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ICANN Compliance probing Hunger Games domain

Kevin Murphy, June 11, 2015, 15:36:07 (UTC), Domain Registries

ICANN’s Compliance department is looking into whether Donuts broke the rules by activating a domain name for the forthcoming The Hunger Games movie.

Following up from the story we posted earlier today, ICANN sent DI the following statement:

We are well aware of this issue and are addressing it through our normal compliance resolution process. We attempt to resolve compliance matters through a collaborative informal resolution process, and we do not comment on what happens during the informal resolution phase.

At issue is whether Donuts allowed the movie’s marketers to launch thehungergames.movie before the new gTLD’s mandatory 90-day “controlled interruption” phase was over.

Under a strict reading of the CI rules, there’s something like 10 to 12 days left before Donuts is supposed to be allowed to activate any .movie domain except nic.movie.

Donuts provided the following statement:

This is a significant step forward in the mainstream usage of new domains. One of the core values of the new gTLD program is the promotion of consumer choice and competition, and Donuts welcomes this contribution to the program’s success, and to the promotion of the film. We don’t publicly discuss specific matters related to ICANN compliance.

I imagine what happened here is that Donuts got an opportunity to score an anchor tenant with huge visibility and decided to grasp it with both hands, even though distributor Lion’s Gate Entertainment’s (likely immovable) launch campaign schedule did not exactly chime with its own.

It may be a technical breach of the ICANN rules on name collisions — which many regard as over-cautious and largely unnecessary — but it’s not a security or stability risk.

Of course, some would say it also sets a precedent for other registries to bend the rules if they score big-brand backing in future.

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Comments (5)

  1. James Louis says:

    If you take the Donuts statement and pair it with how well an oiled machine they are (launched 150 of these so far?) it’s clear that Donuts make a calculated gamble and knowingly broke the rules. This wasn’t a slip up. They are waiving a red flag in front of ICANN compliance and know that the penalties, if any, will be a slap on the wrist. ICANN has as much to gain from Donut’s success as anyone. My prediction: ICANN rolls over on this.

  2. Jose says:

    Does anyone care about new gtlds anyway?

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Good question Jose. Lemme just check my traffic logs…

      Yes, it turns out that lots of people care about new gTLDs.

  3. Adrian Kinderis says:

    “Donuts welcomes this contribution to the program’s success, and to the promotion of the film.”

    If they were promoting a film they should have used .film domain name. thehungergames.film will be available as soon as we have completed our controlled interruption phase on June 24, 2015 🙂

  4. Rubens Kuhl says:

    Usual ICANN Compliance modus operandi is 1-2-3: 1st notice, 1 week to respond, 2nd notice, another week to respond, then a 3rd notice.

    By the time ICANN gets to 2nd notice, controlled interruption will be over.

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