INTERNET SOCIETY OF NEW ZEALAND INCORPORATED Comments of the Internet Society of New Zealand Inc. in regards to the US Department Of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration 15 CFR Chapter XXIII [Docket No. 980212036-8036-01] "Green Paper" 1. The Internet Society of New Zealand Inc. 1.1. The Internet Society of New Zealand Incorporated ("ISOCNZ") is a voluntary non-profit association of organisations and individuals with an interest in the development and management of the Internet within New Zealand. It was established in 1995 to foster coordinated and cooperative development of the Internet in New Zealand. It also works to safeguard the Internet's philosophy of open and uncensored exchange of information. 1.2. ISOCNZ is not part of nor funded by Government, although some Government agencies and employees are members and councilors. 1.3. ISOCNZ currently has no affiliation with The Internet Society (ISOC). It is a completely autonomous organisation. 1.4. ISOCNZ has responsibility for management of the country code Top Level Domain, ".nz", by authority delegated from IANA. 1.5. The ISOCNZ Council, elected by its members, formulates policy and undertakes other initiatives in respect of the .nz domain, the second level domains within .nz and the allocation of names within .nz. The policies can be found at www.isocnz.org.nz. 1.6. ISOCNZ has formed a separate company, "The New Zealand Internet Registry Limited", trading as Domainz, to carry out the "registry" function for the .nz domain. Domainz performs that function on a commercial basis, directed by the policies specified by ISOCNZ and therefore within the policy framework derived from NSF, IANA, the RFC's and other rules, which govern the internet generally. 1.7. ISOCNZ is a leading commentator on Internet issues, representing member views to politicians, industry figures, and the media in New Zealand. 1.8. The email address for further information regarding this submission is firstname.lastname@example.org 2. Green Paper 2.1. ISOCNZ regards the "Green Paper" as a positive step in the direction of placing the management and infrastructure of the Domain Name System and IP address allocation under an international authority. The designation of this body as a not-for-profit organisation is one that we fully support. 2.2. ISOCNZ is pleased to be given the opportunity to comment on the "Green Paper". The paper outlines much of the way we ourselves have set-up structures for the management of the NZ Domain Name space (ccTLD) over the last 2 years. We would like draw on our experience to make some comment on parts of the paper for further consideration. 3. Submission overview. 3.1. ISOCNZ has identified a number of problems and issues in the proposal as circulated in the discussion draft. For ease of reference, the main points are summarised immediately below, and then more detailed comments follow. 3.1.1. The authority of the new-IANA needs to be clearly defined and continuity maintained throughout and after the transition period to the new organisation 3.1.2. There is a strong focus on issues relating to the US with insufficient attention being paid to non-US Internet participants. 3.1.3. Greater consideration must be given to the maintenance of ccTLD's. Consideration must also be given to those countries, which are not able to operate their own ccTLD registry function. 3.1.4. The trademark issue that is a major point of the green paper is a red herring and draws attention away from the overriding management issues. 3.1.5. The .us domain should be promoted strongly for use within the US by US only companies, leaving the gTLD's to organisations with genuine international presence. As a part of this, the .mil and .gov domains that are solely for US organisations should be moved into the .us domain. 3.1.6. The document is confusing in its use of the words 'registrars' and 'registries'. The clear term for 'registrars' may be 'approved registration agencies', with registrars/registries being the underlying databases and their managers. 3.1.7. The structure of the new management board should be determined by a strong international consensus, not by US Government dictate. 4. Comments on the Proposal 4.1. ISOCNZ's primary concern. 4.1.1. The green paper did not specifically address the policies and procedures for the management of ccTLDs, but focuses closely on the gTLDs. ccTLDs are of major importance to all non-US based Internet users and organisations and the management of them needs to be accorded an equal level of consideration in the proposed new structure. Conversely a mechanism must be provided for users in all countries to have a single point of access to any new gTLDs. 4.1.2. From the perspective of ISOCNZ, the most important shortcoming in the proposal is the lack of an explicit mechanism to preserve the existing delegated authorities and management structures associated with ccTLDs. These authorities and structures, which have been put in place by virtue of the authorities of NSF and IANA must be preserved. Specifically, it is important that ISOCNZ and other ccTLD registries are able to carry out their existing functions without disruption and with legitimate authority, unless and until an appropriate procedure is adopted for implementing any changes to those arrangements. 4.1.3. In particular, there should be no doubt where the ultimate authority resides for (a) granting exclusive franchises to the managers of ccTLDs; and (b) control and operation of what is currently known as the IANA root zone. 4.1.4. ccTLD registries will continue to have the same powers and authorities as before, granted by an existing or a new entity which clearly has the powers to do so; 4.1.5. Any changes to those arrangements must be controlled by suitable consultation and change control procedures. 4.1.6. If part of the objective in setting up the new entity is to create a more formal (probably contractual) framework to link the parties involved in managing and using the internet, then that framework must be equally explicit in dealing with the country code domains. 4.1.7. Consideration needs to be made to ensure that countries unable to maintain their own management structure are able to be supported/fostered under a delegated authority until such time as they are able to maintain this for themselves 4.2. There are several other issues which less directly affect ISOCNZ in the performance of its management functions, but which do concern all users of the Internet and are important for the stability and sound management of the Internet worldwide. The main issues of concern are: 4.2.1. The proposal does not sufficiently reflect the international character of the net. While it incorporates elements of US legal and institutional framework, it does not deal adequately with matters which will fall outside the US domestic jurisdiction; 4.2.2. The proposal perpetuates the US preoccupation with trademark issues. While these are important, they are secondary to the proper management of the addressing and naming systems, which are central to the correct function of Internet. The parties involved in those disputes should be responsible for dealing with them, as with other transborder issues, such as copyright, taxation, advertising standards and pornography; 4.2.3. The proposal to create new generic TLD's will exacerbate the problem of name confusion, as name claimants seek to register their preferred names in multiple domains. In isolation from attention to the ".us" domain it will lead to a proliferation of US names in domains which should be international. It would be better for the US to rationalise the .us domain, before any new gTLDs are created. 184.108.40.206. The .us domain should be promoted strongly for use within the US by US only companies. This would relieve some of the pressure on the gTLD space. As a part of this, the .mil and .gov domains that are solely for US organisations should be moved into the .us domain. RFC 2146 provides a framework for this already. 220.127.116.11. The gTLDs would be more appropriately used for organisations requiring an international presence. Rather than mandating the creation of an ad hoc set of new top level domains, ISOCNZ would recommend the development of a policy for the creation of new top level domains by consensus. ISOCNZ has established a model for the creation of new second level domains within the '.nz' domain, and we would refer the Committee to our web page that outlines this, as a model for creation of new global top level domains. (http://www.mcs.vuw.ac.nz/~hine/ISOCNZ/DNS/Change2LD.html) 4.2.4. Trademark Issues 18.104.22.168. We can see no particular reason why those who manage the Internet naming system should become involved in disputes between trademark holders and those who may or may not infringe trademark rights. Use of the Internet across national boundaries creates the potential of infringing a range of other rights including copyright, advertising standards, tax rules and censorship laws. 22.214.171.124. We commend to you the approach taken in New Zealand, some (but not all) elements of which seem to be reflected in the discussion draft. 126.96.36.199. As a first principle, anyone who wishes to use or publish a name or any other material on the Internet should take responsibility for the consequences. If their action amounts to an infringement of trademark (or any other rights), that should be a matter between the Internet user and the trademark holder or person whose rights are allegedly infringed. To ensure some accountability we suggest that: 188.8.131.52.1. Every name applicant must indemnify the registry for any consequences which follow from the use of the name or other material. 184.108.40.206.2. There is no reason why trademark holders should have to rely on the applicant's choice of forum. The choice of law and forum should be with the parties involved; 220.127.116.11.3. Name applicants should be required to provide sufficient information, for publication, to ensure that any trademark claimant can identify them and take steps if an infringement occurs; 18.104.22.168.4. There may be scope for some voluntary dispute resolution mechanism, though we do not believe that is a responsibility of the top-level registries. Such mechanisms only work as far as the parties are willing to submit to them. 4.2.5. International makeup of the new board 22.214.171.124. It is very important to the continuing growth of the Internet that the managing board represents a spectrum of interests internationally. A mechanism must be put in place to allow direct input or representation from ccTLD managers. 126.96.36.199. ISOCNZ believe that the makeup of the new-IANA should be determined by international public discussion in public forum. 188.8.131.52. It is much more important that the new-IANA be responsive to the various interests and needs on the internet. Users must have an acceptable set of procedures and remedies, and a clear statement of the terms on which the various parties are contracting for management of the net. 5. Conclusion Support the recognition of the need for smooth and ordered transition. Seek recognition of the needs of managers of ccTLDs. The new-IANA must have international acceptance. The .us domain should be sorted out before introducing new gTLDs to avoid repetition of current problems.
