ICANN Accepts Some Government Advice On New TLDs

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By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) this week accepted another set of advice from its Government Advisory Committee (GAC) with regard to new top-level domain applications.

The ICANN document is available here [pdf].

The application of DotConnectAfrica, which was competing with a .africa bid supported by the African Union (IPW, ITU/ICANN, 3 November 2012) and a bid for the zone .gcc which is opposed by the Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), will not proceed, following GAC advice.

ICANN for years has prepared for a process to delegate new domain name zones. Over 1900 new top-level domains (TLDs) like .web, .hiv, .blog or .miami were applied for in the process started last year. The GAC, at a recent meeting in Beijing (IPW, ITU/ICANN, 12 April 2013), presented concerns from governments with regard to additional geographical names, like .patagonia, .amazon, .thai or .shenzhen, and also to religious term TLDs like .islam and .halal.

For these, ICANN committed not to proceed to a registry contract before objections had been settled according to the applicant guidebook.

Also, the ICANN Board said it was prepared to consider disallowing the parallel delegation of singular and plural versions of a TLD. While a potential ban of .sports alongside of .sport answers concerns about the possible confusion of users, the Board kept silent with regard to an annex list of additional obligations governments want placed on operators of new TLD registries. These “safeguards” – which include measures to mitigate abuse, for example with regard to intellectual property infringement by domain name customers – drew a lot of criticism as paving the way for intermediary liability and making registries a domain name police.

ICANN has received over 700 comments to the GAC advice from Beijing, many of which warn against allowing governments so late in the process to overturn decisions by ICANN’s year-long multi-stakeholder process (IPW, ITU/ICANN, 12 April 2013).

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Comments

  1. says

    There is considerable opposition to the application for .Pharmacy on public interest and community grounds based on fears that the proposed registry standards will disadvantage Americans seeking access to affordable medication internationally. The applicant is the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), a U.S. pharmacy group, governed by U.S. pharmacy leaders who oppose personal drug importation. The application, according to the NABP’s website is funded by drug companies, including Merck and Eli Lilly: http://www.nabp.net/programs/pharmacy/pharmacy-and-nabp/coalition-support.

    For a nice summary see this article in TechDirt: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130515/00145123090/big-pharma-firms-seeking-pharmacy-domain-to-crowd-out-legitimate-foreign-pharmacies.shtml.

    Gabriel Levitt
    Vice President
    PharmacyChecker.com

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