Museums exist as public institutions, providing access for society to the rich histories of evidence of people and their environments. As permanent institutions, museums are dedicated to the acquisition, conservation and research of this evidence, and to communication and education about it. The results of these activities form the primary contribution of museums to awareness of our past and to the understanding of our present.
This Application for the .museum TLD is intended to privilege and to provide a platform for facilitating and encouraging all of the activities identified above for the ever-growing professional and non-professional audiences relying on online communication and education from museums. While some museums have actively embraced digital technology and operate sophisticated web sites, many museums find themselves on the other side of the digital divide. There are obvious financial and technical reasons for being left behind but there is a significant non-tangible component as well. The Internet remains an alien phenomenon despite ubiquitous assertions of its globality. Museums that have yet to establish themselves in this community make frequent mention of the need for a sectoral point of attachment to it. (See response to question C10.) A shared domain identity is precisely what is needed.
One of the primary goals of the .museum TLD initiative is to eliminate this two tier system by putting all museums, regardless of subject matter expertise, size of collections or the level of funding, on equal footing for their identities and opportunities in cyberspace.
The parameters that are proposed here for a restricted museum domain and the policies attendant to them are intended to support and to further the missions of the worldwide museum community. This community is understood to include bona fide museums as well as their general and professional audiences, their representative associations from a regional to an international level, the professional organizations that
support their activities, and all of their respective employees. The establishment of the .museum TLD will immediately support and further the missions of museums by simply making them easier to recognize Ė if not find Ė among the denizens of Internet users and will provide new means of addressing some other issues such as intellectual property and provision of the suite of services in support of getting, and keeping, museums on the web.
To this end, the Museum Domain Management Association ("MDMA" and "Applicant"), a non-profit trade association initiated on behalf of the museum community by the International Council of Museums ("ICOM") and the J. Paul Getty Trust, submits this Application.
ICOM, whose status is unique, is the non-governmental organization ("NGO") created in 1946 by the United Nations' Economic and Social Council ("UNESCO") to represent the interests of museums worldwide. It now has approximately 15,000 members in 147 countries. The membership participates in the activities of 116 National Committees and 26 International Committees. Some National Committees have also organized on a regional level to reinforce their actions. ICOM is affiliated with 14 international associations. Its unique position in the MDMA reflects its leading role in all matters of policy for museums -- in the world of bricks and mortar as well as in cyberspace. The policy decisions explained in this Application rest squarely on ICOM's status and reputation.
The J. Paul Getty Trust operates the J. Paul Getty Museum and has a long-standing commitment to the museum community. The Getty's interests in establishing the .museum TLD are shared by museums the world over and through its involvement with the MDMA, the Getty substantiates its support of ICOMís initiative for establishing the .museum TLD.
In general, the MDMA is aware of and will hold itself in compliance with the intent and spirit of directions for practice found in RFC 1591 and subsequent equivalent statements regarding the maintenance and development of the DNS, ICANN's May 1999 ICP1 which summarized current practice of IANA in the administration of RFC1591, and all further relevant statements of ICANN policy. Additional and more specific information on the policies and decision-making processes and procedures that will guide the establishment and operation of the MDMA and the .museum TLD are set forth in responses to the questions in this Section E.
TLD String. Please identify the TLD string(s) you are proposing. For format
requirements for TLD strings, see the answer to FAQ #5.
The preferred TLD applied for here is the six-letter string in .museum. It is the Latin term for museum and is used as the term for museum in numerous present-day languages. Where it is not used, it is easily the most generally and broadly recognized term. It is also customary practice in the museum profession and community to use the singular form for classification purposes. Museum is thus a more natural basis for domain designation than the Latin plural, musea, or the plural form common to several current languages, museums. RFC1480 provided for the use of .MUS as one of the third level domain names in the United States, but this has never been consistently used, and its use would run counter to the interests of the international museum community this Application is intended to serve.
.museum is proposed here in the absence of guidance on the length of the character string that might be proposed as the TLD in this Application. Although ..museum is preferred, at ICANN's discretion any of the following alternatives would provide recognizable terms of different lengths:
Naming conventions. Describe the naming conventions and structure within
the TLD. E.g., will registrants have names registered at the second level
(directly under the TLD, as in registered-name.com), or will the TLD be
organized with sub-domains so that registered domain names are created
at a lower level (as in registered-name.travel.com)?
Although individual museums may ideally wish to register their names on the second level, given the number of similar or identical names of museums throughout the world, it is unrealistic to expect to implement an approach that considers the first-level TLD only without a second level designation requirement. While there are many unique museum names, many museums share most, if not all, of the same words in their names, such as National Gallery. Delegating nationalgallery.museum to the first applicant would be neither equitable nor an action that meets the goals or objectives of this Application.
To meet this difficulty and to create a naming convention more reflective of the worldwide museum community itself, the use of the two-character country code as a second-level designation is recommended, essentially inverting the order proposed for the .us ccTLD in RFC 1480 to make the scheme applicable worldwide. This additional designation would denote the country or region in which the museum is located and would rely, as do the ccTLDs, on the country codes as published by the Secretariat of the ISO-3166 Maintenance Agency. A museum with more than one location would be welcome, of course, to seek appropriate multiple designations if so desired, for example, guggenheim.us.museum as well as guggenheim.it.museum and guggenheim.sp.museum. If practical experience indicates its utility, it may prove useful to offer a SLD.int. in such cases.
second level designation cannot be limited to geographic distinctions,
but should also encompass virtual museums that exist in cyberspace with
no physical analog. This issue is not unique to the museum community. While
the second-level designation recommended in this Application is expected
to be founded primarily in the two-letter country codes, it is the intention
of the Applicant to utilize any scheme that may manifest itself more clearly
as other TLD proposals are examined, such as that for museums born digital
and for museums' professional and representative organizations. If a registrant
seeks its own second-level designation, such a request would be considered
by the MDMA within a generic and consistent use of second-level designators
applicable to the museum concept. If accepted as a generic designation,
no exclusive rights would be conferred to the registrant making the proposal
and the new SLD would be available to any other registrant wishing to use
it. In order to allow ICOM and other national museum associations, for
example, to have distinct names in the domain of the institutions they
represent, .org could also be used at the second level.
