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NCUC - The Debate on 'Closed' Generic Top Level Domains

Wed 17 Jul 2013 - 13:30 - 15:00
Hall 4D

Session Leader: Glen de Saint Géry | Secretariat Services and Operations Manager, GNSO

Remote Participation - Low Bandwidth
Remote Participation - High Bandwidth

This event is intended as a prequel to a workshop of the same name that will be held at the Internet Governance Forum in Bali in October http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/wks2013/workshop_2013_list_view.php?xpsltipq_je=253.

ICANN’s New gTLD Program has given rise to business interest in running registries for so-called “closed” gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains). “Closed generics” are common words for which the applicants do not have trademarks but nevertheless would be the exclusive registrants, i.e. only they could have names under them, or “to the left of the dot.” Examples include proposed gTLDs like .antivirus, .app, .baby, .beauty, .blog, .book, .broker, .cars, .cloud, .courses, .cruise, .data, .flowers, .food, .game, .hotel, .movie, .music, .news, .search, .store, .tires, .video, and .weather, as well as some related multilingual domain names. Many of the applications for particularly choice character strings have been made by major corporations that heretofore have not been significantly involved in the domain name industry or in ICANN’s policy processes.

“Closed generics” have become a subject of great debate within the ICANN community. Critics argue, inter alia, that common words should be viewed as part of mankind’s shared heritage rather than private property; that closure is anticompetitive for domain suppliers and users alike; and that closure is contrary to core Internet principles. Supporters counter that the possibility of closed generics was accepted long ago within ICANN’s bottom up multistakeholder policy process; that the late opposition is driven mainly by registrars who would like to be able to sell names under these new gTLDs; that closed generics could stimulate the development of innovative, pro-consumer business models; and so on. Proponents of these polar positions and others it between can be found within as well as across stakeholder groups like civil society and the private sector, making this a particularly interesting deba