From: "Robert F. Connelly" <email@example.com>
To: NTIA Green Paper Comments <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/21/98 7:01pm
Subject: Comments on Green Paper
To Whom it May Concern:
Appendix 1, "Registrar requirements", makes no mention of Warehousing and
cybersquatting. An important feature of the requirements of the CORE-MoU is
that CORE Registrars are *strictly prohibited* from warehousing or
cybersquatting, specifically "registering SLDs for their own account or for
accounts of an Affiliate for the purpose of trafficking in SLDs for sale,
resale or transfer to applicants." (Article 5 (j)). CORE believes that such a
provision is essential to the self governance of the Internet. The absence of
such a provision from the BP is a serious fault.
If Registrars were to traffic in SLDs, there would be cases of "front running"
in which a Registrar would register (block) a name in anticipation of a request
from a client. Further, Registrars would be in a commanding position to
register for highly desirable SLDs at the minimum cost, risking no more than
the charge levied by the Registry. The potential economic return can be very
Robert F. Connelly
Internet Council of Domain Name Registrars (CORE), gTLD-MoU
Alan W. Hanson, Chair (USA) <email@example.com>
Trevor Hales Deputy-Chair (Australia) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Robert F. Connelly (Japan) <email@example.com>
Leni Mayo (Australia) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Siegfried Langenbach (Germany) <email@example.com>
Ivan Pope (United Kingdom) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Werner Staub (Switzerland) <email@example.com>
Executive List: <COREfirstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/22/98 10:45pm
Subject: Green Paper comments
Dear Mr Magaziner,
Attached are some of my own personal comments regarding the Green Paper.
APIA comments will be posted tomorow. We are still awaiting membership
approval before submitting.
Laina Raveendran Greene
PERSONAL COMMENTS FROM LAINA RAVEENDRAN GREENE, SINGAPORE
I write the following personal comments from being involved as:
Founder of the Asia Pacific Policy and Legal (APPLe) Forum, which was founded in January 1996 for which I am Chair. APPLe is still in its formative stages of development and functions today more as a mailing list and a series of face to face meetings during INET and APRICOT.
Secretary General of the Asia & Pacific Internet Association. International Advisory Group member of the PECC Telecommunications Working Group.
Advisory Board member to the Asia Pacific Networking Group (APNG). ISOC member.
Former policy advisor to APNIC.
These comments are my own, and should in no way bind the organizations and members I am associated with.
Applaud open consultation and rough consensus process
I would like to start off by commending the US Government for launching a very open process of consultation before reaching decision on these very key issues. While there may be many in the Internet world who do not feel it is the place of the US government to be involved in this process, whether we like it or not, reality is the US government is THE legitimate body that has to make such key decisions. As was pointed out in the paper, "as a legacy, major components of the domain name system are still performed by or subject to agreements with agencies of the US government.
Yes, I do acknowledge that de facto the Internet is now truly global and that many people around the world has made it work, and not the US government alone. However, de jure standpoint, they still "own" the issue. In fact, IANA has also publicly acknowledged this by using the defense that they are but a subcontractor of the US government. I commend the US government for officially declaring this position and for trying to hand off this "control" to a more international private not-for-profit body. The Internet has evolved and grown into a new animal, and so should IANA evolve to reflect this evolution.
There has been other comments about how the Internet works by rough consensus. Yes, it does and in fact I feel that the process of having a Request for Comments from last August and now this Green Paper as a draft paper for consultation only, is a very good process to develop rough consensus. In fact this method has more legitimacy and rough consensus, than the process we saw with the IAHC.
In my opinion, the IAHC process, consensus building was built after the fact, when people were being asked to sign the gTLD MOU and to help improve on it. While I appreciated the fact that criticisms translated into amendments, many changes seem to be Band-Aid only to address criticisms raised. We seem now left not knowing what the original signatories signed on to. Many new amendments have been adopted without new signatures. To me that is an after the fact rough consensus and lacks legitimacy. Further confusion and lack of legitimacy with the POC/CORE process is caused by the fact that signatories to the MOU may be different from signatories to the CORE, which again may be different to signatories to Procedures to implement the ACP. Yet these different signatories amend agreements which affect other signatories, a rather strange legal setup. In fact, this would certainly not meet the need mentioned in the Green Paper which points out that "Without changes, a proliferation of lawsuits could lead to chaos" since the POC/CORE structure opens itself to many potential lawsuits such as antitrust given the monopoly of CORE.
I do empathize, however, that many people thinking the IAHC process was THE legitimate process, has now put down money to become CORE registrars. They may suffer monetary losses from the new approach and to a large extent the US government is to blamed for this for not having taken a position on the IAHC earlier. Nevertheless, I also commend the Green Paper for not succumbing to the commercial pressures of CORE registrars, and favoring CORE over the other registries such as ALTERNIC or eDNS. To me, the fact that CORE and POC were not specifically mentioned, did not mean that they were ignored. Rather it meant that they were not being preferred over the others.
It appears to me from the Green Paper, that CORE not just NSI is being asked to compete with other registries. In other words, competition is introduced at both the registry and registrar level. This in fact is not against the spirit of CORE, since I have been notified over and over again by CORE participants, that CORE is not a monopoly. That it is only a monopoly over the 7 TLDs, while as new TLDs are formed, there can be new registries formed for these new TLDs to compete with CORE. If that is the case, then what is the difference between the Green Paper and CORE, - the only difference is that instead of 7TLDs, each registry will have monopoly over only 1TLD.
In fact, overall the Green Paper seems to try to please as wide an interest group as possible, which we all know, compromises will never satisfy everyone. From a due process point of view however, I think this is fair.
PRINCIPLES AND ACTION ITEMS
1. Stability and transitioning IANA over.
The time has come for the US government to publicly declare its "ownership of the issues based on legacy where major components of domain name and IP addresses are still performed by or are subject to agreements with agencies of the US government." The time has come to evolve a new structure that better reflects the globalization and commercialization of the Internet.
I commend the fact that to ensure stability and continuity, the Green Paper calls for the gradual "transfer of existing IANA functions, the root system and the appropriate databases to this new not-for-profit organization." I also think it is a very good idea to keep on the good people from IANA who has kept the Internet running to date, and agree that "the current IANA staff will move to this new organization to provide continuity and expertise throughout the period of time it takes to establish the new organization".
However, while I may agree that a CEO with a background in the corporate sector may be useful, I feel that as a not-for-profit coordinated function, it also requires someone who will not just look at bottom line efficiencies but also perform the custodianship of these coordinated functions. This will ensure fairness and equitable access to all in the Internet community rather than bottomline guidelines only. Also, while I agree that US government policy oversight is necessary to assure stability, I think there should be clear criteria laid out as to when would the US government pull out. In other words, under what conditions would the US government pull out before the year 2000. This would ensure that the US government not be seen to hang on longer than needed.
2. Competition and Transition Plan
I agree with the distinctions made in the Green Paper between coordinated and competitive functions. For competitive functions, I agree that "market mechanisms that support competition and consumer choice should drive the technical management of the Internet because it will promote innovation, preserve diversity, and enhance user choice and satisfaction."
Not being an expert in whether one registry is better than many, I shall abstain from commenting on this. All I would say is that I commend that Green Paper for trying to be fair and not chose one registry over others. By not mentioning CORE specifically in the paper, they have ensured that other registries that exists to date will get a fair chance to compete in the new environment.
What is important to me however, is that rather than coming up with a transition plan to have 5 new registries to compete on the 5 new TLDs, the US government should concentrate on making NSI a not-for-profit organization with cost-based pricing, etc. and prepare it for competition. In other words, before creating new competition make sure that there is a level playing field first.
Then the decision to have competing registries, the number of new TLDs etc. should lie with the new private not-for-profit organization. This way, there would be more time to study the various issues such as the suitable number of TLDs, whether new gTLDs are indeed necessary, how should competition be introduced etc. The new organization, if truly representative of stakeholders will be in a much better position also to make such decisions.
Meanwhile, therefore the addition of new TLDs should be frozen to such time that these decisions are made. The argument that the transition plan is there to meet CORE registrars waiting to make money is not reason enough to speed things along. Allowing these new TLDs to come on board as transition, ties the hands of the new entity and it will inherit more problems than exists today. Not a wise way to move forward.
