Kobo Inc.'s Comments to the GAC re: Safeguards on New gTLDs
ATTENTION: Mr. Steve Crocker, Chair of ICANN Mr. Cherine Chalaby, Chair of the New gTLD Committee Mr. Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO of ICANN Ms. Heather Dryden, Chair of the Governmental Advisory Committee The following comments are made on behalf of Kobo to the Governmental Advisory Committee's Communique - Beijing, People Republic of China, dated 11 April 2013 (the "GAC Advice"). Kobo Inc. (Kobo) offers eReading services and provides top-ranked applications and devices to customers in more than 170 countries around the world. Founded in 2009, Kobo features extensive eReading catalogues with over 2.5 million eBook, newspaper and magazine titles. Kobo is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, and is owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten Inc., a major Japanese eCommerce operator. ICANN has invited comments on Annex I to the GAC Advice, Safeguards on New gTLDs. Before providing our comments, Kobo wishes to respond to comments made by various third parties, which in effect advocate that GAC Advice be ignored by ICANN. Kobo strongly disagrees with such positions. The GAC Advice relates to social policies that affect the entire community. GAC Advice represents an attempt to balance the rights and interests of all stakeholders in the community, including those who do not have the resources to keep abreast of ICANN developments and participate in the process. In view of the high stakes and importance of new gTLDs to the internet, global culture, communication and business generally, Kobo submits that the GAC Advice is of paramount importance, and therefore should be carefully considered and heeded by ICANN. Kobo is very concerned by the closed gTLD applications filed by Amazon for the .book, .read, and .author gTLDs. These concerns already have been expressed - see, for example: http://forum.icann.org/lists/comments-closed-generic-05feb13/msg00097.html https://gtldcomment.icann.org/comments-feedback/applicationcomment/commentdetails/12130 & https://gtldcomment.icann.org/comments-feedback/applicationcomment/commentdetails/12131 (similar comments were submitted for .read and .author) Kobo is relieved to see that its concerns are shared by governments around the world, as reflected in the GAC Advice. We submit the following general comments. (1) The .book (and the IDN equivalent), .read and .author gTLDs raise similar issues and concerns, and the GAC Advice on Restricted Registration Policies and Exclusive Access should apply equally to each of these gTLDs. (2) .book, .read and .author domain names should be indiscriminately available to all. "BOOK", "READ" and "AUTHOR" are generic terms that are critical to culture, creativity, and the book industry. There is no conceivable public interest goal that would be served by Amazon and its affiliates being granted exclusivity over these generic gTLDs. Importantly, Amazon itself did not identify ANY public interest goal that would be served in its gTLD applications. (3) Exclusive or restricted access to the .book (and IDN equivalent), .read and .author gTLDs to Amazon and its affiliates would give Amazon and its related companies a significant commercial advantage in the book industry. Amazon already is the dominant player in the book industry, and if awarded exclusive access to these registries, all other stakeholders in the book community are likely to be significantly disadvantaged. (4) There are no safeguards that could be introduced to draw alternate conclusions than above and that would justify a closed/exclusive .book, .read or .author registry. Nor does Amazon refer to or provide any such safeguards in its gTLD applications. For further discussion of these issues and our concerns, please see the comments submitted by Kobo, which are linked to above. In view of the above, Kobo respectfully submits that ICANN should heed GAC Advice, and that the .book, .read, and .author gTLDs should not be delegated or awarded on a closed or exclusive basis to Amazon or any other registry applicant. Kobo reserves the right to submit further comments and a reply when and if Amazon's response to GAC Advice has been published. Yours Truly, Henry Ohab VP Intellectual Property | Kobo Inc. 135 Liberty Street, Suite 101, Toronto, ON M6K 1A7 (T) 416-800-1223 x3534 (C) 416-346-4037 Email: hohab@xxxxxxxx [Description: Description: Description: Description: cid:image001.png@01CBD993.29819850] This message, including any attachments, is PRIVILEGED and CONFIDENTIAL and is intended only for the recipient(s) named above. Any other use, distribution, copying or disclosure is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient or have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately and permanently delete the entire message, including any attachments, from your system. Thank you.