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SIIA Reply Comments on GAC Advice

  • To: <comments-gac-safeguard-advice-23apr13@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: SIIA Reply Comments on GAC Advice
  • From: "Keith Kupferschmid" <keithk@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2013 14:49:50 -0400

The Software and Information Industry Association ("SIIA") submits the 
following reply comments to ICANN regarding the Advice of the Governmental 
Accountability Committee ("GAC") relating to safeguards for new gTLDs ("GAC 


SIIA is the U.S.-based trade association representing the software and 
information industries.  It consists of over 700 member companies, ranging from 
start-ups to some of the largest and most recognizable companies in the world.  
Many SIIA member companies have facilities, operations, and/or employees in 
multiple countries, and most do business internationally.  All of them are 
fundamentally reliant upon the stable, secure, reliable operation of the 
Internet in order to run their businesses successfully, and some even provide 
core software and services that support the Internet itself.  In short, SIIA 
and its members have a significant interest in the effect of new gTLDs being 
introduced into the DNS.  


SIIA's particular concern regards strings and applications that refer to, 
describe, or are likely to disproportionally impact rights owners in the 
software and information industries.  These industries have experienced a long 
history of vulnerability to fraud and abuse, including copyright and trademark 
infringement, cybersquatting, and other abuses.  Copyright and trademark 
infringement, fraud, deception, and similar abuses by some domain name 
registrants, registrars, resellers and other participants in the DNS ecosystem 
are an enormous and ongoing problem faced by SIIA member companies and their 
customers around the world in the software and information industries.  It is 
reasonable to foresee that introducing hundreds if not thousands of new gTLDs 
on the Internet will multiply the problem exponentially - unless appropriate 
safeguards are implemented.


In its initial round comments, ICANN received numerous comments from a wide 
variety of diverse organizations located around the world voicing their strong 
support of ICANN accepting the GAC Advice.  This support comes from the 
copyright community, as well as telecomm, financial services, online travel, 
and the trademark communities.  With our reply comments submitted today, SIIA 
joins the growing chorus of organizations, including the Coalition for Online 
Accountability ("COA"), in urging ICANN to accept the GAC Advice.


By incorporating the GAC Advice into the new gTLD program, ICANN will increase 
the likelihood that the program will achieve the stated goals of expanding 
competition and enhancing consumer choice.  Some new gTLD applicants argue that 
the GAC Advice is unclear and/or impossible to implement.  To the extent the 
GAC Advice is unclear, we urge that such ambiguity not be used an excuse to 
reject the GAC Advice.  Rather, we recommend that ICANN work with the GAC to 
clarify any such ambiguities, and to work with applicants and the larger 
community to properly incorporate important elements of the GAC Advice into the 
new gTLD process.  In response to those who allege that the GAC Advice is 
impossible to implement, we feel it necessary to point out that the new gTLD 
program is not being carried out for the benefit of new gTLD applicants or 
their investors.  The fact that the GAC Advice may impose added costs or alter 
the expectations on these parties should not be a primary factor in ICANN's 
decision whether to accept the GAC Advice.  There are many more interests at 
stake here that warrant greater consideration.  Ultimately the calculus must 
come down to implementing the new gTLD program in a way that factors in the 
benefits and risks to the public as a whole - something the GAC is uniquely 
well situated to assess and articulate.


SIIA specifically commends the GAC's List of "Safeguards Applicable to all New 
gTLDs" contained on pages 7 and 8 of the GAC Beijing Communiqué, issued on 
April 11, 2013.  Safeguards that require knowing the identity of registrants 
and prohibiting them from engaging in abusive uses of their registered domain 
names make simple sense.  As does the provision of a means for the public to 
complaint about registrant abuses and the imposition of consequences when 
abuses do occur.  These safeguards are simple common sense procedures that 
should significantly reduce the risk of abusive registrations in all gTLDs and 
that any responsible registry operator should be able to support and implement. 


These safeguards are not unprecedented or unanticipated.  SIIA endorsed similar 
safeguards a year ago, and urged ICANN, GAC, and all relevant new gTLD 
applicants to apply them.  Similar processes are already included in the 
revised Registrar Accreditation Agreement.  And, in anticipated that some of 
these safeguards would be adopted by ICANN and because they are common sense 
procedures, many new gTLD applicants have already incorporated them into their 


Safeguards are especially important for TLDs at higher risk of abuse that harms 
consumers or the rights of others.  This includes applications targeted at 
sectors dependent on copyright protection  --such as the software and 
information industries.  As noted above, these sectors have consistently 
experienced high levels of online infringement. Consequently, meaningful steps 
to anticipate and manage these risks should be mandatory.  Thus, even if not 
required for all new gTLDs, the GAC's six basic safeguards should be mandated 
for those listed as "sensitive strings" within the GAC Advice.


Thank you in advance for considering SIIA's comments.



Keith Kupferschmid
General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property
1090 Vermont Avenue, NW; 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20005


Attachment: SIIA Commentson GAC Advice (6-13).pdf
Description: Adobe PDF Document

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