3. Private, Bottom-Up Coordination and the Organization and Process recommended
I agree that there are many functions in this issue of Governance, such as the "management of number addresses that is best done on a coordinated basis." I also agree that "As Internet names increasingly have commercial value, the decision to add new top-level domains cannot continue to be made on an ad hoc basis by entities or individuals that are not formally accountable to the Internet community." As was pointed out in the Green Paper, "Many commercial interests, staking their future on the successful growth of the Internet, are calling for a more formal and robust management structure." And that "the traditional means of organizing its technical functions need to evolve as well."
Given this concept, I support the idea of creating a not-for-profit corporation "to manage the coordinated functions in a stable and open institutional framework. The new corporation should operate as a private entity for the benefit of the Internet as a whole." In other words, I agree that the new organization should "derive legitimacy from the participation of key stakeholders".
I also agree that "the new corporation should be fair, open and pro-competitive, protecting against the capture by a narrow group of stakeholders. Its decision making should be sound and transparent, the bases for its decisions should be recorded and made publicly available." I agree that "super-majority voting or consensus requirement may be useful" and "its governing body should evolve to reflect the changes in the constituency of Internet stakeholders," etc. I also note that a Board structure to have members from around the world, a board representing various interest groups and to be funded by domain name registries and regional IP registries, is commendable.
As long as the new organization has legitimacy, has stakeholder participation, and has open and pro-competitive processes, it will minimize successful law suits against it. This will take time to do it right, and I am not sure that the September 1998 deadline is a realistic one. Meanwhile, however, I do not agree with others that the IAHC/POC/CORE process meets these requirements. I also do not agree that ISOC is representative of the world Internet community. It represents its members, but there are many other stakeholders who are not members of ISOC. I am myself a member of ISOC, which represents around 6000 to 10,000 professionals in a Internet population in the millions. I am also involved in other groups which represent other stakeholders of the Internet, such as business users.
I do however, have some reservations about the Green Paper. The concept of leaving this as a purely bottom up approach may not work on certain parts of the world. While this is the way the US may operate, in other parts of the world governments play a major role or influence in what may be considered commercial or private decisions. I am not suggesting that governments be a part of this new entity and its governing structure, but rather than there needs to be some formal mechanism whereby this new entity is recognized and blessed by the governments around the world. In many parts of the world, especially in Asia, private sector initiatives need government recognition to be successful. Otherwise, it can open itself to being "nationalized" or open to lawsuits or interference.
The other concern I have is with respect to incorporating the new entity under US law. While I agree that any of the existing persons and structures are in the US, and while it may be so that the US may have very good not-for-profit laws, I tend to agree with Mr Izumi Aizu from that there should be an objective study done to see if this is so.
Incorporating it in the US could mean that US trademark law will overrule trademark laws around the world. This may lead to US trademark holders having a superior right to that of others from around the world. Also US dilution laws may apply very strictly, thereby reducing the scalability of domain names for emerging economies and new entrants from around the world, in favor of the big US MNCSs. Domain names may be used as trademarks but its infringements should never be assumed. More study is required on the application of US laws to issues governing IP addresses and domain names, before we end up giving preference to US industry over others.
4. Representation and Board structure
I commend that fact that efforts have been taken to ensure that the new entity, while may be in the US, "will be funded by domain name registries and regional IP registries" and "have and report to a board of directors from around the world." As was pointed out in the Green Paper, that the Internet has become a truly international medium for commerce, education and communication and its governing structures have to evolve to reflect this change.
In this light, I am very pleased to see the attempt by the Green Paper to ensure that "the board of directors for the new corporation should be balanced to equitably represent the interests of IP number registries, domain name registries, domain name registrars, the technical community, and Internet users (commercial, not-for-profit and individuals.)" Having users balance the other interests is indeed a good idea. The problem however would lie in how these representatives are selected, and by whom they will be selected. Laying out these criteria will be very necessary to ensure true representation and avoid bickering among groups. For example, in the Asia Pacific region alone we have APNG, APIA, APPLe, APNIC, and now possibly the creation of APCERT, APDNS, etc. Which of these groups will have representation on this new Board, or will we have to decide this issue among ourselves.
Also, while the Green Paper acknowledges ARIN, APNIC, RIPE, and IAB, it seems to imply that the other groups are to be created, i.e.domain name registry and registrar organizations and user organizations. I feel that instead, there should be criteria laid out to see if any existing groups meet this requirement and has the legitimacy of their stakeholders, and if not then create new organizations. The new organizations that are to be created by stakeholders require time. Again, the September deadline would seem unrealistic.
Another concern I have is that the Green Paper focuses on gTLDs. There is some recognition to ccTLDs or nTLDs, when it says "By contrast, existing national registries will continue to administer country-code top-level domains if these national governments seek to assert those rights. Changes in the registration process for these domains are up to the registries administering them and their respective national governments." While this seems to put them on a separate category, I am of the opinion that they too may need to have a voice in the new entity. They could organize themselves on a regional basis and have a voice throughout these regional organizations. I do not think ccTLDs should be excluded from the process or at least things should be clear whether they are or not.
The Trademark Dilemma
I agree with the Green Paper that domain names should not be assumed to be trademarks. That there is infringement only where "a trademark is unlawfully used as a domain name, consumers may be misled about the source of the product or service offered on the Internet, " and damages is suffered. A balance has to be struck between trademark holders rights and needs of the Internet community. While arguments on trademark hijacking are given as reason to support equating domain names to trademarks, reverse hijacking can also be dangerous.
Given the fact, that while dilution laws may make some instances clear cut for famous marks, the majority of cases are not clear cut. This is especially so since domain names are global while trademark law is territorial based. This is also given the fact that trademarks are specifically tied to products and services, not to the name itself. Given these uncertainties, it is clear that registries and registrars should not get into the business of deciding whether infringements have in fact occurred. They should act merely as neutral list servers and leave infringement decisions to the appropriate authorities such as the courts.
It is with this principle in mind that I disagree with the following:
n "to deter the pirating of domain names, the registry could also require applicants to certify that it knows of no entity with superior rights in the domain name it seeks to register."
The registry nor the applicant is in a position to decide superior rights. In many countries even company registrars allow for company name registrations based only on names of other companies and not on trademarked names."
n "Mechanisms that allow for on-line dispute resolution could provide an inexpensive and efficient alternative to litigation for resolving disputes between trademark owners and domain name registrants. A swift dispute resolution process could provide for the temporary suspension of a domain name registration if an adversely affected mark holder objects within a short time, e.g. 30 days of the initial registration."
I do not agree that registries or registrars should be in the business of dispute settlement. There are many commercial as well as not-for-profit mediation and arbitration centers available out there. These can be used. They should be used competitively, rather than giving preference only to one over the others as the POC/CORE process has. There they give preference to WIPO*s procedures and create their own under the ACP. This is not the right approach.
I also do not agree that there should be any suspension, temporary or otherwise, until clear infringement has been shown by an appropriate authority. The registry and registrar should only act on the basis of a court decision or arbitrator decision. To suspend would be to favor the trademark holder over the domain name holder, which could lead to unfairness and unnecessary hardships. On the Internet, for a business that depends on the Internet suspension for even a few days can be detrimental, especially when in the end it is shown to have a right over the name. It will then have its reputation at stake as well. To take this approach, will also take the presumption that domain names equates to trademarks, a presumption that should not be made but proven.
"Trademark holders have expressed concern that domain name registrants in faraway places may be able to infringe their rights with no convenient jurisdiction available in which the trademark owner could file suit to protect those rights. At the time of registration, registrants could agree that, in the event of a trademark dispute involving the name registered, jurisdiction would lie where the registry is domiciled, where the registry database is maintained, or where the "A" root server is maintained.
Again, I ask why are things done at the convenience of the trademark holder over that of the domain name holder. Are you not taking the presumption that domain names equal to trademark automatically. Why should not jurisdiction be based on normal conflict of interests laws or nexus relationships, such as the place of the registrar? Why give in to the convenience of one over the other.
Also, the criteria suggested for jurisdiction could mean US law again, since the majority of the registries may be US, the root server may remain in the US and/or the database will remain in the US. Is this not more US control and unfairness to others?
"Trademark holders have also called for the creation of some mechanism for "clearing" trademarks. Especially famous marks, across a range of gTLDs. Such mechanisms could reduce trademark conflict associated with the addition of new gTLDs."
While I agree that for famous marks like IBM or Kodak, there may be clear presumptions of infringement, again I ask, why make it easier only for trademark holders. Besides, in many other cases that are not so well known as IBM, but the owner claims to be famous, then who should determine what are famous marks. It should not be the registries nor the registrars.
Domain names were meant as addresses and they are there to serve a purpose. I would be very cautious to set up complicated laws and procedures to support their rights over that of the Internet community. Scalability is only one issue of concern, not to mention cultural sensitivities. In fact, I feel the Green Paper should concentrate on helping the development of new browsers or directory services or databases, that can reduce the reliance on domain names as trademarks.
