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Re: What if an URI also is a URL

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 07 Jun 2007 17:46:08 +0200
To: "Hammond, Tony" <t.hammond@nature.com>
Cc: SWIG <semantic-web@w3.org>
Message-ID: <17730.1181231168@ubuhebe>


"Hammond, Tony" <t.hammond@nature.com> writes:
> 
> "This document hereby declares, establishes and records the fact that the
> URI http://www.ihmc.us/users/phayes/PatHayes is owned by Pat Hayes and is
> intended by Pat Hayes to rigidly denote himself, ..."
> 
> Yes, very nice. But is it strictly legal? ;) 

No, but for different reasons than you suggest.

I'd say Pat's statements are problematic because they contradict
relevant IETF and W3C specifications.  He is, essentially, acting like
Emperor Norton [1], proclaiming things which are, in contrast to social
consensus, simply not true.

> See this
>
>     http://www.icann.org/faq/
> 
>     Q How long does a [DNS] registration last? Can it be renewed?
> 
>     A Each registrar has the flexibility to offer initial and renewal
> registrations in one-year increments, provided that the maximum remaining
> unexpired term shall not exceed ten years.
> 
> Maybe I'm missing something but I was not aware that DNS names were "owned".
> Contrast also that maximum period of registration with the lifetime of the
> Web.

No matter what ICANN tells people, I think it's safe to say that domain
names are, essentially, property.

Can you suggest a plausible scenario where domain names in which there
is a great deal of investment (amazon.com, google.com, ebay.com,
ibm.com, microsoft.com, mozilla.org, w3.org, wikipedia.org, irs.gov,
whitehouse.gov, house.gov, etc, etc) could be treated as significantly
different from property?   Do you think somehow smaller domains should
be governed by a different legal theory?

Of course, the laws concerning various types of property are incredibly
complicated and vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  But still, my
point is that people have a general sense of what property is, and that
applies to domain names.

(Note that people do get their property taken away from them, for all
sorts of reasons, from time to time.  Sometimes they have their property
stolen.  Sometimes someone uses the law in a way which seems offensive
to common sensibility to take away someone else's property.  That
doesn't change the fact that it was property.)

It would be nice if ICANN would be more clear about this, but I don't
particularly worry about it because I think if they attempted to act in
a way which significantly contradicted this understanding, they would be
overruled by more powerful segments of society.

    -- Sandro

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_A._Norton
Received on Thursday, 7 June 2007 15:46:12 UTC

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