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AAP Comment on Closed Generic gTLDs

  • To: "'comments-closed-generic-05feb13@xxxxxxxxx'" <comments-closed-generic-05feb13@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: AAP Comment on Closed Generic gTLDs
  • From: Allan Adler <aadler@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2013 16:16:08 +0000

On behalf of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), I submit the 
attached comments in response to the ICANN notice of February 5, 2013 
concerning applications for closed generic gTLDs.

For the convenience of readers, the text of the attached letter is embedded 
below.

Sincerely,

Allan Adler

Allan Robert Adler
General Counsel
Vice President for Government Affairs
Association of American Publishers
455 Massachusetts Ave., NW, 7th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20001
(phone)  202/220-4544
(fax)      202/347-3690
(email)   adler@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:adler@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>






___________________________________________________________________________________________

March 7, 2013

Dr. Stephen D. Crocker, Chairman of the Board

Mr. Fadi Chehadé, President & CEO

Mr. Cherine Chalaby, Chair of the New gTLD Committee

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

12025 Waterfront Drive, Suite 300

Los Angeles, CA 90094



Re: Closed Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs)



On behalf of the Association of American Publishers (AAP)1, I am writing to 
express the opposition of U.S. book and journal publishers to closed generic 
gTLD applications generally and, in particular, to the closed generic gTLD 
application submitted to ICANN by Amazon EU S.a r.l. for the string BOOK.



For the reasons stated below, allowing a single private company to secure 
exclusive use of a string like ".book" - a gTLD of vast potential application 
and scope - would defeat the purposes for which new gTLDs are being authorized 
and is, therefore, not in the public interest.



The explanations for the introduction of new gTLDs have remained consistent 
since the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO)2 completed its Final 
Report on the Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains nearly six years 
ago. In addition to demand from potential applicants, the effort has been 
driven by "the potential to promote competition in the provision of registry 
services, to add to consumer choice, market differentiation, and geographical 
and service-provider diversity," and the belief that expanding the domain name 
space "will give end-users more choice about the nature of their presence on 
the Internet." See Final Report, Part A, at 
http://gnso.icann.org/en/issues/new-gtlds/pdp-dec05-fr-parta-08aug07.htm.



1 AAP is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry, 
with over 300 member companies and organizations that include most of the major 
commercial book and journal publishers in the United States, as well as smaller 
and non-profit publishers, university presses, and scholarly societies. AAP 
members publish literary works in hardcover and paperback formats in every 
field of human interest, and are active in the ebook and audiobook markets, and 
also produce computer programs, databases, Web sites and a variety of 
multimedia works for use in online and other digital formats.

2 GNSO is authorized under Article X of the ICANN Bylaws to develop and 
recommend substantive policies relating to gTLDs.

Yet it seems highly unlikely, if not impossible, that such benefits will be 
realized if applications for closed registries for generic gTLDs - like the one 
submitted by Amazon EU S.a r.l. for the proposed new gTLD ".book" - are granted.

The traditional primary meaning of "book" is a literary composition that is 
published in a written or printed form consisting of pages glued or sewn 
together along one side and bound in covers. Consequently, it is reasonable to 
expect that ".book" domains will be sought by authors, publishers, sellers, 
libraries, literary agents, educators, editors, collectors, illustrators, 
photographers, printers, binders, archives, clubs, bibliophiles and others - 
for a myriad of different genres and related matters - in nations throughout 
the world. In addition, ".book" domains may widely surface in connection with 
many secondary or idiomatic uses of the word "book" - for example, as a noun 
referencing financial accounts, records of achievement, or wagers, or as a verb 
referencing vacation and travel arrangements, entertainment reservations, or 
even charges of criminal conduct.

But these widespread uses will not occur if a ".book" registry application that 
was filed by Amazon EU S.a r.l, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the global online 
retailer Amazon.com, Inc. is granted. This is clear from the applicant's stated 
intentions in response to the formatted questions. See 
https://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/applicationdetails:downloadapplication/992?t:ac=992.



Representative excerpts of Amazon's intentions include:



18(a). Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD.



"The mission of the .BOOK registry is to provide a unique and dedicated 
platform for Amazon while simultaneously protecting the integrity of its brand 
and reputation."