Cure the problem not the symptom, and please do not create more problems.
"Registries and new gTLDs"
As was mentioned above, I disagree with the rush to get out new gTLDs. If such as rush does exists, more justification and facts should be laid out. There is currently no statistical evidence that the Internet*s growth is impacted by the delay of new gTLDs opening to the market.Having it as a compromise alone is not sufficient. The last thing you would want to do is to create a well defined new entity with the right stakeholders, and then let them inherit more problems than already exists. Rather, there should be a freeze on new gTLDs, until such time that the new entity is set up and then let it decide.
If however, you still decide to go ahead, I do not agree with "pioneer preference or a limited pool of applicants." The first five should be from an unlimited pool through and open and pro-competitive tender process, and they should meet minimal technical, managerial and site requirements. The requirements should not be too lax to allow for ineffective registries but not too high standards to rule out developing country registries. I agree that there should be neutral accounting and technical consultancy firms to make these decisions, but these firms should not be US-based only, and they should be objective enough to ensure registries meeting these requirements but also ensuring international participation. International participation may not mean that the best wins, but it ensures global participation.
The .us Domain
I agree with many others that .us is a large part of the gTLD problem. In fact is the .us problem was not there, we may have less tendency towards gTLDs. While I may agree that existing gTLDs may not be eradicated, I am of the belief that we should find other solutions to problems rather than just adding on new gTLDs. If trademarks is the concern, trademark holders will just register in all the new gTLDs created, or block registration in others, thereby defeating the purpose of increasing scalability of domain names.
Overall, the Green Paper moves in the right direction of transferring de jure "ownership" from the US government to a not-for-profit international private entity. The Green Paper should, however, also openly acknowledge that de facto ownership lies with the rest of the world, and the Green Paper is about setting up a structure that better reflects the reality of the global and commercial Internet of today. It is time for IANA to evolve with evolving times.
Addition of new TLDs should be frozen.
Concentrate first on setting up the new entity and putting in place proper open and pro-competitive procedures. Ensure legitimacy, stability and reduce exposure to litigation.
Be objective when considering country of incorporation- study other options. More importantly, ensure that application of US laws over that of the rest of the world, does not amount to providing US industry an unfair advantage over Internet resources.
Lay out clear criteria as to which organizations will get a place on the board of directors of this new entity.
Ensure global participation in the new entity, include ccTLD organizations as well.
If the plan is to go ahead with the new 5 TLDs, then please ensure mechanisms in place to ensure global participation.
Registries and registrars should not be involved in the business of determining who has superior rights to trademarks and should not be in the dispute resolution business. They should be listing services and leave the rest to the appropriate bodies.
Do not lean procedures and laws in favor of trademark holders over the domain name holder, and never make the presumption of trademark infringement.
I am very encouraged by the US governments efforts to try and create true global consultation. Mr Magaziner*s efforts to come to Asia and meet with governments, as well as coming to the Asia Pacific Regional Conference on Operational Technologies (APRICOT) to meet with the Asia & Pacific Internet Association Board members, in an open 4 hour session attended by about 70 persons from the region was much appreciated. It certainly helped clarify the Green paper and focus discussion on strategic issues. Time is of the essence-YES, BUT I hope in the interest if time, genuine concerns are not compromised. Prudence and caution instead should be exercised.
From: "Peter R. Rony" <email@example.com>
Date: 3/22/98 10:23am
Subject: Word 95 response
Attached is an electronic file, in Microsoft Word 95 RTF format, that I
submit to the Discussion on the Draft on Technical Management of Internet
I thank you for allowing the public to comment on this Draft. It is
democracy in action.
CC: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
03-22-98 Electronic Filings on Internet Domain Names
From: Peter Rony firstname.lastname@example.org
To: GP Comments Index, URL http://www.ntia.doc.gov/
Subject: Registration and Administration of Internet Domain Names
I previously offered NTIA NOI response Number 137 on 7/24/97. I wish to reiterate my original
response, eight months later, as a GP comment.
We need to decide what is broken, and what needs fixing. In my opinion the existence of 'international'
top-level organization-type domains (iTLDs) is what is broken. I am persuaded that one of the key
problems is the international nature of the COM, ORG, and NET top-level domains. I suggest that the
following decisions occur:
1. .GOV, .ARPA, and .MIL become .GOV.US, .ARPA.US, and .MIL.US, respectively.
These three international, top-level domains are reserved exclusively for United States agencies,
departments, or organizations. Such being the case, why should these domains be international?
2. .EDU become .EDU.US and .EDU.[2-letter country code]
Therefore, all higher education institutions in the U.S. become .EDU.US organizations.
3. .COM, .ORG, and .NET become .COM.US, .ORG.US, and .NET.US, respectively.
U.S.-registered and -based organizations could easily accommodate such a change. Non-U.S.-registered
and -based organizations could have the option of either registering their domain name under the US top-
level domain, or encouraging their respective country registrars to provide the COM, ORG, and NET zones
as second-level domain categories.
4. .INT remain as the only international top-level domain.
Registration policies for this domain should be handled by a truly international organization.
As I stated on July 24, 1997, "When the dust settles, the 'international' aspect of domain naming would
cease. All domain names would become country specific. . . . all future domain disputes would become
country-specific disputes handled by the law and the courts of individual countries.
I repeat: "The idea of 'international top-level domains' was a mistake made while the Internet was in its
middle age" (or perhaps youth).
From: Roger Cochetti <email@example.com>
Date: 3/22/98 12:52pm
Subject: COMMENTS BY IBM CORPORATION ON DOCKET ENTITLED "IMPROVEMENT
ATTN: Karen Rose, NTIA/DOC
Docket No. 980212036-8036-01
IBM is pleased to provide comments in response to the above Docket entitled
"Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses". The
subject of managing the central administrative functions of the Internet is of
great importance to the future of the medium and has been of great interest to
IBM for some time. We appreciate the effort that NTIA and other Federal
agencies, including the NSF, USPTO, OMB, OSTP, DOJ, DOD, and others have put
into the development of this Green Paper and commend them for providing a major
step forward in the transfer of the management of these functions to the
As we have noted in an earlier submission, IBM believes that the plan that is
proposed in this Docket is fundamentally sound. It provides for the transfer of
all of the main administrative functions of the Internet to a new,
internationally-oriented, non-profit organization no later than a specific
date, and it would enable this new management organization to operate entirely
within the private sector. While the plan enters into some details that should
probably be left to the governing board of the new management organization
(e.g. the qualifications of the CEO) , the plan does recognize the unambiguous
authority of the management organization over, among other things, the DNS and
all of the root servers. It is important, as the Green Paper notes, that this
transition of authority to the private sector be done with the widest possible
international support and involvement, and in a way that: ensures the
medium's stability; takes the fullest possible advantage of market forces;
and protects legitimate intellectual property rights.
To achieve these goals, several things need to be done under this plan:
First, the successful and effective work done by IANA should be recognized and
incorporated fully into the proposed new structure. In many respects, the
changes that are needed are structural and not operational in such areas as IP
address management, and there should be no interruption of the on-going work of
IANA in those areas. Similarly, the very important work of the International
Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC), the Policy Oversight Committee (POC) and the Council
of Registrars (CORE) should not be overlooked and should be incorporated as
much as possible into this plan. An enormous international effort, for
example, was undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations' World
Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to develop guidelines on how tradema
rks and domain names should co-exist. That work has great value and should be
explicitly recognized in this plan.
Second, it is important that this plan be, and be seen as, a global and not a
U.S. plan. To that end, the U.S. should actively seek and obtain the support
of other countries and relevant international organizations for this
approach. At the same time, the expectation that non-U.S. citizens would have
unfettered access to the governing bodies envisioned in the plan, and would
indeed have major representation on them, needs to be both clarified and
Third, a vigorous debate has been underway for about two years over whether it
is necessary, or would be wise, to increase the number of global Top Level
Domains (gTLD's). While there is nothing about the successful implementation
of this plan that requires that that question be addressed now, we do believe
that the period of debate on this question should now end and we should move
forward toward implementation. For our part, we have said many times that IBM
does not object to a modest increase in the number of gTLD's; however it is
vitally important that any such increase be done in a way that is both very
carefully phased and protects legitimate intellectual property rights. There
is no reason, in our view, that the plan should not specify an initial goal of
new gTLD's and then permit the new managing organization to implement that goal.
