/2011onca548/2011onca548.html [canlii.org]

Re:Court not Judge (1)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080240)

Ooh, Canada has a LII as well - shiny.

Ah, so this isn't really a judgment, just some sort of pre-ruling opinion? Also, the other two judges are listed at the bottom with an "I agree" each, so I had assumed that was like the E+W courts where, if there are multiple judges and only one giving the lead judgment, the others will just "agree".

Re:Court not Judge (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080582)

It is a judgement, but in Canada, new cases and rulings are generally published as a brief. A short condensed version before the judges, justices, or JP's finish writing out their full opinion. Even in the even that a single judge leads, the other 2 will often give their own opinions as to why they're in agreement. Which are stripped out for the short condensed version.

But sometimes what is is, is.

Re:Court not Judge (1)

JohnnyBGod (1088549) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080410)

Yes, but as often happens in cases where there is a panel, only one of them gave a judgment, the others just agreed.

It would actually be kinda creepy/cool if they had to recite the judgement at the same time. :p

Tucows? (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078990)

The Ultimate Collection of Winsock Software is registering domains? Man I'm old. Has Flint Michigan done so bad that we gave it to Canada?

Next you're going to tell me Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company has stopped selling stuff for my mine.

Re:Tucows? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079036)

The Ultimate Collection of Winsock Software is registering domains? Man I'm old. Has Flint Michigan done so bad that we gave it to Canada?

No, but bad enough that Tucows would want its head-quarters in Canada rather than there. From Wikipedia:

Tucows (originally an acronym for The Ultimate Collection of Winsock Software, a name which has long since been dropped) was formed in Flint, Michigan, USA in 1993. It incorporated in Pennsylvania and headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Who gives a fuck? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37078998)

It's only Canada. Do they even have the internets in the Canadaland?
 
Neil Young, Rush, John Candy... that's all you'll ever need to know about that country.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079046)

Yes. They have the internets. Power, on the other hand... they have it, but it costs an arm and a leg. Literally.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079510)

Power, on the other hand... they have it, but it costs an arm and a leg. Literally.

Where did you get that impression? I pay 5.9c/kWh off peak and 10.7 on peak (60% of my usage was offpeak, only 25% of my usage is peak).

This site http://www.ppinys.org/reports/jtf/electricprices.html [ppinys.org] shows the average US citizen pays a lot more than that.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080148)

On the bill I am thinking of, power has gone up from 15c/KWh to 20 c/KWh recently. I am not sure offhand if that is before or after they multiply KWh by 1.1.

That is as expensive as it is in Hawaii, the most expensive state in the US. Only this bill is in Ontario, where power generation is a LOT cheaper than in Hawaii.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080154)

Note: those are actual costs, i.e. take the price, divide by KwH. Not Generation costs.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080478)

I think you are remembering wrong. The prices I quoted are in Ontario from the latest bill I have sitting in front of me. Ontario with over 50% nuclear power is among the cheapest places for power in north america.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080592)

I am not remembering wrong. I am looking at the bill on hydroone. The prices you quoted are what they formally say prices are, which generally means generation bill up to a certain amount. Divide your total bill by your kilowatt-hours. Even then, distribution costs vary depending on where in Ontario you are. Debt retirement charges, the result of massive mismanagement for years, also go into it.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080732)

Apologies for being off-topic, but I can't resist complimenting you on your sig. Nice to see someone duly venerate the hyper-brilliant Tesla and bring down to size the corrupt hack what's-his-name.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079072)

It's only Canada. Do they even have the internets in the Canadaland?

Neil Young, Rush, John Candy... that's all you'll ever need to know about that country.

... but then you miss this [canadiansexacts.org] .

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079132)

... but then you miss this [canadiansexacts.org].

I first read the domain name as "canadians exacts" and wondered if there's also a canadiansapproximates.org :-)
Then I noted that you can also split it in three words, and it started to make sense ...

