US Senate Committee To Hold Hearings On New gTLD Concerns

The US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announced they will hold a full committee hearing on ICANN’s plan to introduce new generic Top Level Domains on Thursday 8 December at 10:00 local time.The hearing will examine the merits and implications of this new program and ICANN’s continuing efforts to address concerns raised by the Internet community.Commenting on the concerns expressed by some in the marketing and advertising industry, which have recently seen the formation of Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (CRIDO), Kieren McCarthy writes “the situation is more complex than that however and the anti-gTLD campaign has some serious concerns which it will make sure the Senate Committee members are fully apprised of.”McCarthy notes:
those concerns were most clearly expressed at ICANN’s recent meeting in Dakar where Steve DelBianco from the organization’s business constituency outlined four issues that were unresolved:

  • Terms of use compliance: the requirement for applicants to use new registries the way that they publicly state they will is not written into the current contract and so ICANN would be helpless to act if companies subsequent change their approach.
  • Applications for gTLD IDNs: the biggest positive benefit from the program will likely come from the creation of Internet extensions in languages other than English. The highly US-focused ICANN has failed to recognise that value.
  • Trademark protection: there are no less than three new IP rights mechanisms in place for new gTLDs, but an applicant is currently in a position to turn one of the most important off as soon as they launch.
  • Registrar code of conduct: there are a significant number of concerns over how registrars – the companies that sell domains – act and what they are obliged to do. ICANN continues to resist efforts to improve the situation.

McCarthy then notes “It is almost certain that there will be a strong call for ICANN to do one of two things. Either:

  • Postpone the program until remaining concerns have been tackled, or
  • Limit applications in the first round to either very safe applications or a limited number of new extensions.”

McCarthy then goes on to say what he believes ICANN should do and what they will do with the full article available at hearing will be webcast live via the Senate Commerce Committee website at It is advised to refresh the page ten minutes prior to the scheduled hearing start time to automatically begin streaming the webcast.