Steve Crocker Chairman of the Board ICANN
12025 Waterfront Drive, Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90094-‐2536 USA
Fadi Chehadé President and CEO ICANN
Ocean Financial Centre
10 Collyer Quay, Level 37-‐06/10
1 July 2014
Dear Dr. Crocker and Mr. Chehadé
We write to you on behalf of our respective national and international organisations, each of which is a leading member of the worldwide Music community. Our diverse organisations represent songwriters, recording artists, musicians, music producers, engineers, music publishers, record labels, performing rights societies, music educators, music distributors, managers, musical instrument manufacturers, guilds, national and international music councils that are dedicated to the community and represent more than 1,000 entities in 150 countries around the world. Our members include the people that write, sing, play, nurture, develop, perform, publish, record, manufacture, market, distribute and/or license over 80% of the world's commercial music.
While the advent of digital services has brought undeniable opportunities and access to music, many of our members have been deeply affected by the breach of intellectual property rights through widespread copyright infringement. This has led to devastating consequences for the creators of music and the Music community overall.
We therefore have a strong interest in ensuring that the .MUSIC gTLD operates in a manner that not only encourages innovation, new business models and respect for intellectual property rights, but also enables community involvement and actively works to mitigate copyright infringement.
In the knowledge that ICANN’s proposed top-‐level domain expansion could have far reaching consequences, many members of our community attended a series of
ICANN public meetings in 2008 to learn more. It was there we were informed that we could protect our values and interests through the endorsement and support of a community applicant for the .MUSIC gTLD, an applicant whose objectives, understanding and values were in alignment with ours.
ICANN’s Applicant Guidebook (AGB) states:
“…a community can consist of legal entities (for example, an association of suppliers of a particular service), of individuals (for example, a language community) or of a logical alliance of communities (for example, an international federation of national communities of a similar nature). All are viable as such, provided the requisite awareness and recognition of the community is at hand among the members.”
Accordingly, applying with the “community” designation was not only appropriate and in alignment with the AGB, but also essential for our community. Respect and support for the rights of creators along with fostering the growth and sustainability of the community itself are fundamental principles to which we all adhere and which we share in common. “Music” is our commonly known and understood activity and identity, both within our community and outside of it. In this case, “music” is an exact match. We refer again to the AGB: “’Name’ of the community means the established name by which the community is commonly known by others. It may be, but does not need to be, the name of an organization dedicated to the community.“
None of our organizations felt it would be practical to collectively or individually serve as the registry operator, and we therefore sought to identify one or more third parties that would be deserving of our support to operate the .MUSIC domain in way that respected our values and interests. In 2011, an initial group of 20 organisations representing various sectors of the Music community worldwide came together to issue a detailed request-‐for-‐information process, including outreach to all entities that we understood intended to apply for the “music” string. Entities interested in applying for .MUSIC were given the opportunity to provide in-‐depth written responses regarding their proposed policies and operational plans, followed by in-‐ person presentations and a round of follow-‐up questions. We also employed third-‐ party experts to comment on and help the organisations evaluate the candidates and their responses.
After several months of review, each of our organisations independently determined that Far Further, whose executives are themselves longstanding members of the Music community, best understood our needs and would operate the .MUSIC registry in accordance with the Music community’s overall interests.
Subsequently, members of the Music community were invited to individually and voluntarily provide support letters for Far Further’s .MUSIC application. Since that time, more than 70 different organisations from around the world, including the undersigned, have endorsed and provided their support to Far Further and/or its subsidiary, .Music LLC.
Our organisations support .Music LLC/Far Further because the policies contained in their application are in common with our goals of making sure that the .MUSIC gTLD is a safe namespace that respects the values of the Music community.
