Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Neelie Kroes (European Commission) on .WINE & .VIN

Monday, September 23, 2013

Find the coolest web address you can think of for the new .BID gTLD

Famous Four Media is running a competition to find the coolest web address you can think of for the new .BID generic Top Level Domain (TLD).


The competition is open now and will close at 11:59 UTC +2 on 4th October 2013, at which time the best suggestions will be entered into a random draw and the winner will receive a brand new Apple TV.

To stand a chance of winning all FFM needs is for players to send their suggestions along with their email to coolnames@famousfourmedia.com. Alternatively players can post their suggestions on the company's Facebook wall or tweet them at @famousfourmedia.

The more suggestions are sent the more likely players are to win. The best ones will be posted as they come in. Note suggestions which are crude, rude, protected or libellous won't be accepted.

For more details please refer to the Terms and Conditions for this competition. Please note suggestions for the same name from two or more persons will all be included in the random draw should they qualify for entry.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bagged your dotbike name yet?

Dot.com is soooo last century. Road.bike and mountain.bike have gone but still time to register your bicycle-based domain name.

Slides of the latest ICANN new gTLD Webinar

Applicant Update Webinar: Information on evaluation progress and program developments.

Topics include:

  • Initial Evaluation;
  • Objections & Dispute Resolution;
  • GAC Advice;
  • Contracting;
  • Pre-Delegation Testing;
  • Name Collision;
  • Trademark Clearinghouse;
  • Community Priority Evaluation;
  • etc.
Download the slides, click here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New gTLDs: what now?

Interview with Christine Willett, VP of gTLD Operations | 17 Sep 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bataille sur les .vin et .wine : la Commission européenne hausse le ton

Communiqué de Presse CNAOC EFOW sur le ".vin" et le ".wine"
Le dossier de l’attribution des noms de domaine « .vin » et «.wine » continue. La Commission Européenne a décidé de hausser le ton auprès de l’ICANN. Elle vient de prendre deux initiatives fortes sur le sujet. La Commissaire européenne chargée du numérique Neelie Kroes a transmis un courrier à l’ICANN pour l’exhorter à ne pas déléguer le «.vin » et « .wine » en l’absence de consensus. Par ailleurs, une rencontre entre Neelie Kroes et le Président de l’ICANN aura lieu aujourd’hui même pour évoquer ce sujet.

Vous trouverez donc ci-dessous, un communique de presse commun de la Confédération Nationale des producteurs de Vin et eaux-de-vie de vin à Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée (CNAOC) et EFOW, la Fédération Européenne des vins d’origine sur ce sujet.

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Face à l’absence de progrès dans les discussions sur les .vin et .wine et à la veille d’une décision de l’ICANN, la Commission Européenne a décidé de hausser le ton. Elle vient de prendre deux initiatives fortes sur le sujet. Tout d’abord un courrier adressé le 12 septembre à l’ICANN dans lequel la Commissaire européenne chargée du Numérique, Neelie KROES, demande à l’ICANN de ne pas déléguer les .vin et .wine. Ensuite une rencontre ce lundi 16 septembre entre Neelie KROES et le président de l’ICANN. L’exécutif européen va jusqu’à laisser entendre que ses relations avec l’institution mondiale dépendront de l’issue de ce dossier.

La création de nouveaux noms de domaine de premier niveau (actuellement « .com » ou « .fr ») provoque de vifs débats. Notamment dans le secteur du vin puisque se pose à cette occasion la question de l’encadrement de ces noms de domaine et la protection des indications géographiques. Le secteur européen du vin dénonce depuis plusieurs mois les risques de tromperie du consommateur, contrefaçon, détournement de notoriété et cybersquatting. C’est au tour de la Commission européenne de faire entendre sa voix et de tenter de peser sur la décision de l’ICANN. La Commissaire chargée du Numérique a fait connaître la position de la Commission dans une lettre adressée aux dirigeants de l’ICANN le 12 septembre dernier.
Nelly KROES constate que les tentatives de dialogue engagées par le secteur du vin auprès des candidats pour trouver des solutions ont échoué. Compte tenu des « implications juridiques, de la sensibilité politique et des intérêts économiques en jeu », la Commission demande aux dirigeants de l’ICANN de ne pas déléguer les « .vin » et « .wine » tant que n’auront pas été prévues des règles permettant de protéger les indications géographiques.
Nelly KROES les appelle à coopérer et laisse entendre qu’il en va de la crédibilité de l’Institution. La Commissaire doit rencontrer ce lundi 16 septembre le président de l’ICANN pour lui expliquer de vive voix la position de l’Union Européenne.

