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Is eligibility for being allowed as a registrant restricted?

According to the CPE Guidelines:

“Eligibility” means the qualifications that organizations or individuals must have in order to be allowed as registrants

(AGB, Final CPE Guidelines, P.11)


With respect to “eligibility” the limitation to community “members” can invoke a formal membership but can also be satisfied in other ways, depending on the structure and orientation of the community at hand

(AGB, Final CPE Guidelines, P.11)

To fulfill the requirements for Eligibility, the registration policies restrict the eligibility of prospective registrants to Community members of the defined strictly delineated, organized and logical alliance of communities of similar nature relating to music. The Application demonstrates adherence to this requirement by requiring registrants to have a clear and straightforward membership with the “strictly delineated, organized” Music Community Member Organizations forming the “logical alliance of communities of similar nature relating to music.”

According to the Application, eligibility requires a formal membership with delineated and organized:

“Music Community Member Organization (MCMO) for registrants with demonstrated MCMO memberships”

(Application, Question 20e)

“Registrants will be verified using Community-organized, unified “criteria taken from holistic perspective with due regard of Community particularities” that “invoke a formal membership” without discrimination, conflict of interest or “likelihood of material detriment to the rights and legitimate interests” of the Community”

(Application, Question 20e)

According to the Application, the eligibility registration phases are as follows:

“Sunrise launch with trademark validation… phase designed to protect trademarks in the roll-out of .MUSIC. The Sunrise is the time when regional, national and international trademark and service mark holders can apply for .MUSIC domains. The eligibility requirements will be verified, and multiple registration applications for the same string will be auctioned, except for GPML entries that supersede any other sunrise registration applications.”

(Application, Question 20e)


“Music Community Member Organization (MCMO)… phase… is a limited-time period reserved for members of DotMusic-accredited music Community Member Organizations (mCMO). Unique registrations will be granted to the sole registrant and delegated at the close of the time period; multiple registration requests for the same string will go through an auction.”

“Landrush… phase of .MUSIC domain registration; a limited- time period. Unique registrations will be granted to the registrant; multiple registration requests for the same domain will go through an auction. Landrush is designed for members of the Music Community that want to secure premium .MUSIC domains giving members the chance to register their preferred .MUSIC domains; multiple registration requests for the same domain will go through an auction.”

(Application, Question 20e)


“General Availability… phase of registration of .MUSIC domains. .MUSIC registrations will now be available to Music Community members on a first come, first served basis.”

(Application, Question 20e)

In short, firstly, eligibility for registration will be restricted to Community member rights holders identified in the music Globally Protected Marks List as well as Trademark holders. Secondly, eligibility will be restricted to Community members who are verified through their demonstrated membership with the strictly delineated and organized Music Community Member Organizations defined as the Community in the Application. In this phase multiple requests of the same domain name will result in an auction to settle the winner. Thirdly, is the “premium” domain phase which is restricted to Community members who are verified through their demonstrated membership with the strictly delineated and organized Music Community Member Organizations defined as the Community in the Application. If there are multiple requests for registration of a “premium” domain offered by the Registry then it will result in an auction to settle the winner. In the fourth and final stage, registrations will be on a first-come, first serve basis (i.e no auctions). Eligibility will be restricted to Community members who are verified through their demonstrated membership with the strictly delineated and organized Music Community Member Organizations defined as the Community in the Application.

According to the Application, Eligibility requirements are aligned with the Name Selection, Content and Use and Enforcement policies and must adhere to the:

“.MUSIC Policy & Copyright Infringement Dispute Resolution Process (ʺMPCIDRPʺ) to ensure eligibility requirements, use and naming policies as established”

(Application, Question 28)

“.MUSIC domains will be validated to belong to Community members, who can only use the domains under Community-focused Policies. This way, Internet users will experience trusted interactions with registrants and be confident that any interaction is with legitimate Community members.”

(Application, Question 18b iii)

“Provisions are available to enable the registry operator to only allow registrations by pre-authorized and verified contacts. These verified contacts are given a unique code that can be used for registration of new domains. Such provision will be used in the case where holders of a mark in the Globally Protected Marks list (a protection mechanism explained in response to question #20e) wish to register their mark under .MUSIC; and it can also be used for release of the reserved country and territory names per response to question #22.”

(Application, Question 28)

“Registrant pre-verification and authentication: DotMusic will validate certain data elements in relation to domain name registrations… One of the systems that could be used for validity and identity authentication is VAULT (Validation and Authentication Universal Lookup). It utilizes information obtained from a series of trusted data sources with access to billions of records containing data about individuals for the purpose of providing independent age and id verification as well as the ability to incorporate additional public or private data sources as required.”

(Application, Question 28)

“DotMusic will introduce data validation of some WHOIS elements as part of the .MUSIC policies as described in response to question #20. DotMusic will explore mechanisms for data re-validation if all validated elements for one registrant are modified, such as could be the case in a registrant transfers.”

(Application, Question 28)

“While DotMusic will hold the thick WHOIS data provided through registrars, we will also validate elements of the received WHOIS data:

1. The registrant’s email address through validation links

2. The registrant’s phone number through validated PIN-codes”

(Application, Question 20e)


How does a Music Community Member Organization (MCMO) qualify to join the strictly delineated, organized and logical alliance of individuals, organizations and business of similar nature related to music defined as the Community in the Application?

The “strictly delineated, organized and logical alliance of individuals, organizations and business of similar nature related to music” (i.e the Community defined in the Application) comprise of “multiple”, “relevant and/or recognized” institutions/organizations that “invoke a formal membership” with members who “correspond to” over 99.9% of all music produced, distributed, promoted and consumed globally, the “majority of the overall community addressed.”

