From: Kent Crispin <email@example.com>
Date: 3/20/98 3:40am
Subject: gTLD-MoU Policy Advisory Body Comments on Green Paper
The gTLD-MoU Policy Advisory Body submits the attached comments on
the Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information
Administration, 15 CFR Chapter XXIII, [Docket No. 980212036-8036-01]:
"Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses."
We have attached a copy in Microsoft Word 97 for Windows 95 format.
In case of difficulties reading the attachment, we have included an
ASCII text copy below.
gTLD-MoU Policy Advisory Body
Kent Crispin, Chair
Kent Crispin, PAB Chair "No reason to get excited",
firstname.lastname@example.org the thief he kindly spoke...
PGP fingerprint: B1 8B 72 ED 55 21 5E 44 61 F4 58 0F 72 10 65 55
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Washington, DC 20230
In the Matter of ) ) IMPROVEMENT OF TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT ) Docket No. 980212036-8036-01 OF INTERNET NAMES AND ADDRESSES; ) PROPOSED RULE )
gTLD-MoU Policy Advisory Body Kent Crispin, Chair PO Box 21117 Castro Valley, CA USA 19-Mar-1998
In the Matter of ) ) IMPROVEMENT OF TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT ) Docket No. 980212036-8036-01 OF INTERNET NAMES AND ADDRESSES; ) PROPOSED RULE )
The gTLD-MoU Policy Advisory Body (PAB) is a loose-knit organization composed of the signatories of the gTLD-MoU, and created under the auspices of the gTLD-MoU, along with the Policy Oversight Committee (POC) and the Council of Registrars (CORE).
About 170 organizations from the following countries and regions are represented in PAB: Albania, American Samoa, Austria, Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, Channel Islands, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, Guadeloupe FWI, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, UK, and the USA. (The rest of the 219 signatories of the gTLD MoU elect not to participate in PAB.) PAB members represent a very broad range of interests: very small sole-proprietorships, giant trade organizations, large and small corporations, international organizations, public service and non-profit interest groups, and others.
The PAB exists to provide broad input into the gTLD MoU structure. It is easy to become a member: there are no dues or fees, and the signature on the MoU can include reservations or qualifications on agreement. It has no legally mandated internal structure, and instead, organizes itself and operates according to the Internet "rough consensus" model. The POC is constrained through the gTLD-MoU to seek the consensus of PAB on certain matters.
These comments represent the rough consensus of the PAB.
They also represent the accumulated experience of individuals who have spent a great deal of time thinking about management and governance of the domain name system. While the people who produced the GP have certainly invested a great deal of work and thought in their proposal, many members of the PAB have been involved in these issues for a far longer time, and in sum represent a far greater investment of time and energy in their consideration. It is true that some of the members of PAB have a vested interest in the outcome of this process. But this is a considered and informed vested interest.
Furthermore, it is also important to note that the concerns of PAB are not congruent with those of the POC or of CORE. On the contrary, the PAB exists to countervail against CORE and to keep POC responsive to the wishes, wants, and desires of the Internet Community.
The rationale for the GP is "to privatize, increase competition in, and promote international participation in the domain name system." These are laudable goals. However, the Internet community has been quite successful at accomplishing them without government intervention. In particular, the work of privatizing and increasing competitiveness in the Domain Name System has been a long effort of over 4 years, and the only serious remaining vestige is the US Government (USG) contract with Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI), due to expire shortly: here the USG needs to act, whereas in all other areas the Internet is evolving its own solutions.
International participation in this effort has been strongly evident for a long time. In large part, this reflects the growing internationalization of the Internet; by some counts, a substantial majority of new users are to be found in Europe, and many expect a raw majority of users, content providers, and Internet-based electronic commerce to be found outside the territory of the United States before the start of the twenty-first century.
The GP proposes US Government intervention in the Internet in two areas:
Though it has received government funding since its inception, IANA has run without government involvement or intervention for many years. This is well-known community knowledge: From RFC1601 "Charter of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB)":
"(d) RFC Series and IANA
"The IAB is responsible for editorial management and publication of the Request for Comments (RFC) document series, and for administration of the various Internet assigned numbers."
The date on this RFC is 1994. IANA and IAB have been operating under it since that time, with the full support and understanding of the US Government.
This US Government knowledge is also reflected the NSI cooperative agreement, signed by NSF, in late 1992 (Section 3C):
"C. The Awardee shall provide registration services in accordance with the provisions of RFC 1174. As stated in RFC 1174:
"[T]he Internet system has employed a central Internal Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) for the allocation and assignment of various numeric identifiers needed for the operation of the Internet. The IANA function is currently performed by the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute. The IANA has the discretionary authority to delegate portions of this responsibility..." [Emphasis added.]
Note that the "discretionary authority" mentioned above clearly includes the ability to delegate new TLDs, since many have been delegated by IANA over the intervening years. Now, the USG has restrained IANA from adding the 7 gTLDs defined in the IAHC plan, and the GP proposes to install "up to 5" gTLDs, essentially under direct USG authority.
These efforts to restrict IANA's authority to delegate TLDs have been seen by some as an attempt, not to "privatize and internationalize" the domain name system, but instead to recapture the very portions of the DNS which have functioned well in the private sector for years. And in fact, many observers fear that the reason for this sudden interest in IANA on the part of the USG is just IANA's unwillingness to administer the root in a manner that preserves the very strong economic advantage of a select private group, with long-standing ties to the United States Government.
Prior to the production of the GP, and in keeping with its independent, fair, impartial, and responsible reputation, IANA embarked on a project to develop a new structure that would insulate it from undue pressure, but at the same time make it responsive to the community. The rising tide of international concern in response to the GP should make it clear that IANA must continue this activity on its own, without the guiding hand of the USG (regardless of how well intentioned).
Here the USG could undo years of problematic oversight: the NSI contract should terminate cleanly, with no special privileges for NSI. In this process, NSI should be treated fairly, and not be placed at a disadvantage. However, it must be monitored closely in much the same manner that any broken-up monopoly would be. PAB believes simplest and most straightforward way to accomplish this would be for NSI to become one of the CORE registrars, and for the registration databases for .com, .net, and .org to be transferred to IANA and thence to CORE, over a reasonable transition period.
In summary, therefore, the intervention of the US Government in the Internet is only justified in one area, ramping down the NSI contract. This one potentially useful service is, unfortunately, badly handled in the Green Paper: instead of a graceful ramp-down, the GP provides (as discussed below) a permanent monopoly for NSI. (The GP provides for regulation of NSI during the transition period, but after that no controls are evident).
While the GP proposes intervention in the international Internet in these two areas, it passes by almost without comment the one area of the Internet where the US Government has undisputed authority, the management of the .us ccTLD, and leaves it for a later paper.
Many observers feel that in large measure the problems with the gTLDs stem from the under utilization of the .us ccTLD. The US Government has authority to assign control of the .us domain to whatever entity it chooses (perhaps NSI); to regulated that entity in any way it sees fit; and to conduct any experiments it wishes. This is an area where the GP could be vastly expanded, and garner public acclaim in so doing.
This issue is of fundamental importance, and we discuss it in some detail.
The GP attempts to maximize competition by proposing competing registries as well as competing registrars. It also advocates a "go-slow" approach of cautious experimentation, and, while taking note of possibilities for non-competitive behavior, expresses the hope that competition between registries will work against monopoly practices.
These are laudable goals, but unfortunately, the proposed result is not consistent with them. Not only does it fail at these goals; it actually works strongly against them. Even worse, it sets the stage for inevitable intervention by government regulators at a future date.
In fairness, however, it must be noted that this failure is quite understandable, since the situation is complex, and has been made even more obscure by a history of bitter debate.
There are two aspects to the GP's proposal that need to be considered: First, it fails its goal of cautious experimentation; and second, it gives insufficient consideration to the anti-competitive forces intrinsic to the domain name system:
By then the new IANA (nIANA) will have been formed and been running independently for some time. It will then have the problem of dealing with several entrenched monopoly registries, with no real power or authority to deal with them.
Two possible scenarios play out from here: First, nIANA might be captured by these large registries, and exist as essentially a powerless puppet. Or, more likely, the US Government will see a need to step in and regulate: After all, nIANA is proposed by the GP to be a US non-profit corporation, subject to US laws, and likely most of the registries will be US corporations as well.
Many are suspicious that this is the intended long-term result.
Thus by adopting only a very limited set of new TLDs, with almost certainly very different meanings, the GP has again negated any validity to the "experiment" of competition.
Running this experiment is not risk-free: If the GP authors have miscalculated in their assessment of the competitive forces involved, the result will be establishment of 5 permanently endowed parallel unregulated monopolies. Some of these will certainly have large, steady cash flows that can be used to fuel lengthy legal battles, to lobby many politicians, and to otherwise work to maintain their monopoly status. The risk, in short, is that of instituting flawed public policy that will take years to repair, if it can be repaired at all.
Stripped to the essentials, the GP position can be paraphrased as follows: "We agree that registries may be monopolies and may engage in unfair and uncompetitive practices, but maybe they won't. We don't understand it fully so we will do an experiment. We ignore the issue of how things will be cleaned up if the experiment fails."
The strategy of putting questions off to an "experiment" allows the GP to gloss over the issue of possible anti-competitive practices on the part of for-profit registries. But this issue is the crux of the entire DNS governance problem. The essential nature of DNS is the delegation of natural monopolies -- every domain, at whatever level, has total control over its subdomains. There is no question of this: it is a feature intrinsic to the design of DNS.
So, far more important than the flawed design of the experiment is the fact that GP clearly gives short shrift to its consideration of the competitive environment that would exist between for-profit registries. In this area there are several serious oversights on the part of the GP; here are some of them:
The initial registration of a domain operates under a different competitive model than the ongoing registration renewals. This is a crucial distinction, because most of the opportunities for non-competitive behavior occur in this later phase. Proponents of the "competitive registries" model concentrate on the first phase, because indeed, if you concentrate only on initial registrations, there are possibilities for competition. But if you examine the situation for renewals, opportunities for monopoly practices abound.
A registration is typically for 1 year. Therefore, many of the monopoly practices of concern are relatively long term problems, and won't develop until at least a year after unregulated monopolies start.
The GP proposes to grant the right to "market" 5 additional gTLDs. This is, therefore, a government grant of a commodity to market. In order for this grant to be fair and competitive, therefore, the awardees should be given items of approximately equal value -- in radio spectrum auctions, for example, one slice of the spectrum up for bid is much like any other such slice.
But gTLD names are not like radio spectrum. In fact, each gTLD name is unique, and it is completely obvious that some are much more valuable than others: ".shop" is clearly more valuable than, say, ".zj5".
