The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will take public comments on its plans to add new generic top-level domains until Sept. 26, the group announced on Friday. The comments period had been due to expire this Sunday.
ICANN is in the process of reviewing requests for nearly 2,000 new top-level domains, to be added to the existing group, which includes .com, .org, .edu, and those specific to individual nations.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., hailed the move in an e-mailed release saying, "A program of this reach and magnitude deserves to have extensive input from the public. I welcome ICANN's commitment to keep the public comment forum open throughout the application process, but more can still be done. I urge ICANN to take meaningful steps to inform the public about this program and to listen to the concerns and comments that are raised."
Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with ranking member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and ranking member John Conyers, D-Mich., sent a letter to ICANN on Aug. 7, requesting answers to questions on how individuals and brand can protect their trademarks from those seeking to profit from the new domains.
In a release, ICANN said it was extending the comment period in part because it had only anticipated requests for about 500 new domains, and needed more time to review comments. Currently, there are more than 6,000 comments on the ICANN site, supporting or opposing proposed domain names.
Many of the comments object on moral or religious grounds to proposed names such as .gay and .sex. Others are looking to block new domains on the grounds that they will create trademark confusion. Active commentators include Saudi Arabia's Communications and Information Technology Commission and AIM - European Brands Association, an umbrella group that represents companies like Coca-Cola, Nestle, Kraft, Unilever, and other major commercial brands.