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ICANN approves widespread new domain cybersquatting

But only if you own the registry

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ICANN has officially approved widespread corporate cybersquatting for new domain name registry operators.

It is not a well-known aspect of the new domain operators' contract, but they are entitled to register up to 10,000 domains for themselves before allowing anyone else access. ICANN argues that a registry operator will need a wide range of addresses on that registry in order to work effectively, and it is impossible to disagree with that.

However, a registrar is given free rein to select up to 10,000 domains that they wish to possess - something that to our minds is a little excessive. Of these, only half need have anything to do with the registry business. Under the ICANN contract: "Registry Operator may register the domain names listed on Appendix X (PartA) for its own use in operating the registry and providing Registry Services under this Agreement, provided the total number of domain names listed on Appendix X at any time does not exceed 5000". A further 5,000 are allowed "for its own use".

This excessive generosity came to light after one member of Yahoo's domain policy newsgroup queried why Afilias was entitled to the "search.info" domain. A scan of Afilias' contract revealed the situation. As far as publicly available information goes, Afilias has only registered 150 domains, although that was back in May this year so the situation may now be very different.

This revelation comes on top of widespread criticism of how ICANN chose the seven new top-level domains and how it decided which company was most suited to running that TLD. ICANN appears to have been over generous to the companies that have donated the majority of the independent, not-for-profit organisation's money in recent years. ®

Related Link

The ICANN contract - look at clauses 3.6.1 and 3.6.2

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