Thursday, March 26, 2015

Battle Heats Up Over Use of '.Doctor' Website Domain Names

Are you a .com, .net, or .org ? Well now add on .doctor 

Domain registry firm Donuts has filed a formal petition of reconsideration asking the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers -- an international group that oversees some of the Internet's technical functions -- to change a rule that limits who is able to register for a website that ends in ".doctor," The Hill reports.

Background

ICANN is in the process of rolling out hundreds of new domain extensions (Hattem, The Hill, 3/25).
Last year, ICANN placed the .doctor domain in the highly regulated "Category 1" status (Wright,Bloomberg BNA, 3/16). As a result, only "legitimate medical practitioners" will be able to use the domain name.
Three companies, including Donuts, have applied for control of the .doctor domain extension (The Hill, 3/25).
The .doctor extension is scheduled for auction on April 29, but Donuts' petition asked that the auction be delayed until at least 30 days after the outcome of its reconsideration request (Bloomberg BNA, 3/16).

The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers has classified the new ".doctor" domain in the highly regulated "Category 1," which means only "legitimate medical practitioners" will be able to use the domain name. One firm that sells domain names is fighting the policy, arguing that "the term 'doctor' is pretty broad and has a lot of uses." The Hill, Bloomberg BNA.

Details of Petition

Jon Nevett, co-founder and executive vice president of Donuts, said that "the term 'doctor' is pretty broad and has a lot of uses," adding, "It could be used by a Ph.D, it could be used by a rug doctor, a computer doctor, a lawn doctor, a veterinarian."
In its petition of reconsideration, Donuts argued that the requirement "violates express, long-standing ICANN policy prohibiting discrimination and promoting competition and free expression," adding that there are not similar rules for domains such as ".lawyer."
Nevett said he expects to receive a response from ICANN in the next few weeks.


Reconsideration Request by Brice Trail, LLC (Donuts Inc. and its applicant Brice Trail, LLC (“Brice Trail” or “Applicant”)

What's in a domain ?

It is akin to what kind of doctor are you, anyway ?  "I'm just a GP, or  I'm a Neurosurgeon, or maybe even I am a PhD. There are more than 25 recognized medical specialty classifications recognized by the ACGME (American College of Graduate Medical Education).

This 'ugly' political turf battle has now invaded the internet as well. While some think that security and hacks pose the greatest threat to internet freedom, global financial health, the doctor domain raises serious questions about the ability of the internet to keep itself somewhat legitimate.

The internet is truly a unique highway, like none other on earth, or perhaps in the galaxy.  No one street harbors institutions of high regard, governments, entertainment, financial, social, communications and many others, as well as the dark side, pornography, terrorist networks, and the NSA. 

The aforementioned request by Donuts,Inc is illegible to most, and certainly to this writer. It is bogged down in internet legaleese which surpasses even that of HHS or CMS.

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