Slashdot effect in the great white north (1)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079662)

I was quite eager (as in "Isn't the eager beaver our national mammal, eh?") to see explanations of the Reverse Rick Moranis, Montreal Meatpie, and Saskatoon Totem Pole. But alas, instead I was served some witty "our site is having trouble" messages. Damnation.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079654)

Neil Young, Rush, John Candy... that's all you'll ever need to know about that country.

And .. Pamela Anderson, Dan Aykroyd, Justin Bieber, Jim Carrey, Tommy Chong, James Doohan (Scotty) William Shatner (Kirk), Erica Durance (Lois in Smallville), Brendan Fraser, Natasha Henstridge, Margot Kidder (Lois in Superman), Howie Mandel, Rick Moranis, Matthew Perry, Jason Priesly, Keanu Reeves, Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Keifer Sutherland, Amanda Tapping (my fave!), Fay Wray, Leslie Nielson, Meg Tilly, and hundreds of other actors generally thought of as American.

Also dont forget Canadians created all the robotics on the shuttle and space station, Superman, IMAX, insulin, sonar, timezones, roller skates, chocolate bars, the pacemaker, trivial pursuit, electric streetcars, football goalposts, and of course the Blackberry.

We also helped you name the whitehouse by setting fire to the original.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

Jon Stone (1961380) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080260)

James Doohan (Scotty) William Shatner (Kirk),

I really hope you don't have to explain who Doohan and Shatner are to people on Slashdot.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080494)

Yea. I was just being clear. Canada also has a famous Michael Jackson, except he's white.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

farrellj (563) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079918)

What has Canada given the world?

Donald Sutherland, Keifer Sutherland (Donald's son, and grandson of the guy who brought universal medical care to Canada), Jim Carry, Cirque du Soleil, UN Peace Keepers (created by Nobel Laureate The Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson, past Prime Minister of Canada), Shania Twain, Norman Jewison, Long Distance Telephony (The first long distance transmission was made in August 1876, between Brantford and Paris Ontario.), Wayne Gretzky, The Light Bulb (Edison bought the patent from the two Canadian inventors), Joni Mitchell, The Guess Who/Bachman-Turner-Overdrive (BTO), Superman, William Shatner, James Doohan (Scotty!), Insulin (Frederick Banting), and Basketball.

So, yes, that's all you need to know about Canada...

ttyl
          Farrell

Interestingly... (2)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079040)

If it does go to the Supreme Court in Canada, oral arguments will be watchable. In the US, the Supreme Court does not allow cameras in the Courtroom (although you can still hear the audio).

Re:Interestingly... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079050)

You have an interesting idea of what is interesting.

Re:Interestingly... (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079258)

If it does go to the Supreme Court in Canada, oral arguments will be watchable. In the US, the Supreme Court does not allow cameras in the Courtroom (although you can still hear the audio).

You watch oral arguments? Funny. I listen to them.

Re:Interestingly... (1)

hldn (1085833) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079734)

amazingly enough, yes you can watch someone deliver oral arguments.

score -1 for the pedant.

Re:Interestingly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079760)

You mean that you can't read lips? How deficient of your upbringing and education!

Re:Interestingly... (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080274)

As a deaf lipreader, yeah, that's my preference, thanks for asking.

Re:Interestingly... (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080356)

Do you ever watch concerts on TV?

So... sufficient greed can make anything property. (1)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079056)

If I were to create some new kind of network, and start assigning a system of names to things that people on the network had control over, no one would think that such names were property at first.

But if they were to start making money on those resources, eventually, the assigned names would be considered 'property', in the sense of legal ownership? On a shared network? Seems odd.

It seems that whenever people start to depend on a resource, they start clamoring for exclusive ownership to be imposed on that resource.

From thoughts and ideas, to physical objects, to living creatures, and to entire genders and classes of people, we've had a LOT of odd ownership systems come and go.

