.gay

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Dotgay1.JPG
Status: Proposed
Type: Community gTLD
Category: Culture
Community: LGBT community
Priority #: 179 - dotgay LLC
725 - Top Level Design
1089 - Demand Media (United TLD Holdco Ltd.)
1428 - Top Level Domain Holdings

.gay is a new generic top level domain name (gTLD) proposal to ICANN. The proposed .gay string is dedicated for the LGBT community.

Current Applicants

  1. Demand Media (United TLD Holdco Ltd.) - This applicant submitted a Public Interest Commitment, which can be downloaded here.
  2. dotgay LLC - Community Application
  3. Top Level Design
  4. Top Level Domain Holdings - This applicant submitted a Public Interest Commitment, which can be downloaded here.

Application Details

dotgay LLC

Scott Seitz is the CEO of dotgay LLC and selected Neustar to provide back-end registry services. [1] The company is affiliated with the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, New York (NGLCCNY) and is also an LGBTBE Certified entity. With community oversight and transparency, dotgay LLC plans to donate 67% of the profits generated from the sales of .gay domain names to non-profit LGBT organizations.[2] Its application is a Community Application

dotgay LLC’s registration policies will include participation by "Authentication Partners", which will be a global network of LGBTQIA membership organizations and community groups. Eligibility is determined through formal membership with any of dotgay LLC’s Authentication Partners (AP) from the community. Selected community relevant generic terms, such as "travel," will be reserved as index domains and remain community property at the second level (ie travel.gay). Index domains will be used to organize and aggregate community registrants, creating community hubs that will raise visibility within the community and become trusted resources for users.[3]

While the contention set for gay remains unresolved, in December 2012 dotgay LLC began an outreach campaign to potential Authentication Partners as described in their application.[4]

Top Level Design

Raymond King, CEO of Top Level Design together with his business associate Peter Brual are applying for 10 gTLDs including .gay. Raymond is also the founder and director of ICANNWiki and CEO of Aboutus.org. King assured the presentation and neutrality of ICANNWiki.org will not be affected by his business venture on new gTLDs. CentralNic will provide back-end registry services for the company. [5]

Top Level Domain Holdings

The company confirmed that .gay is one of the 68 gTLD strings it is applying on its own behalf. [6]

On February 26 2013, Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd. announced that it had entered into a funding agreement worth $15 million to be used in the case of auction for a specific unnamed TLD. The investor will not receive ownership of the TLD but a share of future revenues. TLDH did not name the TLD that the funds are directed for, and it is in 11 head to head contentions and 12 featuring more than one contender.[7]

Dot Gay Alliance

It seems the previously announced Dot Gay Alliance is defunct, as it did not apply for the TLD under this name.[8][9]

Possible GAC Objections

A report from Time Techland quoted a statement from Milton Mueller, a Syracuse University professor and ICANN expert, that the contenders for the .gay TLD might face objections among the members of ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) from conservative Arab nations. Mueller's statement reads, "It is clear from conversations with government officials in a couple of conservative Arab countries that they object to .gay."[10]

Saudi Arabia's Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) filed an objection against the TLD, citing that "Many societies and cultures consider homosexuality to be contrary to their culture, morality or religion. The creation of a gTLD string which promotes homosexuality will be offensive to these societies and cultures. We respectfully request that Icann refuse the application for this gTLD."[11]

Independent Objector

The Independent Objector is responsible for determining if a new gTLD application is in the best interest of the Internet community. If not, he or she will file formal objections against a new gTLD application. Alain Pellet, a law professor from the University of Paris and a former member of the United Nations International Law Commission and International Court of Justice, was chosen by ICANN to serve as the sole independent objector for the New gTLD Program in May, 2012. [12] The position was created by ICANN in accordance with the implementation of the New gTLD Program. As defined, the IO may be an individual or organization and must not be affiliated with any applicant and must carry out their responsibility without bias.[13]

In December 2012 Mr. Pellet released his first correspondence on actual TLDs, commenting on so-called "Controversial strings". Those strings include: .adult, .sex, .porn, .sexy, .hot, .gay, .lgbt, .persiangulf, .vodka, and .wtf. A string seemed to have been deemed "controversial" by Mr. Pellet if it received a substantial amount of objections during the public comment period. He addresses each TLD separately and at length, noting the objection, and turning to International law and precedent to determine whether an objection from his point of view, of defending the public interest, is warranted. In each case he concludes that the objections are not supported by international law and that regional, cultural, and personal issues influence the objections rather than broadly accepted treaties, laws, or international cultural trends. He has reserved the right to later object to the strings, but at that time it was deemed that the "controversial strings" are in fact not offensive to the greater public interest and Internet users.[14]

With Regards to .gay, the IO notes that most objections are based on offense created on religious or socio-cultural norms that are not internationally shared or uniform and are not recognized in any international law. In fact, he notes a number of domestic and international laws that uphold non-discrimination, especially with regards to sexual identity and gender. He notes that LGBTQ rights have been spreading and becoming more of a understood and respected subject as time passes. He recognizes that some parties may continue to oppose or be offended by such identities and behavior but argues that a .gay TLD will create a clearly delineated space where those offending parties will know that the content will include gay-related material and can therefore avoid the offensive websites.[15]

