Monday, June 20, 2016

DomainNameWire's Latest Podcast: Domain Name Leasing and Options

By Zak Muscovitch

I am relatively new to podcasts - listening to them, and certainly being interviewed on one, so I was very excited to be interviewed by Andrew Allemann for his podcast.

If you are anything like me, you visit Andrew Allemann's excellent domain name news website, about a dozen times a day to keep on on domain name industry developments. Andrew recently wrote that he had a positive experience in closing a domain name option deal, and reached out to me to join him for the interview.

If you have thought about domain name leasing or optioning yourself, or wonder what it involves, listening to this podcast is a great and easy way of getting quickly up to speed on the dynamics and issues surrounding the basics of domain name leasing and options. We cover a lot of the pitfalls and considerations, particularly from a domain name owner's perspective. You will hear about due diligence, various structures available for domain name leasing, escrow of domain names, determining payments, risk management, leasing disputes, and other interesting issues.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Planning on Going to India for DomainX or ICANN?

By Zak Muscovitch.

Two big upcoming conferences are taking place in India; DomainX in August, and ICANN in November. I have been to India twice now, with my most recent trip being August, 2015, for DomainX. I plan on going for my third trip this August, for DomainX 2016. Here are five observations/tips about traveling to India for a domain name conference:

1.    The Next Billion People on the Internet to Come from India

 According to former ICANN CEO, Fadi Chehade, with the next billion people on the Internet likely to come from India, the country has the power to shape the future of the Internet. “India is central to what the Internet is at the global level... India is not simply getting into the digital world. The country is already an incumbent, a driver in the digital world in every sense of the word”, Mr. ChehadĂ© said speaking at an event in India in March, 2015.   As I wrote and explained in my previous Blog post, all the evidence points towards India becoming the leading Internet powerhouse as a result of its highly educated, English speaking, young, dynamic, and massive workforce. If your business has the potential to expand into the Indian market, there is no better place to start than visiting India yourself. The .in market is showing a lot of promise and there is substantial growth in the number of Indian domain investors in many extensions. It could be "the next China" in terms of the huge potential demand for domain names amongst a population of 1.3 billion people who are only now getting online. Currently only about 20% of India's populace is online, and it is increasing by about 14% per year.

2.   Use Your Points from Buying Thousands of Domain Names on Your Credit Card

You probably have a ton of points saved up from buying thousands of domain names on your credit cards, so it may be time to burn them on some flashy flights. Aside from India's national carrier, Air India, and its other major airline, Jet Airways, two of the world's greatest airlines fly to India; Emirates and Etihad. Both Emirates and Etihad a380 aircraft feature showers in their first class cabins, and there are even bars in business class, and both  are available via points redemptions. I had the time of my life flying on Emirates on my first trip to India. For more information about redeeming your points for flights, you can read a blog called, One Mile at a Time.

3.    Take a Tour of India and see the Taj Mahal

If you are going to India on business, tag on a tour to see some of India. DomainX 2016 will be held in Delhi, and ICANN will be held in Hyderabad. Delhi is a major hub for Internet businesses, as is Hyderabad, which has earned the Moniker, "Cyberbad". Hyderabad was the location of the first DomainX conference, in 2014.

Both cities have a lot to offer in terms of sightseeing. In Delhi you can visit the old Delhi market, the Indian parliament buildings, and Humayun's Tomb - all impressive sights worth seeing. But a few hours' drive from Delhi, you can see a true Wonder of the World - The Taj Mahal. Now, I live near Niagara Falls, and to be honest, it has nothing on the Taj Mahal. It is simply mind-blowing in terms of its architecture and what was involved in building it. DomainX will be taking some attendees on a tour of the Taj Mahal on August 6, 2016, but you can also go on your own, and it is a relatively short drive away on a new highway. In Hyderabad, it is worth visiting the Taj Faluknuma hotel, which is one of the great hotels of the world. It used to be a palace owned by the richest man on earth. He kept a diamond so big that he used it as a doorstop.

But aside from these two great cities and Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located, also take the time to visit some wonderful places like Udaipur, Rajasthan, Kerala, Mumbai, and the other many incredible places throughout India. Udaipur is where part of Octopussy was filmed - at the Taj Lake Palace hotel - as you may recall from the below picture.

4.     Enjoy the Indian Food with New Indian Friends

When networking at DomainX or ICANN, be sure to make some new friends who can show you some genuine Indian cuisine at local favorites. At DomainX 2015, I met one fellow who put me on to my all time favorite restaurant, Punjabi By Nature, which despite the somewhat odd name, featured incredible north Indian cuisine, such as marinated and grilled leg of mutton. Wherever you go, you will see "Thalis" on offer, which are set dinners of various dishes, available in vegetarian and non-veg, such as the one depicted below:

5.   Learn About Indian History

Before you go, take some time to research the amazing history of India through documentaries and books. The most fascinating documentary on the subject that I saw, was Michael Wood's "The Story of India". Nobody does documentaries like the BBC. Also, go back and watch the Gandhi movie with Ben Kingsley, which is extraordinarily well done, and will mean a lot more to you once you visit India for yourself.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Bring Your Domain Name Leasing Questions to Namescon® 2016

By Zak Muscovitch.

