What is the impact of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) on domain names?

Earlier today WikiLeaks published the draft text from a chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). While I am sure there will be (or maybe naively I hope there will be) dialogue and discussion about what this agreement means for business and consumers alike, I thought it worthwhile to broadcast a few relevant paragraphs about what this document is saying about Domain Names (from pages 20 and 21 of the PDF).

Article QQ.C.12: {Domain Names on the Internet}

1.56 In order to address the problem of trademark [VN/MX propose: geographical indication and trade name] cyber-piracy, each Party shall adopt or maintain a system for the management of its country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) that provides:

(a) an appropriate procedure for the settlement of disputes, based on, or modelled along the same lines as, the principles established in the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy, or that is: (i) designed to resolve disputes expeditiously and at low cost, (ii) fair and equitable, (iii) not overly burdensome, and (iv) does not preclude resort to court litigation;

(b) online public access to a reliable and accurate database of contact information concerning domain-name registrants57; in accordance with each Party’s laws regarding protection of privacy58 and personal data. 59

 

2. [PE/SG/CL/AU/NZ/MY/BN/CA oppose; US/VN/JP/MX propose: Each party shall provide [VN: oppose adequate and effective] [VN propose: appropriate] remedies against the registration trafficking60, or use in any ccTLD, with a bad faith intent to profit, of a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark [VN/MX propose: , geographical indication or trade name].]

55 Negotiators’ Note: AU supports this article ad referendum.

56 Negotiators’ Note: AU supports this paragraph ad referendum.

57 Negotiators’ Note: Brunei can accept this provision pending completion of its database.

58 Negotiators’ Note: US seeks further clarification on the scope of application of privacy data.

59 Negotiators’ Note: AU/CL/MY/NZ/US/SG/JP support contingent on understanding that TPP will include a general provision related to privacy/disclosure of information; issues.

60 Negotiators’ Note: JP seeks clarification as to whether “registration” is deemed to be synonymous with “acquiring the right to use” and reserves its position pending clarification of the term “trafficking”.

While there are much smarter minds than mine who can can read between the lines of what is being proposed (hat tip to Paul Keating and Ari Goldberger), I do find it interesting that global bodies are meeting behind closed doors to codify domain rules that would seem to take precedence over the established rules of ICANN. Best I can tell, the TPP would limit the sovereignty that each country has on their ccTLD (.ca, .uk, .se, .de…etc). It is also interesting to see what would come from the equirements for privacy of those rules governing privacy for domain name registrants.