From: "Louis Fischer" <lfischer67@hotmail.com>
To: NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(dns)
Date: 2/18/98 12:35pm
Subject: Domain Farce

To whom it may concern:
(hopefully Ira Magaziner himself)

As a net citizen, I am furious about your apparent lack of comprehension
for the wishes of the Internet community.

Note that I said the "Internet community" and not the U.S. government.
Or don't you realize that there are other countries in the world that
have different laws and govern themselves differently? The Internet is
international.

Your proposal to "improve [the] technical management of Internet names
and addresses" will do just the opposite, crippling the growth of an
international medium of communication. When's all this sillyness going
to happen? Are you going to delay the implementation of domains another
few years while you O.K. everything with Network Solutions?

The 5 registries and 5 registrars will only create artificial
competition, with a Network Solutions in a key position to squish the
other 4 . Network Solutions should be very happy with your proposal,
Mr. Magaziner, as it continues their monopoly over a very lucrative
domain name market under the facade of competition.

If you really wanted competition, you would have gone for the CORE
proposal. Don't embarrass yourself by giving Network Solutions the helm
of the domain system after their poor customer service record. (I gave
up registering my .com name because of their uncaring attitude. I
waited on hold for hours at my expense. Why should they care? There
isn't anyone else providing domain names.)

CORE,in my opinion, is the most manageable solution to the domain name
system.

Sincerely,

Louis Fischer
Internet Citizen

lfischer67@hotmail.com

______________________________________________________
Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

###

From: <becky@postmaster.co.uk>
To: NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(dns)
Date: 2/18/98 2:39pm
Subject: domain name system proposal

Dear Sir/Madam,

Your proposal is not acceptable. I have a small flower business that is
just
starting out and trying to make a name for itself. The Internet cannot
serve
small businesses like myself if the names are all taken. I am having a lot
of
difficulty with my name as .com is registered already.

I heard a registry was taking registrations for other names like .shop and
.info. I think .shop would be good for my business, and I would like the
opportunity to register this name as soon as possible. If you delay new
names
like this, you are only going to make it harder for small business owners.

Thank you for reading this letter,

Becky Gramsci
___________________________________
To sign up for a free email account, visit http://www.postmaster.co.uk.

###

From: Pat Smerdon <psmerdon@mail.bc.rogers.wave.ca>
To: NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(dns)
Date: 2/18/98 2:56pm
Subject: The Green Paper

Attention: THE US DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

When I heard that the US Government issued a proposal on how the
Internet
Domain Name System should be run, I immediately assumed that the
proposal
would be fair, accurate and in the best interest of the Internet
community.
In contrary, my assumption was disappointedly incorrect. After
carefully
analyzing the implications made in the Green Paper, I was in fact, very
dismayed at the short-sighted performance of the US Government.

Over the last 4 years, I have been a very active Netizen, and have grown
to
rely heavily on the extensive knowledge available on the Internet. I
have
always marveled at how the strength of natural market forces has brought
the Internet to what it is now. However, after reading the US Green
Paper,
my fear is that if it is implemented, it may very well "stunt" the
growth
of the Internet, and de-stablilize it as a market-driven force.

In my opinion, the US Government should not interfere. The Internet is
shared worldwide, and up to this point, has never been controlled by any
particular body. Please do not try to change this. The Internet's
current
framework of stability and competitiveness is at stake.

I urge you to rescind the US Government's Green Paper, and allow the
Internet to grow to its full potential.

Sincerely,

Patrick J. Smerdon

###

From: Tauqeer Imam <mailgwpd@earthlink.net>
To: NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(dns)
Date: 2/18/98 9:53pm
Subject: New Domains

Greetings,

I would like to know that is there ANY GUARANTEE "The Magnificent Seven" will
EVER be added to top level domain names in the root servers, which include
.arts, .firm, .info, .nom, .rec, .shop, and .web.

Thanks.