Last year at Namescon, my Domain Name Leasing Workshop was (to my surprise) packed, and attendees got to go through an entire domain name lease agreement with me. Attendees also received an annotated domain name lease agreement, which contained explanatory commentary about the provisions of a typical domain name lease agreement.

This year at Namescon® 2016, I will be joined by eminent domain name attorney and friend, Karen Bernstein from Berstein IP in New York City, and we will be going deeper, and discussing domain name leasing issues together with all attendees. It will be an informal session where you can bring your basic and advanced questions and have a discussion with us about common issues that arise in domain name lease transactions. You can even pose specific questions about particular issues that you have encountered or are concerned about and Karen and I will do our best to answer without providing any actual legal advice! :)

The session is on Sunday, January 10, 2016, at 12:00 noon, and is called "Table Topic C: Leasing a Domain".

In preparation for the session, you may want to watch my interview on DomainSherpa, where Michael Cyger and I provided an unprecedented examination of domain name leasing issues, in remarkable detail. Michael sure went into specifics as is his trademark style, and I think viewers got to learn a substantial amount about domain name leasing.

By watching the DomainSherpa presentation before Namescon® 2016, you will familiarize yourself with the issues and procedures of domain name lease transactions, so that when you come to Namescon® 2016, you may be able to ask follow up or more specific questions about domain name leases from two experienced attorneys, Karen and myself. You can also download a copy of the annotated sample 'Domain Name Lease Agreement with an Option to Purchase' here, from the DomainSherpa website (which was originally distributed to Namescon® 2015 attendees.

I look forward to meeting you at Namescon® 2016, and will also be available at my Network Lane Table on Sunday, January 10, 2016, for informal chats and to meet old and new friends. See you in Vegas!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Namescon® 2016 Session: 2015 Domain Legal Developments

By Zak Muscovitch. 

2015 saw some very interesting cases in domain name law. On Monday, January 11, 2016, at 1 pm, there will be a short session highlighting some of the most important cases both under the UDRP and the ACPA. In addition, copies of Gerald Levine's new UDRP book will be raffled off to the session attendees.

You will hear how some UDRP panelists have taken it upon themselves to radically re-interpret the UDRP to help trademark owners and harm domain name owners. You will also hear about the new UDRP procedural rules that went into effect this past summer and how the UDRP might be changed in the future. You will also hear how different judges from different districts have come to different conclusions in ACPA cases. 

Renowned ACPA attorney David Weslow will be speaking on ACPA cases, and I will be speaking on UDRP cases. Successful domain name investor, Nat Cohen, will be bringing his perspective to the discussion as well. As I have said previously, Nat Cohen is amongst the most knowledgeable non-lawyers one could ever meet when it comes to the UDRP. Moderating the discussion will be renowned Internet litigator, Derek Newman. I encourage you all to attend and look forward to seeing you there.

As mentioned above, as an added bonus to this exciting session, lawyer and author, Gerald Levine, has graciously donated several copies of his book,  "Domain Name Arbitration - A Practical Guide to Asserting and Defending Claims of Cybersquatting" to be raffled off to the session attendees.

Gerald Levine is a New York City attorney, who has spent a considerable amount of time and effort in analyzing and reporting on UDRP decisions, which he has compiled into his new book. 

I have long admired Gerald's work from afar, reading his commentaries on his website,, and recently I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions:

Gerald, how did you first become interested in domain name law?

I’m a litigator by trade. About ten to twelve years ago I assisted an attorney friend on a domain name issue. This was a new area of practice. I started by researching and writing a memorandum for his client that began growing as I added and reorganized material. I didn’t stay with the original matter although I continued researching and collecting material. 

       What led to your writing of the book?

Somewhere around 2006 or 2007 I began writing blogs on domain name disputes that got some attention. Those blogs functioned as a kind of laboratory in which I tested out ideas and modes of expressing my findings and conclusions. That the accumulated material could form a book didn’t come into focus until around 2012. The acorn ultimately developed into a study of domain name arbitration.

      Do you handle domain name disputes?

I don’t actually handle disputes, although I would if they came my way. I field calls from attorneys and parties involved in domain name disputes and give advice as to likelihood of success and risk, and why I think so.

      What are the most interesting cases / most important issues from 2015 in your opinion?

The most contentious issue in UDRP jurisprudence, which started in a duo of cases in 2009, has been the attempt by a few influential panelists to change its construction to allow for forfeiture regardless of good faith registration if domain names are subsequently being used in bad faith. A number of panelists restart the time on renewal of registration when there’s been bad faith use preceding it. This view, which hasn’t really gotten anywhere and to my mind is a dead end, attempts to bring the UDRP into alignment with the ACPA. Nevertheless, there continue to be some anomalous decisions sometimes by dissenting panelists that go to great lengths to explain the reasoning behind the view.

2015 has further consolidated the jurisprudence. Complainants still try their luck for 2 and 3-character domain names when it’s obvious they cannot mount an affirmative argument. There’s also a good number of cases by complainants whose rights postdate the domain name that should never have been brought. There’s a lot of chatter when Panels fail to declare RDNH for what appear to be obvious abusive process, but it’s understood that the sanction is discretionary. I find interesting that there are panelists who will declare RDNH without being asked, most recently in 3-member Panels. I think that’s correct. There’s been some interesting decisions under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protect Act particularly in the area of fraudulent transfers (unreported).