The Community must adhere to the Mission and Purpose as defined in the Application and be aligned with the unified common interest of protecting intellectual property and supporting fair compensation for rights holders.

A MCMO can apply to join (Link) the Community if it fulfills these criteria irrespective of locale or type:

  1. Clear delineation: The Community organization must have clear and straightforward membership and the requisite awareness and recognition from those members. The following non-exhaustive list denotes elements of straightforward membership definitions: fees, skill and/or accreditation-requirements, privileges or benefits entitled to members, certifications aligned with community goals etc

  2. Organized: The Community organization must administer its members with documented evidence of community activities

  3. Community organization must relate to music in a non-tangential or non-peripheral manner.

  4. Membership aligns with the Nexus of the Community and the String, which is explicitly relevant to music. Any tangential or implicit associations with the Nexus of the Community and the String will not be regarded as a delineated membership since it would be considered unclear, dispersed or unbound. Such an unclear, dispersed or unbound tangential relationship would not constitute a qualifying membership of an accredited MCMO and would be ineligible for registration.

  5. Community organization activities are aligned with the .MUSIC Mission and Purpose.

  6. Total membership is of non-negligible size.

  7. Total membership geographic dispersion is either international or national (i.e. organizations with merely local memberships do not qualify).

  8. Forward-looking longevity: Membership pursuits are of a lasting, non-transient nature (i.e. will continue to exist in the future).

  9. Membership activities must be involved in the legal production and/or the distribution and/or the promotion of music (i.e. related to music).

  10. The Community organization’s functions must legally comply with the string’s regulated sector in relation to copyright and clearly abide to the sector’s clearly, delineated systems to ensure fair compensation and proper allocation of royalties to Community rights holders.

As an option to offer .MUSIC domains directly to its membership, a MCMO may also become an authorized and legitimate reseller of .MUSIC domains through an ICANN-accredited registrar.


Why is Music a Community?

Music is a Community not a commodity. Without the people producing, distributing and promoting music there would be no music as we know it. The ecosystem in which the Community operates in is regulated by government because music is an intangible asset that is entitled to protections and a safe environment through which music is produced, distributed, promoted and consumed.

For the people who write or perform music, as well as the professionals and organizations that support and serve their artistic and business interests, the Internet has been both a blessing and a curse. While the Internet has enabled an increased opportunity for legitimate services to distribute music, rogue sites operators have utilized the Internet DNS to “share” music illegally. The ability to transmit music as files through the Internet has enabled widespread abuse of the intellectual property rights of individuals and companies, to the extent that revenues from music have declined approximately overwhelmingly. While the promotional opportunity of the Internet is undeniable it has been offset dramatically by devastating financial losses. Whether those financials losses will rebound is yet to be seen. This is why the .music domain is critically important to the Community as well as those who will be relying on a safe haven for legal music consumption on the Internet. It is clear that the global Public Interest that the .music is operated and managed under multi-stakeholder community-based effort with accountability towards the Community and a Policy Advisory Board to advise to benefit the string and ensure its launch and maintenance benefits the Community and is a socially-responsible endeavor.

“Music” is defined by popular dictionaries as the “the art of combining sounds rhythmically, melodically and harmonically”. The people who write, record, perform, promote, distribute and sell music have a requisite awareness between them as a recognized community. “Music” clearly delineates what they do, as opposed to any other activity.  The Music Community Member Organizations that have united in common purpose to support the launch of a trusted .music string represent nearly 100% of all music activity in the world relating to the legal production, distribution and promotion of music globally. This is a Community whose royalty rates are regulated by governments and seeks to ensure that the .music top level domain will not be used in a manner that harms the legitimate interests of the Community. This Community is defined and united by its interest in protecting copyright and promoting a safe environment in which music can be produced, distributed, promoted and enjoyed. Individuals, companies or organizations that do not respect copyright or intellectual property rights are not considered by this strictly delineated Community to be a part of it. The .music TLD serves is restricted to only members of this Community. As a result, Registrants will be required to have a clear and straight-forward membership with the Community which is defined as a strictly delineated and organized, logical alliance of communities of similar nature related to music (“Music Community Member Organizations”) who take an active role in representing the Community serving in their best interest.

The objectives and interests of the music community are well-defined, unique and set-apart from others who interact with music, particularly from those who seek to illegally exploit and profit from music or those who merely consume it and have no particular business or artistic interest in it. Its interest in the legal and legitimate distribution of music makes this a unique, definable Community. Given the semantic and cultural significance of the .music string it is indisputable that it deserves a “community” priority designation because it serves only this substantial, well-established sector and limits registrations to bona-fide members of it with an invoked membership with recognized and relevant Music Community Member Organization(s), which form the clearly delineated and organized logical alliance of communities of similar nature relating to music.


Can MCMOs – the strictly delineated, organized and logical alliance of individuals, organizations and business of similar nature related to music” (i.e the Community defined in the Application) that comprise “a majority of the overall Community addressed overlap and have invoked memberships with multiple MCMOs?”

MCMO formal memberships in nearly all cases overlap because of the common particularities and activities shared of the Community defined and their symbiotic relationship. For example, a Community member seeking to monetize music videos would likely have a formal membership with Youtube to associate their unique copyrights with a unique Content ID identifying the Community member as the rights holder. Every time the corresponding video is viewed, it is tracked and then it associated with the formal member rights holder who is compensated appropriately through advertising revenue sharing. The same Community member may also have a formal membership with a performance rights organization, or be a formal member of a music union, or be a formal member of a digital distributor (that converts, identifies and distributes member content on legal retailers and streaming music providers. Every time the member’s unique content is streamed or sold, the digital distributor tracks, accounts and then compensates the rights holder identified. Other members may belong to numerous trade associations that could be national or international in scope.

A formal membership must be demonstrated under at least one MCMO for eligibility.

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