Registrars. Describe in detail the policies for selection of, and competition
among, registrars. Will domain-name holders deal through registrars, directly
with the registry operator, or some combination of the two? What are the
respective roles, functions, and responsibilities for the registry operator
and registrars? If registrars are to be employed, how and by whom will
they be selected or accredited? If the number of registrars will be restricted,
what number of registrars will be selected? Have the qualifying registrars
already been selected? On what basis will selections among those seeking
to be registrars be made, and who will make them? If registrars are to
be used, what mechanisms will be used to ensure that TLD policies are implemented?
The MDMA will prepare a detailed specification for registration in the ..museum TLD consistent with the eligibility criteria and policies described in this Application and will expect all registrars to accept contractual responsibility for adherence to these rules. This may limit the number of the ICANN-accredited registrars who will be interested in providing registrar services, but it is unclear to what extent that limitation will affect the size of the registrar corps. If, during the broader TLD architectural exercise, any such number becomes apparent, one that is determined to best serve the interests of the Internet at large, it would acceptable to the Applicant.
There is not likely to be any significant financial incentive for competition among the registrars in a domain with a limited number of potential registrants. Such value will instead be measured in terms of involvement with agencies engaged in public benefit activity. The potential for generating a market for value-added services may be significant, but it is not possible to assess how this might appear to the registrar community. There is no reason to attempt to limit free competition in that area, short of its becoming exploitative of the museum community.
The basis of the registration criteria will be the definition of "museum" as specified in the ICOM Statutes. The MDMA will provide dedicated personnel to support the registrars in any situation where the diligent evaluation of a registration request is beyond registrarís ability. The possibility of this referral service being expanded to include a customer relations service directly with the registrants may present itself in the near future, but it is best to defer any such consideration until the proof of concept phase can be evaluated.
is likely that the .museum TLD will ultimately have a restricted group
of highly specialized registrars, possibly operating in tandem with similar,
smaller-scaled, restricted domains serving, for example, the broader heritage
libraries, archives, monuments and sites. This Application, however, cannot imagine detailed restrictions that might be counter to any fundamental purpose of the present expansion of TLD space.
CORE is proposed here to serve as the Registry for the .museum TLD and it is expected that the primary candidates for the provision of registrar services will be found among the CORE registrars and at CORE itself, if and when it establishes a separate association to serve as registrar. There will be nothing exclusive about this, but it is specifically identified here as an adequate seed facility to ensure the timely initiation of the ..museum TLD in the event of its approval. Each registrar will be placed under contract, as mentioned above, with the MDMA to ensure conformance with eligibility criteria. Requisite negotiation about this will be conducted between the MDMA and CORE. For the purpose of ensuring that the sponsor is able to manage the quality of relationships with registrants and domain name holders, the registrars' contracts will provide that registrars may continue to register in the domain at the pleasure of the MDMA.
in the domain will deal directly with a registrar and not have contact
with the Registry Operator. Registrars will perform all normal registrar
functions such as accepting applications, performing initial screening
and notifying of renewals. The Registry will maintain the registration
with the exclusive control over the domain root server as well as provide
Whois access to it. The Registry will accept responsibility for all communications
to support DNS services and maintain communications with IANA and with
the MDMA. Because of the nature of the .museum TLD and the community it
serves, it is possible that registrants may also have contact with the
MDMA in certain circumstances such as appeal.
Intellectual Property Provisions. Describe the policies for protection
of intellectual property. Your response should address at least the following
questions, as appropriate to the TLD:
a matter of policy, the MDMA states unequivocally that it respects the
intellectual property rights of others and expects the .museum TLD registrars
and users to share and to follow this sentiment. Indeed, one of the goals
of creating .museum as a new TLD is to reduce intellectual property disputes,
because the .museum TLD designation will clarify for both professionals
and Internet users in general, that the entity in question is authentic.
The intellectual property safeguards being proposed by the MDMA are derived from seven policies and procedures.
The first safeguard is a result of the restricted nature of the .museum TLD. As explained in response to E17, it is recommended that only those entities meeting the International Council of Museumsí ("ICOM") definition of a museum will be permitted to use the ..museum TLD.
The second safeguard is accomplished through the use by authorized .museum registrars of a database of museums meeting the ICOM definition. This electronic verification opportunity is expected to minimize registration complications and formalities for many prospective registrants.
Thirdly, the .museum TLD charter will require all proposed designations to be clearly derived from the well-known name of the registrantís organization.
Fourth, each prospective registrant will be required to certify at the time of registration and later at the time of renewal, that the domain it seeks is not known to be confusingly similar to any existing domain awarded to another .museum registrant or to an entity eligible to apply for the .museum TLD; that the awarding of the domain name requested does not infringe the proprietary rights of any third party; and, the prospective registrant seeks the domain for the purpose of furthering its mission as a museum as defined in accordance with the ICOM definition.
