Monday, June 20, 2011

ICANN Approval Of New GTLD Names And Unforeseen Challenges

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has been planning to expand the list of generic top level domain names (gTLDs) among several issues. The same was put as one of the items of the agenda to be voted and decided by ICANN at the second public meeting of the year on 20th June 2011 at Singapore. Finally, after a long gestation period, ICANN has approved the idea of allotting new gTLDs.

ICANN's Board of Directors has approved issuance of new gTLD. The Board vote was 13 approving, 1 opposed, and 2 abstaining. ICANN has opened the Internet's naming system to unleash the global human imagination. Today's decision respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind," said Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN.

New gTLDs will change the way people find information on the Internet and how businesses plan and structure their online presence. Internet address names will be able to end with almost any word in any language, offering organisations around the world the opportunity to market their brand, products, community or cause in new and innovative ways.

"Today's decision will usher in a new Internet age," said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of ICANN's Board of Directors. "We have provided a platform for creativity and inspiration, and for the next big dot-thing."

The Applicant Guidebook, a rulebook explaining how to apply for a new gTLD, went through seven significant revisions to incorporate more than 1,000 comments from the public. Strong efforts were made to address the concerns of all interested parties, and to ensure that the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet are not compromised.

ICANN will soon begin a global campaign to tell the world about this dramatic change in Internet names and to raise awareness of the opportunities afforded by new gTLDs. Applications for new gTLDs will be accepted from 12 January 2012 to 12 April 2012. This would also result in an increased domain names disputes in future and it would also bring unforeseen challenges for ICANN.

Since domain name disputes are going to increase in near future, Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB), the premier techno legal segment of India’s exclusive techno legal ICT and IP Law Firm Perry4Law, has shared the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) of ICANN with all interested person and institutions.

The UDRP is a process established by ICANN for the resolution of disputes regarding the registration of Domain Names. The UDRP currently applies to all .biz, .com, .info, .name, .net, and .org top-level domains, and some country code top-level domains. It is supplemented by Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (Rules).

At Perry4Law and PTLB we believe that, in future, ICANN’s Applicant Guidebook needs to consider and adopt many more crucial issues like upgradation of UDRP procedure, better and expeditious Dispute Resolution Mechanism, enhanced Cyber Security Initiatives for Domain Name and DNS, better National and International Cooperations with Governments, NGOs and Dispute Resolution Providers, considering interests of Developing Countries and NGOs, etc.

These issues have been, by and large, already covered by the Applicant Guidebook to a greater extent. However, there is always scope for the improvement. If ICANN wishes, we can provide “more detailed analysis” in this regard.

However, irrespective of ICANN’s stand on our proposition, new challenges and unforeseen events would confront it and ICANN must be well prepared in advance in this regard.

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