ANA Applauds Representatives Goodlatte and Berman for Urging Department of Commerce to Halt ICANN Domain Expansion Plan
Letter Asks DOC to Answer Vital Questions about Plan's Impact
on Consumers, Businesses before, at most, Implementing Small Pilot Program
that can be Empirically Evaluated
New York, NY - December 20, 2011 - The Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the leader of the 160-member Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (CRIDO), today praised two Congressmen, Bob Goodlatte, Chairman, House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet, and Howard Berman, Ranking Member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, for sending an unequivocal letter to John Bryson, Secretary, Department of Commerce. The Goodlatte-Berman letter urges the DOC to take all steps necessary to encourage ICANN to undertake further evaluation and review before expanding the number of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) under ICANN's plan, set to begin January 12, 2012.
The letter explicitly states, "Consistent with the Affirmation of Commitments between ICANN and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and contracts entered into between the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and the NTIA, the Department has a responsibility to ensure that ICANN's actions further the public interest and promote consumer trust."
In the letter, Representatives Goodlatte and Berman detail their concerns about the impact the top-level domain rollout would have on businesses that would be required to defend their intellectual property over an unlimited number of new top-level domains, as well as the resulting impact on consumers. They also expressed concerns about law enforcement's ability to locate and prosecute criminals after the rollout, citing FTC Chairman Liebowitz's testimony before Congress about how the rollout of unlimited gTLDs would hamper efforts to crack down on fraud and abuse on the Internet.
Importantly, Representatives Goodlatte and Berman request that the Department provide detailed answers to the following questions before January 5, 2012:
- Has the Department made an assessment of whether ICANN has complied with the Affirmation of Commitments?
- In the event that the Department determines (or has determined) that there has been non-compliance, what steps will the Department take to ensure compliance?
- What specific action is the Department taking to ensure that American businesses and consumers are protected by any proposed ICANN expansion of top-level domain names, if implemented?
- Has the Department and / or ICANN quantified all of the costs to businesses and consumers that would likely result from this expansion? If so, please provide the results of that research. If not, why not?
- What is the Department's view regarding the potential for cybersecurity threats from this rapid expansion of gTLDs? Please be very specific about the Department's assessment of this possibility and any steps the Department believes are appropriate to forestall such potential threats.
The letter concludes with Goodlatte and Berman urging the Department to take steps necessary to delay the rollout of the new gTLDs until a more thorough analysis and evaluation is concluded.
It also states, "If the Department determines, as a result of this analysis, that an expansion should proceed, we believe that it is extremely important that the Department encourage ICANN to initially limit any gTLD expansion to a small pilot project that would enable ICANN, the Department, Congress and all other affected national and international stakeholders to empirically evaluate the effects of the expansion without risking widespread harms for consumers and businesses that could be associated with a more aggressive rollout."
In acknowledging the letter, Dan Jaffe, Executive Vice President of Government Relations, ANA, stated, "Representatives Goodlatte and Berman have put the authority of their leadership positions in the House behind this powerful appeal to the Department of Commerce to halt ICANN's top-level domain expansion plan and conduct extensive new research and analysis of this ill-conceived and potentially devastating initiative. We applaud their efforts and look forward to hearing the Department's timely response to the vital questions they are asking."
Founded in 1910, the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) leads the marketing community by providing its members with insights, collaboration, and advocacy. ANA's membership includes 400 companies with 10,000 brands that collectively spend over $250 billion in marketing communications and advertising. The ANA strives to communicate marketing best practices, lead industry initiatives, influence industry practices, manage industry affairs, and advance, promote, and protect all advertisers and marketers. For more information, visit http://www.ana.net/, follow us on Twitter, join us on Facebook, or visit our YouTube channel.
The Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (CRIDO) represents 160 influential national and international trade associations and companies, including all the members of the World Federation of Advertisers that have joined together to oppose the roll-out of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) program to expand Internet top-level domain names. CRIDO members, representing some 90 percent of global marketing communications spending (equivalent to $700 billion annually), cite the proposal's deeply flawed justification, excessive cost and harm to brand owners, likelihood of predatory cyber harm to consumers and lack of stakeholder consensus, a core requirement of its commitment to the U.S. Department of Commerce. For more information, visit www.crido.org.
Luna Newton, CooperKatz & Company for the ANA
firstname.lastname@example.org or 917.595.3061
Jamie Bezozo, CooperKatz
& Company for the ANA
email@example.com or 917.595.3032