Fifth, a "cooling off" period of five business days from the day of registration will be required. The purpose of this policy is to help minimize the workload on registrars caused by people changing their minds. There is, however, a secondary benefit directly related to intellectual property. It is hoped that those institutions and organizations applying for the .museum TLD who may rethink their responses to the eligibility criteria will use the cooling-off period as an opportunity to withdraw their applications before an intellectual property dispute can arise.
Sixth, each registration will be accompanied by certain explanatory information that will be examined by dedicated MDMA staff. If it is found that the registrant does not comply with the eligibility criteria, then, absent presentation of appropriate documentation to the MDMA, the .museum TLD will be deauthorized. All prospective registrants will be required to agree at the time of their applications and as a matter of contract law to abide by the MDMAís policies and procedures.
Seventh, the MDMA will adopt a policy expressly
requiring the MDMA and the MDMA's registrars to follow all applicable court
orders and applicable intellectual property policies and procedures adopted
by ICANN, including the existing UDRP.
E5.2. If you are proposing pre-screening
for potentially infringing registrations, how will the pre-screening be
In its most formal sense, based on independent, factual research by the MDMA of prospective registrations is not envisioned. Pre-screening will occur, however, for completeness and the internal consistency of all the material submitted with an application to register. Post-registration screening might also occur in instances where a third-part complaint provides material indicating that a registrant does not meet the eligibility criteria. If a list(s) of proscribed terms in domain name structures is adopted by ICANN, then it will be applied in the registration process. If other policies and procedures concerning pre-screening for potential infringements are adopted by ICANN, they will be implemented and followed. If jurisdictions institute laws or regulations for checking names or approving names to help avoid intellectual property infringement disputes, such laws and regulations will be followed. If those entities concerned with intellectual property protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights recommend standards for pre-screening registrations, then such recommended standards will be reviewed by Applicant and, if appropriate, implemented.
There are, however, three policies and
procedures that the MDMA proposes to institute that will help to ensure
that potentially infringing registrations are not authorized. The first
is the certification and recertification requirements explained in the
responses to question E5.1, above. The second is the five-day "cooling
off period" described in response to question E5.1, above. The third is
the application questionnaire described in response to question E6.2, below.
E5.3. What registration practices will
be employed to minimize abusive registrations?
The .museum TLD charter will require all
proposed designations to be clearly derived from the well-known name of
the registrantís organization. Furthermore, there is a definite universe
of potential registrants. For present purposes, this is estimated to be
40,000 institutions and organizations worldwide. It is possible that the
actual figure may prove to be higher, but it is unlikely to extend into
the next order of magnitude. Given the proposed criteria for obtaining
the .museum TLD, and the MDMAís commitment to vigorous compliance with
these criteria, the potential for abusive requests should be marginal.
E5.4. What measures do you propose to comply with
applicable trademark and anti-cybersquatting legislation?
As stated in responses to questions E5.1 and E5.2,
above, Applicant is fully and completely committed to abide by the laws
and regulations of the jurisdictions in which it and its registrants operate.
In addition, Applicant will cause its registrars and registrants to comply
with ICANNís Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy ("UDRP"), as it may be amended
from time to time, and the decisions and court orders rendered thereunder.
E5.5. Are you proposing any special protections (other
than during the start-up period) for famous trademarks?
Many holders of famous trademarks operate bona
fide museums under a trademark name. No special protections for famous
trademarks are envisioned during or after the start-up period. As stated
in response to question E5.3, above, the .museum TLD charter will require
all proposed designations to be clearly derived from the well-known name
of the registrantís institution or organization. As a result, the potential
for abusive requests should be marginal.
E5.6. How will complete, up-to-date, reliable, and
conveniently provided Whois data be maintained, updated, and accessed concerning
registrations in the TLD?
E6. Dispute Resolution. Describe the policies for domain name and other dispute resolution. If you are proposing variations to the policies followed in ..com, .net, and .org, consider the following questions:
The MDMA and each authorized registrar
will comply with the UDRP (as it may be modified or amended by ICANN from
time-to-time) and each registrar will cause each registrant to be bound
by its then current terms and by the decisions of the courts and arbitrators
E6.2. Please describe any additional, alternative,
or supplemental dispute resolution procedures you are proposing.
Because the .museum TLD is being proposed as a restricted domain that requires each applicant to meet certain specific criteria (see response to question E17), it is necessary to ensure ongoing compliance with those criteria. The MDMA will use its web site to provide clear information to prospective registrants and it will answer questions via email from prospective users who are unsure as to whether they qualify or who may have been denied registration. In order to be informative and to minimize the potential for disputes, a series of procedures that are both efficient and equitable will be implemented from the very beginning of the .museum TLD registration process. In order to ensure ease of enforcement between the MDMA and prospective registrants, these procedures will be agreed to by each prospective registrant as a matter of contract established at the time each prospective registrant applies to register a name.
It is absolutely essential that all prospective registrants agree to be bound by the policies and procedures of the registry and the registrar. Each prospective registrant will also be required to certify that all information provided as part of the registration process is true. Such certification will expressly state that the name being proposed, along with the country code designation if necessary, is not known to be confusingly similar to any other museumís name, and that the prospective registrant understands and meets the stated .museum TLD eligibility requirements. Each prospective registrant will be required to answer questions the purpose of which is to verify its compliance with the established .museum TLD criteria. A sample questionnaire is attached at the end of the response to question E6. The agreements, certifications and the answers to the questionnaire will be completed electronically. The MDMA will also offer prospective registrants the opportunity to submit paper applications.