I just don't see what the purpose of this system of legal property is. It's there already effective consequences for hijacked domain names? Does it have to be tied up in the mess that is legal ownership, what names are assigned in a DNS system?

Ryan Fenton

Re:So... sufficient greed can make anything proper (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079074)

You'd think they'd be more like trademark than property, in that respect?

I don't really see how a domain name can be property any moreso than a mailing address?

Re:So... sufficient greed can make anything proper (2)

pbhj (607776) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079298)

>You'd think they'd be more like trademark than property, in that respect? //

Trademarks are [intellectual] property and can be sold, rented, etc..

Re:So... sufficient greed can make anything proper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080086)

>You'd think they'd be more like trademark than property, in that respect? //

Trademarks are [intellectual] property and can be sold, rented, etc..

Intellectual property is a figment of the imagination of lawyers and has no basis in law.

Re:So... sufficient greed can make anything proper (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080130)

Intellectual property is a figment of the imagination of lawyers and has no basis in law.

Unless you count case law. In which case there's a crapton of it.

Re:So... sufficient greed can make anything proper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080674)

I don't know. Seems to me it is more like your IP address is your mailing address. It is assigned to you. Your domain name is an alias that you purchased the rights to use in lieu of your IP address. You can either purchase (eg. mydomain.com) one or be granted one (eg. mysubdomain.geocities.com). In the one case it is your property. In the latter case it the the grantors property and they may indeed yank it away at their discretion.

Re:So... sufficient greed can make anything proper (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079124)

Domain names are extremely similar to company names. There already exists legal precedent to consider your company name the legal property of the company.

For example: that large company up in Redmond is called Microsoft. Some guy named John Microsoft brings them to court, claiming that he has the legal right to the company name of "Microsoft", since it is his legal name. The courts would disagree, and rule that the name "Microsoft" belongs to Bill Gates & co.

A similar case has been going on for many, many years here, over the domain name nissan.com [nissan.com] . Details here [digest.com] .

Re:So... sufficient greed can make anything proper (1)

unrtst (777550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079252)

Good point... at first I kinda liked the idea that domain names could be "owned" by the person that registers them (assuming registrar can still charge maintenance fees like a Co-Op landlord), but that last phrase of yours made me think of something...

...in a DNS system

What about other DNS systems? Anyone can setup their own root-server. For more cases, "somedomain.com" is a unique property on the net, but that's not technically accurate - it's only a unique property on a given DNS server (or possibly extended to that DNS network, though any server can hijack the name somewhat legitimately). Domain name hijacking is one of the techniques that parental control systems use... would that be a violation?

Re:So... sufficient greed can make anything proper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079712)

Wait... I'm confused here /.

I thought we were against music, games, movies, etc. being licensed goods because we bought it, we own it, it is our property. We can share and duplicate our property as we want.

But here licenses are good? Why do we want licenses? I can see the cost of domain names going up, possibly, but wouldn't it make it harder for the US to take domain names if this catches on internationally? I mean, the US would then be hijacking and stealing the property of a foreign national who likely is in that foreign country.

Re:So... sufficient greed can make anything proper (1)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080000)

For games/movies, the issue isn't ownership - it's the ability of companies to take AWAY your right to play the game you sacrificed resources to obtain.

For art in general, it's more of a business model argument - that they should have a way to make money akin to another profession. Again, legal ownership is a proxy argument, not the key issue.

Licenses and ownership arguments are about setting defaults in other arguments, who gets to take what from who. The status of these legal agreements change over time... it's just strange to see these agreements starting to reach into what name gets assigned to which number on a computer network (DNS), in terms of "ownership".

Seems a strange realm of ownership. As in, I own this association, and all DNS machines now have to make this association on my behalf, by power of law.

Ryan Fenton

Re:So... sufficient greed can make anything proper (1)

Taty'sEyes (2373326) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080030)

I'm not sure your analysis is correct.

