Archive for the “whois” Category

Whois Verification Proposals

Several law enforcement groups have been petioning ICANN to require WHOIS verification.  Currently anyone can put anything in a domain registration record.  however, whois proposals have corculated for years with no changes to the basic structure.

The data provided by domain name registrants will be validated to ensure the registrant is providing correct, complete, and valid data upon domain name registration and subsequent renewals.

• The verification process is designed to establish that a prospective registrant meets the registration criteria. A variety of automated and manual procedures will be utilized for verification, including preauthentication by designated Authentication Providers (for example, Representative organizations) or a cross check of registration against information held by designated Authentication Providers.

• When a prospective registrant submits a registration request, the Registry will send a unique HTML link to the registrant’s email of record or to the email of record of the beneficial registrant.

• The registrant/beneficial registrant must then follow the link, and provide supplementary information that will permit registrar to verify the registrant, including phone number. This process inherently identifies the IP address of the registrant/beneficial registrant. • Registrar will call or SMS the phone number provided during the registration form.

• In that phone call, Registrar will provide the person with a PIN # (real time) and the applicant will input the PIN# in the designated area in the registration link. • If the automatic verification process does not provide verification, the request will be referred to Registrar’s compliance staff, which will attempt to verify the registrant/beneficial registrant manually.  No domain name will be placed into the zone file and will not resolve until the account e-mail and telephone number have been verified.

• Registrar will ensure all WHOIS fields are filled completely by the registrant, including but not limited to, email (RFC 5322), telephone number (ITU-T E. 123) and physical address (UPU S 42). 2

• As part of the annual WHOIS data accuracy reminder, registrants must complete an e-mail verification link to ensure the address on the account is updated. This serves multiple purposes: it ensures that the verified account info does not go stale, it prompts them to actually pay attention to the WHOIS data accuracy reminder, and it provides a more recent opportunity for obtaining source IP data, to the extent which has the potential of avoiding retaining data for long periods of time that may run counter to data retention regulations. If there is no completion of the annual e-mail verification, registered domain names could be suspended. This could be included in the terms of use to put registrants on notice. Moreover, it could be mandatory (instead of voluntary) for the registrant to affirmatively check a box indicating that the WHOIS data for each of its domain names is accurate.

• Alternate Suggestion: To offset costs for registrars, ICANN could operate a centralized verification system. Once ICANN verifies registrant, registrant can receive ICANN account ID, which registrant can go to registrar’s site to confirm registration, at which point the domain name goes in the zone file.

The German Privacy Commissioner has stated that some of these proposals may violate privacy laws.

ICANN CEO found using fake whois data

Historical Whois Data and Privacy Laws

Whois data is mandated to be public information.  ICANN requires this in their contracts with registrars who, in turn, require it for registrants.  As a result of the mandate to be public the situation is exempt from most privacy laws (in spite of the European IP address registry claims).  However, the historical data is not that clear as that information is not mandated to be public.

In the USA the .us domain space is controlled by the US Department of Commerce.  When personal data is compiled by a US government agency the data is covered by the Privacy Act.   This Act requires the government to correct mistakes and delete obsolete records.  A court case was filed concerning the current whois data because the US government will not allow “whois privacy” or proxy services.  This case was lost and the restrictions remain.  However, the case did not address the historical data.

An inquiry was submitted to the .us registry (Neustar) and the US Department of Commerce NTIA.  Neustar then hired well known lobbyist Becky Burr as their Chief Privacy Officer.  Backy Burr is a Washington attorney who has been involved in domain name and privacy regulation.   Like many of these regulators, she has never actually run a business herself and does the bidding of the clients of her law firm.  She was instrumental in setting up ICANN as a private entity who can tax yet those that pay the tax have no say whatsoever in how the organization is run.  Further, the ICANN scheme circumvents protections such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  ICANN can now raise taxes any time they want and spend money however they wish with no recourse for those footing the bill.

In Canada laws concerning personal information require old data to be made anonymous or deleted.

In Europe a labyrinth of privacy laws apply to whois data.  ICANN was given an exception concerning the current whois data but it does not include historical data and proposed whois validation and retention proposals may violate these laws.  The European IP address registry refuses to explain their legal authority in placing restrictions on the data (which is often used for security purposes).

European privacy laws state information “collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a way incompatible with those purposes.”

Australia also has privacy laws that may affect whois data.

