Notorious typosquatter arrested under Truth in Domain Names Act

Notorious typosquatter John Zuccarini is the first person to have been arrested under the Truth in Domain Names Act. The act, which came into force in March, prohibits registrants from hosting websites that are unsuitable for children under misleading domain names.

Pursuant to the act, James Comey, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, ordered the arrest of Zuccarini, who has been named in 53 federal lawsuits and has been ordered to return some 200 domain names under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy and other policies. He has allegedly created at least 3,000 websites under misleading and often trademark infringing domain names, such as 'dinseyland.com', generating as much as $1 million a year.

This arrest may prove to be an important test for the Truth in Domain Names Act because its definition of 'misleading domain name' is vague and Zuccarini may contend that the domain name registrations are protected by the right to free speech under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. It remains to be seen, therefore, whether the act will fulfil its functions of protecting children from online pornography and protecting trademarks.

Linda Goldstein and Douglas J Wood, Hall Dickler Kent Goldstein & Wood LLP, New York

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