Fourth, the plan sets forth a workable, although hotly contested, formula for
the selection of members of the governing body of the new management
organization. Much of the debate over the makeup of this body is unfortunate
and misplaced, because the plan seems to imply that there will be only one
governing body. In fact, while the non-profit management organization needs a
single board of directors, there are no good reasons why sub-groups cannot
exercise authority over certain areas under the board's over-all
responsibility. This would not only relieve some of the pressure for a "seat
on THE board", but it would also both push decision-making down to those who
are closer to the subject matter and probably facilitate the effort to make the
undertaking more internationally inclusive. Thus, we believe the plan should
provide for one or more subsidiary governing bodies, with specified authority
over certain areas of the Internet's central administration, whose decisions
may be overridden by the board of directors, but are not normally subject to
its approval. One such group, for example could deal with the unique
circumstances that arise in the gTLD area, while another could deal with the
circumstances that arise in the country TLD area. Many trusted and valuable
private organizations have volunteered to play a leading role in the governance
of one or more aspects of this new management organization, and we genuinely
need their expertise and involvement.
Fifth, the plan offers passing reference to the unused potential in the ".US"
country TLD and invites comment on it. We believe that a significant and early
effort is needed within the United States to develop a plan, and create
incentives, for the use of the ".US" TLD. Doing so will have many benefits,
not the least of which will be to relieve some of the pressure to which the
gTLD's are subjected. This effort should receive a high priority and should
not be delayed.
Sixth, the plan's concept of separate registries that each manages the database
that supports one or more gTLD; all of which are equally accessible by any
authorized registrar, is fundamentally sound. The management of the database
itself is a different function than the registration of a name, and separating
these functions permits new opportunities for all of us to enjoy the benefits
of competition and market forces. Exactly how that concept is implemented,
however, makes an enormous difference to the outcome, particularly given that
we begin the process today with essentially one Internet gTLD registrar, which
is also the only Internet gTLD registry. A large part of the value of this
plan, in the domain name area, turns on the ability of the government to ensure
a rapid and smooth transition to the fully competitive, level playing field
that is envisioned. Registries must be fully competitive with each other, and
for that to occur none should -at least for an initial period of years-
exercise any control over, or have ownership of, any registrar. Moreover
-again at least for an initial period of years- no registry should administer
any more or fewer gTLD's than any other. Finally, all registrars should have
the same access to all registries. Unfortunately, until a fully market-driven
environment evolves, effective competition will require the fairly strict
supervision of registries and registrars by both the new management
organization, and perhaps by one or more governments. It should be clear to
everyone that any registry that abuses its license to administer a gTLD stands
to lose that license to someone else who will not abuse the position. All
registries should accept this as a condition of their participation in the
system. Finally, such active oversight and supervision, particularly at the
outset, will consume considerable resources. Over time, as true competition
and market forces begin to drive the domain name area, the need for such
oversight will diminish and perhaps eventually disappear, however.
Seventh, when faced with so many conflicting interests and voices, there may be
a temptation to delay action and spend more time pondering the future of these
functions. While we strongly encourage the widest possible of consultation,
and believe that the support of other governments is a prerequisite, it is also
important that we not delay or lose momentum. To that extent, it may well be
necessary for the Department of Commerce and other Federal agencies to dedicate
additional short-term resources to the very important task of following through
on this plan.
We appreciate the opportunity to comment on this important initiative and look
forward to working with the Administration, the Department, and other involved
agencies as you move ahead in this area.
Internet Address: RogerC@US.IBM.COM
Program Director-Policy & Business Planning, IBM Internet Division
Date: 3/22/98 2:14pm
Subject: Personal comments to "Green Paper"
my name is Håvard Eidnes, and I'm from Norway. I have been involved
with the Internet since the late 1980s, and I have been involved in
setting up the registration service for the .NO domain, where I am
still somewhat involved. I am a member of ISOC and do most of my
work for the nordic academic and research network NORDUnet and for
the norwegian academic and research network UNINETT. I do however
write these comments as a private person, and my opinions are my
Even though it appears to be a widespread opinion that your
collective minds are already made up on this issue, I choose to
submit these comments.
1. Jurisdiction over discussed matters
It is apparent that you implicitly through your publication and
process assert that the US Government has jurisdiction over the
matters treated in your proposed rule making. I wish to challenge
this implicit assertion. The Internet has long since ceased to be a
US-only matter. I do however not have many illusions that this will
deter you from forging ahead according to your current plan, so I
will still offer some specific comments to your proposed rulemaking.
2. Getting out of oversight and funding
I wish to support and applaud the stated goal of getting the US
Government out of the business of oversight and funding of the IANA.
It is my opinion that the Internet should be self-governed, built on
a bottom-up, rough consensus process.
After what has seemed to be a long period of passive oversight and
funding of e.g. the IANA function, I am however puzzled about the
extent to which the US Government now wants to micro-manage the
process of acheiving the goal of withdrawing from the arena.
Surely, the new IANA once it is constituted can set its own policy
e.g. wrt. operational requirements for new registries.
3. For-profit vs. not-for-profit registries
Your proposal opens the door for registries (database repositories)
which can a) "own" the gTLD they are assigned and b) be run on a
for-profit basis with little to no public oversight. I think this
is a particularly bad idea. At the end of section VII B in the
proposal you discuss this matter.
Such a setup will be a monopoly. Furthermore, it will be a monopoly
with a very strong lock-in effect on its users, and I will claim
that letting such a construct get off the ground has the potential
to cause significant harm to the Internet at large.
First, let me discuss the "lock-in effect". I think you have
seriously mis-judged how strong the lock-in effect will be for a
domain name holder once he has invested time, money and effort in
spreading the knowledge of his own domain name and the binding of
that name to his real identity or to whatever he chooses to
associate with that domain name. References will typically be
spread to close and distant associates, either in the form of links
on the World Wide Web, in the form of e-mail addresses on business
cards, in the form of digitial signatures etc. The effort a domain
name holder has to go through to change his domain name, should not
be underestimated or lightly dismissed. Under this model, a domain
name holder *will* have to change his domain name if he wants to
move to another registry, and changing a "part" of his domain name
is no easier than changing his whole domain name.
I must say that I am astonished at how lightly the paper treats this
issue and how little weight it has put on the interests of the end-
users of the Internet on this particular point. In particular, I am
referring to the sentence: "On the other hand, we believe that
market mechanisms may well discourage this type of behavior." In
response to this I have to point out that there will in fact be *NO*
market here which can discourage the behaviour described (low
initial pricing, increased pricing as users become "hooked") because
the for-profit registry will be a monopoly (as already pointed out
Secondly, this will make the widespread uproar and discontent with
the current setup of NSI as the monopoly registrar of .COM etc.
look like a breeze (the challenge being that NSI is making a huge
profit from its monopoly registration services), and sanctioning
such a construct will create a tremendous pressure from people who
want in on the registry business, and who essentially have a single
Therefore, I wish to voice my support to the ISOC position that the
gTLD name space is an international public resource, and it should
be managed in an appropriate manner in keeping with this view.
I do however, on the other hand, wish to express my support for
introducing competition in the other parts of the registry business,
as in the registrar function, i.e. those who act as intermediaries
between the domain holders or their agents and the registry
(database repository) itself.
4. Dispute resolution
The gTLDs are widely perceived to be usable for organizations in all
nations. As such, I find it troubling that your paper appear not to
propose any method which can be used on an international level to
resolve conflicts over rights to a given domain name. I will note
that e.g. WIPO has been involved in setting up a proposal for how
disputes could be handled under the gTLD-MoU system.
Simply for a gTLD administrator to point to a given nation's
legislative system as the only means to resolve disputes takes quite a
bit away from the usefulness of the gTLD in the international context,
as this could easily be seen to disadvantage registrants who are not
domiciled in the country of jurisdiction for the gTLD. If one
registers in a gTLD with international scope, some complication will
naturally arise due to this international scope, and that should be a
price registrants should be prepared to pay.
What I see as one of the problems with the current use of the .COM
domain is what I refer to as "registering under the inappropriate
jurisdiction." Many companies currently registered in .COM are in the
real word registered as doing business in a more local area than that
implied by the registration in .COM, and this has to be a recipe for
name clashes. Closely tied to this problem is the apparent inability
of the american government or their representatives to make more
sensible use of the .US domain.
Lastly, I would like to comment on the statement that conflicts over
domain names are few and far between. I think this assertion is
false, but it does of course depend on how one counts. However, it
would appear that domain name piracy is an increasingly common
problem, and I think this problem and its resolution needs more
5. The "Governance" issue
In many circles the issues raised by the green paper is referred to
as "Governance issues". I dislike this label, because the IANA has
up till now not excerted control over the Internet, but rather acted
in a secretarial role. To illustrate this, let me talk briefly
about some of the IANA activities:
o Registration of protocol identifiers. IANA in this role executes
these duties in a secretarial role for the IETF/IESG/IAB rather
than on its own.