Les organisations professionnelles européennes et nationales de défense des vins d’origine, EFOW et la CNAOC, se félicitent de ce message très clair envoyé par la Commission. Les présidents d’EFOW et de la CNAOC, Riccardo RICCI CURBASTRO et Bernard FARGES déclarent : « Désormais l’ICANN et les candidats doivent savoir qu’ils ont désormais en face d’eux un front uni de l’Union européenne. Ils ont encore toutes les cartes entre les mains. Soit ils font enfin des efforts pour examiner les solutions que nous leur avons proposées et dialoguent avec nous et alors les .vin et .wine pourraient voir le jour. Soit ils s’entêtent et continuent de nous ignorer, ils porteront alors la responsabilité de l’échec de ces dossiers ».
« Nous répétons que nous sommes prêts à soutenir les dossiers qui permettront d’assurer la protection des noms de nos vins ». Les deux organisations rappellent comme la Commission qu’elles sont prêtes à envisager toutes les actions pour empêcher la délégation en l’état des .vin et .wine.

Rappel du contexte :
L'attribution de noms de domaine de premier niveau ".vin" et ".wine" par l'Icann soulève de vifs débats dans le secteur du vin. Les producteurs de vins d'origine reprochent en effet aux 3 candidats de ne prévoir aucune règle de protection des noms des vins pour la vente de noms de domaine de second niveau (ex  bordeaux.vin"; "rioja.wine"; "chianti.wine" etc). Ils dénoncent les risques que cela ferait peser sur le consommateur (tromperie avec la vente sur des sites comportant des noms d’appellation de vins n'ayant aucun lien avec la région, détournement de notoriété avec utilisation des noms de grands vins, contrefaçon etc) et sur les opérateurs du secteur (racket avec rachat de noms de domaine). Le débat plus large qui est
posé est celui du respect de la propriété intellectuelle sur Internet.
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Qui donc aura le dernier mot? :-)

.WINE & .VIN : VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION to ICANN

This is the very straightforward letter sent by the Vice President of the European Commission yo ICANN about .wine and .vin new gTLDs.

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The EU has welcomed on a number of occasions the applications of the two new gTLDs .wine and .vin as a possibility to have a reliable and safe place on the internet for consumers, right holders of Geographical indications (GI) and producers of wine. We have also stressed the importance that GIs are sufficiently protected under the new gTLDs. Consequently, the European Commission and the major wine producing EU Member States have invested much in GAC to establish safeguards which would allow ICANN to delegate the two new gTLDs in a safe maimer, both for GI right holders and consumers.

At the Beijing meeting, the EU pointed out that the more general safeguards agreed in Annex I of the Communiqué were not sufficient and suggested a limited number of specific safeguards for the two strings. The European Commission was obviously open to negotiate these safeguards with other GAC members, although to a large extent they were to be considered as minimal to achieve the objective they aim to pursue. However, the proposed safeguards were rejected by a few GAC members and it was therefore concluded, in consensus, that further considerations were needed and that, in the meantime, the Board should be advised not to proceed beyond initial evaluation.

After Beijing, much in the spirit of ICANN's multi-stakeholder approach, the European Commission
encouraged organisations representing right holders of GIs to contact the applicants in order to come
to an agreeable solution. The European Federation of Origin Wines (EFOW), contacted the applicants with a concrete proposal, to which unfortunately, they only at a later stage got elusive answers. At the Durban meeting, despite the European Commission's assurance that we were taking appropriate measures to find a solution, the EU and other GAC members were forced to accept a timespan of thirty days in "a view to conclude on the matter".

