ICANN Plan to Change Geo System Would Create an ‘Unsafe New Domain Name Environment’

ICANN Plan to Change Geo System Would Create an ‘Unsafe New Domain Name Environment’

Government Advisory Committee Proposes Criteria for Government Objections to Geography-based Names That Would Undermine Global Systems for Trademark Protections

Washington, D.C., December 4, 2014 — The Association of National Advertisers (ANA), which represents the interests of major global advertisers, filed comments today in strong opposition to a new ICANN proposal on the use of geographic-based Internet names. This proposal, ANA emphasized, risks undermining long-standing systems of international and national legal protections for trademarks and consumers.

The proposal put forward by the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) Sub-group on Geographic Names of the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, would expand GAC control over the assignment of geo-based names through the creation of ill-defined new sources of GAC and local government objections.

“However well-intentioned, this proposal would create an unsafe new domain name environment for advertisers, consumers, and brand owners, one that risks unnecessary confusion and uncertainty,” said Dan Jaffe, ANA group executive vice president of government relations. “In effect, it represents an entirely new global law and policy on how geo names are protected outside of the usual channels of law and policy making.”

“We believe this is an overly broad step that could significantly impact the multi-stakeholder model that has been a founding principle of ICANN since the beginning of the Internet,” Jaffe added, noting that it ignores the careful balance among the rights and interests found in ICANN’s Applicant Guide Book with regard to respecting legal protections.

ANA filed its comments in response to a proposal by the ICANN sub-group made last month at a meeting in Los Angeles.

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About The ANA

The ANA (Association of National Advertisers) provides leadership that advances marketing excellence and shapes the future of the industry. Founded in 1910, the ANA's membership includes more than 640 companies with 10,000 brands that collectively spend over $250 billion in marketing and advertising. The ANA pursues “collaborative mastery” that advances the interests of marketers and promotes and protects the well-being of the marketing community. For more information, visit www.ana.net, follow us on Twitter, or join us on Facebook.