###

From: "Flory, Bridget J. " <FLOR235@LNI.WA.GOV>
To: "'dns@ntia.doc.gov'" <dns@ntia.doc.gov>
Date: 2/18/98 8:16pm
Subject: Comment on Internet Domain Management

While I think it might make sense to expand the types of Internet
domains, I do not think the United States should be pursuing this type
of policy question on its own. They call it the World Wide Web for a
reason; many other countries need to provide input into this question.
I also understand that there is an international group already
addressing this issue. The United States should be providing input to
this group.

###

From: Shaun Dolan <staff@registrars.net>
To: NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(dns)
Date: 2/18/98 10:16pm
Subject: Comments on US Government Draft

Department of Commerce
Attention: Ira Magaziner

RE: Response to the U.S. Green Paper

In order to support the continuing growth of the Internet, the US Government must listen to the Internet community. The gTLD-MOU (http://www.gtld-mou.org), a consultative process that has been developed over the last two years, has been signed and supported by over 200 international signatories, including Digital Equipment Corp., MCI Communications, Bell Canada, and the US Based International Trademark Association. (For a complete list of the signatories, click here.) (http://www.itu.int/net-itu/gtld-mou/signat.htm) This process seems to have been ignored by the Green Paper (hereafter referred to as GP). It is not mentioned once in the whole 30 page draft. This is inexcusable.

The goals that are embodied in the gTLD-MOU are in line with many of the goals expressed in the Green Paper. However, the Green Paperís execution of these goals leaves much to be desired. More specifically, we see the following problem areas in the draft:

  1. A Divided and Unclear Trademark Dispute Resolution Process
  2. Favoritism to Network Solutions Inc. (Commonly referred to as InterNIC)
  3. The Establishment of New Monopolies
  4. The Authority of the US Government over the Internet
  5. Meddling with the Internet by the US Government
  6. Vagueness

 

I. A Divided and Unclear Trademark Dispute Resolution Process

There are a number of serious problems in the trademark dispute process as outlined in the draft.

The draft seems to make some peculiar assumptions. Such as, "At the time of registration, registrants could agree that, in the event of a trademark dispute involving the name registered, jurisdiction would lie where the registry is domiciled, where the registry database is maintained, or where the "A" root server is maintained." Itís amusing to think that "registrants" would be the ones agreeing on jurisdictional issues. This somehow leaves the mark owner or the complainant out of the picture, and it would be logical to assume that this party should have some say over jurisdiction.

The draft further proposes "Öthat each name registry must establish minimum dispute resolution and other procedures related to trademark considerations."

Let us go over the Ďstandardsí for disputes that are proposed.

  1. "There must be a readily available and convenient dispute resolution process that requires no involvement by registrars.
  2. Registries/Registrars will abide by the decisions resulting from an agreed upon dispute resolution process or by the decision of a court of competent jurisdiction.
  3. If an objection to registration is raised within 30 days after registration of the domain name, a brief period of suspension during the pendency of the dispute will be provided by the registries."
  4. ,

With these standards, there is a likelihood for having a different trademark dispute mechanism for each registry. Imagine the poor company that tries to protect its trademarks and has to deal with five different, unilateral trademark dispute policies.

Let us look at some example policies that would be acceptable under this draft.

Policy for Registry Number One, the .web tld.

All disputes will be settled by a duel between the registrant and the mark holder at high noon on the 15th of each month following a complaint. Combatants must use 19th century weapons.

Only the survivor of this duel will be entitled to hold the domain. If perchance, an indeterminate outcome to the duel occurs, only decisions by the Libyan National Court System will apply.

If any objection is raised upon registration of the domain in question, no matter how trivial, the domain shall be put on hold for one year.

Policy for Registry Number Two, the .shop tld.
All trademark holders will have automatic rights to each domain that bears even a slight resemblance to their mark. In the event of a clash of mark holders between countries, all US based mark holders will be deemed to have superior rights.

If a person shall appeal, we deem that only US courts shall have jurisdiction. All other courts shall be considered incompetent.

If an objection is raised within 30 days, then the name will be put on hold until court decisions, including appeals have been completed, or the domain name owner has gone bankrupt due to lost business, whichever comes first.

Policy for Registry Number Three, the .com tld.

