France is being broadly backed by the European Commission in its call for safeguards on who gets access to .wine and .vin internet field names, background up a potential legal showdown with the US government.
Mad French officials said today (26 June) that the body responsible for assigning web field names, ICANN, is unfit to govern. Their observations are the latest in a week-long tirade from France's government, which is upset that ICANN has refused to halt its plotted release of .wine and .vin internet 'top-level field' names. Winemakers' associations in Europe and also in ICANN's home state of California have spent the past year lobbying for controls on who would be able to catalog a name such as Champagne, Bordeaux, Napa or Barolo using .wine or .vin. They contend the system will be open to fraud and could also confuse consumers.The issue has reawakened a festering international dispute over whether the European Union should be http://1000-facts-about-wine.com able to use its Geographical Indications system to claim a monopoly on particular wine names. Although trade body Napa Valley Vintners has sided with its European counterparts, ICANN has been accused of favouring the US government's long-held, anti-GI position.The row could also have far-reaching repercussions for internet governance.France is not alone in opposing the current ICANN plot for .wine and .vin domains, even if there has been some disquiet over the country's choice to 'act like a bull in a China shop' - as one official who wished to wait anonymous termed the country's stance. It was the Italian government that wrote to ICANN'S board earlier this week, urging members to 'reconsider' the release .wine and .vin. 'This is not only a commercial matter but one of extreme political sensitivity,' said Antonello Giacomelli, of Italy's ministry of economic development. 'European and worldwide Geographic Indications must be given the same level of protection online that they have offline.'That is also the opinion of the European Commission, which has been applying its http://1000-facts-about-wine.com own political pressure to get ICANN to introduce safeguards for protected wine names. The US, Australia and New Zealand have argued there is no need. ICANN's chairman, Stephen Crocker, said on the eve of discussions in London this week that the body's 21-member board subdue plans to open .wine and .vin domains for registration as currently envisaged.It is thought the dispute may end up in court, or even at the World Trade Organisation.