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Popular .Music Initiative Files US Trademark Application

.Music backer files application for U.S. trademark.

Constantinos Roussos has been aggressive in marketing his initiative for a .music top level domain name. He’s also voice displeasure that latecomers could derail his hopes by also applying for the .music top level domain.

DotMusicAt the June 2010 ICANN meeting Roussos voiced his displeasure about latecomers to new TLDs “gaming” the system and asked ICANN for an extra point on community application weightings for groups such as his that had done significant community outreach. (One group backing dotBerlin has asked for a similar leg up.)

Later, in July 2010, Roussos commented to ICANN:

Rest assured that if we, as .MUSIC are faced with the possibility of being gamed and abused in a manner that we find illegal, we will use our trademarks and other means necessary to do what we have to do to protect ourselves and our respective community. While trademarks alone should not be the sole determinant of earning a TLD, it is the only means we have of protection, since ICANN has not incorporated any mechanisms to prevent TLD applicant abuse, gaming and unfair piggybacking from other initiatives.

Everyone’s definition of “gaming” is different. If you just learn about new top level domain names during ICANN’s upcoming outreach period (which is the point of the outreach period — to find people that may not be aware of new TLDs) and you apply, is that “gaming”? Should you be penalized for not organizing a “community” around a generic term earlier?

To date Roussos has only filed trademarks outside the U.S. But on December 31 he filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a logo of .music. His first claimed use of the mark in commerce is in 2008.

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  1. nr says

    how can you get a trademark for something you don’t own yet? it would be like me filing a trademark for sex.com right now when I don’t own it and then trying to take the name away from the current owner in court saying I have the trademark for it. any trademarks he has been awarded for .music could easily be overturned and rejected later on I’m sure.

  2. jp says

    I actually thing .music could be a rare sustainable new tld. It’s one of those few sure things on the Internet is the net an music will always be tied together now. I can think of few other verticals that have such a symbiotic relationship with the net (other than xxx)

    Why not trademark a logo? Even if a waste it’s pennies to do compared to what the rest of the process is going to cost them.

  3. Constantine Roussos says

    Hey Andrew,

    Thanks for the mention and raising my concerns about gaming.

    Note we have been using the logo in commerce globally as well as sponsored numerous ICANN events and music industry events. We have collected nearly 1.5 million emails from supporters of our initiative, so we have built a brand around our .music initiative and awareness. As you can see from our events page (http://music.us/events.htm), we have been the most publicly active TLD group thus far. Our logo is seen everywhere, including Midem and the upcoming New Music Seminar. We are also hosting a few big parties and sponsoring events at this year’s SXSW and other music events that we have announced. We have been consistent with our approach and outreach to our corresponding community.

    The music community know us by our .music brand name and logo. Since we have been public and transparent about our .music domain initiative, it is significant to protect our brand and communication outreach efforts as much as we can given the investment in time and finances spent already over the last few years and will be spent in the next few years.

    I have certainly encouraged open competition, fairness and transparency. As George has pointed out, ICANN has not made any clear rules to prevent “gaming” and protect applicants who have been waiting for years, following numerous “failed” launch date attempts by ICANN and broken promises. There is nothing wrong with latecomers. The question is whether allowing them to benefit from others’ work is fair and ethical business practice. We will fight until the end though.

    We will keep on doing what we are doing and I am convinced the process will run smoothly because too much is at stake here for ICANN.

    All we are asking from ICANN is accountability, fairness and a process that us synonymous with their Affirmation of Commitments in regards to transparency and international participation.

    Have a great year!

    Constantine Roussos
    .music initiative

  4. Jim Griffin says

    It is perfectly legitimate to enter an auction or competitive process at the very last moment. It is not gaming any more than is bidding from the start, and is certainly far more legitimate than is front-running.

    Which raises the question: How and why should anyone even attempt to trademark dot.music when in fact it has yet to be awarded?

    Indeed, why should the same person who says he is against front-running, specifically trademarking TLDs unawarded, now file a trademark application?

    See below URL for declaration from Constantine Roussos against filing for trademarks on unawarded TLDs:

    http://bit.ly/fLh3gX or http://forum.icann.org/lists/eoi-new-gtlds/msg00072.html

    Indeed, he withdrew his own trademark application days after saying this, only to refile the application recently.

    I want to believe better, but actions speak louder than words.

    Jim Griffin

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