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SUPER MONOPOLIES condemns the proposed closed gTLDs as against the public interest

  • To: <comments-gac-safeguard-advice-23apr13@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: SUPER MONOPOLIES condemns the proposed closed gTLDs as against the public interest
  • From: Super Monopolies <dave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 14 May 2013 13:50:28 +1000

SUPER MONOPOLIES condemns the proposed closed gTLDs as strongly against the
public interest.


Super Monopolies' response to the GAC Beijing safeguard communiqué is to
firmly agree that the proposed closed gTLDS (described by the term
"exclusive access") should serve a "public interest goal".

Time and again, ICANN has stated and restated its "commitment" to promoting
competition in the domain name system. ICANN should honor this long-term
commitment, and also its commitment that its decisions "are made in the
public interest."

In it's Affirmation of Commitments with the US Department of Commerce, ICANN

"3. This document affirms key commitments by DOC and ICANN, including
commitments to: (a) ensure that decisions made related to the global
technical coordination of the DNS are made in the public interest and are
accountable and transparent... (and) (c) promote competition, consumer
trust, and consumer choice in the DNS marketplace..."


Even in its latest news report announcing this latest comment forum about
the GAC safeguard advice in April 2013, ICANN again states:

"One of ICANN's key responsibilities is introducing and promoting
competition in the registration of domain names..."


Yet the public interest is in high danger of not being served since many
applications in process are for closed gTLDs. The GAC cites no less than
about 60 proposed closed registries, and the list is not exhaustive
(Symantec's application for .security comes to mind).


As an example, Bridgestone's application for the .tires string is in blatant
contradiction to ICANN's long stated principles:

"...the .tires gTLD registry will be operated in a centralised manner with a
restrictive registration policy. Registration of domain names will only be
available to BATO (Bridgestone)... ...the proposed new gTLD is not intended
to instigate competition and consumer choice at the level of registration of
domain names among prospective registrants."

If Michelin, Pirelli, Yokohama, Toyo and thousands of legitimate tire
dealers are prohibited from owning a .tires domain by the registry, how can
that possibly be in the public interest?

Michelin has been in the tire business since 1889, by what right are they to
be denied the opportunity to register a .tires domain? Not even
Michelin.tires will be allowed. However, their competitor will be permitted
to register Bridgestone.tires, Auto.tires, Radial.tires, Safety.tires,
Truck.tires, Car.tires and countless others, all to be owned by Bridgestone,
giving them a spectacular marketing advantage, with their competitors
conveniently shut out.


There are numerous claims expressed by ICANN in favor of competition, and
there are also numerous cited contradictory closed gTLD application excerpts
that make a stark contrast. These are published by SuperMonopolies on the
following link and elsewhere:


A summary of around 100 excerpts from global objections to the "exclusive
access" registries is published on the ICANN Forum pages starting at:


These 100 objections from individuals, major industry associations and some
of the world's largest corporations make a compelling argument when read
together, whether their argument is based on anti-competitiveness, denial of
human freedom of expression, or circumvention of normal trademark laws.


As another example, consider this unequivocal comment about a closed
registry application for the .book string from a competitor, Barnes & Noble,

"Amazon's clear goal is to dominate the bookselling and publishing markets.
Their drive to further consolidate these markets will be greatly aided by
their control of the .book, .read and .author TLDs. By having Amazon control
these TLDs, creativity will be limited and content diversity threatened."


That just covers the book industry. In the case of music, Amazon also wants
to "own" everything: .music, .tunes and .song - all to be closed gTLDs.
Again, how would this possibly benefit the public interest?

Or to use the GAC's phrase, how would these scenarios be "consistent with
general principles of openness and non-discrimination"?

Monopolies are not in the public interest. Closed generic registries are
clearly anti-competitive and clearly violate the repeated commitments of
ICANN. The GAC should be very firm on this issue and advise ICANN not to
proceed with closed gTLDs.


Exclusive access, closed registries on generic words would expressly be the
opposite of the goals of ICANN.

"...The Affirmation of Commitments defines the ICANN objectives which
include promoting competition, consumer trust and consumer choice. Allowing
'Closed Generic' gTLD Applications will produce the exact opposite effect."

Nathalie Dreyfus (on behalf of Accor)


"The closed generics are likely the exact opposite of what ICANN was hoping
for with this new program."

Steve Machin of dotTICKETS.org ‹ commenter on InternetNews.me: "Big Brands
Trying To Corner Generic Namespaces?"



