ICANN should not judge languages, cultures or trademarks
Living in a small country with a small language, we find ICANN’s proposed new gTLD approval policy alarming.
In particular, gTLD selection criteria 6 is impossible to implement fairly in a multilingual, multicultural world. In a related research we conducted a few years back we found that all of the most obscene profanities of Finnish language are also names of perfectly respectable people or places elsewhere, some of them indeed already used in Internet domain names. Given the number of different languages in the world, it is more than likely that similar issues will become common even with TLDs as increasing number of new gTLDs are added. If all strings that can be read as immoral in some language will be banned, there may be very little left.
Likewise, there is really no global consensus about morality and public order, and enforcing everyone’s notions there on everybody else would be a totally unacceptable restriction on Freedom of Expression. Yet that is exactly what the the vagueness and subjectivity of the proposed text would imply.
Second, the proposed policy about trademarks is a drastic departure from existing laws and treaties. It would introduce an entire new way of applying trademarks, in many ways contradicting the way Internet domains are used, and might even conflict with existing laws.
Indeed, the proposal would seem to contradict itself, as the proposed challenge mechanism clearly does not conform with recommendation 9, which calls for “clear and pre-published application process using objective and measurable criteria”. As written, it allows far too much subjective uncertainty.
Tapani Tarvainen Chairman, Electronic Frontier Finland (www.effi.org)