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You Can't Register a .SAVE to Save The Whales

"Take these generics for example... Coupon, .Deal, .Save... Amazon will control the entire multi-billion dollar couponing industry... If I have a brand name and I want to post a Coupon or a Deal if I had an idea for a business to post Deals for computers or even if I wanted a .Save to save the whales, I could not because Amazon would control the Internet in that space... ICANN has no idea what Amazon's grand scheme is and it may be heavily limiting the Internet instead of opening it up and making it fair to all Internet users. This was the idea to open the TLD space, the idea wasn't to enable Amazon, Google and other giants to control the Internet...

"It's just not fair to all users and can create much disaster going forward. The Internet has everything to lose and nothing to gain by granting closed registries."

Tom Casey

Mar 04: Closed Registry comments

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Closed Non-English Domain Strings Place Cultural Identities At Risk

"The ICANN New gTLD Program was initiated to bring much needed competition to the end user domain name marketplace. Closed generic word registries defeat these purposes and are harmful to the public interest. By their definition, closed registries do not add supply and choice to the end user market for domain names. They will exert no pressure on pricing in the domain name marketplace.

"There is great potential for public harm in the form of restricting freedom of expression and innovation as well as unfair competition in industries represented by a TLD.

"For non-latin character sets in languages such as Chinese and Japanese, closed registries... will place entire cultural identities at risk. There will be loss of opportunity for people and business in that native language to express, pursue and flourish in top level namespaces designed for them."

Tom Gilles. NewgTLDsite

(Tom is the organizer of an online petition against the proposed closed registries at which is reprinted on the ICANN Forum as his comment. You can visit the petition via the graphic directly above - Ed.)

Mar 08: Closed Generic Registries

Sanctioned Monopolies on Broad Usage Terms

"I wish to register my comments opposing the allocation of generic TLDs such as .cloud and .security to individual companies. This risks defeating the objective of these TLDs – to uniquely identify a company through a single registration, not to grant them an effective and sanctioned monopoly on a term that is already in broad usage.

"Given the potential rights on offer, the allocation of TLDs should ideally follow the same type of process and rigour that registered trademarks have to pass in order to be granted. If this is not done, it risks granting de-facto monopolies to companies with the most money and providing an anti-competitive platform in what should be an open and free system."

Andrew Buss. Freeform Dynamics

Mar 05: .cloud TLD

Appropriate and Colonise Generic Words

"I wish to register the strongest objection to the proposed use of closed gLTDs not for the protection of brand names but to appropriate and colonise generic words in common usage.

"Generic language words used in a generic way belong to all people and any attempt to interfere with that principle restricts freedom, is inimical to free expression and should be opposed vigorously by all individuals who value those freedoms which are so fundamental to the development not just of the world wide web but of human civilisations."

John Cassells

Feb 26: Closed Generic

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Unfair Advantage Over The Competition

"The intent of the new gTLD program is to promote competition, not give unfair monopolies.

"L’Oreal’s application for .SALON should be disqualified entirely because it is anti-competitive and will give L’Oreal an unfair advantage over the competition. Where is the line drawn?

"For example, if certain salons don’t carry L’Oreal products, will L’Oreal then start denying them access to have a web site address ending in .SALON?

"...L’Oreal already said it was only going to use .SALON for their own salons/interest/profit and has clear anti-competitive intentions. L’Oreal does not have the best interest of the salon owners and employees in mind; L’Oreal is out for its own interests and profits."

Carlos Mendoza

Feb 25: L’Oreal, Amazon’s, and Other Company’s Closed Generic Top Level Domains, Including L’Oreal’s Application for .SALON, .HAIR, and .MAKEUP

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The Privatisation of Internet

"We're moving towards, the privatisation of internet.

" 'Closed Generics' domains should not be sold as they involve exclusivity and monopoly.

"In the offline world is not legal to register generic brands as 'chocolate' following competition and anti-monopoly laws. Why has the internet to be different? Internet is a free network where a small companies can achieve popularity without large investments, this is going to stop being like this..."

Carina Garcia, Zumex


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Unfair and Biased Market Position Will Stifle IT Innovation

"FAST's view is that the proposed closed registry for all gTLDs, is anti-competitive and will stifle innovation in the IT market, but most particularly in the IT Cloud market which is still immature and developing.

"Many of our members are building their Cloud IT practices and this will act as a brake on the development of their own market opportunities that they have spent a lot of time and money developing and launching. Any generic term or word (such as .CLOUD) should not, in our opinion, be exclusively available to any one organisation or vendor as it will create an unfair competitive landscape giving the incorrect impression that any one vendor is the sole and legitimate provider of Cloud services — we believe this to be an unfair and biased market position that can be prevented.

"Undoubtedly this same argument can be applied to many other industries..."

