Canada has come with a novel way of dealing with URL disputes. From 1 November it has decided to tear up all its country's domain names and start again. We thought someone was having a laugh when they informed us the new non-profit organisation set up to deal with .ca domains, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, had decided to make everyone reapply for their URLs.
So we called up CIRA and asked whether this was true. "Yes, we have set up a voluntary system for people to re-register their sites before November the first." And if they don't, that's it? "Well, there is a 30-day period after that when they can still apply," Annie Boucher told us. After that, it's available to anyone that wants it.
A little incredulous, we ask the obvious question: why? "Well, our logic was that there were lots of legal issues in consideration. We are creating a competitive system for domain names with people being able to register with different registrars, so we went for this approach."
This is an apparently bonkers piece of logic, but then, as we discovered, until CIRA was set up to take over the reins, you were only allowed to register a .ca domain if you were a federal company or owned the trademark. That said, this is still an extremely odd way of sorting out URL disputes.
But there's more: despite all this, and heavy fears of evil cybersquatters sitting in the wings, only 8,000 of the approximate 90,000 Canadian Web sites have bothered to re-register. Oh, and you have to pay another $20 to get back your domain.
God, we hope WIPO and ICANN don't get to hear about this - this kind of lunacy is right up their street. ®