Roughly a month ago, I discussed the announcement that starting in 2012, there will be many new top-level domains (TLDs) available for the public. Whereas now you can buy domain names with a restricted number of top-level domain tags such as .com, .net, .org, in the near future, you will be able to customize your top-level domain to your liking, as long as you have about $185,000 to spend on the application fee.
When I wrote about the new top-level domains, I focused on potential future legal battles centering around squatting on others’ protected trademarks. I mentioned that cybersquatting on another’s TLD could open up the door to a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) action and/or Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) action.
One group that is particularly concerned about trademark infringement is the recording industry. One question is who will get the right to own the .music TLD? But the concern reaches beyond trademark disputes. The industry is worried that those involved in the spread of copyright infringing files will be able make their enterprises seem more legitimate with the new TLDs. Remember, though, that these infringers will have to pay out a heavy fee just to apply for the new TLDs and are not guaranteed to earn the right to attain a custom TLD. From what I hear, there will be quite a background check on applicants prior to any custom TLD approval.
In the meantime, the recording industry is working very closely with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to develop a system that protects the industry from increased copyright infringement due to the release of new TLDs.