(I will just note here that I have understood that the sentence in
the Green Paper which reads "To coordinate the development of other
technical protocol parameters as needed to maintain universal
connectivity on the Internet." should not have contained the word
"development", but rather the word "assignment" or "registration",
as it is the IETF which carries out protocol development for the
Internet protocol suite. I do however also find another sentence
which points in this disturbing direction, and it is "In performing
the functions listed above, the new corporation will act much like
a standard-setting body." Again, I sincerely hope that this
wording is not to be interpreted literally, as the IANA of itself
does not and should not be doing any standardization work on the
Internet protocol suite.)
o Setting policies for IP address (and other number) assignment.
This is a process which is carried out with the (minimal) guidance
from the IETF and the direct involvement of the users of the IP
address assignment system through the involvement of the regional
IP address registries (RIPE NCC, ARIN, APNIC). Again, this is not
a position where the IANA excerts control, but where the process is
one of consensus building and bottom-up industry self-governance.
o Setting policies for the root zone in the DNS, hereunder
oversight over the operation of the root name servers. This is
of course where the current controversies are centered, as this
area of responsibility includes decisions as to which new gTLDs
to add (if any), when to do so and what procedures and policies
should be used for their administration.
I am concerned that the current controversies surrounding the gTLD
area (which is only a part of the DNS area of IANA's responsibilities
since there are also country code TLDs and the address-to-name mapping
hierarchy) is permitted to overshadow the other areas of
responsibility for the IANA, and that such critical factors as e.g.
the composition of the board be unduly influenced by only the issues
surrounding the current gTLD debate.
6. The composition of the board of IANA
I find it disturbing that the proposed weight of the new board of the
IANA is with a majority of unknown and unspecified members, and I view
this as potential source for serious instability of the new
organization. Furthermore, I think the proposed structure for the new
IANA board has fallen prey to the over-focusing of the gTLD issues as
mentioned in the above paragraph, and I fail to see why the
representatives for trade mark holders should have any say in shaping
e.g. the policies for the IP address assignment. Some have even gone
as far as to suggest that the IANA functions should be split up, so
that the folks who want to fight over gTLD issues can go in a corner
and do it by themselves while not impeding the other functions of the
IANA; I will however not go so far.
I also want to focus on the "membership association (to be created)
representing Internet users.", and the fact that these representatives
make up almost 50% of the proposed board of the new IANA. I think it
is unrealistic to get a new and stable organization "up and running"
in the timespan foreseen for the IANA board establishment. With this
much uncertainty surrounding this representation, I cannot in the
interest of stability support giving this unknown and unproven
yet-to-be-formed membership association this much influence on the
board of the proposed new IANA.
7. Ignoring ISOC and their efforts
Although the Internet Society (ISOC) can hardly claim to represent all
the users of the Internet, it does have a widely geographically
diverse membership body of Internet professionals and an established
track record as a stable and democratic organization. As such, it is
in my humble opinion what best fits the bill as the organization
representing the Internet users. I must say that I am surprised that
the green paper does not mention this organization with a single word.
It is evident from reading the green paper that the authors have read
the gTLD-MoU papers where ISOC participated in the process, however,
no mention of these efforts are made in the green paper.
Lastly, I would like to take issue with the wording "As Internet names
increasingly have commercial value, the decision to add new top-level
domains cannot continue to be made on an ad hoc basis by entities or
individuals that are not formally accountable to the Internet
community." What makes you think that the US Government is any more
formally accountable to the Internet community than the committee
which worked to establish the gTLD-MoU setup?
In summary, I think that the proposed rulemaking is seriously flawed
on several points, and as such I cannot support it in its current
From: Liz Deakin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/22/98 4:00pm
Subject: Green Paper Response from CORE
U. S. Department of Commerce
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
14th and Constitution Avenues, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230
RE: Comments on the Green Paper (Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses) from the Internet Council of Registrars (CORE)
To Whom It May Concern,
The following is the response of the Internet Council of Registrars (CORE) to the Green Paper (GP) published Jan. 30, 1998. This document tracks through the proposals outlined in the Green Paper and provides specific comments and recommendations on solving the most critical issues necessary for launching a new era of self-governance and competition in the Domain Name System.
These issues include: speedy transition to deregulation; operating not-for-profit registries in the public trust; ending the current monopoly and not creating new ones; encouraging competition among registrars; preventing the creation of new mechanisms or regulatory processes where none are needed; supporting an existing dispute resolution process; and ensuring that users everywhere have the broadest choice for securing and administering their domain names at competitive prices.
In preparing its response to the Green Paper, CORE sought the input of its members from throughout the world, international organizations, Internet experts and other stakeholders in this phenomenon known as the Internet. The comments and recommendations reflect this process and consensus on ten steps that can be taken immediately and with utmost confidence to ensure the future success of the Domain Name System (DNS) in a global, deregulated framework.
Chairman, Executive Committee
Internet Council of Registrars
c/o First Identity Net
6050-a Avenida Encinas
Carlsbad, CA 92009
CORE agrees with the U.S. Government (USG) that the Internet is rapidly becoming an international medium for commerce, education and communication and that evolution needs to occur to solve problems with lack of competition in domain name registration. CORE also agrees with the Green Paper in its call for a bottom-up, consensus-building program, a central authority to manage the authoritative Root and an end to the participation of U.S. agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), in funding these activities.
Although the stated purpose of the Green Paper, or Magaziner Plan, is to get the U.S. Government out of the Internet, in actuality it calls for the U.S. Government to become more deeply involved than ever before and delays the natural evolution that is well underway. The major concerns with the Green Paper proposals include:
Perpetuating and consolidating the Network Solutions monopoly
Creating new, unregulated monopolies for single Top Level Domains (TLDs), with the potential for price-fixing and gouging, rather than creating not-for-profit registries to operate in the public trust with multiple TLDs
Manipulating the market by attempting to control the number and rate of introduction of new Top Level Domains
Proposing new regulatory processes while ignoring existing International mechanisms created during a bottom-up approach over the past 18 months with broad global consensus
Dictating the structure of a proposed new corporation with authority over the Root server
Attempting to establish technical standards
Proposing a dispute resolution process that would cause confusion, create worldwide chaos and a full-employment act for trademark attorneys
Ignoring a fast, efficient and cost-effective dispute resolution process that already exists through the World Intellectual Property Organization
Attempting to regulate the DNS system without proper authority, setting up the potential for legal and commercial challenges from throughout the world (Some in the international Internet community view the Green Paper as an unlawful attempt by the U.S. Government to claim ownership of the Internet)
In the eyes of the world Internet community, the Internet doesn't need a plan for the U.S. Government to get out of domain name oversight an area where it was previously not involved. It just needs the U.S. Government to step aside quietly and allow the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to become a private, non-profit U.S. corporation managing the DNS, as it has for more than 15 years. The Internet can then manage its own affairs through global consensus and cooperation, with the support of existing volunteer organizations, industry groups, task forces and societies.
The Internet consensus and governance process has never been and should not be managed by a national government. Self-governance is just that and CORE believes the immediate transition can be achieved smoothly, quickly and transparently, with no impact on functionality and stability of the Internet.
PRINCIPLES FOR A NEW SYSTEM
The Green Paper noted that consultations have revealed substantial differences among Internet stakeholders on how the domain name system should evolve. It outlined four shared principles from its discussions with Internet stakeholders, although the breadth of consensus is not known since all discussions were carried out in private as part of an internal U.S. Government process.
To quote the Green Paper: "The U.S. Government should end its role in the Internet number and name address systems in a responsible manner. This means, above all else, ensuring the stability of the Internet. The Internet functions well today, but its current technical management is probably not viable over the long term. We should not wait for it to break down before acting. Yet, we should not move so quickly, or depart so radically from the existing structures, that we disrupt the functioning of the Internet. The introduction of a new system should not disrupt current operations, or create competing Root systems."
The role of the USG has been to fund certain technical, administrative activities through the National Science Foundation. It has been a silent partner, providing no direct impact on the stability, protocols or operations of the Internet. This has been widely documented in various Requests for Comment and other agreements, including its cooperative agreement with NSI signed in 1992 which recognized IANA as having the discretionary authority over TLDs. Internet Standards established by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) provide proven precedents for operating the technical aspects of the Internet without government oversight.
The U.S. Government has been visibly absent from involvement in the Domain Name System until it began contemplating the end of the five-year contract with Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI) and raised the issue to its highest political level, with the White House.
