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Music industry gets its ass handed to it by gTLD panel

Kevin Murphy, October 7, 2014, 20:27:45 (UTC), Domain Registries

The music industry-backed application for the new gTLD .music today suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of a Community Priority Evaluation panel.
The Far Further (.music LLC) application scored a pitiful 3 out of 16 possible points in the evaluation, missing the required 14-point passing threshold by a country and western mile.
CPE is a way for applicants representing genuine communities to avoid an auction. If one applicant in a contention set wins a CPE, all the others must withdraw their applications.
But in this case the CPE panel went so far as to accuse the applicant of attempting to get its hands on a nice generic string by creating a new community, rather than by representing an existing one:

The Panel determined that this application refers to a proposed community construed to obtain a sought-after generic word as a gTLD. Moreover the applicant appears to be attempting to use the gTLD to organize the various groups noted in the application documentation, as opposed to applying on behalf of an already organized and cohesive community.

The application was backed by dozens of music industry trade groups and (by inference) thousands of their member associations and millions of individual members, spread over 150 countries.
But that wasn’t enough to persuade the CPE panel that “music” is even a “community” within the meaning of the ICANN new gTLD program’s Applicant Guidebook:

While the Panel acknowledges that many of the members in the proposed community share an interest in music, the AGB specifies that a “commonality of interest” is not sufficient to demonstrate the requisite awareness and recognition of a community among its members.

The panel pointed to the existence of legions of amateur musicians — estimated at 200 million — that do not identify with the community as defined in Far Further’s new gTLD application, which is restricted to the four million or so members of the application’s backers.
The panel found therefore that “there is no entity mainly dedicated to the entire community as defined by the applicant, nor does the application include reference to such an organization”.
The very fact that the Far Further application included reference to 42 trade groups, covering different facets of the music industry, seems to have counted against it. One overarching body dedicated to “music” in its entirety may have been enough to win the applicant some points.
The fact that the panel decided the community did not exist had a knock-on effect in other parts of the evaluation.
Has the community been around for a long time? No, because the community doesn’t exist. Is it a big community? No again, because the community doesn’t exist. And so on.
The only places Far Further managed to pick up points were on its registration policies, where it had promised to restrict registration to certain community members, and on community endorsement.
There are eight applicants for .music in total. One other, regular DI commenter Constantine Roussos’ DotMusic Limited, is also a Community application that is eligible for CPE.
It’s always seemed highly improbable that any .music applicant could pass CPE, but it’s looking even less likely for DotMusic after today’s result for Far Further.
.music, it seems, is heading to auction, where it is likely to fetch big bucks.

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Comments (7)

  1. Hire.Domains says:

    There was no way icann would ever let all that expected revenue slip through their hands, this will be one of the larger auctions for sure

  2. John Berryhill says:

    “One other, regular DI commenter”
    We should have a “wrote his comment” contest where we all write a comment for him, and the closest one wins.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Challenging! I’m not sure Costa’s comment style is imitable.

      • Rubens Kuhl says:

        I’m with Kevin, I don’t think it is imitable. BTW, I’m quite curious about what Costa will do regarding CPE election, considering Far Further outcome. Will he save the 22 grand CPE cost or try it just for making a point ?

        • John Berryhill says:

          He’ll go all in. Plus, he’ll find reasoning in this CPE determination that differs in some respect from his argument, and thus this decision “proves” he should qualify.

  3. Scott Pinzon says:

    The CPE reasoning seems both paradoxical and high-handed to me. How can a few (presumably) non-musicians rule that the International Musician’s Union, RIAA, the issuers of the Grammies (NARAS), the International Music Council, and so many other backers of Far Further’s application are not a music community? By the same reasoning, the GAC should disband, because it’s a bunch of governments, not part of the One World Government community.

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