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FW: .berlin Comments 2-letter country code domain names

  • To: "comments-proposed-measures-two-char-08jul16@xxxxxxxxx" <comments-proposed-measures-two-char-08jul16@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: FW: .berlin Comments 2-letter country code domain names
  • From: Winnie Yu <winnie.yu@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2016 23:42:32 +0000

Please see below. Please post to the comment forum.

Winnie Yu
Registry Services & Engagement Manager

Date: Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at 11:01 PM
Subject: WG: .berlin Comments 2-letter country code domain names

Dear Sirs, 

I've sent the comments below two times to ICANN but did not get back the
usual confirmation email. Could you please take care that our comments go
into the comment list.

Best regards, 

Dirk Krischenowski 
Founder and CEO 
dotBERLIN GmbH & Co. KG (.berlin)
Akazienstrasse 28 
10823 Berlin 
Tel/Mobile: xxxxx
Fax: xxxxx

-----Urspr√ľngliche Nachricht-----
Von: Dirk Krischenowski | dotBERLIN GmbH & Co. KG
Gesendet: Dienstag, 16. August 2016 18:07
An: comments-proposed-measures-two-char-08jul16@xxxxxxxxx
Betreff: .berlin Comments 2-letter country code domain names

Comment by dotBERLIN GmbH & Co. KG (.berlin) on Proposed Measures for
Letter/Letter Two-Character ASCII Labels to Avoid Confusion with
Corresponding Country Codes

.berlin is a geographic and generic top-level domain operating under a
contract with ICANN and another contract with the government of the Federal
State of Berlin (City of Berlin). The .berlin operator dotBERLIN GmbH & Co.
KG manages the community-based .berlin gTLD which is for over two years live

The contract with the City of Berlin obliges dotBERLIN to operate .berlin in
the public interest and within the applicable laws of the Federal Republic
of Germany and the Federal State of Berlin. The contract also obliges
dotBERLIN to implement measures to avoid confusion of .berlin domain names
with public authority and entity names and to enforce those measures
effectively. dotBERLIN has proven to do so for more than two years now.

It is obvious that any rules, regulations and requirements that emerge from
the contract with ICANN or the advice of foreign governments may not be
implemented if they are contrary to those implemented by the local or
national authorities in Germany.

We would like to highlight two areas of legislative which prevent us to
block or transfer 2-letter country code domain names in the .berlin

Tax law issues 
It is market fact that almost all 2-letter domain names in the .de, .com and
other TLD zones are worth a minimum price, the so-called floor price. In the
.de zone 2-letter domain names are worth at least EUR 10,000 and about EUR
1,000,000 at the higher end. In .com the floor price for 2-letter domain
names is significantly higher. For the subcategory of 2-letter country code
domain names among the 2-letter domain names the floor price is even higher.

We have already sold .berlin 2-letter domain names for a price with the
ranges mentioned above and by this proven the real monetary value of
2-letter domain names.

If our company gives away a 2-letter country code domain name which is worth
e.g. EUR 100,000 without a reasonable compensation the tax authorities will
not only count the EUR 100,000 as taxable income which would lead the EUR
30,000 payable taxes but will also charge 19% VAT which equals additional
EUR 19,000. Altogether the real costs for dotBERLIN would sum-up to EUR

For this severely impacting economic reason dotBERLIN cannot and will not
give away 2-letter country code domain names nor to governments and neither
to ccTLD operators for the regular registration price.

Cartel and competition law issues
The German cartel and competition laws have touched the release of 1- and
2-character domain names within the .de zone a couple of years ago. This
lead to a release of all previously reserved domain names on 23 October 2009
by the privately operated ccTLD manager DENIC by the "first come, first
served" principle. Basically the highest national court said that even if
there is a long-standing registration policy the Registry operator must not
withhold domain names for non-discrimination reasons. This level playing
field also applies for the new gTLD registries based in Germany.

The sole idea of foreign ccTLD operators or foreign government to have
"their" country code blocked forever does definitely not goes along with
German laws, it is simply discriminatory. Therefore any person or
organization with legitimate interest in a 2-letter country code domain name
may ask the .berlin Registry for the registration of the name and the
Registry operator cannot refuse it.

The idea that ccTLD operators may want to register "their" country code
domain name has another competitive aspect. ccTLDs are in competition to new
gTLDs, especially the GeoTLDs. Therefore the idea to hand over a valuable
asset to them for no reasonable compensation is a dangerous idea in terms of
competition law. 

Governments represented in the GAC have not proven by evidence that 2-letter
country code domain names are likely to cause confusion with the 2-letter
country code top-level domain. It still remains the question why 2-letter
country code domain names should be blocked or transferred.

What if? 
The nexus requirements in the registration policies of many GeoTLDs
including .berlin would not allow that foreign entities register the desired
domain name. Some registration policies even go further and require a proper
use of the registered domain name. We expect that even if a foreign entity
registers its 2-letter country code domain name the Registry operator will
suspend the domain name if the registration requirements are not fulfilled.

If there are any reasonable measures that we can implement to avoid
confusion with corresponding country codes, e.g. by an amendment of our
registration policy, we are happy to discuss those with the governments that
are concerned. 

Dirk Krischenowski 
CEO and Founder 
dotBERLIN GmbH & Co. KG (.berlin)

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