EFF Comments on .Org Contract Renewal

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There has been an uproar since ICANN approved the new .org contract without price caps. The ICA posted some scathing remarks about the contract renewal. NameCheap also took a stand and posted a strongly worded response to the contract renewal and its process. In addition, NameCheap filed a Request for Reconsideration, a longshot attempt at getting the ICANN board to reconsider the contract renewal.

In addition to concern about the removal of price caps for .org domain names, there is also concern about the addition of the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) as a trademark enforcement mechanism. The URS was created for the new domain name extensions, but trademark interests can use it for .org domain names, as a result of the new .org contract.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) weighed in on the addition of the URS for .org domain names in a blog post yesterday. Here’s an excerpt from the post, summarizing the organization’s thoughts on ICANN allowing trademark interests to use the URS for .org domain names:

“URS is a bad fit for .org, the third most-used domain and home to millions of nonprofit organizations (including, of course, eff.org). The .org domain has been around since 1985, long before ICANN was created. And with over ten million names already registered, there’s no reason to expect a “land rush” of people snatching up the names of popular brands and holding them for ransom.

When nonprofit organizations use brand names and other commercial trademarks, it’s often to call out corporations for their misdeeds—a classic First Amendment-protected activity. That means challenges to domain names in .org need more careful, thorough consideration than URS can provide. Adding URS to the .org domain puts nonprofit organizations who strive to hold powerful corporations and governments accountable at risk of losing their domain names, effectively removing those organizations from the Internet until they can register a new name and teach the public how to find it. Losing a domain name means losing search engine placement, breaking every inbound link to the website, and knocking email and other vital services offline.”

Like NameCheap, the EFF also filed a Request for Reconsideration to the ICANN board. It remains to be seen what impact the EFF will have on this contract renewal, but it seems pretty clear that many people are not happy with the renewal decision.

Thanks to John for sharing this article with me.

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