So the government giveaway proposed by the GP is akin to dispensing individual real estate franchises, some located in downtown Manhattan and some located in the middle of the Nevada desert. There is no obviously fair way to do this.
But, once again, the GP ignores such concerns: The initial configuration proposed by the GP gives NSI a registry with three popular and established TLDs (.com, .net, and .org), a very large steady revenue stream, and an already existing infrastructure, generously paid for by the US Government. NSI's "competitors" are to be "up to 5" registries with names of unknown popularity, with no initial income, and having to invest in the development of their own infrastructure. This is an environment calculated to cause consolidation, rather than competition.
This indicates a serious misunderstanding of how domain names are used. In particular, it ignores the fact that domain names are components of URL's and thus are embedded in web links. These links appear in home pages, in "related information" links, in pages that are collections of information on particular topics, in browser "bookmark" lists, in search engines, and so on.
A popular site may be linked to from hundreds of thousands of other sites. For example, an Altavista search finds 160,000 web pages with links to "amazon.com", and 850,000 pages with links to "yahoo.com". [Note that this result is quite conservative, and does not include pages that Altavista has not searched, browser bookmarks, or other search engines.]
If Yahoo moved to from "yahoo.com" to "yahoo.net" those 850,000 links would suddenly cease functioning, and people using those 850,000 links to click through to Yahoo would suddenly find that Yahoo was gone.
In the particular case of Amazon, that company has recently invested in a very expensive ad campaign publicizing its "amazon.com" name. A change to "amazon.shop", for example, would turn that investment to waste, and incur the same cost over again.
Parenthetically, this example clearly indicates that it is not marketing on the part of Network Solutions, Inc, that is making .com popular. Quite exactly the reverse: what is making .com popular is the collective effort of companies like Amazon and Yahoo. NSI is getting free use of all that effort and expense on the part of thousands of companies, and happily claiming that it is the company that "brought us .com".
Amazon and Yahoo didn't create all those hundreds of thousands of links, and they have little control over them. Those links were created by individuals and webmasters all over the world who saw value in linking to Yahoo and Amazon. Thus, every one of the links represents goodwill, and therefore, positive economic value.
This is even more true with small organizations that may only have a few hundred or a few thousand links -- the links represent the focused attention of interested parties. For a business they represent the continued attention of interested customers, and, therefore, income.
It takes substantial time to build up a body of links like this, and the market value is well known. The first step in marketing a new web site is to submit the URL to various search engines. It takes weeks or months for the search engines to be primed, and much longer for webmasters to build pages with links, and for users to bookmark the URL.
So, there is absolutely no question that the "lock-in" effect is real and substantial, and there is no question, therefore, that an unregulated registry has the ability to gouge higher prices from established customers. NSI could raise Yahoo's rate by a factor of 20, or more, and there would be absolutely nothing that Yahoo could do but pay.
The GP concedes that there is a possibility of monopolistic or anti-competitive practices with for-profit registries, but essentially ignores the legal problem of dealing with these practices if they occur.
There is no question that some kind of regulation is necessary. For example, the GP states "Registries will set standards for registrars with which they wish to do business." Without some kind of regulatory oversight this would allow NSI's registry to set conditions especially favorable to its WorldNIC registrar. Such a special relationship would be very difficult to control, even with strong regulatory oversight. Without oversight it would almost certainly translate into de-facto vertical integration. This vertical integration would likely translate into horizontal domination of the market for domain name registrations.
That is, absent regulation NSI could clearly leverage its control of the .com/.net/.org registry into the market for second-level domain registration.
The GP states that registries should treat "all registrars on a nondiscriminatory basis, with respect to pricing , access, and rules". But without some regulatory mechanism for enforcement these are just words. It appears that perhaps the GP authors have assumed that all registries will be subject to US anti-trust law. If that is the assumption, then it clearly follows that the GP intends de facto US control of this vital component of the Internet. If that is not the intention, then it is clear that the authors have not come to grips with the international character of the Internet, and in particular the fact that the Internet crosses jurisdictional boundaries.
Another possible form of regulation resides in the relationship between the new IANA and registries. Clearly, nIANA will be setting at least some policies for registries, and therefore there is the issue of how these policies are enforced. What are the sanctions that nIANA could levy against NSI's .com registry, for example? Certainly nIANA cannot remove .com from the root domain, or undertake any other action that would harm the end users of the DNS. It is possible that nIANA could bring suit against an errant registry, but nIANA is described as a non-profit corporation, and may find it difficult to engage in a legal battle with a registrar with an income stream in the $100,000,000 range.
Since the GP did not address this issue, we can only speculate as to what the authors might have in mind. However, one approach would be a standard "registry operators contract" that grants the registry operator the right to operate the registry, but not ownership of it: ownership of the registry -- all the data and all intellectual property rights to the TLD name -- would remain with nIANA, with a requirement that the registry operator escrow the data, in case the registry operator needed to be replaced.
If this contract were well crafted this could be a sensible approach, giving nIANA the necessary legal leverage with which to control registries. However, a standard "registry operators contract" would have to be written in the context of the laws of some country. We can only imagine what country the US Government would suggest.
One thing that does seem clear: if nIANA is to have any hope of enforcing policies, it must at a minimum assert control over all the registry data, and any intellectual property rights associated with a gTLD. Otherwise it has no hope whatsoever of enforcement of standards or policies for registries.
However, it is important to remember that putting such control in the hands of nIANA is also fraught with possibilities for abuse. The important lesson here is that the control and regulation issues are truly deep and complex, and the GP has, deliberately or accidentally, completely ignored them.
According to the definitions of registry and registrar given in the GP, registries deal only with registrars, not with end customers. That is, a registry is fundamentally a back-office database operation that has no dealings with end users. A registry operator is not even a wholesale outlet providing goods: it is a service company, providing an almost totally automated service, a service involving a single distinguishing characteristic (a TLD name) which by definition cannot change.
A registrar, on the other hand, handles essentially all the interactions with customers. Registrars can be small and serve local areas -- a gTLD registry must serve the world. Registrars can cater to different market segments -- registries are blind to market segments. Registrars can offer different service levels -- registries offer only an interface to registrars, and most certainly should not favor one registrar over another. Thus, structurally, registries have little opportunity to compete, while registrars have multiple dimensions for differentiation.
In the long run the competition between registrars may make the profitability of a registrar as a stand-alone business very problematic. Likely, in the long run there will be thousands of registrars, and most of them will do domain registrations as a sideline, not as their main business, because there won't be much profit to be gained. Hence the importance of a standardized registry-registrar interface, standardized billing relationships, and so on.
These economic forces and structural characteristics will tend to homogenize the policies of gTLD registries.
We have experience demonstrating homogenization of gTLD policies: in theory the TLDs .com, .net, and .org are by policy supposed to serve different segments of customer base, and originally some attempt was made to enforce this policy.
However, such enforcement proved impractical, even when the registrar and the registry were the same entity.
Enforcement is much more complex when the registry and the registrar are split. Itis obvious that the only practical place where TLD policy can be enforced is in the registrar, not in the registry: the registry, as a back office operation, is simply not in the position to check the credentials of the end user, who may be anywhere in the world.
Even more, there is strong incentive not to check such things. Checking costs money, and every registrant that fails a check doesn't pay the registration fee. So, with the GP for-profit registries there are strong economic forces to accept every registration, and these forces will cause all such registries to quickly move to an essentially uniform set of policies, policies which basically accept every registration blindly.
In sum, it appears that there is confusion concerning the roles of gTLD registry and registrar. Registries do not interact with end customers; registrars do. This split has important and subtle implications that should not be overlooked.
The GP states:
"Competing TLDs would seek to heighten their efficiency, lower their prices, and provide additional value-added services."
In fact, there isn't much efficiency that can be gained. Registries by themselves are very simple operations: they merely maintain names in databases. The registry operation at NSI is a small part of its business.
And any efficiency that would be gained would be more than lost through the fact that the registrars (which would be far more numerous than registries) would all have to be dealing with different interfaces. This would recall the unsatisfactory situation during the dawn of telephone communications, when the multiple competing providers installed incompatible systems: anyone who wished to speak to a user was required to support the termination equipment and cabling needed to reach that user.
The CORE model is far more efficient at reducing prices -- in that case the registrars collectively run a registry on a cost-recovery basis. This registry maintains uniform policies, established by POC and implemented by CORE, with the actual operation of the database is contracted out to a separate organization (at present Emergent, Inc). This contract is let on a competitive basis, and in fact, the system is designed so that multiple contractors can be utilized. This arrangement allows CORE to seek the lowest cost operation, while keeping interfaces and policies consistent. At the same time, the non-profit nature of the registry removes the problems of monopoly pricing that would otherwise plague the Internet community.
The GP says:
"Investments in registries could be recouped through branding and marketing."
This is a total waste for consumers, of course. The way that registries will recoup their investment is through recharge to registrars, which will in turn be passed directly through to the consumers. If there is no demand for a particular TLD to begin with it is pure overhead to consumers to try to create that demand.
And, as described above, it is just unreasonable for a back-office service organization to be doing "branding and marketing." Branding and marketing will and should be done by registrars. WorldNIC is what customers will see, not the small subsidiary company that runs the database, and WorldNIC will be registering domains in all gTLDs. It will quickly become apparent to WorldNIC that there is no particular advantage to being tied to .com.
In any case, most consumers will have no idea what their registrar is doing to register a name: currently most domain names are registered through the intermediary of an ISP, and the customer barely knows the InterNIC exists.
The GP says:
"The efficiency, convenience, and service levels associated with the assignment of names could ultimately differ from one TLD registry to another."
If nIANA is doing its job properly, and establishing enforceable standards for registries, there will be no significant difference in service levels. A registry is not a complicated operation: fundamentally it is a rather simple database. But even more important, customers simply won't see any difference in service levels that may exist. They will still be going through their ISP (who may now be registrars).
This is not theory; this is already proven in practice: there already are many TLD registries, with vastly different service levels, and companies have been formed to register names in all of them. In practice, experience shows that, except at the very low end (free or nearly free domains) variation in cost and service level has little to do with what domain a customer chooses.
In summary, then, it is clear that the GP authors have ignored the most basic problem in DNS governance: DNS is intrinsically monopolistic. Any successful plan for managing DNS simply cannot ignore this fact.
The Green Paper claims to be a consensus building process, yet the IAHC plan is not mentioned at all. It is inconceivable that any attempt to deal with the issue of top-level domains would ignore an effort such as that embodied in the MoU. Support for the MoU is not imaginary; it is real. In ignoring the MoU, the GP also ignores:
It is true that the MoU has been contentious. To some extent this reflects the fact that all debate on the Internet tends to the fractious. However, the GP authors should now be abundantly aware that any proposal that approaches reality will be contentious: the unfortunate fact is that there are true competing interests in this arena, and any plan will leave some parties unhappy.
