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Age of Reason

We used to talk of ‘The Age of Reason’ as if we lived in it but in the age of the Internet I’m not so sure. Posted by Hello



Common sense, law and life in cyberspace don’t appear to sit easily together. Take the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). You may not be over-familiar with them but if you own or think you own a domain name, then perhaps you should be following what they have done this week.

From this week, the rules on domain ownership have changed and it may catch your company out. Under new rules, domain transfer requests will be automatically approved in five days unless they are explicitly denied by the account owner. This is a change from the existing procedure, where a domain's ownership and name servers remain unchanged if there is no response to a transfer request. In effect, failing to respond to a request, within five days, to re-route your domain and proud national brand to the loving care of a new owner in Nigeria, will now become the default equivalent of “Yes” he can have it, which I am certain will cause all kinds of embarrassment or amusement in future for well-known companies who fail to keep a proper eye on their domain name administration.

There’s more of course but it might be a good idea to check that all your domain details on WHOIS are firmly up to date and don’t go on holiday for more than five days…ever! You couldn’t make it up!

Meanwhile, only last month, one of Britain’s proudest online publications was telling me that its strong permissions-based architecture for managing subscriptions gave them confidence that their premium content could not be easily stolen over the Internet. Not true I’m afraid. Visit www.bugmenot.com and this password aggregator will happily provide you with log-in scripts to just anyone you can think of, 30,000 sites, which include leading international newspapers and even private company sites.

Community password sites like Bugmenot collects passwords from anyone who wishes to volunteer them for the world to share at will and what will worry the publishing industry, is that there appears to be no law that forbids it, which in turn, rather makes a mockery of the publishing industry’s efforts to separate public and premium content.

Finally, in this week’s list of lunacy, we have one more example of the intellectual property struggle gone awry. It’s all about the book “Gone with the Wind”. In Australia and some other countries, the book was free of copyright restrictions in 1999 but in the United States will not enter the public domain until 2031, 95 years after its original publication.

So, in Australia, you can download Hitler's "Mein Kampf," "1984" by George Orwell and the Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle but try this exercise from a US site and you could find yourself breaking rocks in an Alabama chain gang. The powerful international publishing lobby in the United States, supported by the 6th Fleet, now wants to see their 95-year rule extended globally, by trade agreement and what are the odds, I wonder, that any government will object?

Comments

Dewdrop said…
Only one word can describe the domain name 'game' in my view - and that farce!!
What clown thinks up such rules? (And more importantly who gave him the job?!!!)
As for password and copyright stuff, that's rather tricky and worrying!

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