Just imagine a nickname on IRC or anywhere else for that matter. People claim to own it. It becomes part of their identity and is irrespective to money.

So it makes sense to me that domains would be treated the same or even the system of names in your "some kind of network".

Great, more power for the registrars (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079070)

By this ruling, if you were to lapse on payment for your domain registration, your registrar could "purchase" (by way of "paying" themselves) it for themselves and it would become their own property forever. They could sell it to you for an inflated price, or never sell it to you again if they felt so inclined.

And of course, they would likely list the registration of what used to be your domain through an obfuscation service, so that it would be unclear who the new owner is - which would then result in you having to pay multiple companies to get back what used to be yours.

Re:Great, more power for the registrars (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079120)

I imagine that domain names will be irrelevant in a few years anyway. People will find you and come
back to you based on content, and how you package that content when you pay a search engine to index you.
The domain name gold rush will come to an end.

Re:Great, more power for the registrars (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079274)

The domain name gold rush will come to an end.

That is clearly not what ICANN is counting on with their decision to start selling gTLDs. They are in fact betting the exact opposite, that they can start a new domain gold rush - and of course make some money for themselves in the process!

That said, people do use the internet differently now than they did back when the first rush of name registration began. Indeed the search engines are, for many users, the primary way to get to web sites. And for many of those same users, the secondary way is through links sent to them by their friends.

So indeed names may become less important in the future, but presently they are still valuable.

Re:Great, more power for the registrars (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080424)

I keep saying we should create an Internet where the USA have no presence at all. No cables going to that fascist country. Did you know all connections between Canada and the rest of the world route through the US? And with the tyrannical laws over there, the authorities can intercept and read your e-mails - the cables go through their territory.

As for ICANN, I don't know why it isn't based in Switzerland. A neutral country that already hosts pretty much anything for which neutrality is expected. And the true land of the free!

Property in Canada (5, Insightful)

redkingca (610398) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079092)

If as the court has ruled that a domain anme is "property" that means as long as it is maintained, it requires a court order to seize it, and that a business with a domain name is entitled to all the rights and privileges or a "real" business(actual court orders to search or read domain email without holders permission, ect.) A very interesting judgement, I imagine this may go all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. In the area of property, ISPs would not be able to take your site down without a court order as long as your paying for hosting. Just as a business can't be evicted as long as it pays the rent, without a court order. You would be able to sue in court for loss of access due to outages, as if the landlord blocked a door to a store. Or if you are hosting your domain on your own equipment, a real court order would be required to block DNS records. I imagine this has huge implications to Intellectual Property rights, Copyright, and legal copying/file sharing under Canadian Law. I imagine the US and the EU are going to have an apoplectic fit once the lawyers start really discussing this.

Re:Property in Canada (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079142)

The domain name is not the mail or web server addressed with it. If I own a direction sign, I do not acquire additional rights to whatever it points to.

Re:Property in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079194)

Interesting. I own a domain for personal use and my soon to be ex-wife has an email account with this domain name. If this were valid in the US then I could just shutdown her email account and remove all of her web pages she created as part of the divorce since this would have been "property" that I owned before our marriage and I still have the "property". Maybe I should push this issue in the divorce case instead of maintaining everything of hers on my domain for the next year per her request.

Re:Property in Canada (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079256)

Interesting. I own a domain for personal use and my soon to be ex-wife has an email account with this domain name. If this were valid in the US then I could just shutdown her email account and remove all of her web pages she created as part of the divorce since this would have been "property" that I owned before our marriage and I still have the "property". Maybe I should push this issue in the divorce case instead of maintaining everything of hers on my domain for the next year per her request.

Or just demand a fee for continued maintenance?

Re:Property in Canada (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079504)

or just let sleeping dogs lie...

Who really gives a fuck about "maintaining" a web account for a year. It's not like she's fucking eating up all your bandwidth or anything. Why bother creating/perpetuating the bad blood?

