The undersigned respectfully present this white paper to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in order to advance the case for the creation of a new top-level domain (TLD), to wit: “.pineapple.” The creation of such a TLD would without question help resolve the longstanding debate over what Internet content is pineapple-related, and thereby aid service providers in discharging their responsibility under the Tropical Plant Communications Act of 1996.
TLDs are the domains at the highest level in the hierarchical Domain Name System of the Internet. The top-level domain names are installed in the root zone of the name space. Originally, the top-level domain space was organized into three main groups: countries, categories, and multiorganizations. As the Internet grew, however, it became desirable to create additional generic top-level domains (gTLDs). The original gTLDs numbered six: .com; .edu; .gov; .mil; .org; and .net. In November 2000, ICANN announced its decision to add seven new gTLDS: .aero; .biz; .coop; .info; .museum; .name; and .pro. ICANN has since announced its approval of several further gTLDs: .cat; .jobs; .mobi; .tel; and .travel.
With its approval and addition of certain TLDs—the most notable among them being perhaps “.coop” (for Web sites registered to or maintained by chickens), “.pro” (for sites in favor of things) “.cat” (for sites registered to or maintained by cats), “.jobs” (for sites registered to or maintained by Steve Jobs), and “.mobi” (for sites registered to or maintained by musician Richard Melville Hall)—ICANN has signaled its interest in and support of having TLDs employed by very specialized interests on the Internet.
Creation of a “.pineapple” TLD would be fully inkeeping with such an admirable scheme.
Of the 21 gTLDS currently in existence, 13 are sponsored TLDS (sTLDS)—that is, each has a sponsor representing a specific community served by the domain. Each community, be it ethnic, geographic, professional, technical, or something else, was proposed by a private organization that establishes and enforces rules restricting the eligibility of registrants to use the sTLD.
In the case of “.pineapple,” sponsor Ananas Comosus, Ltd. (a Delaware not-for-profit corporation), which represents the interests of pineapple cultivators, harvesters, transporters, purveyors, and ethno-medical practictioners, has created the Bromeliad Council to advise on the development of the “.pineapple” TLD and to accept and review applications for registration of “.pineapple” domain names. The Bromeliad Council will in turn work with an accredited registrar to process approved applications. (The Council’s preference would be to work with either ! #1 Host Brazil, Inc. or BatDomains.com Inc., for the obvious reasons.)
Tropical Plant Communications Act of 1996
The Tropical Plant Communications Act of 1996 (TPCA) is a law enacted by the United States Congress to regulate material relating to tropical plants on the Internet. (In 1997, in the landmark case of In re Banana, the U.S. Supreme Court partially overturned the law as unconstitutional.) The TPCA was Title V of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It was introduced to the Senate Combined Committee of Agriculture, Commerce, Forestry, Nutrition, Science, and Transportation by Senators Orlando Juarez (D-MA) and Christopher Morgan (R-NE). As eventually passed by Congress, Title V affects the Internet (and online communications generally) in two significant ways: by attempting to regulate tropical plant content in cyberspace, but also by providing a safe harbor for operators of Internet services, holding them harmless for actions of third parties whose communications are in violation of the law.
Unfortunately, in spite of the best intentions of the lawmakers, tropical plant communication is one of those things that is impossible to define. Rather, like certain other types of communication sought to be regulated by Congress from time to time, it is something one is more likely simply to know when he or she sees it. Many argue, however, that by then it is too late: The damage has been done.
The intended ends of the TCPA would therefore be served by the creation of “.pineapple,” which would enable at least those who deal, directly or indirectly, in pineapple-related communications to be known as such.
The “Ghettoization” of Pineapple-Related Domains: A Response
A mechanism for self-identification of pineapple-related domains is not without its detractors, admittedly. The Bromeliad Council has already solicited public opinion on this proposal. Some online content providers within the relevant community themselves are not in favor of a “.pineapple” compartment of cyberspace, objecting on the grounds that it will be less of a niche and more of a ghetto, not so much a fertile bog as a fatal quagmire. In addition, religious leaders have expressed concern that the creation of “.pineapple” will “legitimize and expand” the number of pineapple-centric Web sites.
The Council takes all opinions seriously. On the other hand, these opinions are stupid. After all, we’re talking about pineapples here. Besides hemophiliacs and those with kidney or liver disease, to whom the anticoagulant properties of pineapple juice can be deadly, has anyone, anywhere been harmed by a pineapple, ever? In any event, no one can actually consume even the most realistic representation of a pineapple on the Internet.
“Dot pineapple.” The time is ripe.
|Matthew David Brozik||Lauren Krueger|
|President & CEO||Executive Director|
|Ananas Comosus, Ltd.||Bromeliad Council|