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Minister Urges WIPO Anti-Squatting Policy

The Federal Government has called on the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to develop voluntary guideliness and policies to help prevent cybersquatting.

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, made the call for assistance after Australia joined an international coalition of governments and organizations to restrict cybersquatting.

Chief executive officer of the National Office for the Information Economy, Dr Paul Twomey, convened the February meeting to develop a framework in which to institute anti-squatting policies.

"Preventing cybersquatting will increase confidence in Internet infrastructure and e-commerce by protecting the established rights of businesses and individuals," said Alston.

The Australian government's request has been supported by fellow WIPO members Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France and the USA.

Cybersquatting is the registration of an Internet domain name that is abusing or in bad faith with regard to a name in which a person has intellectual property rights or some other legitimate claim.

Although the notion of protecting intellectual property has driven anti-squatting policies so far, Senator Alston asked the WIPO to also investigate uncertainty with cybersquatting surrounding non-trademarkable names, such as personal names, names of intergovernmental organizations and geographical terms.

Alston's interest in this issue may be in part motivated by the fact that he has been stung by it. An Adelaide resident has registered the domain name 'richardalston.com', and refutes the idea that he is a cybersqatter, saying that the name is not for sale.



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