Jon Leibowitz

FTC letter to ICANN over new gTLDs

The following letter was sent one week after FTC chair Jon Leibowitz was unexpectedly asked in a hearing of the US Senate's House Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet Subcommittee about his view of the new gTLD program produced by ICANN.

Leibowitz made headlines when he responded that he was "very, very concerned" about the program and that it could prove to be a "disaster for businesses and consumers".

The comments were seized upon by opponents of the gTLD program and raised in two subsequent hearings in the following week by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (see transcript) and Subcommittee on Communications and Technology (see transcript).

FTC 'very, very concerned' about new gTLD program

The Federal Trade Commission's chairman Jon Leibowitz launched an unexpected broadside against ICANN and its new gTLD program earlier today, stating that the FTC was "very, very concerned" about the program and that it has "the potential to be a disaster for consumers and for businesses".

The remarks came during a hearing by the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet, held just one day before a Senate hearing into the program.

Leibowitz was responding to a question by stand-in Committee chair Bob Goodlatte who noted that the question had nothing to do with Leibowitz's written testimony, or the purpose of the hearing, which was titled "Oversight of the Antitrust Enforcement Agencies".

FTC's Leibowitz: Slams ICANN but did he know what he was talking about?

FTC chairman response on new gTLDs at Judiciary Committee hearing

The following transcript comes from a hearing of the US House Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet Subcommittee.

The hearing, held Wed 7 Dec 2011, concerned: 'Oversight of the Antitrust Enforcement Agencies' and had FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz and Assistant Attorney General of DoJ Antitrust Division, Sharis Pozen.

Unexpectedly, the first question asked by chair Bob Goodlatte (filing in for Lamar Smith) was with regard to ICANN's new gTLD program. It was also picked up by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren later on in the two-hour session. Both excerpts are included below.

Goodlatte: Chairman Leibowitz, I'm going to start with a question that does not relate to your anti-trust jurisdiction but is an issue of concern to this Committee - in fact we've held a hearing on it - and that is related to ICANN - the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers - which is about to open an application windows that could led to the creation of an unlimited number of new generic top level domains.

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