Community Objections

Request for Reconsideration Approved

In January 2015, a committee of ICANN's board of directors overturned a Community Priority Evaluation that initially rejected dotgay LLC's request for the .gay gTLD. Dotgay's CPE was turned down in October 2014 after the Economist Intelligence Unit deemed the company's proposed community was too broad to be described as "gay." A PDF of this week's ruling by ICANN's Board Governance Committee states:

The BGC concludes that, upon investigation of Requester’s claims, the CPE Panel inadvertently failed to verify 54 letters of support for the Application and that this failure contradicts an established procedure. The BGC further concludes that the CPE Panel’s failure to comply with this established CPE procedure warrants reconsideration. Accordingly, the BGC determines that the CPE Panel Report shall be set aside, and that the EIU shall identify two different evaluators to perform a new CPE for the Application.

The EIU will now begin a new Community Priority Evaluation for dotgay's gTLD consideration.[16]

Community Objection Retraction

On April 1, 2015, the Q Center, a community organization located in Portland, Oregon and only objector to Dotgay's bid, retracted its objection. The Q Center expressed that the prior board and management enacted the opposition and that the organization currently does not opposed Dotgay's bid, stating: "Until such time, please accept this notice as a request to void the opposition letter bearing the Q Center name."[17]

ILGA Objections

The International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) filed a community objection against every applicant other than dotgay LLC, and also filed an objection against .lgbt.[18] ILGA’s objections were filed on the grounds that Standard applications for strings associated with the gay community did not offer the appropriate protections to safeguard against abuse and misuse.

On November 16, 2013, ICDR Panelist Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schlink ruled in favor of the applicant in the 3 separate objections, which dismissed the objection against their applications for the .gay string and refunded their objection costs.[19]

Metroplex Republicans of Dallas Objection

Metroplex Republicans of Dallas filed a community objection against the dotgay LLC application.[20] The objection failed and was ruled on September 10th, 2013 by the panelist Bernhard Schlink to lack both standing and merits. According to Schlink, "while the conservative segment, with which Metroplex claims association, is a segment of the clearly delineated gay community, it is not a clearly delineated community in and of itself."[21]. Schlink also notes that “the application by dotgay for the string .GAY does not create a likelihood of material detriment to the rights or interests of the conservative segment of the LGBTQ community. Nothing in the operational model of the string .GAY casts doubt on dotgay's claim that the string .GAY will be operated in strict political neutrality.”[22]

GOProud, a gay lobby group, also filed a community objection against the dotgay LLC application, but it was rejected by the ICC for being over the word limit allowed for an objection. GOProud reached out to ICANN's Ombudsman Chris LaHatte who ruled it "unfair" and recommended that the Board permit the late filing of the objection with the correct word limit.[23][24]

References

  1. Neustar wins .gay contract
  2. About dotgay
  3. gTLD Application 1-1713-23699
  4. AuthenticationPatners, dotGay.comRetrieved 5 Dec 2012
  5. ICANNWiki boss applies for 10 gTLDs
  6. Top Level Domain Holdings Becomes Largest New gTLD Applicant To Date Applying For 68 Strings
  7. TLDh Gets 15 Million for A Single Top Level Domain Name Auction, DomainNameWire.com Published and Retrieved 26 Feb 2013
  8. About Dot Gay Alliance
  9. Dot Gay Alliance Announces Plan To Create .GAY Web Address
  10. ICANN vs. the World
  11. Saudi Arabia opposes .gay internet domain name, bbc.com
  12. Independent Objector for New gTLD Program Selected. ICANN. Published 2012 May 14.
  13. Wanted: somebody to object to new gTLDs. Domain Incite. Published 2011 November 23. Retrieved 2012 November 15.
  14. The Independent Objectors Comments on Controversial Applications, Independent-Objector-NewgTLDs.orgRetrieved 8 Jan 2013
  15. Gay General Comment, Independent-Objector-NewgTLDs.org
  16. .gay is gay enough after all? ICANN overturns community panel decision, Domain Incite Retrieved 22 January 2015
  17. www.bna.com Only Gay Community Group to Oppose Dotgay Bid for .gay TLD Reverses Position
  18. Pending Cases, ICCWBO.org Retrieved 14 May 2013
  19. Objection Determinations, ICANN.org Retrieved 02 Dec 2013
  20. Pending Cases, ICC.ICANN.orgRetrieved 15 May 2013
  21. First 3 Community Objections Decided - Domain InciteRetrieved 10 Sept 2013
  22. Expert Determinition, ICC
  23. Rejected .gay gTLD objection ruled “unfair”, Domain Incite Retrieved 13 August 2013
  24. Ombudsman Recommendation on Late Objection, OmBlogRetrieved 13 August 2013
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