Alex Hilton. Federation Against Software Theft

Mar 05: DOT CLOUD and closed gTLD are anti-competitive

INTA: ICANN Did Not Adequately Appreciate Public Interest Concerns

"...INTA believes that the public interest implications of 'closed generic' top-level domains were not fully appreciated by ICANN during the implementation of its New gTLD Program. For this reason, stakeholders have not had the opportunity to consider the myriad of issues surrounding this proposed concept. Furthermore, INTA respectfully submits that four weeks is manifestly too short a period of time for taking input from stakeholders on this important and complex subject. The issue of 'closed generic' TLDs potentially implicates trademark law, competition law and other legal considerations — as well as decisions of potential objectors to 'closed generic' applications — and bears careful examination and consultation with the various stakeholders who may be impacted.

"For these reasons, INTA urges ICANN to allow all stakeholders to vet sufficiently the possible ramifications of 'closed generics' gTLD applications prior to approving such TLDs for entry into the root zone; and to extend the objection deadline, currently set for March 13, 2013, at least with respect to such 'closed generic' TLD applications until the ICANN community has settled these important issues."

International Trademark Association (INTA)

Mar 07: Comments of the International Trademark Association (INTA)

Maintain Access to the 'Great Equalizer' of the Web

"Many of us view the internet as a 'great equalizer'. It is a network open to all, that empowers individuals and corporations to promote their interests, views, and content. Granting an entire gTLD to a single corporation would severely limit access to that gTLD and thus unlevel the playing field if access is restricted to that gTLD.

"In economics, there are times when a monopoly system makes sense (ie scarce resources, economies of scale, etc); this is not one of those times. There is no inherent scarcity to the new gTLD names, there is nothing to be gained by the masses with an economy of scale system. Instead, granting a single company control of their own gTLD block would give that single corporation a huge competitive advantage and restrict everyone else from its usage."


Mar 11: "Closed Generic" gTLD Applications Comments

Closed TLDs Are Counter to ICANN's Core Principle No. 3

"The very idea of closed generic top-level domains runs counter to the spirit and intent of ICANN's Core Principle No. 3, the principle in which the nature of ICANN's mandate is most clearly articulated:

3. ICANN’s Articles of Incorporation establish that the corporation shall operate for the benefit of the Internet community as a whole and shall pursue the charitable and public purposes of lessening the burdens of government and promoting the global public interest... (cited)

"Closed generic domains would effectively create monopolies over names and phrases so fundamental within our language and contemporary discourse, that any organisation gaining control of them would come to possess powerful and undeserved, communicative and promotional advantages over rivals or competitors. What public good would this domain name omnipotence serve?

"I urge you to abandon this entirely unnecessary and damaging idea. Without wishing to shift into hyperbole, I believe that the name(s) of any individual or committee members who sign off on this plan will go down in infamy."

Roger Lancefield

Here is the cited source for ICANN's Core Principle No. 3 - Ed.)

Mar 07: Closed Generic Top-Level Domains: a clear violation of ICANN Core Principle 3





ICANN Closed Registries Forum (1)


More than 260 posts were received from individuals, corporations and organizations to ICANN's comment & objections forum about closed gTLD registries. A selection of edited highlights are presented on six Forum pages here, in no particular order.

NOTE — The vast majority of contributions seem to only be from English speaking developed nations - Ed.


NOTE — ICANN changed the links to these comments in March. They were since updated, but if you find an incorrect link, you can go to the forum link above and search by the date & title following each excerpt.

Barnes & Noble Warns Closed TLDs Will Stifle Competition

"Amazon, the dominant player in the book industry, should not be allowed to control the Book TLDs, which would enable them to control generic industry terms in a closed fashion with disastrous consequences not only for bookselling but for the American public. If Amazon, which controls approximately 60% of the market for eBooks and 25% of the physical book market (cited), were granted the exclusive use of .book, .read and .author, Amazon would use the control of these TLDs to stifle competition in the bookselling and publishing industries, which are critical to the future of copyrighted expression in the United States.

"Ownership of common industry terms as closed generic TLDs by industry players would be anticompetitive and limit consumer choice across the Internet. This is especially true with regard to Amazon, which has a history of anticompetitive activity.

"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."

Eugene V. DeFelice and Bradley A. Feuer. Barnes & Noble, Inc

Mar 01: Comment for Submission on behalf of Barnes & Noble, Inc

Consumers Want Choice, Not Filtered Information From One Company

We are deeply concerned about the current situation of applications which include closed generic TLDs for important industry terms. According to ICANN’s vision, 'one world, one Internet,' we deeply agree and believe the Internet is a place for all human-kind.

