I don’t believe this subject needs introduction, but just in case:
Earlier today, Ron Paul filed an international UDRP complaint against RonPaul.com and RonPaul.org with WIPO, a global governing body that is an agency of the United Nations. The complaint calls on the agency to expropriate the two domain names from his supporters without compensation and hand them over to Ron Paul.
My immediate reaction to this was…unsettled: United Nations, coercion, private property of the current owners….
Ron Paul has earned enough goodwill with me to last nine lifetimes – unless he joins the Fed Board of Governors or the Board of Directors of one of the merchants of death, I am not sure he can spend even a few drops of the goodwill I have toward him. I do not worship him as perfect; I just respect the significance of what he has accomplished over his lifetime.
But even with this, the action by Dr. Paul initially didn’t sit well.
I read the complaint. It reads just like a typical legal complaint. This got me to thinking….
If I felt wronged in some manner, I would first attempt to work out a resolution with the other party. As long as this was proceeding in a timely manner, with the other party negotiating in good faith, I would continue in this course. Ultimately, if I felt appropriate resolution through this approach was not likely, I would pursue recourse in the court of competent jurisdiction. Unfortunately, in our society, such courts are government courts – housed in some level of government.
Certainly the end result of a court decision is force. Yet even the most libertarian of society must develop some form of dispute resolution short of an armed duel.
To offer that Ron Paul is attempting to use government force to achieve his ends is irrelevant, to this extent: 1) He is acting in good faith to attempt to recover something that he believes rightly belongs to him (his property), and 2) that the only means to do this (after good-faith attempts with the other party have failed) is to use the court system – which by definition is a government court system.
If the court of competent jurisdiction happens to be housed within the UN, then where else should he go? It isn’t by Ron Paul’s doing that the federal government gave up this jurisdiction – therefore to complain that the action is taken in the UN is irrelevant. If he goes to a US court, they would say it is out of their hands – go to the UN!
I have no idea about jurisdiction here, although in reading the complaint it seems that it is through this UN-housed entity where such complaints are adjudicated.
So here is where I am at the moment:
1) It seems Ron Paul believes he is attempting to recover something that rightly belongs to him. On this planet, there is only one Ron Paul that matters in the public eye. It is difficult for me to understand how the name “Ron Paul” does not belong to the well-known “Ron Paul.” If I started a blog “Lew Rockwell Dot Org,” it would seem appropriate that Mr. Rockwell would be justified in his attempts to reclaim his name.
2) I can only assume that good-faith attempts were made to negotiate and resolve this dispute. I have read some of what has become public on this. It is not enough to determine (nor, in any case, is anyone not directly privy to all of the details of the discussions able to determine) the extent of efforts made to resolve this privately.
3) In every society – including a libertarian society – there is and would be some means of non-violent dispute resolution. That we currently live in a society where the state provides this service should not preclude a libertarian from using these means if necessary.
4) This leads to filing the case in a court of competent jurisdiction. It certainly isn’t Ron Paul’s doing if that court happens to be within the UN.
I am open to understanding and considering much more on this topic, even to views completely counter to mine - but please at least address these in the terms I have outlined. The entire issue is one that must be flushed out. If anyone can shed light on the adjudication process if someone wants to challenge the ownership of a domain name, this would be helpful. Where is jurisdiction? What is the process?
But from what I currently understand and what is currently public, it seems to me that there is nothing inappropriate in Ron Paul’s action.