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CADNA Announces New Anti-Cyber Squatting Campaign

by Glen Shapiro,, New York

26 July 2007

The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) on Tuesday announced the launch of a national campaign against Internet fraud.

According to the Coalition, although the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) was introduced in 1999, cybersquatting remains an underestimated threat.

The number of .com domain names alone has doubled since 2003, and the number of cybersquatting disputes being filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is on the rise - up 25% in 2006 from 2005.

Citing a recent independent report, CADNA revealed that cybersquatting had increased by 248% in the past year.

It argued that:

"With growing ease and profitability, sophisticated cybersquatters are exploiting a flaw in the domain name registration process whereby domain names are registered and subsequently dropped, risk free, within an accepted 5-day grace period. By abusing this grace period, cybersquatters "taste" and "kite" domain names in order to test their profitability."

"According to a recent industry report, there are over 1 million kited sites re-registered daily, collectively bringing in $100-125 million in annual revenue for criminals and profiteers. On the whole, cybersquatting is costing brand owners worldwide well over $1 billion every year as a result of diverted sales, the loss of hard-earned trust and goodwill, and the increasing enforcement expense of protecting consumers from Internet-based fraud."

The Coalition continued:

"Cybersquatters' increasing assault on intellectual property hurts everyone involved, including consumers and the Internet community at large. By registering domain names derived from famous brands, cybersquatters are able to successfully lure consumers into purchasing counterfeit products (including potentially harmful counterfeit prescription drugs), giving away their personal information (which could lead to further financial loss) and unwittingly exposing themselves to spyware deposits. According to the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC), $600 billion was spent online for counterfeits in 2006."

"Phishing, a fraud enabled by cybersquatting, is also growing at an alarming rate. The Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership of the National White Collar Crime Center and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, found that consumers in the U.S. reported personal losses of $198.44 million to phishing in 2006."

To effectively combat cybersquatting, CADNA has pledged to work at the federal and international levels to make these fraudulent practices difficult to establish and unprofitable to maintain.

Among the Coalition's stated goals are to pursue congressional legislation that would increase the statutory damages set forth by the existing Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, and to work with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to introduce an international anti-cybersquatting treaty.

CADNA has further stated that it will place pressure on ICANN to take decisive action on abuses by domain name registrars and registrants and close the loophole that affords criminals the opportunity to "kite" and "taste" domain names.

CADNA is a non-profit organization based in Washington DC, and its membership includes brands such as AIG, Dell, Eli Lilly, Hilton, HSBC, Marriott, Richemont, Verizon, Wyndham, and Yahoo!.

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