Some of the voices expressing unhappiness with the gTLD-MoU have been very loud. But volume is not an appropriate measure of legitimacy.
By any reasonable measure the IAHC process is legitimate:
Note that the GP, while ignoring the MoU, at the same time claims that IANA is a US Government sponsored activity. If so, then the GP reverses established USG efforts, since IANA authorized and approved the IAHC work. Further, a senior staff member of NSF/FNC participated in the IAHC, so that the work clearly is based on a USG expectation of that work providing continuity to the administration of gTLDs. The GP effectively throws out the year's worth of effort and investment made under that authority.
The GP repudiation of IANA's authority to delegate to the IAHC, and its substitution of a plan that clearly is much more favorable to US interests, also undermines the environment of authority, trust, and stability that IANA has built up over the years. This is very serious, because many international observers believe that if IANA's efforts can be overturned by the actions of invisible functionaries in the US Government, then IANA no longer represents a stable point of reference for the root zone.
This is amply demonstrated by the strongly negative European Union response, and the strong disapproval coming from the Australian and French governments. However, this negative response was predictable from the following features of the GP:
But there is a more fundamental problem: any unilateral action of the USG, like the GP, has an intrinsic risk of being seen as an attempt by US interests to take control of the Internet. The GP authors ignored that risk, with predictable results. As a result, the international credibility of the entire USG effort has been seriously undermined.
The consequences are far more important than the mere embarrassment of the USG: by moving the issue to the arena of international diplomacy the USG has undermined two of it's own basic goals: stability, and the privatization of the Internet.
The worst possible result, fracturing of the DNS root zone, is now openly discussed as a result preferable to US hegemony over the Internet. The Internet presents the United States and its enterprises with an opportunity to compete in a seamless international electronic marketplace, and US enterprises are at present very well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity. Establishment of European or Australian root servers, or similar protectionist measures, would be of great harm to these American interests. The Green Paper, with its subtle claim of US control, challenges the rest of the world to create its own infrastructure. It is foolhardy and reckless to believe that the world does not have the means or the will to do so.
Internationally, there are only two viable options for any kind of Internet governance: either a plan that springs authentically from the private sector, independent of any government, or a plan hammered out through an international treaty process. The later approach would take years.
Of course, a coherent, widely supported plan has already come from the private sector: the IAHC plan. The GP can regain international credibility by recognizing the IAHC plan, and offering to work with POC/CORE/PAB to implement it. Any other approach runs a serious risk of aggravating the suspicions already rampant.
Currently all the extant gTLDs are under the control of NSI's dispute resolution policy. While trademark attorneys and the public alike almost uniformly criticize this policy, it does have the virtue of uniformity.
The GP proposes multiple unregulated monopoly registries, each with its own dispute resolution policy. From the point of view of those trying to defend their trademarks this is pure madness: instead of one offensive policy they have multiple policies, in multiple jurisdictions. And because of the widespread dissatisfaction with what NSI dispute resolution process, different standards are certain to be developed.
As the NSI experience shows, companies are loath to disturb their dispute policies once they are in place. The probable result of the GP plan, therefore, is the permanent entrenchment of conflicting policies over all the gTLDs.
The GP devotes a large appendix to a description of technical requirements for registries and registrars.
It is certainly true that registries and registrars should be held to standards. But this appendix raises several troubling questions: 1) whence comes the competence of the GP to define such requirements; 2) whence comes the authority to enforce these standards; 3) what process did the GP authors go through to arrive at the rather specific technical standards in the GP; and finally, 4) why is a policy document defining technical standards?
POC/CORE enlisted a set of volunteer experts to produce the CORE RFP, which was further reviewed by technical experts from AT&T and elsewhere. In contrast, the GP includes description of technical standards for registries and registrars that has gone through no such review.
It appears that some of the GP requirements were pulled from the CORE RFP, some from the IAHC report, and some from elsewhere. While the choice of sources for this pastiche might be flattering to some, the requirements in the CORE RFP and the IAHC report were generated with a particular problem domain in mind, and there is an internal consistency to the results.
The GP requirements, not having gone through this level of review and development, do not have this internal consistency. This lack of depth is evident, for example, when the GP speaks of requiring "encryption and authentication". The CORE RFP carefully considered the issue of encryption in a worldwide context, and concluded that digital signatures for authentication would be used, but encryption would not be used. This is because the use of encryption is encumbered in many countries, whereas the use of digital authentication is not. The GP ignores this crucial distinction. [Of course, there remains the nagging possibility that the GP authors assume all registries and registrars will actually operate under the US legal system.]
Also, The GP technical requirements for Registrars are not just over-detailed, they are excessive, and serve no purpose except to increase the cost of registration, with no real benefit to the consumer. For example, there is absolutely no need for registrars to have dual connectivity to the net, and in some areas of the world this may be extremely difficult and expensive to obtain. It is useful to remember that the highly successful Nominet shared registry system in Great Britain only requires email access for registrars.
However, the point is not a particular flaw in the requirements. Rather, the point is that technical requirements should be developed through a technical process, with technical people involved, as they were for the CORE SRS. Such requirements simply do not belong in a document purporting to describe policy, such as the Green Paper.
The Green Paper as currently constituted is a stealth document. It speaks of privatization, but ignores the most prominent private effort already dealing with the same problems. It speaks of less government regulation, but sets the stage for extensive government regulation at a later date. It speaks of internationalization, but in fact firmly entrenches the central point of the Internet infrastructure in the United States. It speaks of competition, but in fact continues the NSI monopoly, and seeks to establish new monopolies. It is vague when it comes to important matters, like how regulation will actually be done; and it is very specific where it shouldn't be, as in the specification of technical standards.
The Green Paper has already sown the seeds of international distrust, and started us down the road of endless intergovernmental bickering over who controls what in the Internet. Without very substantive changes, then, the inevitable result will be a substantial delay in enacting any policy whatsoever, and the ultimate failure of the NTIA effort.
Therefore, the best course of action is for the GP to narrow its focus; to concentrate on the problem of how NSI can best be transitioned from a privileged government sanctioned monopoly to one player in a field of many; to create a comprehensive plan for the .US ccTLD; and to cooperate with POC, CORE and IANA to evolve a true private solution to the gTLD governance problem.
From: "William S. Lovell, PhD" <email@example.com>
Date: 3/20/98 3:55am
Subject: Domain Name Green Paper
The attaches file (WordPerfect 7.0) contains additional
comment on the indicated proposal.
William S. Lovell
The following additional comments are made to the Proposal "Improvement of Technical
Management of Internet Names and Addresses" and relate to the trademark matters that I
discussed in my Comment of March 6, 1998.
I suggest that means for resolving conflicts between registered trademarks and registered
domain names already exist within a sister agency of the Department of Commerce,
namely, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Inasmuch as "trademarks" and "service
marks" are subject to protection under the Lanham Act whether or not they are registered,
a mechanism is necessary by which it can be determined whether the registered mark or
the domain name (assuming it is being used in a trademark sense, and hence qualifies as
a presumably unregistered mark) actually has priority of use, which is the only way in
which trademark rights are gained. 37 CFR Sec. 2.91, although hitherto rarely used,
nevertheless provides a mechanism for declaring an interference between competing
marks -- a process in which the PTO has had long experience.
The only change required in the law would be to amend 37 CFR Sec. 2.91 to allow an
interference to be declared between a registered mark and a domain name. Since the
PTO (unlike the NTIA) already has the statutory authority to decide trademark issues,
it would be competent to establish such an amendment in its regulations. The mechanism
to be used by the NTIA (or by the nonprofit corporation to be formed), upon receipt
of a communication from the owner of a registered trademark who was seeking a
domain name already held, would be to write back essentially as follows:
"(1) The NTIA (or the nonprofit corporation) is not authorized to decide issues of
trademark rights, nor does it have the authority to remove from a domain name owner
a domain name registration lawfully obtained. However, (2) you are free to petition the
Patent and Trademark Office for the declaration of an interference, and upon any
decision by the PTO that your rights to the name in question were superior to those
of the party presently holding that domain name, then this agency would be allowed
to proceed as you request. On the other hand, if the PTO should decide that the owner
of the domain name has priority, or that there is no likelihood of confusion in any
event because different goods or services are involved or the like, then we shall be
obliged to continue to recognize the existing domain name registration."
I hope that this suggestion may be useful.
William S. Lovell
From: "Siegfried Langenbach" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/20/98 5:50am
Subject: Discussion Draft 1/3/98 "Green Paper"
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230
To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Siegfried Langenbach. I am chair of the supervisory board of DENIC.
Thats the German entity handling the ccTLD ".de", after NSI probably
the second largest registry in world.
With great interest we read the
PROPOSAL TO IMPROVE TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT OF
INTERNET NAMES AND ADDRESSES
DISCUSSION DRAFT 1/30/98
We appreciate the work done by Mr. Ira Magaziner and his staff in compiling
that document and partially agree with the ideas. Because of disagreement in
essential positions, we hereby send our comments. We want to concentrate only
on that points, which in our opinion are most important:
1.) Although we respectfully recognize the fact U.S. Government has funded and
supported Internet development, we can not accept the role of any government in
"participating in policy oversight" as stated in the "green paper". Fact is
that for 25 years now Internet and all problems related, where decided by
appropriate public trust organizations, representing internet stakeholders all
over the world. Counting that 1/2 of them are from outside U.S. , there is no
need for U.S.G to "step in" with the argument thats because U.S.G wants to
"step out". Let IANA do the job.
2.) Contrary to the opinion expressed in "green paper", we assume that gTLD´s
are common goods, and as such the registry must be not-for-profit and of public
trust, we agree however that the registrars should be for-profit and
competitive. Registrars are the interface between customer and the DNS, thats
the point the customer must have the choice between different prices and
services. The proposal of GP having NSI the most common 3 gTLD´s (com - net -
org) and the 5 additional gTLD´s split between 5 different new registries is de
facto anti-competitive, assuring NSI leading position. Thats the best way
creating a new "Microsoft" problem.
Thats, in short terms, our contribution. We hope, as usual in democracies, that
your final decision is driven by the majority (these time also counting non
Date: 3/20/98 7:21am
Subject: MARQUES Comments on the Green Paper
I attach Marques' comments (in Word 6.0) on the Discussion Draft on the
Technical Management of Internet Domain Names. As discussed on the
telephone, the document refers to the Marques website at
http://www.martex.co.uk/marques, which contains information about Marques,
including a list of its members. I would be grateful if you would insert a
link to the Marques website in the document. I understand that you will
reformat the document if necessary.
