If you register a domain name in one of Rightside Registry’s new gTLDs, you’ll be banned from using it to mock the company or any of its employees or shareholders.
That’s according to its Acceptable Use (Anti-Abuse) Policy (pdf) published by ICANN today.
As well as prohibiting the usual kinds of malicious hacking and spamming activity, child abuse material and so on, the policy bans:
Holding of [United TLD Holdings] (including its affiliates) or their employees or shareholders up to public scorn, ridicule, or defamation.
I can’t recall seeing that kind of clause in a domain name registration agreement before.
While “defamation” is obviously illegal in most places (as determined by a court), “scorn” seems to be a pretty broad term that could capture a lot of free speech commentary.
Rightside has applied for 26 new gTLDs. Several are the kinds of places you might expect to see some edgy discussion: .republican, .democrat, .army, .actor and .gay to name a few examples.
It seems the simplest route to getting a web site you don’t like shut down in any of these gTLDs would be to buy a single Rightside share and file an abuse complaint.
Also banned by the policy is:
Impersonating any person or entity, including, but not limited to, a UTLDH official, or falsely stating or otherwise misrepresenting your affiliation
Rightside, aka United TLD, is the Demand Media domain name retailer and new gTLD registry currently being spun off into a standalone company under CEO (and thoroughly nice bloke) Tayrn Naidu.