Human rights and the freedom to utilize the common heritage of dictionary
words at will is a very fundamental principle. This principle is articulated
by the GAC as follows:

"The GAC advises the Board that all safeguards highlighted in this document
as well as any other safeguard requested by the ICANN Board and/or
implemented by the new gTLD registry and registrars should:
"€ be implemented in a manner that is fully respectful of human rights and
fundamental freedoms as enshrined in international and, as appropriate,
regional declarations, conventions, treaties and other legal instruments -
including, but not limited to, the UN Universal Declaration of Human

"€ be operated in an open manner consistent with general principles of
openness and non-discrimination."

GAC - ANNEX 1, Safeguards on New gTLDs

Yet this human rights policy objective is contradicted by the proposed
closed gTLDs. As shown on the ICANN Forum pages at SuperMonopolies, there
are traditional security companies that protect schools and power stations
from attack and fire who are objecting to a closed registry for the
.security string. Even the FBI and Scotland Yard will be prohibited from
registering a .security domain. How is that in the public interest? How is
that not discriminatory?

There are bookstores objecting to a closed registry for the .book string
including some from bookstores who have been operating for more than a
century. (Librerías Hijos de Santiago Rodríguez S.A. has been in the book
business in Spain for 163 years.)


Authors like J K Rowling will be prohibited from registering domains like
HarryPotter.book. Don't authors have a human right to the appropriate
domains for their own literary works? The Library of Congress and the
British Library won't be permitted to own anything.book. How is that in the
public interest?

One comment on the ICANN Closed Generics forum specifically refers to the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

"Each of the generic TLDs presents a market and there are generic brands
like .blog which if were closed could pose serious threats to freedom of
expression for those who wish to register .blog. Article 19 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) clearly
provides for freedom of expression. The threat of limiting or restricting
the ability of persons wishing to acquire .blog poses serious harm to the
global blogging community and individuals..."

Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro


Closed registries are not consistent with "general principles of openness
and non-discrimination" (as noted, a GAC aim) and further, they are a strong
restriction on freedom of expression.


Consider the following opinion from Front Page India which warns about the
disadvantages to the developing world, and rejects the notion that ICANN has
the moral authority to sell off a heritage word, a view shared by Super

"...a threat is looming large in the form of global monopolization of
language by owning certain private top level domain names as facilitated by

"Now what is that a corporation will get back for the price of $185,000? It
will offer a virtual monopoly in virtual world over certain key expressions
of language...

"Like nature and ecology, oceans and mountains, any language is the heritage
of contemporary humanity inherited from forefathers. The doctrine of
intergenerational equity and trusteeship over the nature and natural
heritage will naturally extend to the language also. By paying a few
dollars, no company could prevent the whole mankind now and the progeny from
using the common heritage. Those words in general nature need to be made
available for all for all times to come and cannot be transformed into
private property of individuals or individual companies whether in real or
virtual space. Words which cannot be copyrighted or registered as trademarks
cannot be given to any company for any price. Neither ICANN nor UN has any
authority over the wealth of Universal mankind...

"The ICANN has ownership or authority neither on the language nor on the
Internet. What is its authority to authorize someone to monopolize over a
general thing on Internet space? Like nature, airwaves, space, mars and
moon, the Internet also belongs to everyone...

"If developed world is given a chance to grab the usage of common heritage
excluding others based on the criterion of $185,000 fee, the developing
world is put to serious disadvantage and will further deepen the digital
divide creating a new low of inequalities.

"It is an anti-competitive practice, unnatural and even immoral. Such
monopolization of words generic in nature is antithesis of globalization and
openness of world business beyond boundaries. It even amounts to
colonization of Internet, which whole democratic world needs to oppose tooth
and nail."

Madabhushi Sridhar, a Professor and Head of Center for Media Law and Public
Policy, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad




Two brief comments about other issues.

1. Without having seriously studied the issue, I support the regulation of
sensitive strings such as those about children, finance, health, charity and
education by relevant global groups of associations as per the principles
that are well articulated on this forum by Thomas Schwarz about the .health
string in comment 16 and by Georges Malamoud about the .university string in
comment 02.

(However, the current number of strings under contention does seem too high
and needs review.)

2. I support the launch of both singular and plural versions of the same
string, notwithstanding the GAC concern in the communiqué: "...singular and
plural versions of the string as a TLD could lead to potential consumer

In light of the fact that there are currently millions of singular/plural
words in existing domains at the second level, and given that there are
major or subtle differences between singular and plural TLDs at the top
level (like the difference between .new and .news), both versions should be
allowed to proceed. It has always been the public's responsibility to
distinguish between Loan.com and Loans.com. The aim should always be to
increase the spectrum of available domain names (unless public safety etc is
at risk), not restrict it, subject of course to the public interest.

Dave Tyrer


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