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NZ registers no objections to new domain names

Australia registers 126 early warnings on new generic top-level domain names, but New Zealand official raises no objections

New Zealand's representative on the Governmental Advisory Committee to internet body ICANN has conveyed no specific objection to proposals for new generic top-level domain names.

This is a marked contrast to Australia, which has registered 129 "early warning" objections to suggested new domain names, including .casino .doctor, .loans and .000 -- the last owing to potential confusion with the Australian emergency telephone number.

A spokeswoman at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Janet Bache, responding to a query directed to New Zealand's GAC delegate Frank March, confirms "the closing date for governments to register 'early warnings' was 20 November 2012, and no early warnings have been registered by New Zealand."

March is also the president of InternetNZ, the organisation that administers the .nz domain name.

The 'early warning' process is intended to give an opportunity for applicants and countries to discuss and potentially resolve issues, she says.

There are basically two grounds for an early warning: if the string itself is seen as objectionable in some way or if "the way it is intended to be used is of concern."

Australia has also objected to .sucks, .fail, .gripe and .wtf, because they are likely to be used for criticism of brands or companies and will encourage a large number of "defensive" registrations in the domain by the companies or owners of the brands concerned. The applicant "does not appear to propose sufficient mechanisms to limit the need for defensive registrations", say the objection documents.

Although New Zealand has issued no specific objections at this stage of the process, it may later "join with a Governmental Advisory Committee consensus in advising the ICANN Board to reject some applications -- our final position has not yet been decided", Bache says.

Concerns flagged

Some of the grounds of potential concern for governments are outlined in the Governmental Advisory Committee Communiqué from its Toronto meeting in October. These include:

" Consumer protection;

" Strings that are linked to regulated market sectors such as the financial, health and charity sectors;

" Competition issues;

" Strings that have broad or multiple uses or meanings, and where one entity is seeking exclusive use;

" Religious terms, where the applicant has no, or limited, support from the relevant religious organisations or the religious community;

" Minimising the need for defensive registrations;

" Protection of geographic names;

" Intellectual property rights, particularly in relation to strings aimed at the distribution of music, video and other digital material.

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