November 12, 2006 3:35am CST
Q.1. What is an IP address? The Internet is a network of computers. Each computer on the said network has its own distinct entity and presence. That is the reason why every computer is given a distinct Electronic Address called the Internet Protocol address or in short IP address. This IP address is given by numerical values like 184.108.40.206. The IP address is just like any telephone number which identifies a particular computer on the Internet. Q.2 What is a Domain Name? Since it is not possible to remember each and every numerical value of an IP address, the system of domain names evolved. Internet domain names, in a common man's language, are used as an easy-to-remember alias which point to a specific IP address. The dominant purpose of the domain name is simply to provide an easy method for remembering another's electronic address. It's a unique name used to identify, among other things, a specific Web site. Thus a typical domain name would be http://www.indiainfoline.com. Q.3. What are the components of a Domain Name? Any domain name consist of two components, namely the top level domain name(TLD) and a second level domain name. Thus in the said example, http://www.indiainfoline.com, ".com" would be the top level domain name while "indiainfoline" would be second level domain name. Q.4. What are the categories of Top Level Domain Names (TLDs)? As on date, there are two categories of top level domain names. In the first category comes the domain names .com, .net, .org, .edu. When the system of registering domain names began, the norms were that the .com name is to be given to commercial organizations, while others such as .org, .net, .gov and .edu are to be assigned to non-commercial organizations, network providers, government agencies and educational institutions respectively. However, as time has passed, due to the enhanced volumes of domain name registrations, the said norms have been abandoned and today anyone can, without any restriction of any kind whatsoever, can register any domain name. The second category of top level domain names is the country code TLDs denoted by a two letter country code. For instance, the top level domain name for India is .in. The responsibility for assigning the same is given in each country to a specified country domain name registrar. In India, the TLD.in is registered by NCST at Bombay. Q.5. Who registers Domain Names? The domain names were initially registered by Network Solutions only, who had the sole monopoly to register the said TLDs. This monopoly of Network Solutions continued for many years and only in 1999, the Internet Corporation Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) allowed other accredited registrars to register domain names. Today there are more than 100 registrars with whom one can register a TLD. Q.6. What is the unique feature of Domain Names? The unique feature of domain names is that the said domain names are given on "first come, first served" basis. This feature of domain names gives rise to numerous legal issues and disputes. Thus the important thing in domain names registration is speed. To take an example, the domain name www.microsoft.org was available and was registered by Amit Mehrotra much before Microsoft Corporation could think of it. This led to numerous ticklish legal issues. Microsoft Corporation, despite having the trademark Microsoft, could not get the domain name www.microsoft.org because of the "first come, first served" criteria of domain name registration. Q.7. How are Domain Names different from Trade Marks? To put it simply, Domain names are indeed different from trademarks. While it is possible that the same trademark may be registered by different persons in different categories and different lines of businesses, it may be possible to only register one domain name corresponding to such trademark. This aspect of domain names has led to numerous legal problems. Q.8. What is Cybersquatting? Another legal issue surrounding domain names is that of Cybersquatting. Cybersquatting is the practice by means of which a person or legal entity books up the trade mark, business name or service mark of another as his own domain name for the purpose of holding on to it and thereafter selling the same domain name to the other person for valuable premium and consideration. Cybersquatters book up domain names of important brands in the hope of earning quick millions. Q.9. What are the recent trends relating to tackling Cybersquatters? The Internet history has shown that while some corporate players have been willing to and have indeed coughed up money to get back their legitmate domain names, the recent trend is more towards taking the cybersquatters by the horns and fighting them out by legal processes. Courts throughout the world, including in India, have been proactive and have been granting injunctions to stop cybersquatters from operating their web sites. Q.10. What is the latest most effective remedy against Cybersquatting? The latest breath of fresh air in the fight against Cybersquatting has been the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy which has been duly approved by ICANN. Under the said Domain Names Dispute Resolution Policy, a summary procedure is adopted to adjudicate the complaint of any complainant relating to any domain name on payment of processing fees. This policy has been in operation since the end of last year. Q.11. Under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, have the Indian companies had any success? Under the said policy, Indian companies are also beginning to get back their legitimate domain names. The domain name www.theeconomictimes.com and www.timesofindia.com have been won back under the said policy. Two recent success for Indian Companies under the said policy include winning back the domain names www.tata.org and www.philipsindia.com by TATA and Philips India respectively.
20 Jun 11
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