The end to NSI's role of profit-oriented .com/.net/.org registry has no stability implications. Rerouting can be handled routinely and seamlessly, as proven during recent tests at IANA. Its ongoing experience with country codes demonstrates how hundreds of new domains can be added with no concern for stability.
The Internet has grown and served people well all over the world because it has been driven by consensus and without government interference. The most responsible thing the U.S. Government can do is end its contract with NSI on March 31, 1998, facilitate transition of complete authority for the Root zone to IANA, reassert IANA's authority over the existing TLD registrars, including NSI, ensure that the software and information collected by NSI during its Cooperative Agreement are fully accessible to the public, encourage competition by eliminating subsidies or favored treatment for NSI and abandon any attempts, however well intentioned, at creating new and unnecessary regulatory bodies.
Sufficient oversight is provided through the generic Top Level Domain Memorandum of Understanding (gTLD-MoU) and a structure that includes the Policy Oversight Committee and the Policy Advisory Body, with ongoing input from the world Internet community and a separate dispute resolution process through the World Intellectual Property Organization. Such a change would have no impact on stability and, given widespread international participation, could enhance it.
The U.S. Government makes its own point on this issue in the section on Competition:
"The Internet succeeds in great measure because it is a decentralized system that encourages innovation and maximizes individual freedom. Where possible, market mechanisms that support competition and consumer choice should drive the technical management of the Internet because they will promote innovation, preserve diversity, and enhance user choice and satisfaction."
CORE and Internet experts from around the world agree with this statement regarding market forces and competition. However, the Green Paper doesn't propose actions to support this philosophy. Instead, it calls for the perpetuation and consolidation of the NSI monopoly, adding new monopolies owning single TLDs and ignoring the gTLD-MoU process, which provides solutions to most of the issues outlined in the Green Paper.
The success of the Internet should be allowed to continue unabated and unhindered by unnecessary government intervention, by any government.
3. Private, Bottom-Up Coordination
The Green Paper notes: "Certain technical management functions require coordination. In these cases, responsible, private-sector action is preferable to government control. A private coordinating process is likely to be more flexible than government and to move rapidly enough to meet the changing needs of the Internet and of Internet users. The private process should, as far as possible, reflect the bottom-up governance that has characterized development of the Internet to date."
The U.S. Government discusses the need for a bottom-up approach, then flip-flops to provide top-down directions of great detail.
The IANA and ISOC recognized the need for bottom-up consensus when they launched the International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC) process with the support of organizations throughout the world. CORE/POC evolved from this bottom-up process, which continues as CORE prepares to add more registrars, open up the CORE Memorandum of Understanding for further public comment and provide its Shared Registry System to any other qualified not-for-profit registry. Rather than create something out of whole cloth, the U.S. Government can use the CORE bottom-up model to speed the transition in the spirit of global consensus.
The U.S. Government notes: "Technical management of the Internet should reflect the diversity of its users and their needs. Mechanisms should be established to ensure international input in decision making."
Many mechanisms exist, such as those established by IANA, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Internet Architectural Board (IAB) and the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG). As outlined in RFC 2026, "The Internet Standards Process," the procedures are designed to be fair, open and objective; to reflect existing (proven) practice; and to be flexible. Through the rigorous consensus-building process carried out by the International Ad Hoc Committee, broad representation from the global Internet community created a generic Top Level Domain Memorandum of Understanding (gTLD-MoU), providing specific standards for Registry and Registrar functions. There is no need for additional mechanisms at this time. Broad global interests will continue to cooperate and provide a collective body of expertise that far surpasses what would be available from a single entity. Should there be a future need for new mechanisms, the mechanisms should evolve from the existing consensus-building processes.
THE GREEN PAPER PROPOSAL
The Coordinated Functions
There is widespread agreement with the conclusion of the Green Paper that management of number addresses is best done on a coordinated basis. Further, overall policy guidance and control of the TLDs and the Internet Root server system should be vested in a single organization that is representative of Internet users.
CORE's survey of the global Internet community found general consensus on need for the creation of a "new IANA," an independent not-for-profit organization. Since the change is really only one of corporate structure, or form rather than function, there is no need to perpetuate the NSI monopoly while waiting for a new corporate structure to become official. IANA is fully capable of continuing to carry out all duties required as designated authority for the Root zone and executing the many critical steps necessary to introduce competition and provide for stable expansion of the number of TLDs.
IANA can add new TLDs to the Root zone today, immediately launching a new era of competition. The transition can be seamless and painless. There is no need for U.S. Government "policy oversight," since IANA performed admirably without it in the past. The only thing needed from the U.S. Government is for it to stop funding IANA and allow it to move forward as recommended in the IANA plan of January 1998 and with the support of the Internet Society, IETF, IAB, IESG, CORE and other interested parties from the Internet community.
This bottom-up approach should also determine the makeup of the board of directors of IANA, its bylaws, policies, procedures, funding and other details. The evolution should not rely on a top-down artificial structure dictated by the U.S. Government or any other government. The Green Paper mentions some concerns about "premature government exit." This is a myth, except with vested interests, such as the current monopoly, NSI, which welcomes continuation of the status quo. The Internet community is more concerned with unnecessary government involvement rather than premature government exit.
The Competitive Functions -- Introduction
The Green Paper notes that the system for registering second-level domain names and the management of the TLD registries should become competitive and market-driven. It says there appears to be strong consensus that the registrar function should be competitive. The paper says there is disagreement, however, over the wisdom of promoting competition at the registry level.
The Benefits of Not-for-Profit Registries
CORE, the Internet Society, Educom, European Union and many other organizations believe Registries should be operated as non-profit and in the public trust. Since registries are largely administrative, back-office operations, there is no need to compete. They have little, if anything, to offer in added value for customers, since customers would deal with Registrars.
The concept of establishing single gTLD registries as new parallel monopolies would cripple competition. Registries operating in an unregulated environment as proposed by the Green Paper would own gTLDs rather than simply administer them, opening the way for predatory pricing practices and gouging. Users would have zero portability of their names and would have to either pay or abandon them. It is unlikely someone wanting a .com or .biz TLD would opt for .tree even if the monopoly registries were price gouging. Single gTLD registries would have no need to market or innovate and would be almost totally insulated from market pressures. The Green Paper talks about supply-side competition but ignores the demand side. It also misses the difference between two separate markets: initial Secondary Level Domain (SLD) registrations, and renewals.
As long as one wanted to keep his or her domain name, there would be no option but to pay whatever the Registry charged. This potential "monopoly lock-in" must be avoided at all costs. Today's $35 renewal fee could become next year's $350 renewal in a monopoly situation.
Addresses should be owned by the individual and be fully portable among Registrars, just as one moves a surname and phone number from one long-distance telephone company to another. If a registry is operated as a non-profit organization and with a Shared Registry System (SRS) for multiple domains, users could shop among registrars for the best prices and service. The gTLDs should be like the oceans, the moon or the sky open to everyone and owned by no one.
The Creation of New gTLDs
The Green Paper says some concern for the stability of the system requires that expansion of gTLDs proceed at a "deliberate and controlled pace" to allow for evaluation of the impact of the new gTLDs and well-reasoned evolution of the domain space. Further, it notes that the number of new top-level domains should be large enough to create competition among registries and to enable the new corporation to evaluate the functioning, in the new environment, of the Root server system and the software systems that enable shared registration. At the same time, it should not be so large as to "destabilize the Internet."
As noted earlier, proven systems and procedures are in place to ensure the stability of the Internet. Comments by the IAB and other technical experts indicate there should be no concern with adding multiple new gTLDs. Dr. Jon Postel, of IANA, originally proposed adding up to 150 to provide more choices for users worldwide. The number of new gTLDs should be determined based on evaluation by IANA and customer need, not artificial mechanisms. The IAB noted there is no technical reason for the proposed limit of one gTLD per registry. The seven gTLDs proposed by CORE were selected by POC based on an international consensus developed independently of CORE.
The scarcity of gTLDs proposed in the Green Paper would enhance the monopolistic power of each profit-oriented registry. With few gTLDs, the best strategy for profit-oriented registries would be to charge monopolistic prices from the start because price increases might be difficult and the price competition will only start as soon as a wide choice of gTLDs appears.
Giving each registry a maximum of one start-up gTLD would be anti-competitive when the current NSI monopoly is allowed to keep three. From an investment standpoint, running a single gTLD radically increases capital and operational costs per gTLD for all except NSI. Many single gTLDs would not be popular enough to support a monopoly registry, resulting in significantly higher costs for users or the potential failure of small registries. Today's software and hardware provide the capability of handling hundreds of TLDs on the same machine for maximum efficiency.
The Green Paper notes that different Registries could have different policies, data format, protocols and design interfaces. This could lead to instability and confusion. On the other hand, there will be significant cost savings and improved efficiencies and effectiveness from having a Registry administer multiple gTLDs.
