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Amazon’s pursuit of .author and .book gTLDs could spark antitrust suits

Publishers and authors are concerned about company’s plan to buy book industry-related domains

The literary community is perturbed about a plan that could give Amazon.com Inc. an unfair advantage when it comes to market power.

According to Thomson Reuters, publishers and authors are concerned about the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) plan to sell book industry-related generic top-level domains (gTLDs), such as .author and .book. They worry the ownership of such gTLDs could lead to market abuses. Amazon plans to purchase some of these book industry-related gTLDs.

“Placing such generic domains in private hands is plainly anticompetitive, allowing already dominant, well-capitalized companies to expand and entrench their market power,” Scott Turow, a partner at SNR Denton, novelist and president of the Authors Guild, wrote in a letter to ICANN. “The potential for abuse seems limitless.”

Experts say authors, publishers, Amazon’s competitors, states and the federal government all could be potential plaintiffs in antitrust suits against Amazon.

Last year, ICANN received 1,930 applications for new gTLDs. Applicants are expected to start receiving their names this year.

Read more InsideCounsel coverage of ICANN and gTLDs:

7 open questions in the IP world

IP: Protecting your brand in the Internet of the future

IP: ICANN extends objection period

IP: Roadblocks, detours and dead ends on the top-level domain journey

IP: Wrong turns and other directional changes on the road to new gTLDs

IP: 3 tips for navigating ICANN’s new gTLD roadmap

Ashley Post

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