Google sued in France for advertising resold tickets
A court in Paris has prohibited Google from selling keywords to advertisers, including Viagogo and StubHub, which (re)sell tickets without the promoter’s permission.
Ruling in favour of French live music association Prodiss, which brought the case against Google France and Google Ireland (Google’s European headquarters are in Dublin), the Judicial Court of Paris found Google liable for reputational damage to live entertainment professionals, noting that by accepting advertising from ticket resale sites, it may have given fans the false impression that rightsholders benefit from inflated secondary-market prices.
The Tribunal judiciaire additionally declared that Google had “undeniably participated” in facilitating unlawful resale “with full knowledge of the facts”.
Prodiss brought the lawsuit after noticing advertisements for tickets to shows by Rammstein, Drake and Metallica on sites including Viagogo.fr, StubHub.fr and Rocket-Ticket.com at, or near, the top of Google’s search results. In France, it is illegal to sell tickets without authorisation from the event organiser.
The court prohibited Google from allowing the purchase of ad keywords relating to the sale of tickets for shows in France
Google will have one month to act on the ruling, which will apply to all live shows taking place in France, including ticket retailers based elsewhere but selling tickets for French shows.
In the 15 October judgment, the court prohibited Google Ireland, which operates Google Ads (formerly AdWords), from allowing the purchase of advertising keywords relating to the sale of tickets for shows in France, unless the purchaser can prove that they have written authorisation from the rightsholder.
It also ordered Google to pay Prodiss €40,000 for in damages and an additional €20,000 under article 700 of the code of civil procedure (CPC).
In November, Google began accepting advertising from Viagogo once more after having previously banned the site from its AdWords platform.
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Tipping point: No shows, but donation options grow
‘Tipping’ artists, by making one-off, typically small payments during virtual events, is gaining popularity internationally, benefiting musicians who have been hit by the global stoppage in concert touring.
Virtual tipping has its origins in China, where the concept of donating to musicians, video producers, writers and podcasters has been the norm since at least 2013. Among the services that allow the tipping of creators are messaging app WeChat (for writers), podcasting platform Ximalaya FM and music streaming services QQ Music, KuGou and Kuwo. All are owned by, or have significant investment from, tech giant Tencent (which also recently acquired a 10% stake in Universal Music Group).
According to news site Ozy, the popularity of tipping on the three streaming services specifically is “credited by industry analysts for helping Tencent Music record a post-tax profit of [US]$263 million in the first half of 2018.” According to contemporary filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, 9.5 million Tencent Music users – equivalent to 40% of its total paying user base – paid for tips in the form of virtual gifts and other ‘social entertainment experiences’.
Comparatively, the Ozy article adds, “Spotify reported net losses of $461.4 million in the second quarter of 2018, and Pandora lost $92 million the same quarter.”
Now, however, Spotify is hoping to develop its own virtual tipping culture, last week announcing the introduction of ‘Artist Fundraising Pick’, which allows listeners to donate via artists’ profiles using PayPal, GoFundMe or Cash App.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for many Spotify users and people around the world,” says the Stockholm-based company, “and there are many worthy causes to support at this time. With this feature, we simply hope to enable those who have the interest and means to support artists in this time of great need, and to create another opportunity for our Covid-19 music relief partners to find the financial support they need to continue working in music and lift our industry.”
Tipping is credited with helping Tencent Music record profits of $263m in H1 2018
As well as predominantly non-music services such as Twitch, which enables viewers to tip (‘cheer’) its video streamers, several music-focused platforms are aiming to help artists get paid while touring is off limits.
Encore Musicians – a UK-based marketplace that connects event planners with artists and bands – has introduced ‘Music Messages’ for its locked-down customers, enabling them to send personalised musical messages to their loved ones. The company’s co-founder, James McAuley, tells TechCrunch that recipients of the videos (which cost from £15 to commission, with £2.50 going to the UK’s National Health Service) have the option to add a tip, with many contributing up to £50 per video.
“The reactions from both the senders and recipients have been extremely heartwarming, and musicians are having fun with it,” McAuley explains. “This is also reflected in the success of the tipping mechanism, with people sometimes tipping more than the original video amount.”
Elsewhere, SoundCloud is building on its existing tipping capabilities – a partnership with Twitch, announced in March, allows creators to monetise livestreamed concerts – by allowing artists to add ‘support links’ to their profile pages, with links to either financial exchanges (PayPal, Cash App, Venmo, etc.) or online stores/fundraising pages such as Kickstarter, Bandcamp or GoFundMe.
