Big Content issues gTLD lock-down demands

Kevin Murphy, March 11, 2012, 21:21:16 (UTC), Domain Policy

Twenty members of the movie, music and games businesses have asked ICANN to impose strict anti-piracy rules on new top-level domains related to their industries.

In a position statement, “New gTLDs Targeting Creative Sectors: Enhanced Safeguards”, the groups say that such gTLDs are “fraught with serious risks” and should be controlled more rigorously than other gTLDs.

“If new gTLDs targeted to these sectors – e.g., .music, .movies, .games – are launched without adequate safeguards, they could become havens for continued and increased criminal and illegal activity,” the statement says.

It goes on to make seven demands for regulations covering Whois accuracy, enforced anti-piracy policies, and private requests for domain name take-downs.

The group also says that the content industries should be guaranteed “a seat at the table” when these new gTLD registries make their policies.

The statement is directed to ICANN, but it also appears to address the Governmental Advisory Committee, which has powers to object to new gTLD applications:

In evaluating applications for such content-focused gTLDs, ICANN must require registry operators (and the registrars with whom they contract) to implement enhanced safeguards to reduce these serious risks, while maximizing the potential benefits of such new domains.

Governments should use similar criteria in the exercise of their capability to issue Early Warnings, under the ICANN-approved process, with regard to new gTLD applications that are problematic from a public policy or security perspective.

The statement was sent to ICANN by the Coalition for Online Accountability, which counts the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America and Disney among its members.

It was separately signed by the many of the same groups that are supporting Far Further’s .music application, including the American Association for Independent Music and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

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Comments (7)

  1. Intellectual property rights should be protected especially for those using it in commerce and the appropriate safeguards should be incorporated to prevent bad faith actors from abusing those rights.

    Just like any other intellectual property owner, we will file a legal rights objection to any violator of our intellectual property who tries to take advantage of our brand equity or tries to create brand confusion.

    • Jesper Anderson says:

      Why “especially”? What makes some “intellectual property” (an oxymoron by any name) more special than other?

      • Some intellectual property is certainly worth more than other. Look at patents for example. Google spent billions for buying the Motorola Mobility patents for $12.5 billion. This also applies to brands/trademarks as well as copyright. For example, the “Mickey Mouse” trademark for Disney or a song/copyright like “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.

        Intellectual property does have value. Some more than others. All intellectual property rights holders have the right to exploit the equity that was created, while preventing any abuse or financial harm brought about by third parties using them in bad faith or to create confusion in the marketplace that would hurt the brand value of the existing rights holder’s intellectual property.

        • Jesper Anderson says:

          So your “especially” concerns only “monetary value”. Ok, I see where you’re coming from, and who is paying you to write this.

          • Jesper, no-one has ever paid me to say anything. This is an issue I feel pretty passionate about. In terms of copyrights, the rights holder should have the option whether they want to exploit their copyright or not.

            Some musicians give away their music and it is within their rights. In the case of artists giving away music for free that might not bring them any monetary value for that specific copyright at that given moment but it could create an incentive for the fans “consuming” the free music to buy a concert ticket, or a t-shirt? Free music in many cases helps increase the exposure for the artist, especially new acts.

            The bottom line is that rights holders should have the right to make the decision on how their IP is exploited or branded. The perception is another thing. That is in the consumer’s mind. You are who your target customer thinks you are.

        • John Bartas says:

          Funny you should mention Disney and Queen. If copyrights ended with the death of the creator you arguments might make make a tiny bit of sense. The justification for the existence of IP rules is to protect the rights of the creators; however both Walt Disney and Freddie Mercuri (singer of Bohemian Rhapsody) are long dead. At this point their works are morally (if not legally) in the public domain. IP rules mainly sever to enable a bunch of greedy speculators, who never created anything of value, to gouge the public for work of dead artists.

          • So you are saying that content from the Whitney Houston, Jimi Hendrix and Michael Jackson should be in the public domain because they are dead? And Disneyland should incorporate free admission tickets? Bottom line those brands have value that people have a high willingness to pay for. There is nothing greedy about the marketplace. If you no value proposition, noone will pay. That is the difference between great brands and below average brands.

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