[[ @TK702!.DOC : 3125 in @TK702!.DOC ]]
Thank you for your assistance.
MARQUES RESPONSE TO THE US DISCUSSION DRAFT OF 30 JANUARY 1998 ENTITLED "PROPOSAL TO IMPROVE TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT OF INTERNET NAMES AND ADDRESSES"
MARQUES, The Association of European Brand Owners and its Internet Sub-Committee welcome this opportunity to submit comments on the Discussion Draft of 30 January 1998 entitled "Proposal To Improve Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses".
MARQUES is a non-profit making organisation representing European brand owners and embraces all industrial, commercial and product sectorial interests. MARQUES' members are based not only in Europe but throughout the world and represent small businesses through to multinational corporations. A list of MARQUES members can be found at the MARQUES website located at http://www.martex.co.uk/marques.
The Corporation and Jurisdiction
1. On the question of jurisdiction, we think it is important to distinguish between administrative procedures to which each registry would adhere, and the appropriate forum for legal proceedings, such as trade mark infringement proceedings. Trade mark infringement proceedings, for example, will generally be fought in the jurisdiction of either of the parties involved or, if the trade marks are registered, where registered. Point 4(b) of Appendix 2 states that "registries/registrars will abide by the decisions of ...a court of competent jurisdiction" but, unless an international treaty is created dealing with domain name disputes, the registries could be faced with a number of conflicting decisions - all from courts of competent jurisdiction. For this reason it is very important that a uniform and user friendly alternative to court proceedings is adopted. We comment on dispute resolution procedures below.
2. What is important is the control of the monolithic corporation. We note from the public hearing on 23 February 1998 that a congressional chartered entity has already been considered and rejected as not being, (or being perceived to be), privatised. It is our understanding that the new corporation would be akin to a trust, with representative numbers of "trustees" from all over the world. We would want the US Government to give an assurance that the corporation cannot be closed down or liquidated, in order to ensure confidence and stability in the system. No one sector or nation/geographical area should be over represented on the board.
3. In particular, whilst we recognise the great importance of the technical aspects of the system, we believe that the structure of the new corporation should not be dominated by those in the technical area and those with vested interests such as telecoms companies. The Green Paper is so much more than a review of technical issues.
4. The board should not be limited to 15 seats. Furthermore the seats allocated for trade mark holders and an individual end user should be occupied by the representative of an appropriate association representing the interests of that group.
5. We would suggest a two tier system, rather than a single board. One board would be devoted entirely to technical issues, but that board would report to a board which would be responsible for policy matters.
6. Alternatively the board could be divided into, for example, 6 geographical regions: Asia Pacific, North America, Central and South America, Africa and Europe. Each region would put forward representatives from the main areas including technical and trade mark owners. This would ensure that the system is not, and is not seen to be, US dominated which is a common criticism of the Green Paper.
Dispute Resolution Policy and the Role of WIPO
1. As an organisation representing business and in particular trade mark owners, we consider the question of dispute resolution policy to be critical to the conduct of business on the Internet.
2. We welcome suggestions for an expanded WHOIS search tool and endorse the suggested minimum application, searchable database requirements, and updated ownership, contact and use information set out in Appendix 2.
3. We note that only a broad statement has been included in the Discussion Document regarding dispute resolution. A great deal of discussion and consultation has been undertaken by POC in the context of the Memorandum of Understanding on Generic Top Level Domains in this area. It was envisaged that a dispute resolution policy would be administered by the Word Intellectual Property Organisation ("WIPO") Arbitration and Mediation Centre.
4. In his meeting of 3 March 1998 (reported in a Memorandum of 4 March) Mr Francis Gurry of WIPO suggested that some level of uniform procedures for dispute resolution beyond the minimum criteria outlined in the Discussion Document may be necessary to provide a convenient and meaningful alternative to litigation. We agree with Mr Gurry and echo his concerns that if each registry adopts a different dispute resolution procedure (even to minimum standards), confusion and uncertainty will result and that the registry with the weakest procedures might automatically become a haven for "cyber-squatters" and pirates. This would discourage use of the procedures and encourage litigation and the jurisdiction problems outlined above.
5. We would strongly recommend that the work conducted by POC and WIPO in the area of dispute resolution is drawn on to provide the best possible minimum standards of dispute resolution policy within each registry, with a view to the eventual harmonisation of procedure. Indeed the US Government could participate in the proposals being discussed with a view to adopting a satisfactory model into the system proposed in the US Discussion Document. Mr Gurry said that WIPO centre would be available as a neutral party to administer some minimum uniform arbitration and mediation procedures for disputing parties. We believe WIPO could provide a valuable service in the area of dispute resolution, irrespective of CORE/POC.
6. We note that a study on the effects of adding new gTLDs and related dispute resolution procedures on trade mark and intellectual property right holders is proposed. MARQUES would welcome the opportunity to participate and assist in this study. For example, we would be interested to have details of proposals relating to point 4c of Appendix 2, which provides for the suspension of domain names if challenged within 30 days of registration. This will provide a very important form of relief in the battle against "cyber-squatters" and pirates. However detailed proposals should include safeguards (particularly for the smaller trade mark holder) to avoid its abuse.
The Role of Registries and Registrars - The NSI Agreement
7. We believe that no organisation should provide both registry and registrar services. We would go further than the proposal set in numbered paragraph 1 under the heading "The NSI Agreement", which provides for NSI to separate its registry business and registrar business. We feel that NSI should relinquish responsibility for either its registry or registrar business. The registry role should be open for competition. It is proposed (under the heading "The Creation of New gTLDs") that each of the 5 new registries envisaged would be limited to a single gTLD. Provided that it is technically possible, we think that it would enhance competition between registries for each new registry to have the ability to register any of the 5 new gTLDs`. No one organisation (including NSI) should operate more than one registry.
8. Each registry must operate not only a dispute resolution procedure to minimum (and preferably uniform) standards, but must also operate to minimum technical and operational standards. This would involve building in minimum standards and safeguards such as the availability to access information, adequate backup service, annual auditing, the results of which must be published, and some basic regulations to avoid practices such as price fixing between registries and to avoid the problems envisaged in the paragraphs of the Paper headed "The Competitive Functions". Minimum operational standards should be set and enforced independently (by the new organisation for example). This will ensure that registries deal efficiently with registrars with the consequent benefit to users.
9. We believe that it is very important for the Database of each registry to be open and searchable. In particular we endorse numbered paragraph 3 under the heading "The NSI Agreement" which proposes that NSI must provide a copy and documentation of all the data, software and appropriate licences to other Intellectual Property for use by the new corporation for the benefit of the Internet.
We wholeheartedly endorse the concept of one system. However, in order to achieve one system, all parties (including the US Government, national governments throughout the world, international organisations such as the European Union, and CORE/POC) must be in a position to be receptive to constructive criticism and to compromise. If not, fragmentation will occur which will destroy the possibility of one global system.
MARQUES Internet Sub-Committee
19th March 1998
To: Recipient list suppressed
Date: 3/20/98 12:01am
Subject: Re: Comments of the Internet Society
>Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 13:30:56 -0500
>From: Jay Fenello <Jay@IPERDOME.COM>
>Subject: Re: Comments of the Internet Society
>The ISOC, IAB, IETF, and other I* organizations really
>do represent many distinguished members of the technical
>community who have helped build the Internet. Few would
>argue with this point.
>It is only when this limited base of constituents is presented
>as representative of the entire Internet that you find substantial
>Over the last several years, the stakeholders on the Internet
>have greatly expanded. This process is very likely to continue.
>Any forward looking solutions must accept this fact and give
>these newly forming stakeholders a say in their own governance
>on the Internet. To do otherwise prevents any consensus from
>emerging, and results in these endless debates.
>President, Iperdome, Inc.
From: "aktive eccs" <email@example.com>
Date: 3/20/98 10:07am
Subject: Discussion Draft on Technical Management of Internet Domain Names
To whom it may concern
After Reading the Discussion Draft on Technical Management of Internet
Domain Names, i have decided to comment on it, not only because of my
interest, as an internet user, and future user, but for the good of the
whole internet community, now and in the future.
It is obvious that the internet at this point of time is in a sound
management position. All currently assigned boards are working to full
capacity and the internet is very well organised. Unfortunately
times will change, and although the current setup works fine, the
internet is in a rapidly changing period and guidence needs to be
properly implemented. It is also getting much larger, and into peoples
every day lives, and these important factors need to be addressed (when
will we run out of ip space?).
I am interested in the idea of the phasing out of the IANA and related
regional boards, and replacing them with a globally accepted, centrally
managed Domain Name Registry.
I will comment on several ideas pointed forward in the Discussion
The internet is already abused by individuals and corporations spamming
their warez. It can be a user flooding a channel on IRC, or a
corporation abusing mailing lists and the like to advertise their
products or warez, whether it be for commerical, non-profit or illegal
activities. If a publicly available interface was designed to allow
users to search domain names and construct some sort of list, it will be
abused indefinently. authough simmilar services like this are already
available (through a WAIS), a widely publicised and easily accessible
method would be abused. Authough the internet is a free for all, i
support each domains privacy, if it wishes to not be disclosed. I will
have to be against any proposal to make lists of domain names readily
It would be prefferable that the new cooperation should be based
somewhere other than in the united states. Since the board is a Global
cooperative is should be headquartered in a universally respected area,
one which can support all of the internets management needs effectively
All topics discussed, minutes, and relative meetings at the global
internet management international committee (GIMIC) should be recorded
and made publicly available on the internet, and, if possible,
transmitted live around the world. Also, mailing lists and related
information be setup, and interested parties encouraged to join it.
This would make it easy for users to be involved in the general
management and can be updated with current information regarding the
Domains registered in the usa should have a ccTLD of their own, (ie
*.us). Sites which are not country specific (ie internet management
boards, united nations and the like) should not have a cctld. I fully
support this and recommend it in every way.
Thank you for this oportunity to voice my opinion regarding the Domain
Name Registry, and related internet boards.
Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com
From: "MailForm" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "MailForm User" <email@example.com>
Date: 3/20/98 11:02am
Subject: Mailform Data
Posted From: ppp341.itw.com
Date posted: 03/20/98 11:02:55
RE: Comments on the Green Paper (Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses)
NOTICE: The following is an automated response via http://www.domainbank.net/support2.html
YES: I support and endorse the following 12-Point Action Plan in response to the Green Paper
NAME: Jacqueline Olexa
ORGANIZATION: Spun Gold Designs (web design firm)
1. Immediately recognize IANA as the ultimate authority over the Root; allow it to continue operating as it has historically with no involvement of the U.S. Government and to evolve to a not-for-profit corporation with global consensus and without government hindrance
2. Create a board of directors for IANA from the world Internet community, based on the open, consensus-building process and standards promulgated by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Internet Architectural Board (IAB), Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) and the Internet Society (ISOC)
3. Fund the new corporation through fees from domain name registries, regional registries, registrars and other mechanisms approved by its board
4. For future administration and marketing of the Domain Name System (DNS), create a two-tiered structure: non-profit Registries for the administering of new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) and country codes; and Registrars, either for-profit or not-for-profit, which will provide registration services to registrants worldwide in a competitive environment
5. Through the IANA board of directors, use the Internet Standards Process as outlined in RFC 2026 to establish technical and other standards for Registries based on the goals of: technical excellence; prior implementation and testing; clear, concise and easily understood documentation; openness and fairness; timeliness; and ethical standards as outlined in the gTLD Memo of Understanding (www.gtld-mou.org)
6. Use the Memo of Understanding as the foundation for ethical standards to be agreed to by all Registries and Registrars; encourage comment and maintain an open process for its ongoing evolution and improvement
7. Based on approval by IANA, immediately add seven new gTLDs to the root and administer registration through the Shared Registry System (SRS) developed by the non-profit CORE Registry and already passed through acceptance testing; add more gTLDs as approved by IANA
8. To encourage stability, efficiencies, economies of scale and common standards among registries, CORE can provide Registry services to other gTLD Registries [AAA: delete this] and country codes; CORE will also make its SRS software available to any other non-profit organizations approved by IANA as a Registry for gTLDs
9. The U.S. Government should end the Network Solutions, Inc., monopoly on March 31, 1998, and open a public process for determining how Registry services will be administered for the gTLDs of .com, .org and .net without offering further monopoly protection or favored treatment to NSI.
10. Immediately convert NSI registry services to not-for-profit status; require that NSI open its SRS to all registrants on a cost recovery basis and operate within the same standards as all other registries; and require that NSI immediately hand over the authoritative root database and all coordination of the root server network to the control of IANA
11. Indemnify IANA against legal challenges
12. Ensure ongoing review and continuous evolution of all critical functions related to the Domain Name System through an open, public process carried out with international participation
Submit SEND MAIL
Identical copies of the previous message were also received on this date from the following people:
NAME: Marge Palermo
NAME: Brad Price
ORGANIZATION: Indelible Link, Incorporated
NAME: D Brad Price
ORGANIZATION: Lehigh University
NAME: Ekie Buzzard
ORGANIZATION: JGSullivan Interactive, Inc.
NAME: Sammy Afifi
ORGANIZATION: Techno Trade Online Solutions
NAME: R Baskin
NAME: mike mcgoogan
NAME: Manu Puri
ORGANIZATION: Triodity Inc.
NAME: Gene Kraybill
ORGANIZATION: World Wide Guide
NAME: Chris Diori
NAME: Glenn Bell
NAME: Nathaniel Phillips
NAME: Rick Cipoletti
ORGANIZATION: Strategic Solutions
NAME: R.E. Morin
NAME: MJ Maeng
NAME: Tim Hickman, Sr.
NAME: Sean Young
ORGANIZATION: ECom Communications Corporation
NAME: Sean Young
ORGANIZATION: ECom Communications Corporation
NAME: David Thompson
ORGANIZATION: Thomas Jefferson HS For Science and Technology
NAME: Jeremy Lindsay
ORGANIZATION: SpiderWeb Designs
NAME: Scott Moore
ORGANIZATION: Ecom Communications
NAME: P. Thunberg
ORGANIZATION: eCom Communications
NAME: David E. Bowsher
ORGANIZATION: Vanity Mail
NAME: David Reiner
ORGANIZATION: Student -- Texas Wesleyan Law School
From: Davide Migliavacca <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/20/98 11:44am
Subject: Comments on the Green Paper
I sincerely do not understand why, in this particular and only case, the
US government has decided to deal with problems usually so successfully
resolved by the extremely well trained and competent people who every
day roll out the very standard on which Internet is based on.
The consensus which has been steadily been building around the gtld-MOU
and CORE initiatives should be more than enough for the US government to
accept a sound, working, and already ready for prime time system.
Please support the efforts the international community has already
undertaken, and do not mine them by reopening a very difficult consensus
process when no clear authority over Internet as a whole may be
Take the current CORE stand with regard to the Green Paper as a clear
signal of maturity. Should they continue on their already scheduled
roadmap ignoring your proposition, I suspect the majority of Internet
users outside the US would go with them anyway.
Davide Migliavacca - Inferentia, Milano IT
Phone +39 2 59928.1 Fax .221
------ Standard disclaimer applies -------
Date: 3/20/98 12:34pm
Subject: Technical Management of Internet names and Addresses
Dear Becky Burr:
Further to the meeting between members of the EU Delegation in Washington DC and US Governement Agencies at the State Department on 19 March 1998, I am forwarding to you, attached, the Reply of the European Community and its Member States to the Green Paper.
We look forward to an early opportunity to continue our consultations on these matters.
Regards, Christopher Wilkinson.
cc: Ira Magaziner
Attachemnts: Word 7 document
COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION EUROPEAN COMMISSION
THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY AND ITS MEMBER STATES
TO THE US GREEN PAPER
The European Community and the Member States have examined the proposals of the US Government for the administration and management of Internet names and addresses ((1)
. They would like to express their interest and concerns on this matter to the Government of the United States.
The European Community and its Member States would wish to emphasise our concern that the future management of the Internet should reflect the fact that it is already a global communications medium and the subject of valid international interest.
The European Union has the responsibility to ensure that communications networks are inter-operable and are developed in a way to promote economic and social cohesion and economic competitiveness.
We would also recall that this matter is referred to in the recent EU-US joint statement on Electronic Commerce in which there was agreement for the need for "The creation of a global market-based system of registration, allocation and governance of Internet domain names which fully reflects the geographically and functionally diverse nature of the Internet." (Joint EU-US Statement on electronic commerce, 5 December 1997, point 4.v).
The possible decisions that are envisaged in the US Green Paper and the structures that would be put in place are of major significance for the global economy and the Internet community worldwide. Many private and public entities outside the United States will wish to comment and participate in the development of these policies. Accordingly, a deadline for comments of only one month would seem rather short to provide for effective participation in this debate by all interested parties. Specifically, the EU requests the opportunity to enter into full consultations with the United States before certain features of these proposals are implemented. (Joint EU-US statement on electronic commerce, 5 December 1997, points 5v and 6).
In the view of the European Community and its Member States however, the globalization of the Internet and the importance of an international framework for the long-term organization of the Internet underlines the need to associate a wide range of international interests with future policy in this area. The European Community and its Member States believe that the future of the Internet must be agreed in an international framework.
2. Issues for further consideration
We wish to illustrate the issues that we wish to draw to your attention by the following examples. This is without prejudice to a more thorough presentation and discussion of the outstanding problems which arise.
The Green Paper proposals appear not to recognize the need to implement an international approach, contrary to the mentioned EU-US Statement on Electronic Commerce.
Contrary to such an international approach, the current US proposals would, in the name of the globalization and privatization of the Internet, risk consolidating permanent US jurisdiction over the Internet as a whole, including dispute resolution and trademarks used on the Internet.
In the US proposals, trademarks appear as an important motivation for reform. The European Community and its Member States note with interest the ideas canvassed in the Green Paper to improve trademark holders' ability to defend their rights. However, the US proposals do not bring about any significant improvements to the current situation, in particular with regard to the guarantees given to holders of trademark rights when registering domain names.
In addition to the risk of US jurisdiction over all Internet trademark disputes, there is a problem regarding the dispute resolution procedures themselves. During the course of 1997 intensive international efforts, which included the US and the EU, were undertaken in the preparation of a new dispute resolution procedure for the Internet within the framework of the WIPO. The US Green Paper makes no reference to the results of this international approach but however envisages a separate dispute resolution procedure for each of the Internet Registries, and a new "study".
It will be necessary to take steps to ensure that the private sector in Europe and the rest of the world, including users and industry, fully participates at all relevant levels in the process.
Competition policy aspects:
The reorganization of the Internet management bodies raises several competition policy issues:
it would appear that IANA would for practical purposes occupy a natural monopoly position with respect to Internet numbers and the Root servers as well as exercise certain regulatory functions. The extent to which it would be indemnified from anti-trust suits is not clear and is probably not adequately codified from the point of view of European competition law.
the US proposals for structural separation of Registry/Database and Registrar activities within NSI appear not to go far enough to ensure a level playing field and fair competition particularly should the alternative CORE system be unable to create effective competition for NSI in the short term.
Consequently, the European Community reserves its position on the proposal with regard to the possible application of European competition law.
Portability and scaleability:
By analogy with the system of telephone numbering, it would be highly desirable if in the future the Internet Domain Name System could permit portability of Internet names and that the structure of the name-space would permit expansion of the number of names that can be accommodated in the long term, taking account of possible trademark aspects. The question is whether the Internet address space as a whole will be able to expand to accommodate continued rapid growth in the number of users.
The selection of new Registries for the generic Top Level Domains (gTLD's):
During 1997 a new system of gTLD Registries was proposed by the IAHC, modified on the basis of international consultations including recommendations from the Commission and implementation is now well advanced. This new system involves a Policy Oversight Committee (POC) which is the governing body; a Council of Registrars (CORE) which is a not-for-profit association of member Registrars which manages a shared data base for seven new gLTDs. Eighty-eight member Registrars have joined this system, including 35 in the EU. Many thousands of new Domain Names have already been applied for within this system.
The Draft US Proposals make no reference to this system.
3. Proposed approach
It will be important for the European Community and its Member States and the rest of the world to participate fully in the decisions which will determine the future international governance of the Internet on the basis of the objective for increased international cooperation on global communications policy, and on the basis of the following specific objectives:
balanced and equitable international private sector participation in Internet governance reflecting an equitable balance of interests and contributions; including adequate procedures for the representation and protection of consumer and user interests;
ensuring an appropriate level of representation and participation for the responsible international organizations in the area of Internet governance in the context of a more general approach to the international consensus regarding the information and communication industries worldwide;
implementation of the existing guidelines regarding the Domain Name System (DNS) adopted by the Bonn Conference (2(2)
, including the introduction of competition in the allocation of existing generic Top Level Domains and conformance with agreed intellectual property and dispute resolution procedures;
application of the appropriate competition rules to ensure in particular that the transition to the new structures does not create or strengthen dominant positions of companies and organizations charged with the governance of the Internet nor that any agreements or practices amongst those companies and organizations prevent, restrict or distort competition;
ensuring transparency and certainty of the DNS with a view of the orderly administration of taxation and the need to combat fraud;
fair and transparent financing of Internet organizations including equitable allocation and utilization of the existing Internet Infrastructure Development Fund;
in the context of the re-allocation of the DNS Root Servers, to attend to their management and operation and particularly how to improve operational security of the system in the event of partial failure, including which data should be distributed and replicated globally to this effect;
periodic review and updating of the arrangements which are put in place.