The company says it will retain support links, or a version of the feature, “until more impactful solutions present themselves, or it is no longer necessary for our most impacted creators.
“We’re all in this together and it’s important to everyone that creative projects continue unabated. So, use this to fund your projects, offset bills or get whatever you need to stay on your feet.”
Speaking to IQ earlier this month, British singer-songwriter Emma McGann explained that her audience on YouNow – another live video streaming platform – is large enough that when her upcoming US tour was torpedoed by the coronavirus outbreak, she sold enough $20 YouNow ‘Virtual Tour Passes’ to cover losses stemming from the cancellation.
“On YouNow, fans can tip their favourite performers throughout a broadcast”
McGann is one of a handful of artists whose fanbases are primarily on YouNow, which has long had a culture of fans tipping creators. A recent Daily Dot article explains: “In addition to being able to purchase stickers and private messages with in-app currency and status, fans can use money to purchase ‘bars’ in packs, and tip their favorite [sic] performers throughout a broadcast, earning shout-outs in turn. YouNow stars who’ve made a name for themselves can join its partner program[me], which entitles them to a cut of the proceeds from the sale of this digital currency that gets spent on their broadcasts.”
“Most livestreaming platforms have a criteria you have to hit before your channel is eligible to be monetised,” explained McGann, who is a YouNow partner, “but the community you build should be your first concern over the monetisation aspect. Interaction and community [are] the most important part of your livestreams. Monetising that content will be difficult if you’re not consistent.”
On tipping specifically, she added: “Calls to action during your streams can help to push traffic to your music, your merch store or wherever your viewers can support you…”
One company, though, that isn’t joining the tipping revolution is Google, which has reportedly nixed plans in the US that would have seen it facilitate donations to popular websites, including those of artists and musicians. The tipping tool, linked to Google Pay, would allow a one-time donation of between 25¢ and $5 via a floating button at the bottom of the screen. (On Google-owned YouTube, fans already can tip creators using the ‘super chat’ feature.)
Google trialled the functionality with artist Miranda Sings, as well as the New York Times, Tech Crunch and the Points Guy, a travel advice site.
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Viagogo back on Google after advertising ban lifted
Just four months after its indefinite suspension from Google Ads, Viagogo’s ads once again appear at the top of Google’s search results for some of the biggest upcoming shows, after the ban was quietly lifted last week.
The controversial secondary ticketing giant – which yesterday announced its acquisition of chief rival StubHub for over US$4 billion – was banned from advertising on Google globally in July following pressure from the live music industry and consumer-rights groups, leading to a reported 70% reduction in website traffic.
The decision to prevent Viagogo from paying its way to the top of the Google’s search results came after the search engine removed more than 2bn ads found to be in breach of its policies or the law in the previous 12 months, IQ reported at the time. In 2017, Google updated its AdWords policy to force secondary sites to be clearer on pricing and prevent them from posing as official sellers, among other measures.
The suspension was hailed as a “landmark moment” by anti-ticket touting campaigners, with Adam Webb of FanFair Alliance describing it as “a major step forward [in] preventing exploitation of audiences in the secondary ticketing market”.
While many in the industry put little stock in Viagogo’s promises that it would work to have the suspension lifted “as quickly as possible” – one campaigner says they hoped the ban would be permanent – the Swiss-based company is already back to advertising on Google Ads globally, with the exception of countries whose regulators have not yet told Google they are satisfied Viagogo is in compliance with local law (at present, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Slovakia and Taiwan).
Viagogo has agreed to not advertise in the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Slovakia and Taiwan
A spokesperson for Viagogo tells IQ that, “after having worked closely with them [Google] in the background”, the site’s ads were reinstated last week. “The company has worked closely with Google and is pleased with this outcome.”
With the exception of the seven territories listed above, IQ understands Viagogo is now deemed to be in compliance with the following Google criteria:
- To cease advertising where doing so breaches the law, and come into compliance with local legal and regulatory requirements, including ensuring that all consumer warnings issued by official authorities are appropriately remediated
- Make clear the total ticket price at the beginning of the customer journey, as well as separating out the fees, as is required by the Google Ads event ticket sales policy
- Make clear any applicable delivery fees
- Make clear that tickets subject to resale restrictions may not provide access to the event (the full disclaimer, approved by the UK’s CMA and also used in other territories, reads: “Please note that your ticket may be invalid for entry to the event. It’s only in rare cases that customers have been refused entry to events similar to this, although those events may not have had resale restrictions. You will be protected by our guarantee if you attempt entry and are refused. That’s our promise – enjoy the event.”)
