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Computing

Heard on the beat:

London computer club is blamed in major 'cybersquatting' case

chips and bits

June 1, 1999
Web posted at: 4:34 p.m. EDT (2034 GMT)

(LA Times) -- Register.com, a New York-based company that registers Internet addresses for businesses or individuals, was unwittingly used in one of the largest episodes of ``cybersquatting'' -- the speculative buying and selling of those addresses. As previously reported, Pictureweb, a computer club in London, registered about 75,000 addresses earlier this year.

Network Solutions, until recently the exclusive administrator for Internet addresses, or domain names, initially said that Register.com had provided registration services to Pictureweb. But on further investigation, Network Solutions determined that Register.com was unwittingly used by the English club, said Network Solutions spokesman Brian O'Shaughnessy. The group conducted mass registrations with an automated template that inserted Register.com information into application forms filed without Register.com's participation, O'Shaughnessy said. Most of the names have since been decertified.

Online show producer to get cash infusion

Digital Entertainment Network, the Santa Monica, Calif., firm that is creating a lineup of television-style shows for the Internet, is expected to announce this week that it has raised $26 million from Microsoft, Dell Computer, Cassandra Chase Entertainment Partners, Chase Capital Partners and senior executives of Lazard Freres. Together, the investors will hold less than 20 percent of the company.

Jim Ritts, Digital Entertainment Network's new chief executive, said the investment would fund the company's expansion efforts, including the development of shows aimed at its target audience of 14- to 24-year-olds.

``We'll put the money to very good use,'' he said, ``but of equal importance is the counsel from the partners.''

Ritts joined the company in April after serving as commissioner for the Ladies Professional Golf Assn. He previously served as an executive with Channel One, which produces a news program for schools.

More scrutiny for Net trademark accord

The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers held off on adopting a controversial plan for resolving trademark disputes on the Internet during its meeting last week in Berlin. Some Net activists say the plan proposed by the World Intellectual Property Organization would give too much power to big companies at the expense of individual Internet users.

Los Angeles-based ICANN said it supported several ideas contained in the WIPO plan, but the nonprofit group requested input from the Internet community on other issues. For instance, ICANN said it would like to create a method for settling trademark disputes between two parties who each have a legitimate claim to a particular name. ICANN asked the newly formed Domain Name Supporting Organization to offer its suggestions by July 31.

ICANN also asked the organization to make recommendations about two related topics: how to handle ``famous names,'' and whether to create new generic top-level domains -- such as ``.shop'' and ``.firm'' -- in addition to ``.com,'' ``.net'' and ``.org.''

Sandpiper Networks' footprint wins award

Sandpiper Networks' Footprint service for distributing Web pages efficiently over the Internet won two awards at this month's Network+Interop show in Las Vegas, including the prestigious ``Best of the Best'' honor. But those weren't the only awards bestowed on the Sandpiper family. Internet Dynamics Inc. won a Best of Show award in the e-commerce category for its Conclave Internet security product. Both Sandpiper and IDI are descendants of Sandpiper Software Consulting, a small technology incubator in Westlake Village, Calif.

Web site provides link for Kosovars

The Internet Society is using the global computer network to help refugees from Kosovo find family members. KosovoNet.org has a message center for Kosovars living in refugee camps, along with links to humanitarian and aid agencies that are monitoring the crisis in the Balkans.

The Reston, Va.-based Internet Society launched KosovoNet.org last week in conjunction with the Wladyslaw Poniecki Foundation of El Cerrito, Calif., which is trying to spread Internet technology throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

Internet's at home almost everywhere

Does the Internet live in Virginia?

The answer, according to the Economic Development Authority of Fairfax County, Va., is yes. The agency touts Fairfax County as ``Home of the Internet'' on its Web site and in radio promotions on National Public Radio.

The claim is based partly on the fact that Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf developed the TCP/IP protocol -- which became the language of the Internet -- in the Fairfax County city of Reston, said Jerry Gordon, president of the EDA. In addition, the county is currently home to such Internet heavyweights as America Online, UUNet and PSINet.

``The estimate we got from the Internet Society -- which is also here in Fairfax County -- is that 50 percent of worldwide Internet traffic crosses through our borders every day.''

But Los Angeles also claims a key piece of Internet history. In 1969, computer scientists at UCLA installed the first node of the Arpanet, the precursor of today's Internet. That fact has prompted Mayor Richard Riordan, among others, to call Los Angeles the ``birthplace of the Internet.''

``For sure, UCLA is the home of the Internet,'' said UCLA computer science professor Leonard Kleinrock, who helped create the packet-switching technology that makes the Internet work. The folks in Virginia who claim otherwise are ``impostors,'' he said.

Cerf, a onetime UCLA graduate student who is now senior vice president for Internet architecture and technology for MCI WorldCom in Reston, Va., disagrees with Kleinrock's reasoning. Several cities -- including Palo Alto, Cambridge and Arlington, Va. -- also hosted instrumental developments in the evolution of the global computer network. Therefore, he said, the Internet has no single hometown.

``The Internet lives where anyone can access it,'' Cerf said.

Copyright © 1999, Los Angeles Times.
Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate


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RELATED SITES:
Register.com
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www.mci.net
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