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Objection! As Amazon seeks domain names .book , .author, .read, .app

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

March 11, 2013 | 3 min read

Two US publishing industry groups, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, are fighting requests by giant online retailer Amazon for ownership of new top-level domain names .

Amazon wants .book and .app

The protesters say giving Amazon control over such addresses—which include ".book," ".author" and ".read"—would be a threat to competition and shouldn't be allowed, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The new domain names are part of a long-awaited expansion of the Web's addressing scheme.

"Placing such generic domains in private hands is plainly anticompetitive," wrote Scott Turow, Authors Guild president, to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, which oversees the world's Internet domain names.

He adds, "The potential for abuse seems limitless."

Rival book retailer Barnes & Noble also opposes Amazon's request, says the WSJ , arguing that the Seattle-based company could use control of the new Internet names "to stifle competition in the bookselling and publishing industries, which are critical to the future of copyrighted expression in the U.S."

An Amazon spokesman declined to comment on the objections specifically. But in a letter to ICANN, a lawyer for the company rejected the notion that its plans raise concerns about competition.

Last year, ICANN launched a process to assign rights for organisations to serve as "registries" for the Internet's top-level domains, the suffixes such as ".com" and ".edu" that help direct users to websites.

Companies, agencies and individuals have applied for various terms, says the WSJ. Many applicants intend later to sell the words to the left of the dot for a profit, thereby creating Web addresses such as, say, www.clothing.buy.

A number of big tech companies have applied for the new names, including Google, Microsoft and Apple . In some cases there have been rival requests for the same suffixes.

According to ICANN's website, Amazon is seeking dozens of domain names, including ".movie," ".app," and ".wow," as well as a number in foreign languages.

The application for ".app," for example, says that becoming a registry for the domain name will "provide a unique and dedicated platform for Amazon while simultaneously protecting the integrity of its brand and reputation."

An ICANN spokesman said the agency doesn't comment on specific applications or domain names. No decisions have yet been made, but the agency plans to release some initial findings later this month.

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