During this thirty day period, the European Commission and the EU Member States have again made substantial efforts to explain the legal implications, the political sensitivities and the economic interest at stake. Similar concerns have also been expressed to you directly, not only from International and European organisations but also from GI right holders in the USA. We also suggested a way forward, including safeguards which puts GIs on equal footing with trademarks and copyrights in the advice, and suggests a number of precautionary measures allowing GI right holders a certain insight in the registration policies.

Although some of the GAC members seem to believe that the applications for .wine and .vin should proceed, I would like to recall that there has not been any consensus decision overruling the advice given in Beijing. We are therefore of the firm opinion that the advice provided at the GAC April meeting stands as long as there is no new consensus on the matter.

Furthermore, our position on substance also remains firm; under no circumstance can we agree having .wine and .vin on the internet, without sufficient safeguards which efficiently protect the rights and interest of both GI right holders and consumers of wine and wine products. The more general safeguards expressed in Annex 1 of the Beijing Communiqué are not specific enough to allow companies unrelated to the wine sector, and therefore not acquainted with the specificities of the global wine market and the importance of GIs, to run the two strings in a safe manner. I think the Public Interest Commitments accompanying the applications illustrate this very well.

If serious negotiations can start between the two parties, I am confident that the discussions between the GI right holder organisations and the applicants will result in an agreement which, in line with applicable law in the EU, can actually establish a safe space for the GI right holders and consumers. Until such agreement has been concluded, I expect that ICANN does not go beyond the initial evaluation of the two strings .vin and .wine.

In this context, I would also welcome a substantial discussion between our services on how ICANN will ensure that GIs will be treated equally to other intellectual property rights, not least within the Trade mark clearing house. 

I am looking forward to your full cooperation on this highly sensitive issue, crucial for our trust in the well-functioning of ICANN and the multi-stakeholder approach to internet governance.
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Who will have the last word?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

GAC Potential Safeguard Advice Regarding .wine and .vin

The letter below was published by ICANN last night. It was sent by the Chair of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) to the ICANN Board.

It is still too early to comment this, let's see what the ICANN Board answers...and actually, I don't understand the reason of the last sentence of this letter.

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Dear Steve,

As you are aware, the GAC agreed in Durban to set a firm deadline for providing a potential safeguard advice regarding .wine and .vin.

That deadline has now expired and I write to you in order to inform the ICANN Board about the outcome of the GAC deliberations on this matter.

The GAC set a deadline of 30 days for its consideration of possible additional safeguard advice for .wine and .vin. With reference to Module 3.1.1 of the Applicant Guidebook and the Durban Communiqué 2.a regarding .wine and .vin., the GAC advises the ICANN Board that the GAC has finalized its consideration of the strings .wine and .vin and further advises that the applications should proceed through the normal evaluation process.

While there is no GAC consensus advice on specific safeguards, it deserves to be noted that the crux of the matter relates to the handling of geographical indications, for which there is a range of views among the GAC membership. Some members support referencing geographical indications while others are opposed. There is no international agreement among governments about how to treat geographical indications and, as a consequence, no basis for an agreement in the GAC on safeguards that would offer additional protections. 
The GAC or its members may communicate further details to the Board as to the nature of the differences in views. 
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"Patience is a Virtue"...but I wonder what my next publication will start with, what do you think?


The letter can be downloaded here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New gTLDs: The Registry Lock

Last week, The New York Times website domain was hacked by "the Syrian Electronic Army". Other famous websites faced the same attack in 2012 by the Hacker group "UGNazi" and, in 2011 by Turkish hackers.
Basically, it seems that no Registrar on the Internet is safe from attack, but the launching of new gTLDs can offer new ways to mitigate these attacks.

Read the end of this article on CircleId.

Friday, September 6, 2013

.CAM: "the process in the applicant guidebook is now clear"

The message below, from Famous Four Media, explains why United TLD's .CAM application cannot proceed:
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"As you know, in the last few weeks three string confusion objections lodged by Verisign, Inc against .CAM were decided: two by one panellist who decided in favour of AC Webconnecting BV and our applicant, dot Agency Limited, and one by another panellist who decided in favour of Verisign.