- Cease advertising tickets for resale where resale is “legitimately prohibited”
- Cease claiming that tickets are valid when organisers and event promoters find them invalid
“The company has worked closely with Google and is pleased with this outcome”
It is understood Google’s decision to reinstate Viagogo ads is not related to the company’s takeover of StubHub, which reportedly came as news to Google execs yesterday.
At press time, searches for which Viagogo advertisements appear at the top of Google search results in the UK (where IQ is based) include “the 1975 tickets”, “Billie Eilish tickets”, “Madonna tickets”, “Rod Stewart tickets”, “Travis Scott tickets”, “Lewis Capaldi tickets” and “Diana Ross tickets”.
In a statement, a Google spokesperson says: “Any advertiser can appeal a suspension, and if we find that they have made appropriate changes to their account they may be eligible for reactivation.
“We still continue to enforce our policies and we will take action against ads or accounts that violate our policies.”
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Non-profit ticketer Humanitix partners with Facebook
Humanitix, a ticketing startup donating all profits from booking fees to charity, has announced an event ticketing partnership with Facebook.
The integration of Humanitix with the social media platform means users can simultaneously launch events on both platforms.
“It’s a really big deal for us because it takes a long time to get an integration like that over the line with Facebook,” Humanitix co-founder Joshua Ross told Pro Bono News. “Hopefully there’ll be more to come in terms of the opportunities to partner with them.”
Sydney-based Humanitix, founded in 2016 by Ross and Adam McCurdie, directs all profits from booking fees – 4% transaction price plus AUD$0.99 – to educational programmes in Australia and overseas.
The ticketing service has donated over AUD$380,000 (USD$259,000) to charity and processed more than AUD$9 million ($6m) in ticket sales.
“There’s billions of dollars in these booking fees and no one likes them but event organisers put up with it because they need to do it,” explains the Humanitix co-founder.
“We think there’s a massive opportunity in ticketing, where fees can be more modest, and you can have the best of both worlds”
“Our objective isn’t to make booking fees zero, it’s to solve inequality through education programs. But we think there’s a massive opportunity in ticketing, where fees can be more modest, and you can have the best of both worlds.”
Last year, the company received AUD$1 million ($682,000) in grant funding from the Google Global Impact Challenge and a $1.2m ($819,000) grant from the Atlassian Foundation.
“Humanitix has become the fastest growing ticketing platform in Australia and New Zealand,” comments Australian communications and arts minister, Paul Fletcher. “It’s great to see Facebook getting behind them. This support will help Humanitix to keep on with its mission to make a difference in our community.”
The ticketing service has worked with the likes of Sydney Youth Orchestra, UN Women and Football Federation Australia, the Grounds of Alexandria and Illawarra Folk Festival. Most events currently serviced by Humanitix have a capacity of under 20,000, although the platform is capable of catering for larger events.
Humanitix operates in Australia and New Zealand, with plans to expand to the United States within the next year.
Viagogo site traffic down 70% globally
The number of fans visiting the Viagogo site has plummeted since the secondary site was banned from advertising through Google, the Guardian has revealed.
According to figures obtained from analytics service SimilarWeb, traffic to Viagogo’s UK site has dropped 80% – from 4.5 million visitors per month to 820,000 – and by 70% on its global site – from 15.3m to 4.5m monthly users – in the almost three months since Google banned the site from paying to appear at the top of search results.
“Google is a key part of any company’s advertising mix and the suspension has certainly seen a decline in traffic from this source. However, as a global business we employ multiple marketing methods, to ensure we can reach the widest global audience effectively,” reads a statement issued by Viagogo.
“This has allowed us to manage any impact of the suspension on the overall business, whilst we are working with Google to resolve their concerns and be reinstated. Viagogo has long enjoyed a close working relationship with Google and we are in discussions presently to resolve the suspension.”
“Google is a key part of any company’s advertising mix and the suspension has certainly seen a decline in traffic from this source”
According to a 2017 IQ report, secondary ticketing sites such as Viagogo were paying up to 15 times more than promoters to appear at the top of Google’s sponsored search listings.
The move to bar the site from Google’s paid-for search results was widely welcomed by the industry with promoter Kilimanjaro Live, UK Music and anti-tout campaign groups FanFair Alliance and Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing among those to show support for the decision.