The European Community and its Member States consider that an effort is called for to reach a balance of interests and responsibilities, so that the international character of the Internet is recognized with respect to the relevant jurisdictions around the world.
We recommend that the US Administration limit its direct regulatory intervention in the Internet only to those relationships which fall clearly under existing contracts between the Agencies of the US Government and their contractors and that all other decisions be referred to an appropriate internationally constituted and representative body. In this context, no decision should be taken as to the creation of new gTLDs before an international consensus is reached.
In conclusion, it is the view of the European Community and its Member States that several aspects of the Green Paper will require thorough bilateral and multilateral consideration.
The European Community and its Member States are prepared to participate fully in such decisions as a matter of priority.
Brussels, 16 March 1998
1) "A Proposal to Improve Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses", published in the US Federal Register, http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/dnsdrft.htm
2() Final Declaration of the European Ministerial Conference, Bonn 6-8 July 1997: "Fostering economic growth: developing content and commerce, point 12: Ministers stress the importance of Internet domain names for the development of electronic commerce. They support the principle of an internationally recognized body operating a transparent system of management of the Domain Name System. They consider it imperative to ensure adequate European representation in this system."
From: "alan may" <email@example.com>
Date: 3/20/98 1:16pm
Subject: NSI Monopoly
To: The Department of Commerce RE:Discussion Draft
As a small business owner, I have read the Discussion Draft with concern. What my
colleagues and myself had envisioned as a groundbreaking initiative which would bring
the domain name system into the year 2000, disappointed us considerably.
Network Solutions is a monopoly. Anybody can see that. My colleagues and myself
see that. We've had to deal with their awful customer service and ridiculous pricing
for years. They should not be part of this process, yet in the Discussion Draft
they are given a large stake in the future of the Internet. The concerns about competition
are still concerns even if the Draft is implemented.
Choice of domain names is another concern. Is the Internet community to believe
five domains introduced to the Internet is enough? Especially considering the corporations
involved will be able to set their own pricing for their domain name?
If my business had the capital to invest to become one of the registries, my business
would be put in a position of power- like the monopoly position that Network Solutions
currently enjoys- over one domain. Let's say that domain is .web. Since this domain
is lucrative, I would be able to jack up the price to ridiculous proportions; say
$200USD for two years. If I received .nom, however, I doubt it would be as lucrative.
In other words, it would be wise to introduce multiple names, which each registrar
may register for, thus creating a playing field with a bit more room for competition.
Please be sure not to neglect the small business owner when listening to lobbyists
from Network Solutions etc. who have much in the way of monopoly funds to burn on
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From: gary clarke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/20/98 3:42pm
Subject: Scrap the paper
My name is Gary Clarke. I have studied your paper entitled the
"Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses,"
and find nothing that is worthy of my comment. The whole paper needs
to be scrapped.
The gTLD-MOU has set up an adequate solution, and the Council of
Registrars has been working on it for years. Your paper was late, and
left nothing clearly defined. It also foolishly ignored the gTLD-MOU,
which is an unforgivable oversight. As you can see by the commentary
on it, the paper has failed miserably.
Adopt the gTLD-MOU. It has had my support for the last year, and I am
sure it can only improve the Internet.
DO YOU YAHOO!?
Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com
Date: 3/20/98 10:05am
Subject: Re the green paper
Dear Ira Magaziner.
Please consider a better change. As one of the little people
who didn't know the value of a domain name in the past, I as well as
many other have a way to get the name I've always wanted, but
couldn't have due it being taken before I even knew it was there.
Now with the new top level domain names we not only have the equal
chance to get the name we all ways wanted but we have the
opportunity to have a choice in the ending too. The new 7 top-level
domain names make sense and can help categorize the Internet, not
cause chaos but stability.
By reading the comments made by the others it's proven to be what
the internet community is asking for,
Please give us the people who now rely on the Internet, the
opportunity to choose.
Please give us the people who now rely on the internet, the
oppertunity to choose.
Get your free vanity email address at
Date: 3/20/98 10:15am
Subject: Pre-registered CORE Domains
Department of Commerce
Dear Ira Magaziner:
This letter is a reply to the request for comments for the
"Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and
Addresses." I have read this paper and I offer my comments below.
We have domains pre-registered with some of the CORE registrars. If
these names are not entered, we will lose our time, energy and money
invested into advertising for these names. We would respectfully
request that a solution be found in this matter immediately. The
delay in having these domains active on the Internet has been
lengthy for little reason.
Many comments are right about the vagueness of the paper. Other
comments criticize the lack of international involvement. These are
very real objections.
Interfering in a legitimate process is foolish unless that process
is going to hurt the Internet. I am sure the paper is license to
interfere in the process, as it will hurt the Internet. Another
proposal, called the CORE proposal, offers a process that will not
harm the Internet as it currently exists, and expand a thriving
Get your free vanity email address at
From: Rick <email@example.com>
To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" <email@example.com>
Date: 3/20/98 4:52pm
Subject: Discussion Draft
Attention: Ira Magaziner
Please add in ALL 7 new gTLD's. Not only should InterNIC not have a monopoly,
but the new names are desperately needed.
From: "David R. Johnson" <david.johnson@Counsel.COM>
Date: 3/20/98 5:09pm
Subject: DNS Comments
The attached are my comments on the DNS Green Paper, in Word 6 format.
David R. Johnson
March 20, 1998
Comments of David R. Johnson regarding the January 30, 1998 Discussion Draft of the Department of Commerce (A Proposal to Improve Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses, hereafter the "DNS Green Paper")
The DNS Green Paper takes a constructive step forward in the process of developing robust, open and globally accountable private-sector self-governance for the Internet. Now it is time to take additional concrete steps to create an organization that can
(1) receive from the US Government an orderly transfer of any regulatory and operational prerogatives previously in governmental hands, (2) obtain suitable assurances from all net participants, including governments, that it will have their assistance and agreement in carrying out policy oversight functions for address and naming registration issues, and
(3) provide adequate assurances to third parties and to local courts and legislatures that its policy formulation and implementation processes provide adequate levels of transparency, accountability, reliability, due process and protection of important property and liberty interests.
The steps required to establish a new policy oversight organization -- to institutionalize IANA -- must be taken by the private sector. But, contrary to the implication of the title of the DNS Green Paper, the role of this new organization would not merely concern "technical management". Inescapably, the policy oversight apparatus for the naming and address space of the net will decide what terms and conditions may or must be established as minimum (or maximum) requirements for registration and continued use of these resources. As more entities invest heavily in the establishment of businesses and communities that make use of these resources, the policy questions regarding issuance and revocation of registrations will become even more important. In this context, it is vital that the policy oversight organization be both flexible and maximally responsive to the full range of net participants.
The need for flexibility in the face of changing technology and commerce, and the need for accountability to a changing set of internet participants, presents serious organizational challenges. The policy oversight organization must be able, somehow, to change its board membership over time to reflect changing net constituencies and to provide adequate responsiveness to those who feel they are under-represented by any current structure. There must be strict separation between the roles played by policy oversight officials and any for-profit private commercial interests, to prevent conflicts of interest that would undermine confidence in the policy oversight apparatus. The decision-making process must itself be sufficiently open to public view so that all arguments will be heard and the performance of the policy oversight organization can be assessed by all those impacted by its activities. And, finally, the policy oversight apparatus must receive adequate levels of deference from local governments, including protection from undue liability and litigation costs and antitrust challenge, so that it can perform its policy oversight work in a fashion that is responsive to the global net constituency rather than to pressures from local legal regimes.
Because various self-interested factions have been assuming adversarial postures, the Green Paper performs a most useful role by reminding everyone of (1) the need to create concrete institutional mechanisms to which the US Governments and other governments can responsibly defer, (2) the need for such institutions to evolve out of and draw upon the resources of existing internet decision-makers, such as IANA, and (3) the likelihood that a substantial majority of internet participants can in fact find common ground in support of a new, more institutionalized, policy oversight apparatus -- as long as it is globally accountable, responsible, open and transparent in structure. The Green Paper proposes some specific board memberships and structures for the policy oversight apparatus and even some specific resolutions of policy questions such as the relationship between registries and registrars. While these suggestions are useful starting points, they may not be necessary for progress. For example, it may not be necessary (or possible) to form new user-representing organizations to select a particular set of board members for the "new IANA" institution, as a prerequisite for formation of a higher level policy oversight apparatus. To the contrary, any reasonable set of board members and initial policies may be adequate as a starting point, provided that the organizational structure has built into it adequate mechanisms for evolution in the face of change or challenge regarding responsiveness to global net constituencies.
In light of all of the above, this comment includes (1) detailed proposals regarding particular terms and conditions of a charter for the new IANA designed to meet these core challenges of accountability and flexibility, (2) a suggested list of criteria that the US Government (and other governments) should use in determining whether to relinquish any previous or presumptive governmental policy oversight prerogatives to the new IANA organization, and (3) a proposed ratification process by means of which all concerned (governmental and private sector actors) can determine that there is sufficiently widespread agreement to support the new policy oversight apparatus.
I. Steps Towards a Charter that Assures that the New IANA Organization will be Open, Transparent, and Globally Accountable
The initial composition of a board of a newly institutionalized IANA matters much less than the presence of some means to assure inevitably dissatisfied constituencies that they can force the policy oversight organization to respond credibly to complaints that some constituencies are not adequately represented. There will always be questions regarding (1) whether adequate numbers of board seats are available for any particular viewpoint or interest group, and (2) whether the occupants of any particular board seat are adequately and responsively representing the interests that might normally be expected to speak through their voice. The answer to this cannot be to add more and more special purpose board seats. Each board member should be required to serve the interests of the net as a whole, rather than being bound to speak only for a particular constituency. Nor can we force a recall of challenged board members, even if the institutions designating a particular board member could be shown not to be responding adequately to the concerns of the constituents it was originally considered well positioned to represent. Accordingly, we need to develop an adjustment mechanism, akin to a "redistricting" mechanism in the context of traditional democratic geographically-based politics, that requires the new board itself, the ultimate policy oversight authority, to grapple promptly and responsibly with claims that its membership does not adequately reflect the perspectives of those importantly impacted by net policies.
