ISSUE OF GREAT CONCERN TO HUNTERS AND DEFENDERS OF THE 1st AND 2nd AMENDMENTS. It deals with the Internet and the coming transformation from the old ".com," ".org," and ".net" format to the more specific domain name registries that are on the horizon like ".wine," ".art," ".news," etc. The organization that essentially manages these Internet domain name extensions (ICANN) has opened the doors up for bids to be made by groups to take exclusive control over anywhere from between one and two thousand of these new domain names. Among those is ".sport," something that would logically be the home for any and all hunting websites, businesses, blogs and chat forums. There are a number of groups that want to bid on taking over the ".sport" domain name and manage who will be issued Internet addresses under it. Here's the problem: one of the groups bidding on ".sport" is a Swiss confederation of sporting organizations that specifically bans any activity "where a living creature is harmed" from their definition of "sport."
I see the following issues that should concern sportsmen and women, hunting/outdoors organizations, and the firearms/equipment manufacturing and retail community:
1. This is another attempt to marginalize personal firearm ownership and strip away the "legitimate" reasons for us all to continue to enjoy our Second Amendment rights. We often say the Second Amendment protects more than hunting (and we're right) but we also recognize that the vast majority of firearm owners are hunters and we need to encourage the next generation of firearm sportsmen and women. The definition of "sport" by this Swiss group directly undermines that effort.
2. The Swiss group is attempting to circumvent the normal bidding process for the ".sport" domain name by applying for what is known as a "Community Priority" standard, essentially asking for recognition that they are the most qualified umbrella organization in "sport" and therefore are also the natural choice to manage the ".sport" domain name. This means they don't have to spend a dime for the managerial rights. Even more concerning it means that their definition of "sport" is granted legitimacy.
3. Once this group obtains the managerial rights to ".sport" it can freeze out anything hunting related. It may seem trivial now but when you think that ultimately you could have every major sporting organization and association migrate their web addresses over to the ".sport" domain name, hunting (and possibly related outdoors activities) will be isolated. This could have even more catastrophic effects when you consider web advertising. We've all seen how Amazon and other e-retailers have instituted varying levels of discrimination on hunting products, from ammunition sales bans to even prohibiting the sale of firearms components like scopes and stocks. Imagine if the organization in charge of managing the domain name where every major sports association has their web address says that no advertising is permitted for hunting related products because it goes against their definition of "sport?"
4. The Swiss organization (Sport Accord) is a foreign, almost quasi-governmental body with no hunting representation in their membership rolls and will be completely unaccountable for actions discriminating against hunters and, by extension, supporters of the Second Amendment. We have enough problems with the UN, do we really want another unelected foreign body in a position to tell the world what is and is not a "legitimate" use of a firearm or bow?
The NRA filed an objection in late September but we need as many hunters and anglers as possible to register their displeasure with awarding such a great responsibility to a group that openly discriminates against us. To quote the NRA submission:
"SportAccord’s definition of “sport” falls within five categories that are “primarily physical, mind, motorized, coordination, and animal-supported.” It vehemently objects to any activity that is “harmful to any living creature” and therefore refuses to accept hunting and fishing under its definition of “sport.” The more objective Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “hunt” as “to pursue for food or in sport” and “fishing” as “the sport or business of catching fish."
Not only is SportAccord's definition discriminatory, it doesn't even make sense!
The initial public comment period on Community Priority applications ended on September 25 but that doesn't mean your voice doesn't count. With enough submissions we can force the ICANN evaluators to take notice (and their rules require them to review the record of comments and objections). Please take a few minutes to voice your concerns that SportAccord does not adequately represent the sporting world when they discriminate against the millions of us that responsibly hunt and fish. Then get your buddies to do the same. If you or your friends have a website or a blog please post this information. If you're a Twitter person, tweet away. Or do things the old fashioned way and tell folks about it at your shooting range, gun store or tackle shop.
Don't take my word for it. If the NRA's submission isn't enough (https://gtldcomment.icann.org/applicationcomment/commentdetails/9565) please check out SportAccord's exclusionary definition of "sport" for yourself at the following link:
The way to submit a comment begins by clicking on the link at the bottom of this message. You will be prompted to sign up for an account using your email address and a password provided by you (you will not be spammed - it violates ICANN rules to do so). ICANN will send you a confirmation email. Click on the link they provide you in the email and you will be taken back to the correct ICANN website. Then log in with your email address and password. This will bring you to the comments and objections page. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and fill out the following appropriate fields:
Under "String" write "Sport"
Under "Applicant" select "SportAccord"
Under "Panel/Objection Ground" select "Objection Ground: Community"
Under "Subject" write "Discriminatory Definition"
Once you've done that just fill in the comment box with your feelings about SportAccord's discriminatory definition of "sport" and how they don't represent you as a responsible hunter or angler and therefore would be an inappropriate recipient of the ".sport" domain name. It doesn't have to be long at all. A few sentences or a paragraph. Talk about how your hunting and fishing experiences have taught you valuable lessons in sportsmanship, stewardship of natural resources or how hunting and fishing is your lifeblood, either as a hobby or as a professional guide/outfitter or owner of a small business. Use your voice now or very soon all our voices as outdoors enthusiasts may be isolated and marginalized on the Internet. The link to get started is below.
PS: I'm not an expert on any of this (I'm a lawyer that follows Internet, 1st and 2nd Amendment issues) but feel free to email me with any questions and I will do my best to answer them. I can be reached at email@example.com.