In addition to the electronic application process described above, each authorized registrar will have access to a database of the institutions and entities that MDMA recognizes as meeting the ICOM definition (see response to question E17). Every effort will be made to establish this database and to update it so that it can be used as an effective tool for expediting the application process.
If the application is completed satisfactorily and all agreements, certifications and questions are answered affirmatively, the registration will proceed and the .museum TLD authorization will be made after the five-day "cooling-off" period. See response to question E5.1 for further information on the cooling-off period.
In order to maintain the integrity of the restricted nature of the .museum TLD, the MDMA, through dedicated staff, will examine each registration. This examination will be completed within sixty (60) days of the initial application. During this period the registrant will be granted a preliminary name registration and the preliminary registration will mature into a full registration after a successful examination by MDMA. In the unlikely event that the registrant incorrectly responds to the questions so that it appears that it does not meet the established criteria, then the registrar will be notified by the MDMA and the registrar will immediately contact the registrant. Within ten (10) days thereafter, before the preliminary authorization is discontinued, the registrant will have an opportunity to present to the registrar and the MDMA its credentials and evidence documenting its compliance with MDMA's registration requirements. Failure on the part of the registrant to provide the requested information in a timely manner will result in deauthorization of the preliminary registration. If new information is provided by the registrant, then the registration will be re-examined in light of this new information. The results of the second examination will be final as to the subject application.
If the registrar needs further consultation in order to make an initial determination for authorization, the registrar may contact the MDMA. In such event, the registrar will not authorize or deny the use of the .museum TLD to the prospective registrant or any other applicant until consultation with the MDMA has been completed.
There is, of course, a possibility that the prospective registrant who has been denied its application for the .museum TLD may wish to further question the decision. In the event of any dispute relating to a decision to grant or deny any application, such dispute will be referred to a representative of the MDMA. The MDMA will review the materials provided by the prospective registrant and the registrarís decision. It is hoped that through such review, both parties will be able to present any and all relevant information and thus be satisfied with the outcome. The decision of the MDMA board is final and all prospective applicants agree to this authority at the outset of the application process.
As a final note, the MDMA will state in its ..museum TLD application, that each prospective registrant agrees that the UDRP and United States law will govern any disputes and such disputes, if litigated, will be brought in the courts in the State of Delaware. This requirement is necessary in order to ensure predictable and reliable interpretation of rules which, in turn, should result in predictable and reliable judicial outcomes.
..museum TLD is a restricted domain and approved registrants must meet established
eligibility criteria. The application for the .museum TLD requires proof
of status and information that the Registrar provides the Museum Domain
Management Association to ensure compliance with eligibility criteria.
Submission of this information is a pre-condition to approval of this application.
In addition, the registrant, by submitting this application, agrees to
the Statement of Certification set forth below.
Basis for approval or denial of registration:
2. Does a national museum association or other accrediting body accredit the institution?
Additional information that may be considered for approval or denial of registration:
What is the institutionís tax status? If tax-exempt, please provide evidence of tax-exempt status.
When was the institution founded?
3. Is the institution a member of ICOM?
4. Is the institution a member of a national museum
association? If so, please identify such association(s) or organization(s).
5. This application for .museum TLD registration may be contested or disputed. Do you, on behalf of your institution, agree to accept and be bound by the MDMA's policies and procedures applicable to the registration process, including, without limitation, MDMA's dispute resolution process? For information on this policy, please refer to the MDMA web site.
for approval or denial of registration:
information that may be considered for approval or denial of registration:
STATEMENT OF CERTIFICATIONWhat is the institutionís tax status? If tax-exempt, please provide evidence of tax-exempt status.
When was the organization founded?
The approved, certified registrars for the .museum TLD will review the information provided herein and will determine whether the applicant meets the eligibility criteria described above. If it is not possible to approve the application based on the information provided herein, then the registrar will notify the applicant and identify any outstanding questions. Upon receipt of additional information from the applicant, the registrar will notify the applicant concerning its application status. In addition, this application will be reviewed by the MDMA in order to ensure compliance with the .museum TLD eligibility criteria.
By [signing/agreeing digitally] below and by submitting this application, or a renewal request, to the registrar, applicant certifies by and through its authorized representative for such purpose that the following are true:
(b) The awarding of the requested domain sought to Applicant does not infringe the proprietary rights of any third party.
(c) Applicant seeks to register the requested domain for the purpose of furthering its mission as a museum, defined herein as a non-profit making, permanent institution in the service of society and of its development, and open to the public which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study, education and enjoyment, material evidence of people and their environment.
Data Privacy, Escrow, and Whois. Describe the proposed policies on data
privacy, escrow and Whois service.
The MDMA will develop a registrant privacy agreement that will be included as a necessary pre-condition to registration for the .museum TLD. As stated in response to question E5.6, publicly available Whois data will be: the name of .museum TLD registrant, the contact person for the registration, and the mailing address. Unless otherwise required by ICANN or governing law, all other information collected in the registration process will remain private and will not be published.
registrars will be required to agree to maintain and to abide by the aforementioned
privacy agreement. Authorized registrars will also be required to work
with a third party data escrow company that will have specific obligations
for maintaining data and transferring such data to the MDMA upon the occurrence
of certain events as described more fully in the Memorandum of Understanding
between the MDMA and the Internet Council of Registrars ("CORE") included
in response to question C18.2.
Billing and Collection. Describe variations in or additions to the policies
for billing and collection.
