‘.MUSIC’ Domains Get ICANN Approval, Operator Says Piracy Won’t Be Tolerated

By Bill Toulas / May 19, 2021

DotMusic Limited, a Cyprus-based company that clung to the “.MUSIC” top-level domain name (TLD) since 2003, has finally reached an agreement with internet regulator ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), and that means it can start approving site registrations soon. The company was previously bombarded by Google, Amazon, Donuts, and other big names in the field who would love to have the particular TLD in their hands. Still, DotMusic Ltd. moved forward on its own and was eventually vindicated.

Founder Constantine Roussos stated the following in the company’s announcement:

Finally, after nearly a decade-long effort since applying for .MUSIC, we are excited to have signed the registry agreement with ICANN. We are now one step closer to providing the international music community with a verified music web address and identity that signals trust, authenticity, and a safe haven for music consumption on a global level. This is a great moment in music and internet history.

The operator wants to keep the ‘.MUSIC’ registry exclusive to the music community and industry, so if you’re not a professional artist or an organization engaged in the music industry, you won’t get a site under the .music domain. It is a similar approach to ‘.EDU’ and ‘.GOV’, with the corresponding TLDs having a clear identity that radiates authenticity.

So, why it took DotMusic so many years then? Back in 2011, the RIAA expressed concerns about ‘.MUSIC’ hosting pirate sites, enabling large-scale copyright and trademark infringement. The Recording Industry Association of America simply didn’t trust the new TLD, and the theming seemed to be too risky to allow it. But this pressure wasn’t left unanswered by DotMusic, which gradually developed a very strict anti-piracy policy.

Anyone who signs up for a ‘.MUSIC’ domain will go through a validation process, while names of famous bands and artists will be reserved for a period to allow the rightful owners to register. The validation will be reviewed by a board of three members, who will determine the outcome by voting. Moreover, DotMusic will receive copyright infringement stats from trusted entities such as the IFPI, RIAA, BPI, and others - and if the site that tries to get a mirror has had 10,000 notices of infringement, it will be rejected.

In addition to this, ‘.MUSIC’ registrants much have copyright infringement detection and protection mechanisms in place, and their policies must include user account termination on repeat infringers. If a site publishes music, it will also be required to make the identification and contact details of the operator available. Otherwise, it will be immediately suspended. And finally, if DotMusic receives a complaint from a copyright protection group like the RIAA, the reported platform will be immediately suspended until the dispute is resolved.

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