All mark owners shall have superior rights to a name. If a company sends via registered mail, a notarized authorization that they own a mark identical to a domain in question, we shall pretend to be a court and we shall hand over that name to the complainant in question.

If people donít like us acting like a judge, jury and executioner, they are free to go to a court of their choosing, but we will only recognize court decisions that are translated into English.

If an objection is raised to a registration within 30 days of the registration of the domain name, we will again assume a courtís authority and determine if we shall suspend that name until the dispute is resolved. We will look at these complaints on a case by case basis, favoring mark holders over all other protesters.

Though some of these examples are extreme, they are viable under this draft. Unlike the gTLD-MOU, whose trademark dispute process has gone through a number of revisions, and is applicable to ALL domains that are registered through CORE. The gTLD-MOU process has such features as on-line dispute mechanisms, to accelerate the dispute resolution process. This draft opens a whole new can of worms. A dispute policy for one domain may be ridiculous, another may require a costly, lengthy battle in court, still another may require a costly, lengthy battle in a court in some faraway country, while a fourth dispute policy may be almost as speedy and cost-effective as the one suggested by the gTLD-MOU and run by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

 

II. Favoritism to Network Solutions Inc. (Commonly referred to as InterNIC)

The GP has been structured in such a way as to actually favor Network Solutions, rather than dilute their current monopoly.

A recent article (http://www.yahoo.com/headlines/980202/tech/stories/names_1.html) , titled "Network Solutions Sees No Harm In Clinton Plan" clearly states the company has been unaffected by the U.S. Governmentís moves.

"Network Solutions may lose its monopoly to register popular Internet addresses under a

proposal from the Clinton administration, but the company expects its business to continue growing, CEO Gabe Battista said."

If you were a monopoly faced with moving into competition, there would be no question that your business would be harmed. Why doesnít the Green Paper, which so emphatically states that the domain name market will be moved into privatization and competition, pose a threat to Network Solutions? Because in reality, the GP not only discourages competition, but supports monopoly practices.

While no recognition whatsoever has been given to the gTLD-MOU (CORE) plan, a special address was made specifically to Network Solutions, outlining how the company will split their registry and registrar functions apart. This is yet another shortfall of the plan, does the U.S. Government truly believe that an accounting split between the Registry and Registrar functions at Network Solutions will make them a fair player in a new competitive marketplace? The potential for cross-subsidization is too great. Furthermore, an outside body would need to be created in order to effectively regulate this behavior. This creates more regulation where it is not needed and where enforcement is not likely to be successful until it fails to matter (witness the governmentís failed anti-trust case against IBM). Moreover, why is NSI entitled to be the registry for multiple domains? Is this the governmentís idea of a level playing field? Rewarding an entrenched monopoly, with a huge customer base, a further advantage over itís competitors who must start from scratch?

III. The Establishment of New Monopolies:

Appendix One of the GP states that "Each top-level domain database will be maintained by only one registry, and at least initially, each new registry can host only one TLD."

At first glance, the reasoning behind this appears to be to inject competition into the registry business. Contrary to this first impression, this plan actually introduces 5 new monopolies, granted to the 5 new Registries. If one Registry were to maintain one TLD, and that TLD were not available through any other Registry, the Registry would be able to charge exorbitant prices to the Registrars. These high prices would then be transferred to the end-users when applying for domain names using that specific TLD. This is only the starting point for potentially even worse scenarios.

To illustrate, let us say Widgets Inc. registers the domain name widgets.web through the .web TLD Registry, pays the initial registration fee of $50, then launches a $1,000,000 marketing campaign to promote their company and web site. Two years later, the .web TLD Registry suddenly increases their maintenance fee to $1000 per year, which Widgets Inc, having invested so much time and money in their web site promotional campaign, is forced to pay. The consumer is at the mercy of the registry, they are locked in. Is this the situation the government is trying to create?

The draft states that: "Ö we believe that market mechanisms may well discourage this type of behaviorÖ" and "Investments in registries could be recouped through branding and marketing." This statement somehow overlooks the name in the term "domain name. That is, the value of a domain is in large part, in its name. The registry of a .web tld will have to do infinitely less marketing than the registry of a .tlv domain. Which sounds better to you? Widgets.web or Widgets.tlv?