A final and most significant challenge for any charter for a new IANA is to assure that the policy decisions made by a board of directors chosen by net participants are not second-guessed or overridden by local courts or legislatures. Global accountability cannot be assured if a local statute, passed by a country in which the policy oversight board happened to be meet or to have a physical facility, could override the policies established by this legitimate and responsible, contract-based, private-sector-driven policy-making process. Nor could the policy oversight board operate in a globally accountable manner if it could be hauled into a local court on the basis of antitrust claims or on some other theory of liability, solely for doing the job it was created to perform.
In light of the forgoing, the following provisions should be incorporated into any charter for a new IANA:
1. Board membership should be established at the outset in the expectation that the composition of the board will be regularly challenged and adjusted. The adjustment mechanism should take the form of the continuous availability of an open process in which any party may present a petition seeking some specific adjustment to board composition or decision making processes. The charter document itself should require the board to take up such petitions promptly (within one month of presentation) and promptly to decide how to respond (within two months at the outside), thereafter publishing on the net a full record of the internal debate and of the rationale for the Board's decision. The charter would further provide that it is the duty of every board member, and the board as a whole, to rule on all policy issues, including proposed recomposition of the policy board, solely with a view to the best interests of the net as a whole.
2. The members initially selected for the board of the policy oversight operation should be required to have no substantial personal financial stake in any of the policy issues they participate in deciding. The members of the board should also be precluded from simultaneously holding any governmental office or any role in any international inter-governmental organization. The organizations selecting board members at any given time should be precluded by the charter, after an initial five year period, from selecting any board member for a subsequent period of five years. (This "institutional term limit" provision would be designed to assure that the selection mechanisms for the board are continuously renewed, even in the absence of targeted petitions for changes in representation. No single institution should be in the business of selecting members for the policy oversight board on a continuing basis.)
3. All discussions by the board regarding policy matters should be fully reported on the net (and made available for publication by other means.) Subcommittees and executive committees of the board, charged with implementing or delegated to decide particular questions should also be required to report fully and publicly on their activities and on the bases for their decisions. All net participants should be given a readily accessible means of providing proposals and comments on the decisions of the policy oversight body and of any of its delegees.
4. The policy oversight body should be allowed to approve a fee for participation in the domain name registration process, designed to pay for all or part of the policy oversight process. But the new policy board should be precluded by its charter from imposing any fees at levels higher than those needed to sustain the registration and policy oversight process. And the board should be required by its charter, amendment of which would require approval by three quarters of the board, to impose similar "non-profit" limits on fee collection on all registries (but not on registrars).
5. The charter should provide that no board member selected by an organization based in a particular country may participate in board decision-making unless any national governments asserting personal, territorial jurisdiction and rule-making power over the actions of the selecting organization (or over such board member) shall have expressly relinquished (1) any claim that the policy decisions of the new IANA organization are violations of antitrust law or other local law, provided that the operations comply with the charter provisions for openness and transparency and accountability, as set forth above, and (2) any claim that local statutes or court decisions may bind the policy oversight board in the course of its regular policy-making activities. Insofar as protection against such liability or claims in local courts cannot be provided by a particular government in advance, such government may in the alternative provide insurance coverage deemed adequate by the board against such liability or claims, as a condition precedent for participation in the policy oversight body deliberations of board members whose persons or whose selecting organizations are subject to personal, territorial jurisdiction and rule-making powers of such countries. The Charter of the new entity should also provide that it shall not locate any of its physical facilities inside any country that fails to provide the assurances set forth above or otherwise fails to acquiesce in the primacy of the processes that assure accountability of the new policy oversight organization to net participants on a global basis.
II. Criteria for Governmental Deference to the new IANA Organization
The Green Paper commendably calls for prompt development of accountable governance of the domain name system by net participants. But insofar as it remained vague about the applicable criteria for a decision by the US Government to support a new mainstream policy oversight organization, the Green Paper introduces unnecessary uncertainty and unfounded fears regarding the reservation of local regulatory powers. A revised list of criteria, stated in objective form, could hasten the creation of a new policy oversight organization. The revised list should specify that the US Government will take all necessary steps to relinquish any policy oversight role, to provide the liability limiting cooperation specified above, and to urge all other governments to do likewise, when the following conditions are met:
1. A new organization, designed to institutionalize the IANA function and to make it open, transparent and accountable, has been formed.
2. The charter of the new organization provides for flexible and public responses to all petitions for changes in board composition or procedural operations of the policy oversight body.
3. The previous staff of IANA has agreed to participate in the new policy oversight structure and has been incorporated into the new organization.
4. The board of the new organization has approved initial policies that (a) assure due process prior to revocation or failure to renew a domain name registration, (b) protect important security and intellectual property interests, (c) protect the free flow of information over the net and the diversity of the net, (d) assure transparent decision-making and open access to the processes by which policy decisions are made, and (e) provide participants in the mainstream net with competitive and reliable domain name services (and other address and protocol allocation and registration services).
5. Widespread (but not necessarily universal) support for the new mainstream policy oversight apparatus has been indicated by the contractual ratification process described below.
III. Ratification Process
The use of domain names and other net addresses and protocols is now based on contract rather than on any statutory or regulatory regime. Each registrant agrees, in effect, to take and make use of the registered name on the terms and conditions incorporated into a particular registration contract or generally agreed and acted upon by the internet community. Accordingly, the establishment of a more institutionalized policy oversight mechanism for this set of activities can best be grounded on contractual agreements.
Because IANA is already the policy oversight structure that has been incorporated, in effect, by reference in every contract pursuant to which a domain name has been issued, recorded and used, all such contracts may be considered to have included (1) an agreement to abide by the policy decisions of the present IANA, as constituted, and (2) an option to terminate registration in the event that the IANA operations or groundrules so substantially alter the parties' mutual understandings regarding the terms and conditions of registration and use of domain names that the original contract should be subject to revocation. IANA is not itself a party to most such contracts, of course, and even in its interactions with those to whom it has delegated authority to run a registry there has been no occasion, and would have been little incentive, for it to limit its ability to become more institutionalized (or open, transparent and globally accountable).
In consequence, there appears to be no contractual (or other legal or regulatory) barrier to a decision by IANA to institutionalize itself along the lines described above. And, once it were to take these steps, a decision by most registrants of most domain names to leave those registrations in place (and by most registries to continue to do business with IANA and with registrants on the same basis) would, in effect, represent contractual ratification by the most interested parties of that organizational transition of the policy oversight process.
It may well be infeasible and unwise, given both the large number of impacted parties and the emotional level of the debate among those whose personal interests are most intensely impacted by the outcome, to require a new affirmative contractual (much less legislative or regulatory) act as a precondition for treating the participants on the net as bound, prospectively, by the policy decisions of a newly institutionalized IANA. If we were to wait for an express acceptance of any new organizational structure by all concerned, we would only have given increased power to irrational hold-outs -- and we would almost certainly have to wait too long to build on the gains that have already been made towards creation of sensible policies and organizational structures. The US Government should, therefore, be prepared, under appropriate circumstance, to take widespread contractual acquiescence in the formation of a new policy oversight organization to constitute the equivalent of authoritative ratification.
The net was created by a series of unilateral actions by dispersed and diverse parties to adopt particular technical protocols, enter into standard industry contracts, and play various functions in the interdependent collective mechanism that thereby emerged. The central role played by IANA is clearly in need of being institutionalized, in the sense not only of spreading the work among more hands and across an organizational base, but also in the sense of becoming more open, transparent and accountable to a global constituency of net participants.
No local government, not even the US, which has played such a seminal role in promoting and encouraging the net, has the authority unilaterally to impose such an organizational transition. But each government, and particularly the US, has the opportunity to facilitate an orderly transition that is initiated and consummated by means of private-sector contracts, creating a new policy oversight organization with sufficient openness and flexibility.
The US Government can hasten the transition by stating clearly the objective criteria that will be applied as a condition to relinquishment of any government involvement in or objection to this new policy-making apparatus. Other governments, and all contending factions in this sometimes emotional debate, can then decide whether and when and on what conditions to make clear their own support for the new organization.
A secure, responsible and stable policy oversight regime must grow in an orderly way out of the old system -- so the lead in selecting the first seed members of the policy oversight board should be taken by IANA. But almost any reasonably broad selection of initial board members should prove viable, provided that the charter itself contains mechanisms for dealing promptly and fairly and openly with any suggestions for change.
Ultimately, the constraint on potential misuse of the power of a mainstream policy oversight organization is the absence of any legal or contractual prohibition against the establishment of alternative (non-conflicting) domain name or addressing protocols or registration regimes. There is widespread agreement among a "silent majority" of net users that we should seek to preserve universal addressability. But, ironically, the freedom of dissatisfied factions to "break the net" by creating competing regimes may prove to be the best means of preserving a mainstream and unified address space, by providing a plausible check on tyranny or irresponsibility on the part of the net "powers that be" at any given time.
By encouraging the current policy structure to refine and institutionalize its processes, by promptly relinquishing its regulatory and operational prerogatives once the key conditions of openness, transparency and accountability are met, and by steadfastly preserving its view that policy governance for the net should stem from decentralized, contract-based mechanisms, the US Government will have played an enormously valuable role in facilitating the growth of global electronic commerce and community.
From: "Jeffrey masters" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/20/98 4:23pm
Subject: CORE Solution
A solution that is safer to the Internet society is the CORE solution.
The Green Paper allows no international government involvement, will take too long
to implement, sets up a toothless non-profit organization, and can only continue
the Network Solutions monopoly.
The CORE solution is internationally recognized, is ready to begin now, sets up a
powerful body of representative stakeholders including non-profits and individuals,
and will put Network Solutions in the arena of real competition.
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From: "Jeff B. Richards" <email@example.com>
To: "Comments" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/20/98 5:04pm
Subject: ISA Green Paper Comment Submission to NTIA
March 20, 1998
The Honorable Clarence L. Irving
Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director,
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Department of Commerce - Room 4898
Washington, DC 20230
Dear Mr. Irving:
On behalf of the Interactive Services Association (³ISA²), the leading trade association representing the consumer-focused Internet online industries, I submit the following comments in response to the administration¹s Proposal on Management of Internet Names and Addresses (³Green Paper²). Our members, who are focused on growing the consumer-based marketplace for Internet online services, recognize that the continued growth and promise of the medium hinges upon the level of trust and confidence consumers have in the medium. We therefore appreciate the administration¹s work, embodied in the Green Paper, to resolve this important issue in the interests of both consumers and the Internet online industry.