Most importantly, we do not believe it serves the global public interest for the name of our community to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
We wish to make note of the recent European Commission comments of December 16, 2013 regarding community-‐supported applicants like ours:
The European Commission regards positively the explicit mention in the Auction Rules of the need to "resolve any applicable GAC advice" prior to the participation in the auction process, as part of the applicant's "eligibility" criteria, but regrets the lack of reference to "community applications" or applications with community support, despite the reiterated GAC advice. In this regard the European Commission seizes this opportunity to recall the following passages of recent GAC advice:
"The GAC advises the board that in those cases where a community, which is clearly impacted by a set of new gTLD applications in contention, has expressed a collective and clear opinion on those applications, such opinion should be duly taken into account, together with all other relevant information." (Beijing Communiqué)
"The GAC reiterates its advice from the Beijing Communiqué regarding preferential treatment for all applications which have demonstrable community support, while noting community concerns over the high costs for pursuing a Community Objection process as well as over the high threshold for passing Community Priority Evaluation". (Durban Communiqué)
The GAC’s Singapore Communique´ from March 27, 2014 continue this theme:
* “The GAC reiterates its advice from the Beijing and Durban Communiqués regarding preferential treatment for all applications which have demonstrable community support. The GAC advises ICANN to continue to protect the public interest and improve outcomes for communities, and to work with the applicants in an open and transparent manner in an effort to assist those communities.”
The .Music LLC/Far Further application defines us as its community, identifying our practices, characteristics and core values, setting us apart from all those that are merely interested in, or differently engaged with music.
As leading members of the Music community, the undersigned organisations strongly support community priority for the .MUSIC TLD and strongly support Music LLC/Far Further, to operate that domain as the community’s representative.
Thank you for this opportunity to share our views.
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)
Association of Independent Music (AIM)
Associação de Editores de Obras Musicais (AEOM) Portugal
Asociación Colombiana de Editoras de Música (ACODEM) Colombia
Asociación para la Protección de los Derechos Intelectuales sobre Fonogramas y Videogramas Musicales (APDIF) Colombia
Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS)
Australasian Music Publishers Association (AMPAL)
Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA)
Bureau International Des Societes Gerant Les Droits D'enrigistrement et de Reproduction Mecanique (BIEM) *
Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI)
Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA)
Chambre Syndicale des Éditeurs de Musique Classique (CEMF)
France Church Music Publishers Association (CMPA)
Deutsche Musikverleger-‐Verband (DMV)
European Music Council
Federazione Editori Musicali (FEM) Italy
Grupul Editorilor de Muzica din Romania (GEMRO)
Guitar Foundation of America (GFA)
Harry Fox Agency (HFA) US
Independent Music Companies Association (IMPALA) *
Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS)
International Confederation of Authors and Composers Societies (CISAC) *
International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP) *
International Federation of Musicians (FIM) * **
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) *
International Music Council (IMC) **
MMGHQ Music Publishing (Cyprus)
Music Managers Forum (MMF)
USA Musicians Federation of India
Music Producers' Guild (MPG) UK/EU
Music Publishing Association Japan (MPAJ)
Music Publishers Association (UK) Musicians Union UK (MU)
Musikverleger Union Österreich (MUÖ)
Austria National Association for Music Education (NAfME)
National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM)
National Music Council of the United States (NMC)
National Music Publishers Association (NMPA)
USA National Songwriters Association (NSA/NSAI)
Phonographic Performance LTD. (PPL) UK
PRS for Music (UK)
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
Société d’Auteurs Belge – Belgische Auteurs Maatschappij (SABAM)
Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN)
Songwriters Guild of America (SGA)
Suomen Musiikkikustantajat ry -‐ Finnish Music Publishers Association (FMPA)
Svaz českých hudebních nakladatelů (SCHN )
Music Publishers Association of the Czech Republic (Czech Republic)
RICom Publishing (Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
The Recording Academy (The GRAMMY Award Organization)
Uganda Musicians Union (UMU)
Worldwide Independent Network (WIN)
* Permanent Accredited International NGO Observer at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
** International music NGO in official partnership with UNESCO