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ICANN Completes First Sponsored TLD Agreement; .museum to Go Live in November

18 October 2001

Marina del Rey, California, USA (18 October 2001) The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced the signing of an agreement with the Museum Domain Management Association (MuseDoma) to oversee the operation of the first "sponsored" top level domain, ".museum". This new TLD is targeted to meet the needs of the international museum community. It will allow museums and other qualified organizations and individuals to register domain names ending in ".museum."

"This is the first of several such specialized TLDs authorized by the ICANN Board of Directors," stated M. Stuart Lynn, ICANN CEO/President. "They represent a whole new direction for top level domains. ICANN is pleased to join with MuseDoma in taking this important step for museum lovers everywhere and for the global Internet community."

Sponsored TLDs are coordinated by policy-making organizations – like MuseDoma – responsive to a defined group of stakeholders with a common purpose as defined by the organization's charter. These oversight organizations operate in an open, fair, and transparent manner. The charter of ".museum" limits domain name registrations only to bona fide museums, their professional associations and individual members of the museum community.

MuseDoma is a not-for-profit corporation established for the purposes of overseeing the ".museum" TLD. Its founding members are the International Council of Museums (ICOM), headquartered in Paris, France, and the J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. Its bylaws provide for the addition of other members drawn from the international museum community. Initial start-up funding for MuseDoma was provided by the J. Paul Getty Trust, and ICOM, but MuseDoma intends to become self-supporting through ".museum" operations.

"We are delighted to be joining with ICANN in launching ".museum" for the ultimate benefit of museums and museum professionals across the world," said Cary Karp, President of MuseDoma. "It will provide a home on the Internet for those who work to make our museums such great cultural assets."

It is expected that by early November, 2001, ".museum" will become a functioning TLD able to resolve domain names ending in ".museum". Over 500 museums have already requested their ".museum" domain names as part of an early registration process that will last through the end of October.