ICANN has started asking registries to formally sign away ownership rights to their gTLDs when they acquire them from other registries.
GoDaddy and XYZ.com both had to agree that they don’t “own” their newly acquired strings before ICANN would agree to transfer them from portfolio UNR, which auctioned off its 23 gTLD contracts a year ago.
All three transfers were signed off March 10 (though GoDaddy’s were inexplicably not published by ICANN until last Thursday, when much of Christendom was winding down for a long weekend) and all three contain this new language:
The Parties hereby acknowledge that, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any marketing or auction materials, documentation or communications issued by Assignor or any other agreements between the Parties or otherwise, nothing in the Registry Agreement(s) or in any other agreements between Assignor and Assignee have established or granted to Assignor any property or ownership rights or interest in or to the TLDs or the letters, words, symbols or other characters making up the TLDs’ strings and that Assignee is not being granted any property or ownership rights or interest in or to the TLDs or the letters, words, symbols or other characters making up the TLDs’ strings.
The Parties represent that they understand the scope of ICANN’s Consent, which: (A) does not grant Assignee any actual or purported property or ownership rights or interest in or two the TLDs or the letters, words, symbols or other characters making up the TLDs’s strings; (B) is solely binding and applicable to the assignment of rights and obligations pursuant to the Registry Agreement(s); (C) solely relates to the operation of the TLDs in the Domain Name System as specified in the applicable Registry Agreement(s); and (D) does not convey any rights to the letters, words or symbols making up the TLD string for use outside the Domain Name System.
The TL;DR of this? Registries don’t “own” their gTLDs, ICANN just allows them to use the strings.
The new language is in there because UNR’s auction had offered, as a bonus, ownership of matching non-fungible token “domains” on the blockchain-based alt-root Ethereum Name Service.
Alt-roots arguably present an existential threat to ICANN and a risk to the interoperability of the internet, so ICANN delayed authorization of its approvals for many months while it tried to figure out the legalities.
Dot Hip Hop, for one, has said it couldn’t care less about the Ethereum NFT, and has had it deleted.
Separately, the .ruhr contract has been transferred from regiodot to fellow German geo-TLD operator DotSaarland, a subsidiary of London-based CentralNic, which announced the acquisition in February.
This assignment agreement was signed March 31 — after GoDaddy’s and XYZ’s — and does not include the new ownership waiver language, suggesting that it’s unique to UNR’s auction winners.
However, the friction between blockchain alt-roots is likely to be an issue when the next new gTLD application round opens.
It’s being said that a great many “TLDs” are being registered on various blockchains specifically in order to interfere with matching ICANN applications, and that blockchain fans are attempting to delay the next round to give their own projects more time to take root.
GoDaddy’s two acquisitions bring the total known outcomes of UNR’s auctions to 13 out of 23 gTLDs. At least four more are being processed by ICANN, according to a now month-old statement.
The post GoDaddy and XYZ sign away rights after UNR’s crypto gambit first appeared on Domain Incite.