India against allocation of certain domain names

Updated - December 10, 2012 05:52 pm IST

Published - December 10, 2012 03:11 am IST - KOCHI

India has made it clear that it does not favour the allocation of certain terms like ‘Indians,’ ‘Islam’ and ‘Ram’ as new generic Top Level Domain names (gTLDs), the concluding part of the web address that follows the dot, as the global web address system prepares itself for a phase of massive expansion in the coming months.

Applicants from different parts of the world have sought the addition of hundreds of such new terms, but the allotment of some of these gTLDs has been opposed by some countries, including India. The organisation that oversees the administration of the global web address system, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), set the ball rolling in January for the global expansion drive, inviting applications from interested parties. The Indian government has also shown the red signal to applications for the allocation of a few other gTLDs as well — ‘Bible,’ ‘army,’ ‘navy’ and ‘air force.’ It has also expressed its reservations about two others — ‘shiksha’ and ‘halal.’

These ‘early warnings’ on gTLDs from the members of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee indicates “that an application is seen as potentially sensitive or problematic by one or more governments.”

But it does not constitute a formal objection and need not “directly lead to a process that can result in rejection of the application.”

The applicants can inform ICANN that they wish to withdraw their applications or hold discussions with the respective governments and try to address their concerns.

Reliance India had applied for the gTLD.indians, which has not been favoured by the Indian government. Documents enunciating the official viewpoint posted on the ICANN website said: “An exclusive right granted to a private company could be against the public interest of the Indian community.” And it went on to say this gTLD should be managed by the government “for the interest of all members of the community, including private companies.”

Citing trade mark laws, it said the term Indian denotes a geographical region in relation to goods and services, and it is also used extensively to represent products and services from India. It should “belong to the Indian community as a whole.”

India is also against the allotment of three other gTLDs — ‘.ram,’ ‘.islam’ and ‘.bible’ under a Section of the Indian Trade Mark Act that states a mark “shall not be registered if it contains or comprises any matter likely to hurt the religious susceptibilities of any class or section of the citizens of India.”

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