Viagogo has faced a number of court orders and lawsuits around the world. Most recently, New Zealand’s Commerce Commission was granted permission to pursue a temporary injunction against the site.
In September, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority decided to halt legal proceedings against the secondary site, in a move that concerned anti-tout groups.
NZ Commission wins appeal for Viagogo injunction
New Zealand’s Commerce Commission has successfully appealed against a High Court decision that prevented the issuing of an injunction against Switzerland-based online ticket reseller Viagogo.
On Wednesday (2 October), New Zealand’s Court of Appeal overturned the High Court’s ruling that it did not have the jurisdiction to place an injunction against Viagogo, given that the secondary site had not been served with court proceedings in its native Switzerland.
In February, the High Court had rejected the Commerce Commission’s application to place an interim injunction against Viagogo. The injunction sought to prevent the use of “false and misleading” information around ticket prices and availability.
The judgement finds that, although the court “cannot finally determine a claim against a defendant while any protest to jurisdiction is outstanding”, the power “to grant interim relief is not limited in the same way”.
The Commission had claimed that Viagogo misled consumers by marketing itself as an “official” seller, exaggerating the scarcity of tickets, indicating tickets “guaranteed” entry and advertising ticket prices without including additional fees.
“The Commission will need to consider the changes made to Viagogo’s website, and decide whether in light of those changes it wishes to pursue its application for interim relief”
However, the judgement notes that “matters have moved on” since the hearing, stating that the Commission needs “to consider the changes made to Viagogo’s website, and decide whether in light of those changes it wishes to pursue its application for interim relief.”
A Viagogo spokesperson comments: “We have worked hard to address the New Zealand Commerce Commission’s concerns and remain committed to ensuring that Viagogo’s platform is compliant with the law.
To that end, given the extensive changes that have been made to the site, it is our hope that we can work directly with the Commerce Commission to resolve any outstanding issues.”
Viagogo legal action in an array of countries. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently halted proceedings against the site due to increased transparency, in a move that concerned anti-tout groups.
Courts in Australia and Germany have recently ordered Viagogo to make changes to the way it presents information. The site was banned from advertising through Google in a “landmark moment” in July.
CMA suspends legal action as Viagogo addresses concerns
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has suspended preparations for court action against Viagogo, in a move that comes as a surprise to anti-tout groups.
In July, the watchdog notified Viagogo that it would be moving forward with contempt of court action following several warnings that the site had failed to comply with a legally binding court order. The order instructed Viagogo adhere to CMA demands in relation to the way information was presented to ticket buyers.
Viagogo has now addressed the outstanding concerns, providing more accurate information on the number of tickets available, disclosing details of seat locations and sellers’ business addresses and indicating whether tickets guarantee entry.
The CMA’s decision comes as “a bolt from the blue”, for anti-tout group FanFair Alliance, the group’s campaign manager Adam Webb tells IQ.
The Viagogo website is “far more transparent than it was in December 2016”, when the CMA investigation began, states Webb. “However, even leaving aside its historic abuses of UK audiences, which are serious, extensive and well documented, we still hold serious concerns that Viagogo remains non-compliant with a range of consumer protection laws.
“We continue to share these concerns with the CMA on a regular basis,” continues Webb, “and there’s the rub. Having gone to the cost and effort of serving Viagogo with a court order, it certainly feels disappointing that our regulator is apparently relinquishing its considerable efforts and not finishing the job.”
“It feels disappointing that our regulator is relinquishing its considerable efforts and not finishing the job”
Sam Shemtob, director of continent-wide anti-tout group the Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT), also notes the “damage” done to fans since the CMA’s review opened, which “underlines the importance of the government giving the CMA stronger powers in this area.”
Shemtob references the recent European-wide legislation outlawing the use of automated ticket-buying software, or ticket bots, which enables authorities such as the CMA “to jointly address breaches of consumer law.”
“Once in place, these powers will hold while the UK remains in Europe and during any transition period and will form the incumbent law post Brexit,” explains Shemtob. “We hope that will further strengthen the CMA’s hand.”
Although CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli states the Viagogo website visited by UK customers today “is worlds apart” from what it used to be, he says the time taken to get to this stage “is clearly not acceptable”.
“Stronger consumer powers are required in the secondary ticketing sector and we will continue to work with the government on the most effective way to achieve this.” states Coscelli.
