TLD Or Not TLD For Cities? Berlin Senate Wants Out

TLD Or Not TLD For Cities? Berlin Senate Wants Out
By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch
A fight has begun over the virtual existence of Germany’s capital: Does a .berlin address space have a right to exist beside the old standby berlin.de? The outcome of the fight could have a broader effect on the future of city names on the Internet. So reports Intellectual Property Watch.The speaker of the Berlin Senate “said the right to the name Berlin belonged to the city and has to be protected”, which could cause problems for dotBerlin who has applied for the TLD .berlin, and is awaiting ICANN’s response.IPW says “[t]he core question to be answered is whether name and trademark rights block geographic TLDs. This had been a concern of experts discussing proposals for ICANN’s planned procedure to introduce new TLDs.”IPW reports speaker of the Berlin Senate, Michael Donnermeyer, as saying “We have decided after lengthy deliberations to not support dotBerlin’s application. … Mainly there are three reasons. First, we do not want to intervene in the market.’ A position on the board of dotBerlin offered “as a compensation to use the name” for the city government would mean they had not only to share responsibility for names like porno.berlin, but would participate in the selection of names like hotel.berlin or taxi.berlin. ‘The state is obliged to neutrality,’ said Donnermeyer.”IPW also notes “[t]he last reason given by Donnermeyer is about existing contracts and money and perhaps it is the most important reason for the Senate. ‘We have a well-known trademark berlin.de,’ said Donnermeyer, ‘with 27 million people coming to visit every month. And we would compete with our own portal if we would support .berlin.’ The portal is managed by BerlinOnline, whose main owner is a large Berlin publishing house.”dotBerlin is one of a number of applicants for new city or regional TLDs. Others to have expressed an interest include New York City (.nyc), Paris, Wales (.cymru), Galicia (.gal) and Chicago.For the full article, see http://ip-watch.org/weblog/index.php?p=672&res=1024

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