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[Comment-Ip] Comments on WIPO's Final Report

Comments of Viacom on WIPO's Internet Domain Name Process Final Report

Viacom submits this letter in response to ICANN's request for public
comments on WIPO's Final Report on the Internet Domain Name Process.  

Viacom is a diversified global entertainment company, with operations in
motion picture distribution, television programming, home video rental and
retailing, theme parks and publishing.  Specifically, Viacom operates MTV:
Music Television, Showtime, Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, VH1: Music First, TV
Land and 19 broadcast televisions stations.  Viacom also operates Paramount
Pictures, Paramount Television, 80%-owned Spelling Entertainment, Paramount
Parks, Blockbuster and Simon & Schuster.

Viacom trademarks are strongly identified with the product lines they
represent and are, therefore, significant assets of the company.  The
following are but a sampling of Viacom's significant marks: VIACOM®,

As a media company, Viacom has embraced the new medium of the Internet.  It
has done so in order to further interact with Viacom's audience -- its
viewers, customers and readers, as well as to promote its theatrical
releases, television programs and television stations, as well as to sell
branded merchandise.  The infringement problems for owners of famous marks -
such as Viacom - have been significant on the World Wide Web: Viacom has
repeatedly encountered third parties' attempts to exploit the good will
relating to our properties -- either for their own business purposes or to
attempt to extract money from Viacom -- through domain name registrations
for titles of motion pictures, television shows, merchandise, and
innumerable other properties owned by Viacom and its affiliated companies. 

Viacom has participated actively in the review of domain names conducted by
WIPO, and is generally supportive of the Final Report issued as a result of
that review.  The Final Report presents a balanced and well-reasoned
approach to the complex issues studied.  Viacom particularly endorses the
following key recommendations contained in the Final Report:  

*	WIPO's finding that "the collection and availability of accurate and
reliable contact details of domain name holders is an essential tool for
facilitating the protection of intellectual property rights," and its
recommendation that unrestricted, public access in "real time" to such
information be available.  The fluidity and worldwide nature of the Internet
render access to such information crucial to trademark owners; only through
such immediate and complete access can rights holders effectively protect
their properties.

*	WIPO's call for further study on the establishment of a special
domain which would permit anonymous registration, but recommends extreme
caution in determining whether to create such a site.  It is Viacom's
experience that the majority of infringement problems involve registrants
who are not deriving revenues from their sites, but are nevertheless
inflicting significant injury to rights holders.  That a registrant does not
"sell" the copyrighted material on its site is irrelevant if that material
is, by such transmission, made available to the public.  Viacom therefore
cautions that any definition of "non-commercial" for the purpose of an
anonymous registration system be narrowly and carefully drawn.

*	WIPO's recommendation that registrants be required to submit to an
online administrative procedure with respect to all cases of cyberpiracy.
Viacom also endorses the recommendation that this procedure remain an
alternative to judicial proceedings.  An expeditious and cost-effective
procedure with one single evolving precedent is crucial in protecting not
only the rights of trademark owners, but the orderly maintenance of domain
names.  In addition, alternative judicial redress is crucial for those
instances, for example, when issues in addition to cyberpiracy are

*	WIPO's recommendation for an exclusionary mechanism whereby "famous
marks" will not be registered by third parties on new gTLDs.  It is Viacom's
experience that its "famous marks" are the major targets of cyberpirates.
The new gTLDs contemplated will significantly increase the infringement
problem.  Truly "famous marks," as defined by a clear set of criteria,
should be protected from third party use through an automatic exclusionary

	In conclusion, we commend WIPO on its well-reasoned examination of
the complex issues surrounding domain names, and urge ICANN to adopt the
recommendations put forward in the Final Report.

Respectfully submitted,

Michelena Hallie
Vice President, Senior Counsel
  Intellectual Property
Viacom Inc.
1515 Broadway 
New York, NY  10036