Five days ago ICANN made another dramatic breakthrough: it announced again it would begin accepting applications for new TLDs by May 22 and announce the winners of the new domains sometime after that.
The change will alter the entire face of the Internet, if ICANN can ever find the Internet's face. Or the Internet.
In the meantime, alternate domain-name provider OpenNIC has created a number of new top-level domain names that allow site names to be registered free and that work with the standard (still unchanged) 22 master TLDs maintained by ICANN.
The biggest difference between new TLDs from ICANN and from OpenNIC is that the OpenNIC domains exist. It is up to individual users or organizations to decide if they are technically savvy enough to adapt to this radical break from the ICANN tradition.
The good thing about the OpenNIC domains is that they offer some promise of change, while allowing members of the Internet community to go back to ignoring ICANN as an incompetent, possibly inimical bureaucracy whose only saving grace is that most of the activity and decisions are made by unoccupied chairs at empty desks, rather than the human employees who continually announce new phases of the aging TLD process without doing anything about it.
The best thing about the OpenNIC process is that it allows anyone to register as a pirate without the risk that copyright trolls will pursue and extort money from them for no logical reason.
The .pirate domain was created, registered and is maintained by a member of Canadian Pirate Party, but is not affliated with it. The CPP is a genuine political party that supports the free flow of information, end to abusive copyright restrictions and prosecutions, advocates net neutrality, open-access to government data and the protection of individual privacy through both legal and technical means. [Note: a previous version of this story erred by saying the CPP owns .pirate; in fact, no one owns a .pirate.]
The party was forced to declare itself Pirate due to its support of so many priorities of the majority of Internet users, requirements of the Constitutions of Western nations, commonly accepted ethical principles and support of fair play that it was banned from participating in any legitimate political forum or existing within any universe dominated by unfettered Wall Street capitalists and Facebook counter-privacy worms.
ThePirateBay (used in violation of copyright because that's how TPB would wantit.)