1. Could cause an anticompetitive threat

"Defining 'generic terms', in a common manner, indicate the common name of the goods or services. One portion of the new gTLDs applications include generic terms associated with the broad market. These applicants claim to use these generic strings exclusively among their organization. These generic strings if used as gTLDs are common object for all human-kind and should not be the sole object of a private firm.

"Because generic terms are usually used as a kind of mark in the distribution and transaction in the market, everyone needs to use them and they should be open to all people.

"In addition, a domain system provides neither the Trial for invalidation nor Trial for rescision as the clearly fixed procedure, unlike a trademark system.

2. Could cause the invasion in the free and equal Internet industry

"We believe that the development of the Internet can be heavily relied upon, free information sharing within all levels; which has brought healthy competition to birth true innovation. As a result, people and organizations have been empowered and society as a whole has benefitted from the power of the Internet.

"To ensure the healthy development of society and the growth of a fair Internet industry, we believe that a firm privately owning generic strings as domains does not contribute to the development of society and the growth of a healthy industry.

3. Could cause detriment to Internet users' interests

"For end-users, if ICANN allows closed generic TLDs to proceed; the end-user’s freedom of enjoying benefits from the Internet will also become restricted. Choice is what end-users want, not filtered information from a specific company."

Japan Association of New Economy (JANE).

(JANE consists of 693 companies with end-user reach approx 0.17 billion people - Ed.)

Mar 07: Japan Association of New Economy (JANE) Opposition to closed generic TLDs for important industry terms

Trademark Law States Generic Terms Not Entitled to Exclusive Protection Under Any Circumstances

"ICANN, the public, industry associations and governments should carefully examine the threat to fair competition posed by exclusive ownership of common industry terms by a single member of that industry and consider appropriate action to prevent exclusive private ownership or control of generic industry terms.

"Domain names can function like trademarks as source identifiers. This will be especially so with the launch of numerous new gTLDs. Many domain name owners in fact use their domain names as a trademark. The view that domain names are mere addresses with no source-identifying function is a relic of the exclusive .com era. See, e.g. Image Online Design, Inc. v. ICANN, Case No. CV 12-08968, at 17 (C.D. Cal. 2013) (“the USPTO has recognized that ‘as the number of available TLDs is increased by [ICANN], or if the nature of new TLDs changes, the examining attorney must consider any potential source-indicating function of the TLD and introduce evidence as to the significance of the TLD.’ It asserts that ‘the function of TLDs as generally not being source indicating is a relic of an essentially exclusive ‘.com.’’”). Thus, settled intellectual property law is the appropriate framework for evaluating proposed TLDs.

(Next, four of five categories of marks are defined — coined, arbitrary, suggestive and descriptive — which may be entitled to exclusive control - Ed.)

"...(5) Finally, generic terms are common words or terms, often found in the dictionary, that identify products and services and are not specific to any particular source, such as 'APPLE' used in connection with the fruit or 'SHREDDED WHEAT' for the breakfast cereal, for which no protection or exclusive use is available. Trademark law recognizes that truly generic terms are not entitled to exclusive protection under any circumstances, because doing so will hinder competition.

"...if only one member of an industry could use the online designation matching a generic term, others in that industry are likely to suffer a competitive disadvantage in the online world. Such a result would cause difficulties for competitors as well as hardship for consumers, who might not realize what product the competitors are selling because it does not carry its common name. It would, therefore, be inequitable to grant exclusive use of the .app top level domain name, for example, to a single industry player to the exclusion of all others.

"For these reasons, we share the concerns of others that ICANN’s delegation of closed generic TLDs for exclusive ownership and control by a single industry player would be contrary to the existing accepted legal norms for intellectual property rights and may have an anti-competitive effect that is contrary to ICANN’s stated goals and policies...

"AIPLA (American Intellectual Property Law Association) recommends that applications for closed generic TLDs should be denied if they involve exclusive ownership, control and use as a closed registry of a generic TLD that matches a generic industry term by a single member of that industry..."

Jeffrey I.D. Lewis. American Intellectual Property Law Association

(AIPLA is a national bar association with approx 15,000 members — mostly lawyers in various intellectual property fields - Ed.)

Mar 07: Comments on Closed Generic gTLD Applications

Closed gTLDs Expected To Function Like Deceptive Trademarks

"Like the oceans and outer space, generic word TLDs form part of the global resource to be shared equitable among all of mankind and as such, should not be delegated in a closed fashion to any commercial or non-commercial interest...

"Under international law, commonly held property is termed terra nullius and depends upon the dual assumptions that such zones are free for the use and exploitation of all and that persons should not be deprived of the protection of the law merely because of the absence of a state sovereignty over such zones. Under this analysis, one could make a Limited Public Interest Objection arguing that the existence of international law norms governing the protection and regulation of commonly owned resources preclude the delegation of a generic term TLD to a registry who is not under some reasonable obligation to make the TLD available to all on fair and equitable terms...

