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Should the European Internet be dependent on the US Department of Commerce?

by régis Jamin
18/04/2005

On 12 October 2004, the European Commission, after several years of work and following a tedious call for tenders, finally signed a contract with Eurid, formalizing its status as the “EU” registry.

Would European identification on the Internet, known as’.EU’, finally be available to European companies or its citizens? Unfortunately, no, because the Commission has not finalized in parallel with its tendering procedure, the request for the integration of the “EU” into the Internet naming system by its regulator, ICANN, the Internet “government” still under the unofficial supervision of the US Department of Commerce.

Scheduled for the end of 2004, this inclusion of the “EU” in the Internet “root” has still not taken place and the next steps, such as the accreditation of address service providers or “registrars” or even the publication of the final allocation rules for the extension had not been started.

Between ICANN’s reluctance, and probably the American Department of Commerce’s reluctance to see a certain number of European companies competing with its own become too “visible” on the Internet with the image of an “EU” as are American companies with the “US” extension and the European Commission’s “slowness” on this issue, the European economy is once again handicapped.

Because let us not doubt it, this extension is already attracting all kinds of interest. There are already an estimated 500 million potential European candidates, it is announced in the small circle of “registrars” who predict a “gold rush”.

There are two reasons for this: it is either to “close the door to other companies by not allowing them to obtain strategic names” or “to open the door for yourself by expanding its presence on the Internet”. “Companies that want to give a European dimension to their activities cannot afford to be absent from this new area”, it is specified among these same suppliers.

Thus any company with its registered office, administration or principal place of business in the Union may apply, as well as any organisation established in the EU or any natural person residing in one of the 25 countries. During a so-called “sunrise” period, some companies will benefit from a priority registration, justified by a trademark application. This will also be the case for public bodies or appellations of origin.

It would therefore not be until the end of 2005, i.e. 5 years after the first requests from companies or organisations in the Union, that the “EU” would finally be available to them. Is it not time for the Union, which has one of the largest populations of Internet users in the world, to emancipate itself and create its own regulatory body, a partner but independent of ICANN and its American regulator?

Source Indom, TF1

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