Nicholas Weston: INTA tilts at new internationalised GTLDs and ccTLDs coming in 2010

The Full Employment Act for Domain Name Practitioners, otherwise known as the new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) ‘internationalised domain names’ (IDN) program proposed by ICANN (the acronym obsessed, global domain name bureaucrats), could be active on the Internet by the end of 2010. Under this program, it is proposed that (in summary), generic, geographical and brand names can be registered to the right of the last dot (for example, .melbourne, .aboriginal, .christian and so on). These may conflict with existing gTLD’s and ccTLD’s and with trade marks in various jurisdictions. The critical path seems to be as follows:

  • Draft Applicant Guidebook (DAGv3) will be released by ICANN prior to the Seoul ICANN meeting in late October 2009.
  • DAGv4 (final version) likely to be published in December 2009.
  • First application cycle in February 2010
  • Validation period: 4 – 5 months
  • Sign off on applications by the Board of ICANN: > 7 months

According to Stephane Van Gelder, Co-Founder and General Manager of French domain name registrar INDOM, if the concurrent ccTLD IDN fast-track process is approved – as anticipated – in October at the Seoul meeting of the ICANN Board, those countries whom are ready can expect to launch their IDN ccTLD by mid 2010. Thus spake Kurt Pritz, President of Services at ICANN, in Sydney recently and Theresa Swinehart, ICANN’s Vice President of Global and Strategic Partnerships and Tina Dam, ICANN’s Senior Director of IDNs at the Asia Pacific TLD Association meeting in Beijing. More from Stephane here and here.

Not INTA it

This is notwithstanding the position of the International Trademark Association (INTA), as set out in two Board Resolutions, THAT any expansion of gTLDs “should not be introduced unless and until ICANN resolves the overarching issues of trademark protection, the potential for malicious conduct, Internet security and stability, and top-level domain demand and economic impact; AND THAT any expansion of the generic domain name space must not be unlimited, but must be responsible, deliberate and justified.”

So what?

Before I continue, naturally my views are my own and not INTA’s (yep, member) or INTA’s ADR External Partnering Subcommittee (yep, member, but that committee had nothing to do with this or any other Resolutions that I can recall). However, it does make me wonder why I am a member of an organisation that actively agitates against (1) a pretty good idea from ICANN; and (2) the Full Employment Act for Domain Name Practitioners. Windmills are useful and guess what? INTA’s campaign is Quixotic. Whether we like it or not, the IDN gTLDs and ccTLDs are coming next year.

“Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, “Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless.”

“What giants?” asked Sancho Panza.

“Those you see over there,” replied his master, “with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length.”

“Take care, sir,” cried Sancho. “Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone.”

Nick Weston (and Miguel de Cervantes)

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