Individual registrars will establish retail pricing for each domain name registration. However, the MDMA will assess individual registrars approximately $90 (USD) per domain name registration (initial two-year period). An annual renewal charge will be levied at the expiration of the initial period. Authorized registrars will agree to wire payment to the MDMA on a regularly-scheduled basis. The MDMA will be responsible for the per registration fee paid to the registry operator.
Pre-payment of the domain registration fee will be required. Authorized registrars may elect to accept credit risk; in this situation, registrars will send invoices to registrants requiring payment within a certain time frame. Credit card payment at the time of registration will also be accepted.
Registrants will be notified at the time of registration that their domain registration will not be active for a certain period of time. During this five business day cooling-off period, the proposed registration may be deleted or edited at the request of the registrant.
will be required to send 90-day and 60-day renewal notices to all domain
registrants prior to expiration. Registrars will be required to maintain
records to complete this task.
Services and Pricing. What registration services do you propose to establish
charges for and, for each such service, how much do you propose to charge?
MDMA anticipates the domain registration fee for an initial two-year period
to be $90 (USD) with a charge for annual renewals. Each authorized registrar
will establish its own retail pricing. The MDMA will pay the registry operator
a fee for each domain registration; the actual fee has not yet been determined.
Additional services that the MDMA anticipates providing include: Web site
hosting, Web site development, premium-listing options in a comprehensive
museum database, digitization services, and other services. These additional
services will be introduced after an initial period and the fees for these
services have not yet been determined.
Other. Please describe any policies concerning topics not covered by the
are no further descriptions of policies.
In this section, you should thoroughly describe all policies (including
implementation details) that you propose to follow during the start-up
phase of registrations in the TLD, to the extent they differ from the General
TLD Policies covered in items E1-E9. The following questions highlight
some of the areas that should be considered for start-up policies:
Applicant does not see the need for any special policies or procedures for the ..museum TLD during the start-up phase. As stated previously in response to question E5.3, the estimated universe of potential registrants is 30,000 institutions and organizations. Even if each of these potential registrants requests more than one domain name for the .museum TLD, Applicant is confident that its registry and registrars can handle the demand. Should a bottleneck be perceived during the early days of the start-up period, then the MDMA may simply institute and publicize an alphabetical order registration process spread over the appropriate number of weeks.
The examination process described in response to question E6 could be time consuming. To ensure that it is neither burdensome nor overly time consuming, the combination of specific, publicized criteria (see response to question E17) and the use of a database of qualifying institutions should reduce any such delays.
more specific responses to questions E12 through and including E15, are
set forth on the following pages.
How do you propose to address the potential rush for registration at the
initial opening of the TLD? How many requested registrations do you project
will be received by the registry operator within the first day, week, month,
and quarter? What period do you believe should be considered the TLD's
"start-up period," during which special procedures should apply?
Because ..museum is being proposed as a restricted TLD, it is unlikely that there will be an operational overload of the registryís and the registrarsí facilities during the start-up period. While Applicant will publicize the availability and benefits of the .museum TLD and will encourage all eligible institutions and entities to apply, it is still expected that the immediate demand will be easily handled. If, however, there is thought to be high demand in the early days of registration, then rather than allowing frustration to build with long waiting periods, Applicant may institute alphabetical order processing for the introductory period of one to two months.
Estimates of actual volume are difficult to predict. There is international support for the .museum TLD and it is certainly desirable that all eligible institutions and entities identify themselves in cyberspace with the .museum TLD. Applicant estimates that 40,000 institutions, organizations, and entities may qualify. Nevertheless, Applicant expects a three-digit number of prospective registrants the first day; a four-digit number by the end of the first week; and over 10,000 registrations during the first quarter.
MDMA suggests that the "start-up" period should be at least two years,
however, Applicant will abide by whatever time period is established by
ICANN. Two years is being suggested in recognition of the digital divide
phenomena described in response to question E1. Two years is also a reasonable
time period in which to provide the MDMA an opportunity to reach many of
the eligible .museum TLD institutions and organizations and assist them
in gathering and applying their Internet resources.
Do you propose to place limits on the number of registrations per registrant?
Per registrar? If so, how will these limits be implemented?
need to impose any limitations is envisioned.
Will pricing mechanisms be used to dampen a rush for registration at the
initial opening of the TLD? If so, please describe these mechanisms in
need for such a mechanism is envisioned.
Will you offer any "sunrise period" in which certain potential registrants
are offered the opportunity to register before registration is open to
the general public? If so, to whom will this opportunity be offered (those
with famous marks, registered trademarks, second-level domains in other
TLDs, pre-registrations of some sort, etc.)? How will you implement this?
need for a "sunrise period" is envisioned. Should ICANN recommend such
a policy, Applicant will, of course, follow such a policy.
As noted in the New TLD Application Process Overview, a restricted TLD
is one with enforced restrictions on (1) who may apply for a registration
within the domain, (2) what uses may be made of those registrations, or
(3) both. In this section, please describe in detail the restrictions you
propose to apply to the TLD. Your description should define the criteria
to be employed, the manner in which you propose they be enforced, and the
consequences of violation of the restrictions. Examples of matters that
should be addressed are:
As stated previously, the MDMA, is proposing that the .museum TLD be implemented as a restricted domain name. The criteria for eligibility are based upon the Article 2 definition of museum found in the ICOM Statutes (see response to question E17). The rationale behind seeking a restricted domain name for museums is to establish special, unique and authentic locations in cyberspace that reflect those dedicated, physical spaces that museums occupy throughout the world.
refer to Applicantís responses to questions E17 to E21 for additional information.
Describe in detail the criteria for registration in the TLD. Provide a
full explanation of the reasoning behind the specific policies chosen.
