The storm over since ICANN approved the new .org contract without price caps is showing no sign of slowing down. The ICA posted some scathing remarks about the contract renewal.
Last month, one of the largest domain registrars Namecheap has filed a Reconsideration Request (pdf) to ICANN to have a second review at its recent decision to remove price caps on certain TLDs. ICANN in a decision taken in June end, removed price caps from .org & .info.
Now another organization Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has registerd a Reconsideration Request with ICANN over the terms of ICANN’s contract renewal for .org with Public Interest Registry also raising a 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 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.”
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. EFF also points out ICANN’s flawed thinking about choice in new top level domains: that if someone isn’t happy with how a TLD operates, it can just switch domains.
Some might respond that .org registrants should simply change to a different TLD, but such change is often extremely difficult and costly for longstanding .org users. A group like EFF, or Amnesty International, will have spent decades building value in their existing domain names and would incur enormous costs in switching.