18(b). How do you expect that your proposed gTLD will benefit registrants, 
Internet users, and others?



"Amazon values the opportunity to be one of the first companies to own a gTLD." 
3



"Amazon will continually update the Domain Management Policy as needed to 
reflect Amazon's business goals and, where appropriate, ICANN consensus 
policies."

"All domains in the .BOOK registry will remain the property of Amazon."



Describe whether and in what ways outreach and communications will help to 
achieve your projected benefits.



"There is no foreseeable reason for Amazon to undertake public outreach or mass 
communication about its new gTLD registry because domains will be provisioned 
in line with Amazon's business goals."

28.1 Abuse Prevention and Mitigation



".BOOK will be a single entity registry, with all domains registered to Amazon 
for use in pursuit of Amazon's business goals. There will be no re-sellers in 
.BOOK and there will be no market in .BOOK domains. Amazon will strictly 
control the use of .BOOK domains."



In short, Amazon makes clear that it seeks exclusive control of the ".book" 
string solely for its own business purposes, notwithstanding the broad range of 
other companies, organizations and individuals that have diverse interests in 
the use of this gTLD or its second-level domains by others or themselves.

AAP believes that ICANN approval of such an application would not be in the 
public interest.



On the same day last month that ICANN opened its Comment Period on "Closed 
Generic" gTLD Applications, it also opened a Comment Period on a revised draft 
of a New gTLD Registry Agreement that will serve as the contractual document 
between successful New gTLD Applicants and ICANN, and will govern the rights 
and obligations of new gTLD registry operators, including under a new "Public 
Interest Commitments Specification." See 
http://www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/base-agreement-05feb13-en.htm. None 
of the provisions of the revised New gTLD Registry Agreement, including its new 
"Public Interest Commitments Specification," refer to any of the GNSO 
rationales for introducing the new gTLDs. There is no mention of "the potential 
to promote competition in the provision of registry services, [and] to add to 
consumer choice, market differentiation, and geographical and service-provider 
diversity."



Worse yet, the new "Public Interest Commitments Specification" purports to do 
little more than hold the new Registry Operator to whatever "public interest 
commitments" were made in its application for the new gTLD registry. It states 
that a Registry Operator "will operate the registry for the TLD in compliance 
with all commitments, statements of intent and business plans stated in the 
following sections of Registry Operator's application to ICANN for the TLD, 
which commitments, statements of intent and business plans are hereby 
incorporated by reference into this Agreement."

AAP urges ICANN to explicitly link the "Public Interest Commitments" in its new 
gTLD Registry Agreement to the GNSO rationales regarding the promotion of 
competition, consumer choice, market differentiation, and geographical and 
service-provider diversity. If ICANN turns those rationales into "Public 
Interest Commitments," it may add real meaning to the obligation that it 
undertook in the September 2009 "Affirmation of Commitments By the United 
States Department of Commerce and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names 
and Numbers, 
http://www.icann.org/en/about/agreements/aoc/affirmation-of-commitments-30sep09-en.htm.
 It would provide important standards for ICANN's stated commitment to 
"organize a review," if and when new gTLDs have been in operation for one year, 
"that will examine the extent to which the introduction or expansion of gTLDs 
has promoted competition, consumer trust and consumer choice, as well as 
effectiveness of (a) the application and evaluation process, and (b) safeguards 
put in place to mitigate issues involved in the introduction or expansion." Id.



In the meantime, in response to its request for public comment on the "closed 
generic" gTLD applications, AAP urges that the Amazon application for ".book" 
and others of its ilk should not be adopted without an affirmative objective 
showing by the applicant - and a corresponding finding by ICANN - that it would 
be in the public interest to permit the particular applicant to operate a 
"closed registry" for the particular generic gTLD at issue.

On behalf of AAP, thank you for giving these Comments your prompt and thorough 
consideration.



Sincerely,


Allan Adler


Allan Robert Adler

General Counsel & Vice President for Government Affairs

455 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 700

Washington, DC 20001

Telephone: (202) 220-4544

Fax: (202- 347-3690

adler@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Attachment: gTLD - AAP letter to ICANN on closed registry applications 3-7-2013 (final).pdf
Description: gTLD - AAP letter to ICANN on closed registry applications 3-7-2013 (final).pdf



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