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.
I, too, have been following the "dot com" issue and while I am inclined to disagree with RP on this I am not unsettled and do not believe he has lost principle on this issue. I do not know where RP falls on the topic of IP, open-source tech., and open source information and I am not sure why so many in the libertarian community are up in arms over this issue. Then again, maybe I am unable to grasp the deeper aspect of this.ReplyDelete
I have no problem with RP using existing legal methods( gov't/UN legal channels) to attempt to obtain the domain name. I am not familiar with the rules, regulations, or agreements that surround this technical issue. Perhaps under the rules of domain assignment it is quite clear that RP can gain ownership of the domain. I side with, and I think most of the An-Cap community follows this, Block and others in that while a private law society would give different rules we must "play" in the game and with the rules that we find ourselves in( a statist society). In other words, RP has no other recourse than to use gov't/UN legal action....assuming he has attempted to gain the domain by private resolution. As you said, this is not his fault.
My only concern here is that there are now and very soon will be other generic "top" domains that perhaps he could have gone with instead. Is the current "dot com" owner committing fraud against RP some how? Also, simply because he is the "well-known" RP does that entitle he to the domain more than so than say Ron Paul, the plumber?
I don't know, maybe it does.
Anyway, I do not fault him for using what appears to be the only avenue open to him( gov't courts) to obtain the domain.
I do thank you for addressing this issues in a manner that does not drag in other side issues such as IP debates and the like( see EPJ). I am sure this does nothing to add to your post but I am really not unsettled by RP's action on this issue---he most likely simply has no other recourse left to him.
STS, thank you for the comments.Delete
Later today I will publish an expanded post on this subject, including some of the regulations and requirements behind the registration of domain names.
I agree that Ron Paul is using the arbiter that the register agreed to use. I appreciate the homework and citations you provided, as they did clear up some of the fuzziness of this issue. However, my concern is still this: Why does Ron Paul feel that he is entitled, or owed, or is the rightful owner of ronpaul dot com? And I love Lew Rockwell, but he is way out of bounds with his throwing around the words "cybersquatting" and the like. ronpaul dot com has done nothing but promote Ron Paul, and to use the words cybersquatting is irresponsible and petty.ReplyDelete
Someone was forward-thinking and acquired a domain that could be monetized. That domain, as far as I know, never spoke ill of Ron Paul, or libeled Ron Paul, or try to hamper to work/campaign of Ron Paul. Now the good Doctor should just walk away. There is only a dispute because he regrets that he didn't get the domain when he could have. I regret that I didn't invent the iPhone. Where does this madness end?