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Kobo Inc.'s Comments to the GAC re: Safeguards on New gTLDs

  • To: "comments-gac-safeguard-advice-23apr13@xxxxxxxxx" <comments-gac-safeguard-advice-23apr13@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Kobo Inc.'s Comments to the GAC re: Safeguards on New gTLDs
  • From: Henry Ohab <hohab@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 14 May 2013 17:07:56 +0000

ATTENTION:          Mr. Steve Crocker, Chair of ICANN

                              Mr. Cherine Chalaby, Chair of the New gTLD 
                              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 

ICANN has invited comments on Annex I to the GAC Advice, Safeguards on New 

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:

(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 

(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 

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
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