The ISA believes that the Green Paper is, on whole, a balanced and comprehensive document for resolving the current domain name problems which threaten to retard the growth of the medium. It is apparent that the Internet Interagency Task Force, chaired by Ira Magaziner, shares the ISA¹s conviction that consumer trust and security are vital to the success of the Internet. The Task Force has struck the delicate balance between ensuring network reliability, security and efficiency while maintaining a sensitivity to the possibility for consumer confusion and frustration.
The ISA strongly applauds the care taken in crafting this document. Further, the ISA enthusiastically endorses the process which yielded it. The achievement of this paper is due, in no small measure, to the inclusive manner in which administration conducted the process. During this process, the ISA has worked closely with the administration to provide a framework for industry dialogue and communication. In July, the administration, industry representatives and stakeholders shared ideas and concerns in the Forum on Internet Domain Names co-hosted by the ISA, the Information Technology Association of America and the Center for Democracy and Technology. The ISA looks forward to continued cooperation and communication demonstrated in the domain name process.
The ISA has a diverse membership, representing all facets of the Internet online marketplace. To that end, the views expressed in this letter do not represent the position of each and every ISA member on this critical issue of Internet governance. With that in mind, the ISA respectfully offers the following comments regarding the Green Paper and its implementation.
1. Trademarks -- The ISA believes that it is important for the health of the Internet to ensure that the rights of trademark holders are fully taken into account in the development of any domain name management system. In the physical world, trademarks serve as sign posts for consumers seeking to purchase the goods or services in which they have confidence and trust. Trademarks as signposts are even more important in the ever expanding environment of the Internet. Therefore, the ISA believes strongly that considerable effort should be made to address the rights of trademark holders in the context of domain name administration. In order to ensure that the relationships built between consumers and established, trademarked brand names in the physical world will extend to the Internet, we submit the following recommendations.
To the extent that disputes between trademark and domain name holders can be resolved without recourse to litigation and before a disputed name is commercially used on the Internet, all parties benefit. The construct for the international administration of the Internet should include a process which heads off costly and time-consuming domain name disputes before they start. The ISA supports a 30 day waiting period for domain name registration during which the name would be published publicly for purposes for review by trademark holders with superior rights. Settling trademark disputes before the domain name in question is assigned will make the process less protracted and costly. The ISA suggests that in the event a domain name dispute occurs, the parties should be required to work out their differences in an online dispute resolution forum or other proceeding in a time period of no more than 90 days. The processes recommended above should be consistent throughout all of the domain name registries.
In addition, consumers have particular relationships with famous marks. Consumers are most likely to be disillusioned if these famous marks do not lead to the expected sites. Thus the owners of famous marks should be allowed to register their famous marks in all the generic Top Level Domains.
2. Private, Not-For-Profit Corporation -- With regard to the administration¹s proposal to establish ³a private, not-for-profit corporation (³new corporation²) to manage the coordinated² administrative functions of the domain name system, the ISA feels strongly that the new corporation should appropriately reflect of the needs and concerns of Internet users (i.e. consumers). We suggest that the administration provide for representation on the new corporation by a group which prioritizes the growth of the consumer Internet online marketplace. As an association comprised of responsible and consumer-focused Internet online companies, the ISA is particularly responsive to consumer needs and concerns and would welcome the opportunity to add such a balance to the new corporation¹s representation.
Until the new corporation is established and assumes existing functions held by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), the ISA recommends that the administration ensure that IANA is similarly responsive to consumer needs and concerns. At the very least, IANA should establish a convenient and efficient process through which consumers and the industry can voice their concerns and suggestions regarding domain name administration.
The ISA is confident that the potential for growth of the Internet online industry is enormous. We believe that by working with the administration, Congress and regulators we can meet the challenges presented by the growth of the medium. ISA¹s members and I are willing to assist you in any way possible to ensure that the tremendous work done on the domain name issue continues forward. Please do not hesitate to call on the ISA as a resource and an ally.
Jeff B. Richards
Interactive Services Association
8403 Colesville Road Suite 865
Silver Spring Maryland 20910 USA
+1 301 495-4955 voice
+1 301 495-4959 fax
+1 800 204-0994 page
From: "James Wright" <email@example.com>
Date: 3/20/98 6:17pm
Subject: Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses
I think you folks are about to create a process of massive confusion
and disarray. Already I anticipate losing my domain for nonpayment
because they'll forget to bill me and I won't know where to send a
payment when they don't.
Will we have to sign our life away and agree to use "clipper" with
this arrangement? Sounds to me like a setup to incorporate a bill
that can't be passed. Here is that perfect private party no one can
do without to hold the magic key. It will be likened to buying a
motherboard without the processor... or a computer without a
monitor. Added value.
Of course, those "added value" particulars will be incorporated in a
necessary manner to raise the prices to unnecessary levels.
*** "Register your Domain for $50.00 - Another $2,000.00 will allow
you to use it! We will submit the registration for only $299.95!!!"
With all this supposed self-policing "competition" you're creating,
I'm sure connecting to a domain will be like trying to make an AT&T
phone call from a Frontier payphone. Not to mention the excuse for
even more "spam".
This is the only thing in recent memory that Government has been
able to keep simple without messing up and insulting half the
nation... but it is the first thing you want to change? There's
something very strange about that.
If it has to be done, at least follow the KISS principle. Privatize
Internic and leave things well enough alone; these are people who
have managed a non-entity through massive growth, they deserve our
applause. I can't think of any group of people nor any company
short of Microsoft who could have pulled that off.
I've followed this for several years and can honestly say that the
only people who want to change things are the people who think they
can gain money and prestige from it; and when they come back to
earth we will see Neglect and the precedence for it to be changed
hLHD, hDIM, MIDI, AIAI, IPSP, HLC, ORCB
Scottsdale, Arizona 85261-5065 USA
From: "David Breese" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/20/98 6:59pm
Subject: Domain Name System changes
Comments on the proposed changes to the administration of DNS:
1. The addition of new TLDs seems like an acceptable idea as it
could help reduce the size of some of the larger TLDs
(e.g. "com.") However, the number of TLDs must stay reasonable.
Allowing a company to have it's own TLD (e.g. "ibm." as a TLD)
seems unreasonable. Allowing the number of TLDs to increase too
far will make a flat domain space instead of the heirarchy that
DNS now uses.
2. The idea the the DNS registry is a monopoly (as some have stated)
seems incorrect. There could be competition in DNS reqistry now.
I could create a domain name (e.g. ndir.com) and sell subdomains
of this domain (e.g. ibm.ndir.com) at a lower price than $50
per year. New TLDs are not needed for this.
3. The drive for new TLDs seems to be that a few companies can't
get the service that they feel is right or would like to
provide services that currently aren't available. The Internet
as it exists today is not simply a commercial venture, but a coop
which include government and other entities. To make dramatic
changes in the way DNS is administered for the benifit of a few
companies would be wrong. Minor changes are acceptable.
4. If new registries are allowed to create one or more TLDs, these
TLDs must remain public property and not copywrited or owned
by the registry. That way, if a registry goes out of business,
these TLDs could be moved to another registry without legal
property battles. This protects an entity that has a domain name
registered under that TLD if the registry goes out of business.
5. To promote true competition, DNS would have to be modified. Instead
of having a primary and secondary servers, all servers would act
as peers, thus each would be primary for a "portion" of a domain.
For example, two different servers could have part of the "com."
TLD and each would be secondary for the other part of the zone.
In this fashion, a new TLD "new." could be coadministered by two
different registries and an entity desiring a domain name of
"ibm.new" could chose which registry they want to have run their
domain. Item number 4 (above) would follow directly as a result.
Conflicts between different registries attempting to assign the
same domain to different entities would have to go through a
David Breese email@example.com
WAN Support Services 512-438-4479
Texas Department of Human Services
Date: 3/20/98 8:53pm
Subject: IANA's Comments on Docket No. 980212036-8036-01
Comments of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) in regards
to the Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and
Information Administration 15 CFR Chapter XXIII
[Docket No. 980212036-8036-01]
Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses:
Proposed Rule ("The Green Paper")
20 March 1998
We commend the United States government on its "Green Paper" which
formalizes the need to improve the technical management of Internet
names and addresses, along with the transfer of Internet technical
management functions from the current government-sponsored agreement.
In addition, we concur with the proposal to open the domain name
system for competition while maintaining the stability of the
There is an unambiguous need for technical coordination of the
Internet. The root name server system and the unique assignment of
Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and numbers must be maintained for
the global Internet to function.
Historically, IANA developed as the central authority for these
functions as an outgrowth of United States government-sponsored
research which fostered the development of the Internet. It is time
for that organization to evolve.
We propose the following for the new IANA:
o the new organization should be the central authority for root server
functions and Internet Protocol address and number assignment
o the new organization should be a separate, not-for-profit entity
o the new organization should be industry-supported with consensus
governance (maintaining a functioning tradition of Internet
o the board of directors should represent the global Internet and its
o the new organization should develop and maintain the criteria for
registries and registrars with the consensus of the Internet community
We applaud the results of the International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC)
and the development of the generic Top Level Domain Memorandum of
We maintain that the preferred evolution at this time is toward a
non-profit registry with multiple, competitive registrars.
We believe that new gTLDs can and should be introduced to the system
in a controlled manner by community consensus.
We see the trademark issue as a complex one best addressed by experts
in that field and respect the work of the IAHC and Policy Oversight
Committee (POC) in this area.
We believe that the US government has a key role in managing the
transition of the current operation of the COM, NET and ORG gTLDs by
the Internic to a new model of operation consistent with the
principles being established for competition in domain name
We agree that root server security and maintenance can be improved. In
order to evolve to a standard operational model, we suggest the
o performance requirements
o contracts for operation
o criteria for root server site selection
o redistribution according to objective criteria
o maintenance by third-party service organizations
We believe that discussion of the US domain should be pursued
independently of the overall management structure for the Internet or
the discussion of gTLDs.
We note that under the current US domain structure and delegations the
General Services Administration already has the authority to
transition all xxx.GOV domain names to xxx.FED.US domain names and all
yyy.MIL domain names to yyy.DOD.FED.US domain names.
We believe that the root server functions should be moved as soon as
the new organization is incorporated. We suggest that competitive
domain name registrations begin using the Council of Registrars (CORE)
model immediately thereafter.
This response is based on our reading of all public responses (to
date) to the "Green Paper", and is subject to revision based on
further comments and consensus from the global Internet community. We
are ready to move forward with the new IANA non-profit organization.
[PostScript version also available]
From: "Peter R. Rony" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/20/98 6:37pm
Subject: Did I make the petition?
Dr. Peter R. Rony