As you rightly pointed out in your article of 20th August, the panellists both put some emphasis on expected “usage” (i.e. the focus of the likely content of websites on the string). Whether or not one ascribes to the view that usage should not be taken into account, and we believe that it should (otherwise we would not have argued it), the fact is that United TLD were very explicit prior to the publication that usage should indeed be taken into account. In fact, Greenberg Traurig, on behalf of United TLD, vociferously opposed consolidation of all three objections, and I attach a copy of the letter for you. Note the following extract:

Consolidation has the potential to prejudice the Applicants if all Applicants’ arguments are evaluated collectively, without regard to each Applicant’s unique plan for the .cam gTLD and their arguments articulating why such plans would not cause confusion.

United TLD took a calculated risk in believing that its application was in a stronger position to win out against the objections alone rather than consolidating with the other applicants, and they lost.

As you know, Statton Hammock later went on record on CircleID and wrote the following:

String confusion objections are meant to be applicant agnostic and have nothing to do with the registration or use of the new gTLD.

Their opposition to consolidation is another reason for you to be confused by his statement.

The process in the applicant guidebook is now clear: AC Webconnecting and dot Agency Limited proceed to resolve the contention set, and United TLD ‘s application cannot proceed".
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See Circle ID blog post for reference:
http://www.circleid.com/posts/20130820_icann_must_now_decide_string_similarity_question/

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

CentralNic begins trading its shares on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM Market

CentralNic Group PLC, the internet registry service provider which derives revenues from the distribution and sale of internet domain names, successfully began trading its shares on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM Market on Monday. A leading innovator in the domain name industry, CentralNic has exclusive global contracts to supply retailers such as GoDaddy and Web.com with domains using 30 different endings (“extensions’’), including .la (such as intel.la),.uk.com (such as avon.uk.com) and .us.com (such as activia.us.com).

The Company raised £7m ($10.9m USD) from its IPO with leading institutional investors Schroders Investment Management and Unicorn Asset Management joining the shareholder register. The shares were placed at 55p and rose 19% to 65.5p by the end of the first day’s trading, valuing the company at £38.7m ($60.2m USD). The admission to AIM and strong trading performance was picked up by the UK business press including the Financial Times and The Times, which named CentralNic’s stock “Deal of the Day.”

While already profitable and growing rapidly, CentralNic expects to benefit from a major expansion in the number of generic Top-Level Domains (“TLDs”). The Company has been awarded the exclusive global registry service provision contracts for 60 new TLD applications, 25 of which are already confirmed to launch, including: .college, .bar, .wiki, .xyz, .rest, .contact, .feedback, .ink, and .PID.

CentralNic’s clients include leading media and entertainment businesses The Guardian and William Morris Endeavor, global 1000 companies Saudi Telecom, Etisalat, Qatar Telecom, and Kuwait Finance House, as well as entrepreneurs in the USA, Latin American, Europe and Asia. CentralNic’s clients are also contenders for additional TLDs including .app, .art, .blog, .design, .gay, .golf, hotel, .law, .llc, .love, .mail, .now, .school and .style, among many others.

Commenting on the Company’s admission to AIM, Ben Crawford, CEO of CentralNic, said:

“We are extremely pleased to have successfully completed the IPO process. The business is in a strong position to take advantage of additional opportunities to develop our global domain distribution business, and will benefit from having new quality shareholders to support our strategy.”

Monday, September 2, 2013

What are new gTLD Governance Councils?

I recently explained in French what Governance Councils (GCs) are. Here is another version in English.

A domain name extension is unique
Many generic, community and other geographic new domain name extensions (also called "gTLDs" or "generic Top Level Domains") will soon become a focal point for the industry or sector they represent.

These simple denominators which define a vertical sector, profession, geographic, ethnic or other delineated group on the Internet have not existed on the Internet until now.

Read the end of my article on CircleId.

The Long Island Wine Council to write to ICANN

The Long Island Wine Council recently sent this letter to ICANN regarding its support to Napa Valley Vintners, CIVC (French Champagne), CNAOC, EFOW (and others) initiative against cybersquatting. The letter says that its small business members "have neither the staff nor the financial resources to effectively police fraudulent or misleading domain registrations".


The Long Island Wine Council web site.