(serious question, btw)

Re:Property in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079286)

I hope they leave site hosting up to the descretion of the hosting company. It would suck if some domain existed for the sole purpose of spamming and you wouldn't be able to kill service without a court order.

Re:Property in Canada (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079544)

Continuing the property analogy of domain registrars being landlords, you could say that spamming is a lease violation, and the consequences could be like getting evicted.

Re:Property in Canada (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079416)

the court has ruled that a domain name is "property"

Not just property but "real property". It has always been something that can "belong" to an entity. eg, intellectual property. Now it is a real something, just like any other physical belonging. Your also correct in that EU and US copywrong lawyers are now flopping around and foaming at the mouth.

Re:Property in Canada (2)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080506)

Oh ye of little cynicism. ANY government can do ANYTHING to its hapless citizens and most of them perform execrable acts against their citizens repeatedly. Governments have armies and marshals; U.S. State governments have state police; local governments have police. All of these entities and forces have more than ample power to get the job done, and break any number of constitutional clauses and similar restrictions every day.

Your optimistic idea that a court order is necessary for property to be seized by our overlords is a false if wistful one. It ain't true in North Korea, or Myanmar or Rhodesia - beg pardon, Zimbabwe - it for damn sure ain't true in the U.S., and I daresay it ain't true in Canada. They just make the right incantations - drug lord, RICO statute, terrorist, gang, organized crime, homeland security, disloyalty, dangerous element, etc, etc, vomitous etc.

So I doubt the U.S. and EU are going to see this as a blip on the radar. And I don't see why it would have any impact whatever on the mentioned issue of copyright when governments have that bit in their teeth.

It is, however, as you say, a very promising sign in terms of legal standing of mere people in relation to power establishments outside of governments (MAFIAA, ISPs, etc al). Oh wait. Leave the MAFIAA out of that. They already have the governments signed up to do their bidding.

Murky: could be good or bad (4, Interesting)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079198)

It's hard to know exactly what the judge had in mind (yes, I read the article).

I was reading the actual judgement [ontariocourts.on.ca] , but it was too long.

This brings up some interesting points: if you have a property interest in a domain, then what do you pay the yearly fee for?

It must only be for server usage. By that standard, a registrar shouldn't be able to seize your domain if you don't pay the fee.

Or, perhaps, in order to recover their fee, they could auction the domain, and take their cut ($9). The rest is your money. So if a domain sells for $100k, you get $99,991.

Re:Murky: could be good or bad (1)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079404)

This brings up some interesting points: if you have a property interest in a domain, then what do you pay the yearly fee for?

Administrative costs. In a similar way, once I stake a claim to a particular trademark, I continue to own it as long as I do not abandon it. IMHO, this is an easy decision, though I agree there will be pressure in some quarters to get it quashed.

Re:Murky: could be good or bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079440)

No, the yearly fee is like a yearly lease payment and a lease is a form of intangible property that grants rights to the underlying property.

Re:Murky: could be good or bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079556)

Maybe the annual fee is then "for maintaining/managing on your behalf the various DNS records for your domain name"?

Supreme court in Canada (2)

gary_7vn (1193821) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079306)

What? Just because this case may (almost certainly) will go to the Supreme Court of Canada means exactly nothing. The Supreme court will not, and does not, simply uphold lower court rulings as a matter of course. That's just speculative nonsense.

Trademark vs Property Interest (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079594)

This overall case would seem to have two elements:
One is the conflict between trademark protection and property right.
The second is the horribly messy jurisdictional overlaps that occur in Internet related legal disputes.

If I acquire the domain name Googler.com legitimately because someone from the big G forgot to register that variant,
I now have a property right to that domain name.

But Google also has a trademark right to it (easily confusable etc etc) so under trademark law they ought to be able to
prevent me from using Googler.com in association with trade (at least in computer/advertising/software related things.)