ICOM was established in 1946 and is an NGO ("Non-Governmental Organization") with consultative status to the United Nationsí Economic and Social Council ("UNESCO"). Since its inception, ICOM members have spent countless hours and days thinking about and defining a museum. ICOMís international membership from 147 countries has participated in these debates and the result is that its definition of a museum is recognized throughout the world.
There is no organization in any way comparable to ICOM in the scope of its mandate and its authority on the museum community.
basis for registration in the .museum domain will be the following article
of the ICOM Statutes:
Article 2 - Definitions
A museum is a non-profit making, permanent institution in the service of
society and of its development, and open to the public which acquires,
conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study,
education and enjoyment, material evidence of people and their environment.
(a) The above definition of a museum shall be applied without any limitation arising from the nature of the governing body, the territorial character, the functional structure or the orientation of the collections of the institution concerned.
(b) In addition to institutions designated as "museums" the following qualify as museums for the purposes of this definition:
A proposal will be presented to the next General Assembly of ICOM to be held in 2001 for the modification of this definition by including the following additional proviso:(i) natural, archaeological and ethnographic monuments and sites and historical monuments and sites of a museum nature that acquire, conserve and communicate material evidence of people and their environment;
(ii) institutions holding collections of and displaying live specimens of plants and animals, such as botanical and zoological gardens, aquaria and vivaria;
(iii) science centres and planetaria;
(iv) conservation institutes and exhibition galleries permanently maintained by libraries and archive centres;
(v) nature reserves;
(vi) international or national or regional or local museum organizations, ministries or departments or public agencies responsible for museums as per the definition given under this article;
(vii) non-profit institutions or organizations undertaking research, education, training, documentation and other activities relating to museums and museology;
(viii) such other institutions as the Executive Council, after seeking the advice of the Advisory Committee, considers as having some or all of the characteristics of a museum, or as supporting museums and professional museum workers through museological research, education or training.
(ix) cultural centres engaged in the preservation, continuation and management of living heritage systems on a non-profit basis.The latter addresses the issue of "intangible heritage," but does not encompass notions of born digital creative activity. An additional modification (x) should be on the table at the September 30th meeting of the ICOM Reform Task Force, which is completing its review of ICOM's basic organization and suggesting modifications to it.
ICOM participancy in the maintenance of the museum domain has, at least in part, been linked to the RTF exercise. The additional tenth proviso will provide legitimacy for virtual entities. The alternative would be to submit registration applications from such entities to the process described in (viii) which, in any case, will be a cornerstone of the .museum dispute resolution process.
Some of the subsections of the preceding article may require further constraint, and others may be relaxed, for the specific purposes of the museum domain charter. Additional provisos unique to the latter document may also be drafted.
The ICOM definition is commonly applied in national governmental contexts when a benchmark for museum status is required. It has long had de facto status as the definition of museum and it should be fully adequate for the present context. The community of potential registrants respects it.
entity conforming to the ICOM definition, as finally adapted for use as
the evaluation standard for entities requesting registration in the ..museum
TLD, will be deemed entitled to registration.
Describe the application process for potential registrants in the TLD.
The proposed application process for the .museum TLD is explained in some detail in responses to questions E5 and E6. Please refer to those responses.
it is the goal of the Applicant to make the registration process as smooth
and efficient as possible. In order to minimize any confusion early on,
the MDMA will publicize the criteria for eligibility as well as the registration
process on the web site it will establish. All interested parties will
be encouraged to review this information in detail before contacting one
of the authorized registrars. In this way, it is hoped that many of the
questions about the restricted nature of the .museum TLD and its registration
policies, procedures and processes will be available before the entity
contacts a registrar.
Describe the enforcement procedures and mechanisms for ensuring registrants
meet the registration requirements.
As stated in responses to questions E6 and E18, Applicant has proposed a multi-step procedure for dealing with questions or disagreements concerning eligibility for the .museum TLD as well as a means of ensuring that prospective registrants are informed in advance of the eligibility requirements and registration procedures.
Specifically, the database of those institutions and entities currently known to meet the ICOM definition of museum and the electronic questionnaire that must be filled out at the time of registration, should help prevent mistakes in the authorization or refusal to authorize SLD's within the .museum, TLD. (See responses to questions E5, E6 and E17.)
Recognizing that there may be situations in which and SLD was authorized when it should not have been, Applicant proposes that each registration be examined by the MDMAís dedicated staff. In other circumstances this additional credential examination would be time consuming and difficult. In this situation, however, there is a rigorous, long-standing, and internationally accepted definition of museum that is the basis for eligibility and many of the prospective registrants are established entities.
In those limited situations in which a dispute may arise, Applicant proposes a consultation opportunity between the registrar and MDMA dedicated staff and a process of appeal of a registrarís decision to the MDMA. (See response to question E6.)
if, upon examination, the .museum TLD is questioned, Applicant will work
with the registrar and the registrant to ensure that ample opportunity
is provided so that all information can be considered. Ultimately, though,
if the decision of the MDMA is to withdraw the registration based on inaccurate
information and the failure of the registrant to meet the eligibility criteria,
then the registrar and registrant will be so notified and the .museum TLD
will be deauthorized. Each registrant's assent to such a procedure and
decision-making authority was established by contract at the beginning
of the application process. (See responses to questions E5 and E6.)
Describe any appeal process from denial of registration.
stated in responses to questions E6 and E19, Applicant is committed to
providing a full and open opportunity for any prospective registrant to
understand the eligibility criteria and to make its case as to why it should
be entitled to the .museum TLD. It is fundamentally important and absolutely
critical to the purpose and ultimate success of the .museum TLD, that only
institutions and entities meeting the eligibility criteria be authorized.
