Utah Lawmakers Take Blinders Off, Earplugs Out

    April 30, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

A resounding "DOI!" came springing out of the Utah legislature late last week as lawmakers acknowledged they should have done a little background work, or at least listened to all the squalling, before they passed the Trademark Protection Act.

(For the uninitiated, "doi" is a juvenile, circa third grade insult, usually spoken with an lengthy up-twang at the end – doiiiii – replaced in junior high with "doofus," and in high school with "dumb ass." Perhaps unrelated, a search for the word "doi" brings back the US Department of Interior at doi.gov.)

Intended to take effect today, the Trademark Protection Act, legislation that would make it illegal to bid on competitor keywords, may get a work-over. Representatives, after passing the law unanimously despite protests from everywhere, may or may not repeal the act, but admit they’ve still "got some work to do."

That realization, courtesy of Rep. David Clark, descended onto to the Utah legislation only after Google, eBay, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo, 1-800-Contacts, and Overstock.com sent their heaviest hitters to give them a talking-to, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

The quote of the week, though, as noted on several blogs, also comes from Clark:

"I wish we had had this interaction with industry 60 days ago."

Um, doi. Though Utah’s lawmakers seem to have a poor understanding of how, exactly, the Internet works, we assume they do understand telephones, and have, at least, some lackeys to some research for them.

Perhaps they should subscribe to the Salt Lake Tribune while they’re making improvements in the legislative process, who called the law a "pointless fight" (hat tip to Eric Goldman).

"It’s only now, after the legislation has been passed, that the politicians figured it was worth maybe understanding what their legislation would actually do," writes Mike Masnick, CEO of TechDirt.

"Great point!" echoes Goldman (referring to Clark’s remarks, not Masnick’s). "The world would be a better place if legislators did their homework first before blasting their legislative guns."

But the headline of the week award goes to Kevin Newcomb at Search Engine Watch:

Utah Legislators Doing Research — After They Passed the Law

It’s unclear how Utah plans to rework the legislation. One politician said the law would go into effect as planned (heh, because it takes time to unscrew yourself in legislative matters), but the registry that was to be created will be delayed pending further information.