Yesterday e-flux sent an open letter to the the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) to protect the dot art domain from commercial exploitation, saying “we are on the cusp of an extraordinary opportunity with the simple use of a single word: a virtual palace to the arts, built site-by-site by millions of artists and arts institutions, each with an individualized contribution gathered around the simple namespace .ART”
In 2103, ICANN launched its new gTLD Program, allowing any company or orgnisation to apply for one or more top generic top-level domains. Within the regulatory frameworrk established by ICANN and the ICANN community, priorities have been given to to self-designated communities who want to promote and protect the common language, culture, interests, identity or any other common denominator they can demonstrate to represent.
Two entities have applied of the .ART gTLD having elected community representation: DeviantArt and e-flux. Both organisations support each others applications saying they are “committed to develop .ART as an authentic internet address for the arts and represent its community,” and “that it could become a touchstone of world culture and contribute transformative vision across all boundaries.”
However, eight other purely commercial entities and individuals have also chosen to apply for .ART proposing a purely commercial exploitation of the domain. e-flux says: “Left to pure commercial exploitation .ART will stand as a complete failure” and that it “would be an irretrievable tragedy”
In an open letter e-flux has called on the ICANN Board and GAC “to safeguard the arts as a universal human right in its shared culture” and to “set aside its unlimited and seemingly unrestrained commercialization of the internet name space an embrace the opportunity that it hardcoded into its guidebook for applicants to self-identify as a community.”