ICANN still considering IGO protections, but adds deadline to discussions

No acronym protections if IGO protections not resolved by Buenos Aires.

One of the Governmental Advisory Committee’s (GAC) requests for new top level domain names is that both the names and acronyms of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) be protected from second level registrations.

This is, I imagine, because of the grave damage that would be inflicted on the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts if ECMWF.baseball were to be registered.

The GAC’s Durban Communiqué reiterates its demands for these protections. It’s asking for a cross between the Trademark Clearinghouse and a preemptive UDRP for anyone who wants to register one of the nearly 200 IGO acronyms. If you tried to register las.vegas at GoDaddy, your registration would be halted to give the League of Arab States a chance to express concerns.*

Even some IGOs realize this is absurd. The International Sugar Organization wrote to ICANN and said it would be perfectly content with ISOSugar.string instead of ISO, noting that its website is ISOSugar.org.

ICANN’s New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) passed a resolution in Durban that says it will continue to work with the GAC to figure out if it can (and should) meet its demands.

But The Committee also placed a bit of a time bomb in the resolution:

If the NGPC and the GAC do not reach agreement on the issues, and subject to any matters that arise during the discussions, the NGPC would require registry operators only to protect the names, but not the acronyms, identified on the GAC’s IGO List posted as Annex 1 [PDF, 541 KB] to Resolutions 2013.07.02NG03-2013.07.02.NG06.

The NGPC is placing a deadline of the next ICANN meeting in Buenos Aires to resolve the issue.

This would be much more palatable to registry operators than a restriction on (potentially lucrative) short domain names.

*It occurs to me that some members of the GAC have not registered domain names in 20 years, and are not aware that registrations happen in real time now. You no longer have to email Network Solutions and ask them if the domain is available.


  1. says

    ICANN – Once bitten, twice shy, want to avoid the future potential of

    “domains provide an alternative to the existing Top Level Domains (TLDs) and Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs), allowing the creation of a simultaneously local and global Internet Identity.”

    More like: NewYorkYankees.baseball – given that .baseball will likely be placed strategically outside the US Venue & Jurisdiction.

    Set-up for protection by WIPO, always on the prowl for an easy source of revenue.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. James says

    I think in general acronyms should rarely be protected by such sweeping decree, since there are countless abbreviations both existing and future that an acronym can represent. However, I suppose that when an acronym itself becomes like a word, and that word gains EXCLUSIVE trademark status, protection would then be due. Or in a case where an acronym domain was being used in bad faith to defraud or confuse the public. Even then, I’m not sure that the domain should then automatically fall under the control of the victim organization… I know the law differs from this, but these are my views.

  3. says

    Love that ECMWF line. It sounds like you’ve spent some time at the Berryhill Writing Academy (soon BWA.شبكة ) not to be confused with the Baptist World Alliance, or quite a number of B* Womens’ Associations.

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