- On November 16, 2011, two companies filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and ICM Registry, LLC (ICM) challenging the new system for increasing the number of Top-Level Domains (TLDs) under the antitrust and unfair competition laws. As reported earlier, ICANN has approved a system for domain names that will allow brand owners to register their own generic TLDs, such as “.brand”, as well as the creation of potentially hundreds of new domain names based upon generic terms like “.travel”, “.bank”, and “.nyc”. See June 27, 2011 edition of This Week in Telecom. Plaintiffs are Manwin Licensing International S.a.r.l. and Digital Playground, Inc., which own or control many of the Internet’s largest pornography websites. The companies are challenging the new TLD system because, they allege, it will force them to incur unreasonable and excessive costs in securing websites related to the ICANN-approved “.xxx” domain. ICANN named ICM to be the sole registrar of the “.xxx” domain. Plaintiffs allege that the arrangement is anticompetitive and an unfair business practice. To view the complaint, click here. Manwin Licensing International S.a.r.l. v. ICM Registry, LLC d/b/a .xxx, et al., Case No. 11-cv-9514 (C.D. Cal.).
On October 25, 2011, Southern Company Services, Inc. (SCS) filed a Petition for Clarification or Reconsideration of the FCC’s Open Internet Order regarding the treatment of “specialized services”. Though SCS acknowledges that the order generally exempts specialized services from its requirements, it “is concerned that some of the statements made in the Open Internet Order could have a chilling effect on the market for specialized services.” Specifically, Southern seeks clarification on the FCC’s statements about “closely monitor[ing]” specialized services and potentially later subjecting them to the Open Internet rules. The Petition urges the FCC to clarify its order “so that utilities and other enterprise customers will be able to develop contractual relationships with confidence that specialized services will not be made subject to the Open Internet rules[.]” Oppositions to the Petition will be due 15 days after it is published in the Federal Register, and replies will be due 10 days later. The Petition is available here. The Public Notice about the Petition is available here.