We feel the government has misread the economics of this situation. "Market mechanisms" do not always lead to lower prices and value added services for the consumer. Indeed, in this "competitive registry" model, market mechanisms will keep prices artificially high, and give virtually no incentive for a registry to improve itís service.

We do not see the sense in creating multiple registries, when one shared registry that can handle multiple domains is available. Having one shared registry will lower costs for the registrars, and more importantly, the consumer. The CORE shared registry contract is set up in such a way that the database of domains can be handed over to another contractor to run the registry at year end should the registry try to extract an undue amount of profit from CORE and consumers. The shared registry system gives the end user access to: lower costs, uniform dispute policies, low switching costs, and immunity to the lock-in syndrome.

It puzzled us at first why the draft would suggest the multiple registry route, but then it became all too clear. Who has the most to gain from a multiple registry system? Network Solutions. Instead of real competition, a party of fellow monopolists will join them with no incentive to lower their prices, while retaining their own monopoly on the existing domains.

 

IV. Authority of the US Government over the Internet.

The Internet is international. If the government of France issued a paper stating how it thought the Internet should be governed, would they have the right to enforce it? No. The U.S government should be no different.

The U.S. government claims authority over the Internet based on the premise that they have been providing funding for various agencies such as IANA, the authority behind both IP addresses and domain names on the Internet. IANAís authority is not based on any contract with any government. It is instead based on the cooperation of the Internet Community. The funding of IANA does not equate to authority over the Internet, nor the domain name system.

Any attempt by the U.S. government to assert authority it does not have over the international Internet is surely a mistake.

 

V. Meddling with the Internet by the U.S. government

The purpose of the GP is in part to extract the U.S. government from governing the Internet. Interestingly enough, the U.S government never attempted to govern the Internet until the GP.

The reason why the Internet has exploded is because of the hard work of the Internet Community, and recently, the innovation of private businesses. NOT because of government funding, or government "direction." (This is not to belittle the role of the US Government in funding the Internet, but to make clear our opinion that there is a clear difference between funding something and governing it).

We feel that it is remiss of the US Government to assert itís authority now, when a plan that has been proposed and organized by the stakeholders of the Internet community is near completion. This plan is the gTLD-MOU.

On top of this, this direct intervention into the affairs of the Internet Community by the US Government sets the stage for the Internet to become a political arena that is fought over by national governments. This is a horrible precedent to set.

VI. Vagueness

The GP is already months late. The Internet is expected to double in size by the year 2000. As more and more businesses go online, the difficulty in obtaining a suitable domain name will increase. The GP puts off the implementation of new TLDs by not defining a timeline for their implementation. Moreover, the delays in setting up standards for new registries, and the new non-profit organization, will further delay this implementation. This structure has already been established with the gTLD-MOU. It took over two years to get to the point where it is now, letís not take another two years and risk choking the growth of the Internet.

Who loses in the US Green Paper?
Consumers, Businesses and the other stakeholders in the Internet Community who had:

  • hoped for relief from the scarcity of available domains.
  • looked for better service, more competitive prices, and the innovations that can only come in the absence of a monopoly.
  • hoped for a fast, efficient, unified trademark dispute system.

Who wins from the US Green Paper?

  • The four monopoly registries that will be created, who are in a position to gain new monopoly rents, and continue gouging internet stakeholders.
  • Network Solutions, whose monopoly continues, and whose tireless lobbying will continue to delay real progress in the domain name marketplace.

_________________________________________________________
Shaun Dolan                  shaun@registrars.net
Internet Domain Registrars   http://www.registrars.net
                            
1-800-850-8282 (NA)
+1 604-687-4700 (Outside NA)

###

From: S. Wells <SLP@webtv.net>
To: NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(dns)
Date: 2/18/98 11:06pm
Subject: Green Paper draft-rule

The Internet as..
a global community; business, small/large,
individual web surfers etc..all should have a voice, which merits
detailed discussions to draft
and compose a more balanced ruling if this is deemed necessary at all,
and by all those affected/involved.
S.Wells/new haven,ct

###