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In the early 21st century, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) pursued the seizure of domain names, based on the legal theory that domain names constitute property used to engage in criminal activity, and thus are subject to forfeiture. For example, in the seizure of the domain name of a gambling website, the DOJ referenced 18 U.S.C. §

In the early 21st century, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) pursued the seizure of domain names, based on the legal theory that domain names constitute property used to engage in criminal activity, and thus are subject to forfeiture. For example, in the seizure of the domain name of a gambling website, the DOJ referenced 18 U.S.C. § 981 and 18 U.S.C. § 1955(d).[31][1] In 2013 the US government seized Liberty Reserve, citing 18 U.S.C. § 982(a)(1).[32]

The U.S. Congress passed the

The U.S. Congress passed the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act in 2010. Consumer Electronics Association vice president Michael Petricone was worried that seizure was a blunt instrument that could harm legitimate businesses.[33][34] After a joint operation on February 15, 2011, the DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security claimed to have seized ten domains of websites involved in advertising and distributing child pornography, but also mistakenly seized the domain name of a large DNS provider, temporarily replacing 84,000 websites with seizure notices.[35]

In the United Kingdom, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has been attempting to seize domain names from registrars without court orders.[36]

PIPCU and other UK law enforcement organisations make domain suspension requests to Nominet which they process on the basis of breach of terms and conditions. Around 16,000 domains are suspended annually, and about 80% of the requests originate from PIPCU.[37]

Property rightsBecause of the economic value it represents, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the exclusive right to a domain name is protected as property under article 1 of Protocol 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights.[38]

IDN Variants

ICANN Business Constituency (BC) has spent decades trying to make IDN variants work at the second level, and in the last several years at the top level. Domain name variants are domain names recognized in different character encodings, like a single domain presented in traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese. It is an Internationalization and localization problem. Under Domain Name Variants, the different encodings of the domain name (in simplified and traditional Chinese) would resolve to the same host.[39][40]

According to John

According to John Levine, and expert on Internet related topics, "Unfortunately, variants don't work. The problem isn't putting them in the DNS, it's that once they're in the DNS, they don't work anywhere else."[39]

A fictitious domain name is a domain name used in a work of fiction or popular culture to refer to a domain that does not actually exist, often with invalid or unofficial top-level domains such as ".web", a usage exactly analogous to the dummy 555 telephone number prefix used in film and other media. The canonical fictitious domain name is "example.com", specifically set aside by IANA in RFC 2606 for such use, along with the .example TLD.

Domain names used in works of fiction have often been registered in the DNS, either by thei

Domain names used in works of fiction have often been registered in the DNS, either by their creators or by cybersquatters attempting to profit from it. This phenomenon prompted NBC to purchase the domain name Hornymanatee.com after talk-show host Conan O'Brien spoke the name while ad-libbing on his show. O'Brien subsequently created a website based on the concept and used it as a running gag on the show.[41]