Feeds

UN, IMF join opposition to ICANN top-level domain plans

Sod the economy, cybersquatting is the true threat

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) like the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund have joined the ranks of the opposition to ICANN's proposed expansion of domain names.

The web address overlord is planning to allow companies and organisations to establish generic top level domain names (gTLDs) from January next year, so strings like .hotel, .restaurant or even .un and .imf will be viable as new gTLDs.

"The IGO community concerns relate to the increased potential for the misleading registration and use of IGO names and acronyms in the domain name system under ICANN's significant expansion plans," lawyers for the organisations wrote in a letter to ICANN seen by Reuters.

Critics of gTLDs warn that the expansion will lead to cybersquatting, where addresses like .cocacola are snapped up and then the Coca-Cola company has to pay millions to get it back or put up with it being owned by someone else.

It will cost $185,000 to register a gTLD, meaning the cost of gathering up all the addresses that a company has to protect (.cocacola, .coke, .dietcoke, .fanta, coke.cocacola, coke.coke, etc ad nauseaum) will be prohibitive.

The US Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has been one of the leading opposition voices on gTLDs, forming the Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (CRIDO) to fight the plan.

According to the ANA, 100 organisations from around the world have joined CRIDO and signed a petition to the US Department of Commerce opposing the gTLD programme.

Last week, US senators recommended that the roll-out of the new system should be scaled back till 2013 after hearing from critics of the plan.

"The ICANN programme would pile billions of dollars of cost onto a challenging global economy, resources that could be much better spent on job creation," Dan Jaffe, ANA executive VP told the hearing.

"This is not merely a bad policy choice but a serious threat to the legitimate interests of both companies and consumers on the internet. We believe both the decision and the process ICANN followed are fundamentally flawed and the roll-out should be delayed," he added.

However, ICANN argues that the plans have already been working towards roll-out for six years and during that time, concerns about trademarks and brands were taken into consideration.

"Not only were the comments of my fellow witnesses received and considered during this time, their recommendations were largely adopted," said Kurt Pritz, ICANN's senior VP of stakeholder relations, in a blog posting after the hearing.

"A long and careful deliberative process produced this programme. World-class experts on intellectual property, economics and internet security developed solutions and those solutions were reviewed by the internet community and vetted by governments."

"New gTLDs will have even greater safeguards than the TLD registries that exist today and will include enhanced protections for trademark holders. The new environment will sharply reduce the need for defensive registrations," he added.

Some of these protections include 'uniform rapid suspension' - a quick way to take down infringing domain names and a trademark clearinghouse, where brands can protect their trademarks for all new gTLDs with one registration.

The US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Communications and Technology is due to hold a hearing on ICANN's plans today at 9am EST (4pm GMT). ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.