"Generic closed gTLDs can be expected to function as would a deceptive trademark, misleading consumers and other members of the Internet public in respect to what the consumer would expect to find when pointing to a domain name ending in that generic term. Proprietary claims to marks that would be expected to deceive or mislead consumers are universally disallowed."

Seth M. Reiss

Mar 03: Personal Statement Regarding "Generic Closed" gTLDs:

Amazon May Corner the Entire Music Space with .music, .song & .tunes

"We are troubled by dominant companies with market power, such as Amazon and Google, who have applied for a significant portfolio of 'closed' gTLDs to expand their Internet monopolies and thwart competition.

"For example, Amazon has applied for 3 culturally significant music-themed gTLDs (.MUSIC, .SONG and .TUNES) that affect the entire music sector and are attempting to corner the entire music domain space by closing all 3 music-themed gTLDs for the purpose of advancing only Amazon’s goals:

'.MUSIC will be a single entity registry, with all domains registered to Amazon for use in pursuit of Amazon’s business goals. There will be no re-sellers in .MUSIC and there will be no market in .MUSIC domains. Amazon will strictly control the use of .MUSIC domains.' (Amazon application cited)

"Amazon’s three music-themed 'closed' applications violate four of ICANN's Core Values (cited) materially harming the music community by discriminating against their active participation in registering and operating a music-themed domain in a competitive, economically and culturally appropriate manner in all three music-themed strings:

'Introducing and promoting competition in the registration of domain names where practicable and beneficial in the public interest.' (third point only cited here)

"The notion of the second largest digital music retailer controlling and owning every artist’s name and valuable music-related keyword in the second-level across three — not one — 'closed' music-themed gTLDs in perpetuity creates material economic and cultural harm to the legitimate interests of the entire music community...

"...We recommend ICANN serve the global public interest and reject those anti-competitive applications that clearly have the intention create detrimental economic and cultural harm to significant portions of the Internet community, such as the clearly delineated music community."

Constantine Roussos, .MUSIC

Mar 07: DotMusic (.MUSIC) Public Comments about "Closed" TLD Applications and those relating to Music-Themed Strings

Security Firms Protecting Schools, Homes and Power Plants Face Disadvantage

"AICC (Alarm Industry Communications Committee) and its members do not begrudge Symantec the use of the string '.security', and recognizes Symantec as a reputable company providing valuable software protection services to the public. However, it is respectfully submitted that Symantec should not be granted exclusive use of this string (i.e., closed domain status), since there are thousands of companies large and small that provide security services to the public, and many of these companies have been providing these services for decades longer than Symantec has been in business.

"ESA and CSAA, representing the alarm monitoring and installation industry sector, collectively have 2434 member companies providing alarm service to the public. Together with these trade association members, AICC member companies protect a wide range of sensitive facilities and their occupants from fire, burglaries, sabotage and other emergencies. Protected facilities include government offices, power plants, hospitals, dam and water authorities, pharmaceutical plants, chemical plants, banks, schools and universities. In addition... alarm companies protect a large and ever increasing number of residences and their occupants from fire, intruders, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Alarm companies also provide medical alert services in the event of medical emergencies.

"Establishing .security as a closed gTLD would not be appropriate in light of the broad nature of the term 'security', and the public's perception of this term. While Symantec is involved in one aspect of this industry (software security), a large portion of the public associates 'security' with the services provided by companies such as AICC's members.

"...More and more, security monitoring services involve use of the Internet, especially security services associated with 'smart home' systems. Since domain names serve as 'humanly memorable names for Internet participants', access to the string '[companyname].security' should not be denied... Such denial of access would lead to consumer confusion, and place security companies at a competitive disadvantage in marketing their services on the Internet."

Louis T. Fiore. Alarm Industry Communications Committee

Mar 05: AICC Comment on Symantec Application for Closed gTLD ".security" ID: 1-1027-69486

Companies Forced to Explain Why They Don't Own the Relevant Domain Extension

"As a lawyer specialising in technology and the cloud sector, I regularly advise cloud service providers and users.

"From my discussions with providers and users alike — and in my own view allowing one entity to run a closed a generic TLD such as .CLOUD would create confusion and could distort the market. My cloud provider clients would not be able to register a .CLOUD domain and would have to explain to the market why, as a cloud company, they don't have a .CLOUD domain. My cloud user clients might unfairly prefer a cloud provider simply because it is the owner of a closed .CLOUD domain.

"A scheme which excludes the wider cloud sector in favour of one organisation is unlikely to 'promote competition, consumer trust, and consumer choice' a key tenet of ICANN's Affirmation of Commitments."

Frank Jennings. DMH Stallard LLP

Mar 06: No to "Closed Generic" gTLD Applications

Go to Forum 2



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