Except that maybe I bought Googler.com while residing in, say, Canada.

So I have Canadian property rights to the domain name, apparently, and also I might be able to set up the town of Parish Ontario Googler search engine,
because that's a local and foreign business, compared to google.com

Hopelessly confusing legal mess really.

It really boils down to which party owns a 737 that can be rigged up with air-to-surface missiles, doesn't it.

Re:Trademark vs Property Interest (1)

bleeware (799336) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079676)

Job security for lawyers?

ice ice baby (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079732)

Will this at least put ICE domain seizures on hold (presuming American judges hold to the same logic)? Seizing property is generally held to be a pretty big deal.

Re:ice ice baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080146)

Nah, we'll just extend the ridiculous existing forfeiture laws as needed to serve the interests of the government. That's how we roll.

- T

Re:ice ice baby (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080548)

Why would it do that? Seizures under the RICO act and similar measures without proper court proceedings are already plainly and boldly unconstitutional in the U.S. as it is. Why would American governmental thugs care about any other impediment if they are already getting foreign connivance in their thuggery as it is?

This is Canadian. (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079814)

This is Canadian. Canadian and UK law don't have as much baggage attached to the concept of "property" as the US does. Through an accident of legal history, that Blackstone's commentaries [wikipedia.org] were more available in America than other writings on law, American law and the American constitution attaches undue weight to property rights. The "due process" clause in the U.S. Constitution limits due process to "life, liberty, and property", which is part of why it matters so much whether something is "property". A leasehold, for example, is not property.

The US never had feudalism, where the lords owned all the property, and thus never had to get rid of feudalism. In the European countries that did, when feudalism went down, so did the emphasis on property rights. This remains quite real today. In Britain, (but not Scotland) there is a "right to ramble", to walk over undeveloped, uncultivated private land. Squatters in abandoned buildings have rights. Penalties for trespass are very low by US standards. Conversely, the rights of renters are stronger in England than in the US.

Canada generally follows English precedent in this area. "Properly" is not an absolute; it's a bundle of rights established by law and precedent. So that domains are "property" means less than it would in the US.

Re:This is Canadian. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079880)

Interesting. Case in point, in Texas you almost never get your deposit back because they have almost no renters rights.

Re:This is Canadian. (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080308)

In Texas they don't need renters rights. To paraphrase the NRA: Six-guns don't kill people, Disgruntled renters kill people.

Re:This is Canadian. (2)

Taty'sEyes (2373326) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080054)

While I support your right of opinion, I take issue with your statement,

...American constitution attaches undue weight to property rights.

Understand one thing, the founders knew that property rights equaled liberty. There is no "undue weight to liberty".

Re:This is Canadian. (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080536)

I'll see your "property rights equaled liberty"

and raise with "Freedom's just another name for nothin' left to lose"

Re:This is Canadian. (2)

joe545 (871599) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080390)

But not Scotland? Scotland has had the right to roam since time immemorial (much like Scandinavia's allemansrätten) whereas for England & Wales that's only really been allowed since the Countryside and Rights of Way Act of 2000 - and even then it's more restrictive than in Scotland.

UH CANADA ISN'T THAT LIKE ALL ESKIMOS ?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079844)

Since when did eskimo rulings mean anything to those living where the sun shines ??

Taxable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080046)

If this ruling stands I wonder if this means the government will start to tax domain names? And, if they do, what would they use as the basis for taxation? Number of hits? Revenue?

Re:Taxable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080416)

riiight, like they tax copyrights and trademarks and patents.... It's only real/personal property that tends to get taxed. Imaginary "property" that actually actively undermines property rights [mises.org] doesn't.

Actually, as I support the abolition of both copyright and patent, I'm wary of proposals to tax them. Once they're a taxation revenue stream they'd be much harder to abolish (we have that problem partially with patents already, the government is addicted to the filing fees and treats the USPTO like a piggy bank).

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...