Scott Turow: No Private Company Should Control .book/.author Domains

Yesterday, Authors Guild president Scott Turow objected to ICANN’s plan to sell .book, .author, and other generic top-level domains (“top-level domains” are website suffixes such as “.com” and “.org”) to private companies.  Amazon has bid to be the exclusive custodian of the .book and .author domains; Google is aiming to control the .blog domain.

“Placing such generic domains in private hands is plainly anticompetitive,” said Turow, “allowing already dominant, well-capitalized companies to expand and entrench their market power.  The potential for abuse seems limitless.”

The complete letter follows, and is posted at ICANN gTLD comments web page.

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Dr. Stephen D. Crocker, Chairman of the Board
Mr. Fadi Chehadé, President & CEO
Mr. Cherine Chalaby, Chair of the New gTLD Committee
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
12025 Waterfront Drive, Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90094

Dear Sirs:

I’m writing as president of the Authors Guild, the largest society of book authors in the U.S., representing more than 8,000 published writers.

We strongly object to ICANN’s plans to sell the exclusive top-level domain rights for generic book-industry terms, such as .book, .author, and .read.  Placing such generic domains in private hands is plainly anticompetitive, allowing already dominant, well-capitalized companies to expand and entrench their market power.  The potential for abuse seems limitless.

ICANN, of all entities, should be mindful of the critical need to maintain an open, freely competitive Internet.  Please rethink this project.

Sincerely,

Scott Turow
President
Authors Guild

Comments: more
  • http://www.facebook.com/josephl.r2 Joseph L Russell

    Can I get help from ICANN in the application and thus a fare weather approval of authors and writers guilds?

  • chiefly.books

    Creating generic book-industry top-level domains appeared to focus accessibility and identity for authors, publishers et al. Selling them to the highest bidder will actually remove all value they might have had across the wider spectrum. Ownership should be as wide as possible!

  • http://twitter.com/deRoncherole Steve Shapiro

    In a phrase:  I think Mr. Turo is right.  In that vein, I think those extensions should belong to the Authors Guild, grandad to the WGA and et. al.  Can we go for it?

  • Eppie2love

    “WE THE PEOPLE”

    “do the right things, by making things right”

    LOVE- STRENGTH AND HONOR!!!

  • recklesswells

    I completely agree, but I would also propose that the whole idea of custom top-level domains seems like a bad idea. I realize that domain squatting has created a difficult market, but I don’t think custom TLDs are the solution.

    • NotAnAuthor

      I completely agree with recklesswells. While I appreciate that this site focuses on authors, it isn’t only .book and .author TLDs that will provide anti-competitiveness across all industries if / when they’re sold to private companies.