For that reason, a decision of the MDMA, after its consideration of the
information provided by the prospective registrant, will be final. Once
again, each prospective registrant will agree to this authority at the
commencement of the application process.
Describe any procedure that permits third parties to seek cancellation
of a TLD registration for failure to comply with restrictions.
In response to question E3, Applicant recognizes that a number of prominent museums throughout the world share the same name, such as National Gallery. For this reason, a second-level country designation will be utilized. In addition, as stated in response to question E5.3, the .museum TLD charter will require all proposed designations to be clearly derived from the well-known name of registrantís institution or organization. As a result, few disputes between or among eligible institutions or entities are anticipated.
the third party is denied registration of the .museum TLD, there is no
further action between that party and the MDMA. The prior decision of the
MDMA is final. If, however, the third party has no prior relationship with
the MDMA and obtains a legally binding decision from the courts relating
to award or use of the .museum TLD, and such court decision is consistent
with principles of international jurisdiction, then the MDMA will honor
This section is intended to allow you to describe the benefits of the TLD
and the reasons why it would benefit the global Internet community or some
segment of that community. Issues you might consider addressing include:
As stated previously, the rationale for the .museum TLD is fundamentally based on the notion of authenticity. People look to museums for many things; one of the most important is a museumís ability to verify and to authenticate the inventions, accomplishments, discoveries, artifacts and artworks of the physical world and its societies. As museums expand their reaches into cyberspace, their missions and the reasons people depend upon them do not change. The need to verify and to authenticate is as important as ever. By establishing the .museum TLD, the MDMA ensures that a piece of cyberspace will be clearly distinguished and recognized as having this special and important identity.
The clear, cyberspace identity also is expected to bridge the digital divide. It is hoped that the .museum TLD will provide museums that have not yet participated actively in the Internet, a level of comfort and rationale that their efforts and financial expenditures will be both recognizable and easily accessible.
more specific information on the benefits of the .museum TLD, please refer
to responses to questions to E1, and E23 through and including E27.
What will distinguish the TLD from existing or other proposed TLDs? How
will this distinction be beneficial?
There are no existing TLD's with name strings that have any mnemonic or other association to "museum" with the exception of the .mu ccTLD.
The letter string "museum" is encountered in a large number of lower-level domain name configurations without this necessarily indicating any substantive association with the museum sector. A primary purpose of this .museum TLD proposal is to ensure that the "museum" string will have a well-defined meaning. This meaning is intended to be clearly indicated and readily located in the domain name space, and it will be associated with the societal and institutional notions of a museum as defined in the domain charter.
Any of the resource discovery tools currently available to the user community with the keyword "museum" will typically return references to several million documents. These are provided by organizations operating in essentially every current ccTLD and gTLD. Nothing contained herein will change that and the "museum" string will continue to be an explicit component of a large number of these domain names. (See response to question E2.)
The dilemma confronting anyone attempting to turn a list of millions of URLís into useful information is something for which the DNS cannot be expected to provide significant relief. One aspect of processing any such surfeit of information involves sorting the resources under consideration by expected quality. Separating museum "chaff from wheat" would be abetted if there were some way to assess the legitimacy of a body using its domain name to imply association with the museum world. The proposed .museum TLD with its carefully defined, accepted and well-publicized eligibility criteria, may offer a small solution to this confusion.
intellectual quality of a network resource is not guaranteed by its having
been produced by a museum. That notwithstanding, if there were a .museum
TLD, the user would be assured, at least, that any resource provided from
it, comes from an institution that adheres to the standards implicit in
the domain charter.
What community and/or market will be served or targeted by this TLD? To
what extent is that community or market already served by the DNS?
Resources provided by museums support a broad spectrum of industrial, cultural, educational, historical, political, entertainment, and general societal purposes. While the .museum TLD is being proposed as a restricted domain name, available only to eligible institutions, the target community and/or market for the ..museum TLD includes all Internet users.
Many museums currently maintain Internet resources despite limited budgets and the current constraints of domain names. It is hoped that the introduction of the .museum TLD will encourage many museums to participate more actively in cyberspace, with this clear identity. This proposal is intended to provide a significant improvement in the utility of the DNS for the identification of museum resources and verification of their authenticity, both for those entities that have established web sites and those that will be newly launching their cyberspace presence.
should be noted here, that during the "proof-of-concept" phase for the
..museum TLD, it is recommended that any entity applying for the .museum
TLD maintain its existing URL. Additionally, if at the end of the "proof-of-concept"
phase, ICANN decides to discontinue the .museum TLD, then the MDMA and
ICOM will assist in the transfer of that domain name as a second-level
designation to requesting institutions.
Please describe in detail how your proposal would enable the DNS to meet
presently unmet needs.
As described in response to question E23, there is presently a need for the ability to assess the legitimacy of any entity claiming to be, or claiming to have a relationship with, a museum via its domain name. A reserved ..museum TLD would meet that need. No other mechanism relating to the DNS can conceivably do so.
A large segment of the international museum community perceives the DNS as being US-centric. There is obvious historical reason for this attitude. This perception has, however, exerted a braking effect on the interest of museums in areas where the Internet is still an emergent technology and in the development of resources that can contribute to the global network community. Many museums may feel no sense of alliance whatsoever with ..com, ..net and .org, and may be constrained from registering on a useful level in a ccTLD. These museums hopefully will leap at the opportunity to participate in a globally identifiable museum sector with its own TLD identity.