EPIC’s privacy and WHOIS issues page.




Historical Whois Data – Look Who Sells It!

A popular service with trademark lawyers is the so-called whois history reports being sold at these records have been used by many trademark attorneys and even arbitration panelists to decide domain disputes. A recent news release says the data is also being used by escrow services for verification purposes.

According to the Tucows registrar did not got permission to collect the data and they “scraped” the data (most whois ouputs restrict the use of the data for resale). In 2010 Domain Tools took on a group of investors and formed a board. According to the board is: Xavier Buck, Slavik Viner, Richard Lau, Paul Keating, Ray Bero, Kevin Vo, and Ammar Kubba. Tim Chen is the CEO and John Berryhill is the attorney who filed the Domain Tools trademark.

After a complaint was sent to John Berryhill about the whois data, DomainTools filed a federal lawsuit in Washington State against a defendant in New Jersey to try to get a declaratory judgement. Domain Tools was represented by former staff counsel to Seattle’s Porn King ( Derek Newman who is quoted as saying the Seattle Porn King was his friend.

Attorney Paul Keating posted on a blog shortly after the case was filed:  “So, file an action seeking damages, serve it, claim damages not to exceed $10,000 and wait for a default. Then try to enforce the default. The reason for the damage limit is to force them into a situation of spending more than $10,000 to defend in AZ or default.  In cases like these it is easy …” that led to complaints to the Courts.  The DomainTools lawsuit, officially filed by Derek Newman, was eventually dismissed without hiring an attorney.

Here is a story about Slavik Viner and and Paul Keating  the UDRP decision is at  Keating made redacting claiming “Some documents may have been partially redacted so as to preclude the inadvertent disclosure of highly confidential information such as bank account numbers, user names, passwords and the like.”  He did the redactions electronically, screwed it up, ad the truth came out as the decision states:  “it was possible for the Complainant to see what was behind those redactions. In particular, some text was not fully obscured and when the pdf text was copied by it to a Microsoft Word file, the redactions disappeared in their entirety. Once these redactions are removed, the Complainant contends that it is apparent that Mr. Slavik Viner was the individual who conducted the negotiations with Sedo in relation to the purchase of the domain name.”

Quotes from the story: “The Complaint further alleged that given Viner’s standing in the adult entertainment community, he must have known about the Complainant’s trademark and website … when he registered the domain in question.” “The attorney’s (Paul Keating) conduct in this case was both unethical and incompetent and should be the subject of a bar complaint.”

In another case over Paul Keating represented “Quinv.” According to the decision Quinv stated thay are “not a ‘professional’ domainer and presumed that placing the domain name with SEDO and other monetizing providers would result in a directory page contextually related to the actual use of the word.” But, according to Google’s cache Quinv owns about 12,489 other domains and the current CEO of Quinv, Thibault Korchia, is the past sales director at EuroDNS. Xavier Buck is the owner of EuroDNS and is on the Board of Investors of Domain Tools along with Paul Keating. Quinv, according to whois records, is also the registered owner of,, and Quinv also operates and Xavier Buck is en editor.

Another editor of is Jothan Frakes of according to this story is being sued by jewlers Tacori for registering domains such as,,,,, The suit claims “is a serial cybersquatter who registers, uses, and traffics in domain names that are confusingly similar to famous or distinctive trademarks owned by others.”

A story on Xavier Buck of EuroDNS and a dispute with ICANN over

Slavik Viner lost another domain in a dispute, after complained.

The CEO, Tim Chen was formerly a Vice President of “iReit.”

Quote from the story: “iReit was sued by Verizon. The lawsuit listed more than 90 domain names owned by iREIT that are allegedly related to the Verizon Wireless trademarks including:”

Story about Xavier Buck and Slavik Viner operating companies that control over 100,000 domains.

These postings claim that offered a “whois suppression service” for $10/day/domain. (The service does not appear on their web site currently.) These reports also indicate IP addresses used by Domain Tools come back to Compass Communications (an ISP) or Name Intelligence (a company bought by a company related to Domain Tools). Claims are also made that Domain Tools masqueraded as Yahoo and Google to avoid blocking. Most whois databases set IP address limits as a way to block bulk downloads.

