By Alexandra Burlacu email: email@example.com | Mar 11, 2013 11:12 AM EDT
Internet giant Amazon wants to control dozens of new generic top-level Web domain names, but its quest faces severe criticism from publishing industry groups.
Plenty of companies, both large and small, are racing to control a range of new Internet domain names, but Amazon's efforts drew particular interest and caused quite a bit of controversy and criticism.
The Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers are opposing Amazon's bid to control so-called generic top-level domains (gTLD) that end in .book, .author and .read, arguing that such a move is anti-competitive and would harm the market.
"Pacing such generic domains in private hands is plainly anticompetitive, allowing already dominant, well-capitalized companies to expand and entrench their market power," explains Authors Guild President Scott Turow in a letter to the Internet Association for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non-profit organization that oversees the world's Internet domains. "The potential for abuse is limitless," warns Turow.
Popular bookseller Barnes & Noble is also against Amazon's scheme, and wrote its own letter to the ICANN, arguing that Amazon would abuse its control of gTLDs "to stifle competition in the bookselling and publishing industries, which are critical to the future of copyrighted expression in the U.S."
"Amazon's ownership would also threaten the openness and freedom of the Internet and would have harmful consequences for Internet users worldwide," Barnes & Noble explained in its objection.
Amazon is already an Internet heavyweight, and it is one of the biggest companies competing for control of domains in what is seen as the biggest race in Internet history. Anyone with superior technical knowledge and financial resources can bid for the right to run a gTLD, but many see Amazon's position as unfair. ICANN, meanwhile, is expected to roll out hundreds of new addresses later this year.
Amazon applied for suffixes such as .amazon and .kindle, as well as .free, .like, .game, .wow, .app, .movie, .shop and more gTLDs. The Internet giant applied for control of 76 gTLDs in total, 30 of which face contestations and might not end up in Amazon's control after all. Google applied for 101 gTLD, 23 of which are the same address strings as Amazon's.
The Association of American Publishers objected to Amazon's bid for the .book name specifically, arguing that passages from the company's application for the domain suggest it doesn't plan to resell domains using that suffix.
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