The establishment of the .museum TLD can serve the purpose of broadening the scope of the museum communityís participation in the development of the Internet and reducing the width of the digital divide. It is certainly true that the
of museums with well-know domain names may readily be recognized without
need for modification of the present DNS structure. Many such entities
have leadership roles within their segment of the museum sector and are
involved in multiple collaborative ventures within this and adjacent sectors.
One of the major benefits of this initiative is the active participation
in the development of the Internet that would likely be elicited from numerous
as yet uninvolved museums. If the museum community had a collective sectoral
identity in the DNS, these successfully branded museums would also derive
immediate benefit from participation in the museum domain.
How would the introduction of the TLD enhance the utility of the DNS for
Internet users? For the community served by the TLD?
This has largely been covered in response to question E25, above. Because the MDMA is fully cognizant of the limitations of the DNS as a tool for resource discovery, it is difficult and probably inadvisable to make any quantitative assertions about the untapped semantic potential of domain names. Nonetheless, the following points are being included simply to have them on record.
Many Internet users try domain name guessing as an initial resource location stratagem. If it could be assumed that a museum resource would likely be found in the .museum TLD, the likelihood of this approach meeting with success would increase.
the segmentation of TLD space increases, it may prove worthwhile for search
facilities to index domain names. Should this happen, the semantic value
of the DNS, and of domains such as the .museum TLD, may increase by orders
of magnitude. To the extent that the present exercise is a proof of concept,
one useful component might be a renewed evaluation of the utility of the
DNS as a support device for purpose-designed resource location facilities
and directory services.
How would the proposed TLD enhance competition in domain-name registration
services, including competition with existing TLD registries?
..museum TLD is expected to identify new customers. It will encourage museum
institutions and organizations that have yet to expand into cyberspace
and virtual museum planners contemplating new approaches to the museumsí
missions, to participate in the .museum TLD. While it is proposed that
the MDMA will only enter into contracts with ICANN-accredited registrars,
it is hoped that this new gTLD initiative, including the .museum TLD Application,
will spark the interest of those considering entering the registry and
Recent experience in the introduction of new TLDs is limited in some respects.
The current program of establishing new TLDs is intended to allow evaluation
of possible additions and enhancements to the DNS and possible methods
of implementing them. Stated differently, the current program is intended
to serve as a "proof of concept" for ways in which the DNS might evolve
in the longer term. This section of the application is designed to gather
information regarding what specific concept(s) could be evaluated if the
proposed TLD is introduced, how you propose the evaluation should be done,
and what information would be learned that might be instructive in the
long-term management of the DNS. Well-considered and articulated responses
to this section will be positively viewed in the selection process. Matters
you should discuss in this section include:
see responses to questions E29 to E32.
What concepts are likely to be proved/disproved by evaluation of the introduction
of this TLD in the manner you propose?
The MDMA foresees testing a number of interesting concepts through the introduction of the .museum TLD. Three of the most important are described below.
The first concept to be tested will be the utility of equating a domain name to a clearly-worded, public-record charter. In short, is a restricted domain with clear eligibility criteria operationally feasible?
The second concept will test whether a semantically enhanced DNS may render the Internet more useful to all concerned. This new idea has generated vexed debate and the actual results will be very interesting.
third concept will test the determination of the viability of specialized
domains with relatively small registrant bases and ones that de-emphasize
the ability of the DNS to support registrars as a commercial enterprise,
but which emphasize and highlight the ability of the DNS to serve the public
How do you propose that the results of the introduction should be evaluated?
By what criteria should the success or lack of success of the TLD be evaluated?
There are two primary criteria identified to evaluate the success of the ..museum TLD. The first relates to use of the .museum TLD by museum professionals and the museum community. The second can be determined by evaluating opinions of the Internet community in general to see if these users derive greater benefit from the museum sectorís common domain identity.
will cooperate fully with ICANN and others to evaluate carefully the responses
to the .museum TLD. There are many ways this can be accomplished, including
surveys, interviews and reviews of the records.
In what way would the results of the evaluation assist in the long-range
management of the DNS?
evaluation of the introduction and use of the .museum TLD will be very
important to those who want to assess the semantic value of the DNS and
the implications for resource location and directory facilities. If the
concept works technically and economically in the .museum TLD, then other
similarly-situated communities may find it useful to suggest their own
gTLDs. In addition, if successful, the .museum TLD experience will have
substantial implications for the further development of DNS management
Are there any reasons other than evaluation of the introduction process
that this particular TLD should be included in the initial introduction?
Introducing a restricted, non-commercial, public-benefit domain in the first wave of new gTLDs will be an positive step in contradicting the current assertions that the development of procedures for Internet governance caters to commercial interests. Although there may be several proposals that would serve this purpose, the .museum TLD has several advantages that might render it more purposeful than any other alternative.
First, the .museum TLD based on the established ICOM policies is unlikely to give rise to disputes involving trademarks or other intellectual property rights.
Second, ICOM is without competition as the international agency that can authoritatively represent the global museum community and set a credible policy for the domain.
Third, the notion of museum provides a useful subdivision of name space. It has clear semantic value and equates to a well-defined organizational niche. A broader "heritage" or "cultural" domain could easily sprawl into confusing space. Other alternatives, such as the previously suggested ".arts," may map poorly into museum activity. (For example, the largest museums in terms of size of collections are those of scientific, technical and natural history. These museums have little or no affiliation with the arts. They are all, however, museums, as is every similar institution focused on art, archaeology, ethnonology, music, etc.)