It's staggering and insane! As a graduate of Anglo-Saxon I can confirm that the word "shire" has enjoyed nearly 1500 years of usage here in the UK. It is part of our heritage and culture, and part of our language ... which, frankly, belongs to everyone... language (and especially generic words) should NOT be annexed by companies and withheld from everybody else. That is completely unacceptable.
The same issue arises with many of the Sunrise reservations made by companies.
ICANN has been craven in its appeasement of the IP interests, and I believe that the whole thing should be reversed. If a webmaster can be shown to be exploiting a company or causing confusion, then it should be up to the Trademark holder to demonstrate this. It should not be assumed in advance that they have prior right to generic words.
As has been asserted by others, if you take the word 'apple' there must be scores of companies in the US who trade on that name, and scores more in UK, in Canada, in Australia... simple logic would make it obvious that if *one* company reserves this generic word at Sunrise, then it is actually being done at the expense of all the other companies, not to mention the entire human race.
Excessive appeasement of the IP / TM lobby may result, on a number of fronts, in the dimunition of our freedom of speech and right to use our own language.
The word "Shire" was in truth 'taken' by Tolkien, whi had no intention of depriving his fellow English-speakers of this part of our language and history.
After all, Tolkien was a Professor of Anglo-Saxon himself. His love of the language would never have envisaged the annexing of swathes of words, and limitations on people using them.
Those who today are trying to exploit Tolkien's product and make money from it are not acting in the spirit or intent of Tolkien himself.
"If a webmaster can be shown to be exploiting a company or causing confusion, then it should be up to the Trademark holder to demonstrate this."
Did you know - it is now in American Law that the accused is guilty - until they can prove themselves innocent?
This is even though - they may not be doing anything unlawful !!!!!!
The U.S. Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act is the only law in Western World that does this.
I am sure you well know - any company with similar name to one of your domains can accuse you.
You may be doing nothing illegal with the domain name (which may also be used legally by other similar named businesses) - but you still have to prove you were not going to do anything illegal with it.
If not you could be liable for fine of up to $100,000 per domain.
Quote: 106TH CONGRESS REPORT - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TRADEMARK CYBERPIRACY PREVENTION ACT
Quote: "The amended bill goes further, however, in order to protect the rights of domain name registrants against overreaching trademark owners. Under the amended bill, a trademark owner who knowingly and materially misrepresents to the domain name registrar or registry that a domain name is INFRINGING is liable to the domain name registrant for damages, including costs and attorneys' fees, resulting from the suspension, cancellation, or transfer of the domain name. In addition, the court may award injunctive relief to the domain name registrant..."