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    Top-Level Domain .Africa Becomes Object Of Bitter Fight

    Published on 3 November 2012 @ 10:47 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    A dispute over the .africa regional geographic top-level internet domain (TLD) has entered another round. The Kenya-based DotConnectAfrica trust (with headquarters in Mauritius) in a press release this week applauded the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for granting a change request to their application. DotConnectAfrica by mistake had applied for .dotafrica instead of .africa in its application during the new gTLD process in April.

    Yet while DotConnectAfrica speaks of a significant landmark victory in the battle for the .africa gTLD, the chances for the DotConnectAfrica TLD are slim at best as the competing application from UniForum SA (NPC), trading as Registry Africa, is officially supported by the African Union. With ICANN, according to its new TLD guidebook, obliged to look for the official endorsement for geographic TLDs – for regions at least 60 percent of the respective governments have to be supportive – the DotConnectAfrica’s bid can hardly win.

    The initiative pushed by Sophia Bekele, entrepreneur and former member of the Generic Name Supporting Organisation of ICANN, has been trying to undermine the competing application by a long list of complaints posted on ICANN’s gTLD application public comment forum. The list starts with what DotConnectAfrica says are undisclosed conflicts of interest of many members of the African Union Task Force on a .africa TLD, continues to lack of financial reserves and extends to warnings about “misrepresentations.”

    The African Union Commission on the other hand clearly pointed to ICANN’s gTLD applicant guidebooks and the rules about geographic TLDs and did so in the public comment forum and even warned that “a purported letter of endorsement from the African Union Commission by dotConnectAfrica Trust must be dismissed since the African Union Commission has issued DCA a letter clearly stating the contrary.”

    The AU had endorsed the UniForum application. The letter by Moctar Yedaly, head of the Information Society Division at the African Union Commission, reads: “The guidebook requires at least 60% of the relevant national governments in a region to provide documentation in support of new applications for geographic strings, which the applicant does not have.”

    The mudslinging on the TLD for the African continent might be the fiercest of its kind, yet there are other struggles about geographical TLDs, for example the warnings by the governments of Chile and Argentina over the application for .patagonia by the US sportswear company.

    To see the public comment page of ICANN go to: https://gtldcomment.icann.org/applicationcomment/viewcomments

    Monika Ermert may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. Too much information: Links for week ending 9 November | The Barefoot Technologist says:

      [...] Africa: Top–Level Domain becomes object of bitter fight IP Watch report on two companies battling for the right to control the registration of website domain names ending in “.africa” (as opposed to “.com,” “.co.uk,” “.org” etc). The international body tasked with assigning such rights, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, has received reports that the African Union Task Force on the .africa domain, which has endorsed one of the company’s application to control it, suffers from conflict of interest issues. [...]

    2. ThomasK says:

      Top-Level Domain .Africa Becomes Object Of Bitter Fight
      I am surprised you found DCA comments as “undermining” Uniform’s Application. I call it screw ups and a hastily put together proposal by UNIFORUM that violates ICANN gTLD guidelines in more ways than one, plus a straightforward corruption at the AUC.

      Surprisingly, despite that DCA’s proposal is the most compelling and in the public interest, you think “the chances for the DotConnectAfrica TLD are slim at best as the competing application from UniForum SA (NPC), trading as Registry Africa, is officially supported by the African Union”.

      Your suggestion stipulates that ICANN will bypass a violation of its own gtld guidelines just to accommodate African government wishes for an illegitimate application filed by UNIFORUM? That did not happen in Dakar when AUC requested to reserve the name against the new gTLD guideline,so I do not see it happen again.

      The slim chance is really for UNiforum to get a .africa!


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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