[Gnso-ppsai-pdp-wg] Commercial Use - White Paper

Libby Baney libby.baney at fwdstrategies.com
Mon May 12 14:40:21 UTC 2014

All --

I appreciate the dialogue the group has begun regarding WHOIS transparency
for entities engaged in commercial activity. With the hope of encouraging
discussion on the merits of the issue, I am pleased to share the attached
white paper: *Commercial Use of Domain Names: An Analysis of Multiple
Jurisdictions. *

As you'll see, the paper addresses the following question: Should domain
name registrants who sell products or services on their websites should be
able to conceal their identity and location in the domain name
registration? The paper argues that they should not. Rather, the authors
find that requiring domain name registrants engaged in commercial activity
to provide transparent WHOIS information falls squarely in line both with
ICANN’s commitment to Internet users and existing global public policy to
keep businesses honest and consumers safe. Accordingly, the paper
recommends an approach that balances personal privacy and consumer
protection rights. On the one hand, domain names used for non-commercial
purposes (e.g., personal blogs) should, the authors believe, be permitted
to utilize privacy or proxy registration. This reflects a fundamental right
to privacy of domain name registrants not engaged in commerce. However, the
authors do not believe the same right exists for registrants of websites
engaged in commerce – a conclusion borne out by our research.

It goes without saying that this group is divided on the issue of requiring
WHOIS transparency for sites engaged in commercial activity. As some in the
PPSAI WG have commented, these issues may be complicated but they
nonetheless merit our full consideration. We hope the attached white paper
stimulates further thinking and group discussion on the issues.

I look forward to continuing the discussion tomorrow.


Libby Baney, JD
FWD Strategies International
P: 202-499-2296
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