“A key part will be the government’s existing plans to give the CMA stronger consumer protection powers, so that it can rule on whether a company has broken the law and impose fines on those infringing companies.”
“What is clearly not acceptable is the time it’s taken to get to this stage”
Despite decision to halt action, the CMA boss does not rule out future action against the secondary site, declaring that “we will keep up the pressure on Viagogo to ensure that it continues to comply with UK consumer protection law.”
A further independent review of Viagogo’s compliance with the court order will be completed in October 2019. The CMA states it “will not hesitate to take further action – through the courts if necessary”, if the results of this review, or any other new information, suggest the company is not meeting its obligations.
A spokesperson for the secondary site comments: “Viagogo is pleased it has been able to work with the CMA to find solutions to the final few areas of discussion.
“We are grateful to the CMA for their engagement over the past few months and the ability of both parties to work collaboratively to reach this point. Looking ahead we will continue to work with them to ensure we are delivering the best possible service for our customers and challenging the wider ticketing market to raise its standards in the interests of all in the live event world.”
In response to pressure from industry organisations, anti-tout groups and politicians, Google barred Viagogo from advertising through its platform in July, in what one anti-touting group deemed a ‘landmark moment’. The suspension means the site can no longer pay to appear at the top of Google’s global search rankings.
This article is being updated with industry reactions as IQ receives them.
Viagogo victory over ‘hover-text’ court case
A court has found secondary ticketing site Viagogo compliant with one aspect of an order by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority regarding the display of face value ticket prices on its website.
The court case related to the use of ‘hover text’, or text that is only visible when the mouse pointer is placed on it, to reveal the face value of tickets and refund deadlines. The CMA argues that the practice means that original prices are not “clearly and prominently” displayed.
However, a High Court judge today (18 July) has allowed Viagogo to use hover over text to display the original face value price of tickets.
An official CMA spokesperson said: “Today’s judgement does not mean that Viagogo is compliant with the court order the CMA secured against it. We still think that Viagogo is breaching parts of the order and so continue to move forward with legal proceedings for contempt of court against the site in relation to those concerns.
“Importantly, today’s judgement confirms that Viagogo cannot use ‘hover over text’ unless specifically allowed by the order and it needs to stop displaying important information about deadlines under its guarantee in this way.
“We still think Viagogo is breaching parts of the order and so are continuing to prepare to take legal action”
“Although the court found that information about face value prices can be displayed with hover over text on one page of the site, Viagogo must still display this information on two other separate places on the face of its website.”
The watchdog is pursuing separate legal proceedings against the secondary site for non-compliance with demands made in a 2018 court order. Requirements included the provision of complete ticket and seller information and of a warning that tickets may not assure entry.
“We still think Viagogo is breaching parts of the order and so are continuing to prepare to take legal action,” tweeted the CMA.
Viagogo managing director Cris Miller says he is “delighted with the outcome of the court case”.
“We originally disagreed with the CMA on this, and today’s announcement validates our position and demonstrates clearly the necessity of being able to challenge the CMA’s authority,” states Miller.
The court case follows a tough week for the secondary ticketing site. Google yesterday barred Viagogo from advertising through its platform, following pressure from industry organisations and others.
“A landmark moment”: Viagogo banned from Google advertising
Google has suspended secondary ticketing site Viagogo as an advertiser indefinitely, following pressure from industry organisations, anti-tout groups and politicians.
The suspension means Viagogo will no longer be able to pay in order to appear at the top of Google’s global search rankings.
The ban, a Google spokesperson tells IQ, will apply globally with immediate effect. A statement from Viagogo’s PR firm says the Switzerland-based company is “extremely surprised to learn of Google’s concerns” and “look[s] forward to working with them to resolve this as quickly as possible”.
The decision is the most significant step taken by the tech giant to prevent non-compliant secondary sites using its platform. In 2017, Google updated its AdWords policy to place closer scrutiny on secondary sites and prevent them from posing as official sellers, following pressure from UK politicians.
A 2017 IQ report found secondary ticketing sites such as Viagogo, StubHub and the defunct Seatwave were paying as much as 15 times more than promoters to appear at the top of Google’s sponsored search listings.
Kilimanjaro Live CEO Stuart Galbraith said the most his company could afford to pay to boost their Google ranking was around £1 per click. Resale sites, on the other hand, can afford to “pay £10 [per click] if they’re making £500” on a ticket.
