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.MUSIC comments for ICANN DAG4: IDN/Equivalents Communication Outreach/Gaming, Multi-Stakeholder Governance, Vertical Integration Exceptions, Backend Registry Evaluation

  • To: 4gtld-guide@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: .MUSIC comments for ICANN DAG4: IDN/Equivalents Communication Outreach/Gaming, Multi-Stakeholder Governance, Vertical Integration Exceptions, Backend Registry Evaluation
  • From: Constantine Giorgio Roussos <costa@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 16:10:35 -0700

.MUSIC was founded in 2005 and has been participating in and contributed to
ICANN and the launch of new generic top-level domains since 2008. Catering
exclusively to the music community, .MUSIC is a not-for-profit organization
with neutral multi-stakeholder governance structure that ensures fair
representation of commercial and non-commercial music constituents.

.MUSIC's initiative and core mission for launching the generic top-level
domain includes:

- Music education as an integral part of school curriculum
- Fighting piracy and protecting intellectual property
- Supporting musician's rights and fair compensation to rights holders
- Introducing innovation and competition in the domain space and music

The .MUSIC initiative was supported and signed by 1.5 million from the music
and at-large Internet community. Furthermore, .MUSIC has the largest Myspace
profile with over 4.2 million friends as well as over 500,000 followers
across the most popular social media networks including Facebook and

RE: Internationalized Domain Names & Exact String Translations: Significant
Discounts Due to Economies of Scope/Scale.

.MUSIC is strongly considering applying for the exact translation of
".MUSIC" in IDN character scripts other than Latin/ASCII. About 6 other IDN
equivalents are strongly considered. In the current DAG 4, each IDN
equivalent is treated as a new application costing $185k each time. It is
beyond reasonable to assume that in each of these cases, the evaluator would
only be required to check the section where the string is technically
verified. The rest of the application will be exactly the same as the
"Latin-based" .MUSIC application. The registry backend operator will be the
same, the business plan the same, the financial information the same, the
applicant the same etc.

Furthermore, .MUSIC is strongly considering applying for other Latin-based
language translations of "music" such as .MUSIQUE (French) under the same
application. Similar discounts should apply given that the evaluator will
not need to verify the same details again over and over again and given that
the string is an exact translation that would not be confusingly similar or

Request: ICANN should significantly decrease application fees for exact
translation equivalent of the same TLD to reflect the effort the evaluating
team would require to process the application. If all TLDs fall under the
same applicant, community, business plan, string, backend registry etc, then
ICANN does not need to spend additional time repeating the same evaluation
step needlessly since economies of scope/scale are reasonably justified.

RE: Communication Outreach & Gaming

.MUSIC has been public about the specialized TLD for the music community
since the ICANN announcement to launch new gTLDs in June, 2008 in Paris. The
timeline published with the Board's approval of the new gTLD program launch
was opening the application process in March 2009. Applicants, such as
.MUSIC, have been performing public outreach communication campaigns and
planning based on ICANN timelines.

ICANN has changed the timeline numerous times creating an environment of
unfairness with no remorse in regards to the damage inflicted on applicants
that have planned, hired staff and raised capital to launch under the
timelines given. We have participated in discussions in regards to issues on
gTLDs and other hot topics such as Vertical Integration, even putting our
business models and plans out in the open in a transparent manner so we
could receive as much feedback as possible from our respective community as
well as help ICANN launch new gTLDs in a manner that would increase
competition and innovation in the domain space.

Furthermore, we have assembled over 1.5 million signatures supporting the
.MUSIC initiative and over 4 million supporters across all social media. Our
communication campaign not only has benefited .MUSIC but we have also helped
ICANN spread the word about new gTLDs and who they are. Our communication
outreach campaign is in the public interest and in alignment ICANN's public
communication campaign that serves the same purpose.

Given the delays and the double-edge sword of our public interest
communication outreach, we are worried that the entire gTLD process will be
gamed by applicants who would "cut and paste" our business models,
governance structure and exact methodologies. What we worry about most
though, is the most likely possibility of last-minute "vulture" applicants
whose only objective is an exit strategy which is no other than get paid off
by us to leave. Applicants such as ourselves have no protections whatsoever
from ICANN in regards to gaming, lack of transparency and having our
business models "ripped off."

The main concerns of the music community is the possibility of the .MUSIC
TLD to be "hijacked" by bad actors and be used in bad faith to extort high
domain prices for trademarked domains as well as be used to violate
copyrights. Furthermore, the multiple-stakeholder governance structure is
the only acceptable model that can fairly accommodate the music community's

We believe that our actions of good faith, public participation, multiple
stakeholder model, huge communication outreach campaign and transparency of
our business model has served both the public and the ICANN community to see
that there are possibilities and innovations beyond just domain names. We
realize that our bottom-up approach and full-transparency move is risky
because we are exposing our initiative to others who can emulate us and plan
to exploit us to gain an unfair advantage or game us. We have contributed to
the ICANN process and have worked in the public interest of our community.
What we ask is fairness in treatment given the high potential of gaming and
the delays suffered.

Request: Two maximum points should be allocated in the Community Priority
Evaluation section if the applicant/organization was established before the
first communicated application window of March 2009 as well as conducted a
significant communication outreach public campaign that is considered beyond
reasonable for the best interests of both the public and awareness of the
ICANN gTLD program. Public proof must be provided in these cases to
substantiate these claims.

RE: Communities with Multi-Stakeholder Governance in the Public Interest

To ensure fairness, representation and transparency in the community-based
model, a neutral multi-stakeholder governance structure for both commercial
and non-commercial constituents is highly recommended. Any other model would
not be in the best interests of the music community.

Request: One point should be allocated in the Community Priority Evaluation
section if the applicant/organization adopts a sound neutral
multistakeholder governance structure to ensure fairness and representation
of both commercial and non-commercial constituents. Multi-stakeholder
governance is in the best interest of all stakeholders by providing a public
service to both the community represented and the Internet.

RE: Vertical Integration Exceptions

Vertical Integration exceptions should be granted to community-based
organizations with a structure that ensures registry data can not be abused
and used to raise prices and make valuable, premium domains unavailable to
the public. Exceptions should include organizations that do not require the
assistance or the marketing distribution channels of current registrars that
would not provide any value to the community TLD. Newcomer/new entrants with
no prior business in the registry/registrar business and with innovative
business models and technology should be allowed to vertically integrate in
order to help level the playing field and compete with the likes of
Verisign, Afilias or Godaddy, who are primed to most benefit from new TLDs
with or without Vertical Integration.

RE: Backend Registry Evaluation Clearance

It seems rather robotic that evaluators would have to substantiate that
established registry backend operators such as Verisign, Afilias, Neustar,
AusRegistry, CORE are technically sound. ICANN should evaluate all
"established" backend registries once and "pass" all applicants who have
those established backend registries as their backend registry providers.
This would save ICANN money on paying evaluators and simplify the
application process. The only backend registry technical evaluation that
would make sense is if the backend registry is new and has no prior history
in the business.

Constantine Roussos
Founder & CEO


468 N. Camden Dr #123, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, USA - Tel: +1 310 860 4745
Roussos Group Building, 19 Mesolongiou St, 3032 Lemesos, Cyprus - Tel: +357
25 374000

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