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Canadian Judge Rules Domain Names Are Property 142

farrellj writes "A recent decision in the Ontario Appeals court has ruled in favour of Tucows, saying that domain names are considered property, rather than being a license. This has major ramifications for a people both inside and outside Canada, doubly so since Tucows is a major domain registrar. This ruling comes from a very high court, which means that any appeal must go to the Supreme Court of Canada. So there is a good chance this ruling will stand."
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Canadian Judge Rules Domain Names Are Property

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  • Re:cool story bro (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday August 13, 2011 @10:40AM (#37078984) Journal

    but what sort of effect would such a ruling have? ie: why the fuck should we care?

    Well, among other minor matters, it would tend to suggest that your registrar is more in the position of a landlord than of a software-licensor(ie. he doesn't have complete power to fuck you over arbitrarily) and it would also tend to suggest that your friendly local feds would be bound by whatever pitiful shreds of procedural protection govern seizing property, rather than something even weaker...

  • Re:So who owns it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Saturday August 13, 2011 @10:47AM (#37079024) Journal

    Why do we need liquidity for domain names?

  • Property in Canada (Score:5, Insightful)

    by __aaaehb3101 ( 610398 ) on Saturday August 13, 2011 @11:00AM (#37079092)
    If as the court has ruled that a domain anme is "property" that means as long as it is maintained, it requires a court order to seize it, and that a business with a domain name is entitled to all the rights and privileges or a "real" business(actual court orders to search or read domain email without holders permission, ect.) A very interesting judgement, I imagine this may go all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. In the area of property, ISPs would not be able to take your site down without a court order as long as your paying for hosting. Just as a business can't be evicted as long as it pays the rent, without a court order. You would be able to sue in court for loss of access due to outages, as if the landlord blocked a door to a store. Or if you are hosting your domain on your own equipment, a real court order would be required to block DNS records. I imagine this has huge implications to Intellectual Property rights, Copyright, and legal copying/file sharing under Canadian Law. I imagine the US and the EU are going to have an apoplectic fit once the lawyers start really discussing this.
  • Re:So who owns it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Saturday August 13, 2011 @11:10AM (#37079136)

    That's completely untrue. You need some speculators in the stock market because there's a lot of businesses that need the proceeds of stock sales before they're a reliable bet and during times of risk.

    But this is a completely different matter. Domain names are for the purpose of not having to type an IP address in to access a site. Having people licensing sites with no intention of using the site does nothing helpful.

    As for the ruling, as much as I typically like to see people sticking it to corporations this was an idiotic court decision that will have real consequences in the long term. If you're now the owner of a particular domain, that means that there is no way that the registration can be stripped or a means of a registrar seizing the domain if payment is withheld.

BLISS is ignorance.