Incredibly, a member of Domain Tools, Susan Prosser, is on the ICANN “Whois Survey Working Grop.” She is also a member of the Survey Tool and Survey recipient selection group along with the head of the Intellectual Property Constituency and claims to represent the “Registrar Stakeholder Group.” Not only does Domain Tools control all the historical whois data and have list of what attorneys ordered which reports, they also have an inside track of what the Intellectual Property attorneys know and don’t know as it relates to whois data., run by Tim Chen (the guy involved with iREIT who registered now complained about,,,,,,,,, and  The arbitrator deciding the case is David A. Einhorn who is also a practicing attorney and handles domain cases.  His unusual wording in the decision “Previous panels have found that a complainant holds common law rights in a
given mark if it provides sufficient evidence of sales figures and expenditures” ignores the well known fact that other entities use the term “Domain Tools.”  I wonder where Mr. Einhorn’s law firm gets historical whois data for its domain cases?  To top it off the domain attorney for, Mike Rodenbaugh, managed domain name issues for Yahoo!, the same place that monetized, … Domain Dispute

A domain can be hijacked using bogus trademark claims.  Jon Locke of Director’s Choice Tour & Travel is attempting to hijack the domain name.  He spent 12 years trying to entice the sale of the domain.  Then when the domain was put for sale Jon Locke filed a domain dispute and claimed offering the domain for sale was “bad faith.”  They also claimed they used “DIRECTOR’S CHOICE” as a trademark continuously since 1997.  However, a check of the records at the US Patent and Trademark Office shows they have use a “Doing Business As” name of “Choice Music Events”

Serial Number 86335211
Filing Date July 11, 2014
Published for Opposition December 2, 2014
Owner (APPLICANT) Director’s Choice, LLP DBA Choice Music Events Jon Locke United States Locke Enterprises, LLC United States PARTNERSHIP TEXAS 10701 Upland Avenue Lubbock TEXAS 79424

Example from 2008  |  Example from 2014

Why do they want the domain?  Because they registered and they simply want the .com.  So what did they do?  They hired Matt Swyers of The Trademark Company.  A previous decision accused Swyers of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking.  In another case he tried to file patent dispute in a system for trademarks and the panel found the dispute to be “outside the scope” of the proceeding.

When someone files a complaint about a domain they get to choose the provider.  The National Arbitration Forum, an organization involved in a series of lawsuits and complaints about a bias towards the complainants who pay them:

On July 14, 2009, the Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson brought a lawsuit against the National Arbitration Forum for consumer fraud, deceptive trade and false statements in advertising.  Key to their complaint was allegations that the NAF had deliberately hidden its ties to the businesses it represented and actively encouraged their naming as mandatory arbitrators in contracts.  The National Arbitration Forum countered that its arbitrators were independent practitioners, which ensured that its arbitration was impartial.  However, citing legal costs, the National Arbitration Forum agreed the week after the filing to stop accepting consumer debt collection cases for arbitration.

Here is the complaint made on behalf of Jon Locke and Director’s Choice Tour & Travel:

Complaint | exhibits

Response | exhibits

Supplement to Complaint | Exhibits

Supplement to Response | Exhibits

They claim that they have used the name “Director’s Choice” as trademark continuously since 1997 and got an order to transfer the domain.   After asking to buy the domain over a period of 12 years they suddenly claimed “Bad Faith” when the domain was offered for sale.  They also claim that merely operating the domain confuses consumers through the search engines and takes their customers!  What do you think?

After owning a domain for 15 years a federal lawsuit must now be filed to keep the domain:

A domain name registrant whose domain name has been suspended, disabled, or transferred under a policy described under clause (ii)(II) may, upon notice to the mark owner, file a civil action to establish that the registration or use of the domain name by such registrant is not unlawful under this chapter. The court may grant injunctive relief to the domain name registrant, including the reactivation of the domain name or transfer of the domain name to the domain name registrant.

An Opposition to their trademark application has also been filed.  They now deny everything, they even deny they filed the domain dispute in the first place!

Related News Stories:

Office of Medical & Scientific Justice Guilty Of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking – Matt Swyers of The Trademark store found to have tried to hijack a domain name using the dispute process.

Merry Christmas Trademark Holders: 15 Year Old Lost In UDRP

UDRP Filed on 14 Year Old Domain: Domain Holder Objects To 2014 Trademark Filing“This is nothing more than an attempted theft of property, nothing more or less than sticking a gun in someone’s face and asking them to hand over their watch.”