Trade body UK Music, the Football Association and MPs last year addressed the issue collectively, penning an open letter to the tech giant, urging it to stop allowing Viagogo to pay its way to the top of search rankings for tickets.
“This is a landmark moment, and a major step forward to preventing exploitation of audiences”
UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher reiterated the demand earlier this month, saying it was “high time Google stopped putting Viagogo at the top of their search engine” instead of directing them to “legitimate primary ticket sales.”
Commenting on today’s decision, Galbraith says he and Kilimanjaro are “very pleased to hear of Google’s decision to suspend Viagogo as an advertiser”.
“Literally thousands of customers have inadvertently come across Viagogo via Google advertising, and then suffer terrible experiences that result in them either significantly overpaying for tickets or not gaining access to shows,” he tells IQ. “We welcome the announcement and support Google’s decision.”
IQ understands Google removed around 2.3 billion ads that were in breach of its policies or the law last year alone.
“When people use our platform for help in purchasing tickets, we want to make sure that they have an experience they can trust,” reads a Google statement.
Google removed around 2.3 billion ads that were in breach of its policies or the law last year alone
“This is why we have strict policies and take necessary action when we find an advertiser in breach.”
“This is a landmark moment, and a major step forward to preventing exploitation of audiences in the secondary ticketing market,” comments Adam Webb, campaign manager for anti-touting group FanFair Alliance.
“After publishing extensive research highlighting the impacts of Viagogo’s misleading search advertising, FanFair Alliance has been in constructive conversations with Google for over two years in an attempt to address this issue.
“We are delighted they have finally acted and suspended Viagogo’s advertising. We now hope other platforms, particularly Facebook, can follow Google’s example.”
The announcement comes following the decision by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to pursue legal action against the secondary site for repeated non-compliance with consumer law.
The watchdog maintains that, despite several warnings, Viagogo continues to mislead fans by providing incomplete information, in particular relating to the number of tickets available for events.
“We are delighted that Google is finally bowing to public pressure and taking action”
UK Music CEO Michael Dugher comments: “UK Music has long urged everyone to say no to Viagogo. We are delighted that Google is finally bowing to public pressure and taking action.
“Google is the first port of call when most music fans search for tickets and they have a responsibility to ensure [their] customers are not misled into paying over the odds for gigs and festivals.
“This is an important victory for campaigners including UK Music, FanFair Alliance, culture minister Margot James and cross-party MPs like Nigel Adams and Sharon Hodgson. This development and further legal proceedings against Viagogo marks a huge turning point in the battle to tackle exploitative touts.”
Sam Shemtob, director of the Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT), says Google’s decision is “a hugely significant step”.
In addition to the work by the CMA and the UK parliament’s digital, culture, media and sport committee, Shemtob highlights the efforts of FanFair Alliance, Spain’s Association of Music Promoters (APM) and French live music industry association Prodiss, “who have been engaged in multiple conversations on the issue with Google, some of which date back to 2016.
“We hope other search engines and social media platforms will follow suit.”
DotMusic beats Google, Amazon to win .music domain
DotMusic Limited has won an eleven-year legal battle to gain rights to the .music top-level domain (TLD), beating the likes of Google and Amazon, as well as leading domain registries.
DotMusic founder and chief executive Constantine Roussos announced on Friday that his company had won the rights to the TLD, having first submitted an application to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 2012.
“Excited to announce that after more than a decade, DotMusic has prevailed and will be the .music registry,” says Roussos in a Twitter post.
Roussos plans to launch the .music domain as a protected, exclusive online space for the global music community and industry. He aims to combat piracy and domain squatters who register trademarked domain names to profit from the traffic it receives or plan to sell the domain to the trademark owner at inflated prices.
“[I am] excited to announce that after more than a decade, DotMusic has prevailed and will be the .music registry”
“The .music registry will work closely with the global music community and the .music governance board to prepare for the safe, responsible and prudent launch of .music,” says DotMusic.
The company states that it will use “music-tailored policies to ensure that music artists, bands, industry professionals and organisations register a trusted, secure and verified .music domain,” creating domain identities similar to those ending in .edu or .gov.
Domains will become available in three phases. The first phase will make the .music TLD available only to verified trademark holders within the music industry, with a second phase accepting registrations from members of the Music Community Members Organisation (MCMO).
The final phase will open up applications to everyone on a first-come, first-served basis. A strict verification process will be enforced to ensure the security and integrity of the domain.
.music will launch in 2020.