RIAA threatens ICANN over domain names

The Recording Industry Association of America has turned its sights on ICANN, the body responsible for managing domain names.

At issue is ICANN’s plan to allow a series of new generic top level domains (gTLDs), including .music. The RIAA reckons – apparently seriously – that simply allowing such TLDs to exist will encourage music piracy.

In a letter to ICANN chairman Peter Dengate-Thrush,Victoria Sheckler, deputy general counsel of the RIAA, says the organization is concerned that the process for objecting to a new TLD sets the bar too high. 

“Under the current proposed standard, we fear that we will have no realistic ability to object if a pirate chooses to hijack a music themed gTLD to enable wide scale copyright infringement of our works,” she says.

“This fear is justified when we look at the massive online copyright infringement battle our industries have faced over the last decade.”

She suggests that ICANN should somehow police the internet to help make sure this doesn’t happen, and ends up with a veiled threat, saying that the RIAA ‘hopes to avoid the need to escalate the issue further.’

It’s not that easy to see how allowing a .music gTLD could constitute an incitement to piracy. If it can, perhaps the RIAA should look at banning the word ‘music’ altogether on the same grounds.

They could get Chambers Dictionary to police it.