CORE has developed the software for a Shared Registry System that provides a technically advanced interface for Registrars and instant online confirmation of domain registrations. The benefits of a SRS with multiple gTLDs include: lower costs, standardized and reliable service, stability and international portability. The CORE SRS is undergoing acceptance testing and load-testing for production use. Registrars have interfaced their systems with the SRS and are ready to begin live user registrations from servers on five continents.
Competition among Registrars is useful and desirable. It allows users to choose different suppliers for the same goods he or she wants. The CORE model puts power in the hands of the consumer. The non-profit Registry runs on a cost-recovery basis and Registrars compete on the price and efficiency of their administrative work and any other services that provide added value.
The gTLD-MoU and CORE MoU can provide the ethical foundations for new Registrars. It has been signed by more than 200 organizations from throughout the world. It eliminates many of the problems that could be experienced with a for-profit Registry of a single gTLD and a captive group of Registrars. Among the potential abuses, the MoU addresses "cybersquatting," where an entity grabs multiple SLDs and then attempts to charge whatever the traffic will bear to the individual who wants the name. It deals with other issues raised by the Green Paper, such as providing a legislative framework for registrars, independent oversight (POC) and acting with the advice of an independent and open body, the Policy Advisory Body (PAB).
The Trademark Dilemma
The Green Paper proposes that each name registry establish minimum dispute resolution and other procedures related to trademark considerations.
Multiple rules for identical problems will cause confusion, create worldwide chaos and a full-employment act for trademark attorneys. Such a random approach would maximize rather than minimize the potential for litigation.
Under the gTLD-MoU, dispute resolution can be handled quickly and effectively with binding arbitration administered through the Domain Name Arbitration and Mediation Center under the World Intellectual Property Organization. The WIPO provides a Domain Name Challenge Panel so intellectual property owners have the ability to exercise their rights in a world forum through an independent process. The process involved full and repeated consultation with relevant public sector and private sector stakeholders in the trademark field, public vetting and applying the rules decided by POC under the advice of the PAB. By working with WIPO, the International Ad Hoc Committee laid the foundation to deal with the complex worldwide issues surrounding copyrights, patents and other intellectual property issues. The jurisdiction should lie with country of the registrar as is noted in Appendix C of the MoU. This solution best enables registrants to be subject to their own laws while leaving room for competition and oversight (registrants must be in countries that are bound by basic international treaties regarding intellectual property).
THE TRANSITION NEEDS SPEED
The Green Paper outlines a transition program that adds many intervening factors, delays the transition and perpetuates the monopoly for almost three years.
The NSI Agreement
It is regrettable that the Green Paper calls for perpetuating the NSI monopoly over three TLDs -- .com, .org and .net and limits competing registries to single TLDs.
On the NSI Agreement, there is no need for a ramp down. The U.S. Government can easily end the agreement March 31, rather than delay the transition to self-governance. NSI can propose to IANA to operate a not-for-profit shared registry system. The domains of .com, .org and .net could also be administered through CORE, which would increase efficiencies and lower costs for registrants.
Delaying the Process
The Green Paper notes that the proposed new IANA corporation cannot be established overnight and suggests that it probably wouldn't be fully operational before September 30, 1998. It uses a traditional business-oriented model for the new corporation, with a CEO and board of directors.
As noted earlier, IANA can operate during the transition period exactly as it is. Rather than creating the new corporation with a U.S. business model, with board and CEO, invoke the bottom-up program from IETF. The U.S. Government hasn't been involved in the DNS in the past, doesn't need to be in the future and only needs to take no action to be successful.
In terms of potential liabilities for IANA in the transition process, CORE announced in January that it would indemnify IANA against liabilities so the transition process can move forward unabated.
Decidedly Non-Level Playing Field for Registries and new gTLDs
The U.S. Government has given favored status to NSI for the past five years and the Green Paper preserves NSI in the commanding position of being Registry and Registrar with a thin veil between them, managing three highly-valued gTLDs as a monopoly. NSI has its own oversight authority and conflict-resolution body. Giving NSI these incompatible roles would be the equivalent of giving a securities exchange a monopoly to trade the most liquid stocks, letting it own some of its members and allowing it to run its own Securities and Exchange Commission.
That done, the GP then proposes to create five weak net entities, each limited to one hitherto unknown gTLD, to also be managed as monopolies.
It would be difficult to imagine creating a more effective system to assure the success of NSI and the failure of most if not all of the new registries. The U.S. Government, in essence, is providing a continuing subsidy and sponsorship of a private corporation while limiting, or delaying, the introduction of competition.
Competing Registrars and Policy Oversight
The Memorandum of Understanding, hammered out over many months by the stakeholders, provides a solid standard for ethical and professional performance. IANA, POC and PAB can establish an ongoing review process for further requirements, if needed at all.
CORE Registrars are strictly prohibited from warehousing or cybersquatting, specifically "registering SLDs for their own account or for accounts of an Affiliate for the purpose of trafficking in SLDs for sale, resale or transfer to applicants." CORE believes that such a provision is essential to the self governance of the Internet. The regulatory oversight of the gTLD-MoU process provides for self-regulation of the Internet through international consensus of the stakeholders, a broader and more efficient process than could be accomplished by any government.
The Root Server System
The Green Paper suggests that IANA and the U.S. Government, in cooperation with NSI, the IAB, and other relevant organizations, will undertake a review of the Root server system to recommend means to increase the security and professional management of the system. Further, the recommendations of the study should be implemented as part of the transition process to the new corporation.
As with other recommendations of the Green Paper, there is no need for government involvement in this process. Nor is NSI a stakeholder in the Root server. The processes and procedures of the IETF, IAB, and IESG as non-profit, open-membership, consensus-oriented volunteer organizations can oversee this process for the ultimate benefit of all concerned.
CORE applauds the U.S. Government for recognizing "that its unique role in the Internet domain name system should end as soon as is practical" and in a responsible manner that preserves the stability of the Internet. Its stated goal is to seek as strong a consensus as possible so that a new, open, and accountable system can emerge that is legitimate in the eyes of all Internet stakeholders. However, it proposes to take over the process.
Summary and Recommended Action Plan
The Green Paper talks about self-governance and the U.S. Government stepping down, but its recommendations do the opposite. It proposes to end U.S. Government stewardship over the Domain Name System (DNS) and open the Internet to self-governance and international competition. Instead, the Green Paper would insert the U.S. Government into a policy oversight role over the worldwide DNS system and create new and unnecessary regulatory bodies and artificial market mechanisms. It would also perpetuate the NSI monopoly and give NSI significant competitive advantage with three domains, while limiting other Registries to one each.
The widely held view among the world Internet community is that instead of getting the U.S. Government out of the Internet quickly and painlessly, the Green Paper inserts its agencies more deeply than ever before and puts unnecessary road blocks in the way of deregulation and global growth. Some in the international Internet community view the Green Paper as an attempt by the U.S. Government to claim ownership of the Internet. This has been documented in papers from the European Union, government of Australia, France Telecom and others.
In summary, no one owns the Internet. The Internet Architecture Board described it: "The Internet, a loosely organized international collaboration of autonomous, interconnected networks, supports host-to-host communication through voluntary adherence to open protocols and procedures defined by Internet Standards." The Internet has grown exponentially and thrived from consensus-building and cooperation and without government intervention.
The Evolution is Already Under Way By Consensus
Many of the issues raised by the Green Paper have been addressed and resolved through the gTLD-MoU process over the past 18 months. These include: adding competition to domain name registration; establishing a mechanism for resolving conflict between trademark holders and domain name holders; recognizing the growing percentage of users outside the U.S. and giving them a larger voice in the process; developing a system that is accountable to the Internet community; and supporting the evolution of the Internet as a commercial medium.
The technical and mechanical aspects have been handled professionally and well, with global consensus and cooperation and through volunteer groups, such as the IETF, IAB, IESG and others. The existing Internet Standards Process ensures an open, public debate on the issues and wide review before modifications occur. IANA has proposed a transition plan, which is widely supported and moving forward in the Internet tradition -- without the need for government involvement.
The U.S. Government has been a silent financial partner in the DNS. Its has funded activities for administering the authoritative Root server through the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI). IANA has managed the DNS for some 15 years without government oversight. The U.S. Government launched the Green Paper process because it will cease funding IANA and NSI and will not recompete the five-year contract with NSI which ends March 31, 1998.
Potential Legal Challenges to Government Intervention
The U.S. Government has no authority to regulate the DNS system. The references to the U.S. Code in the Green Paper relate to government policy on domestic and foreign commerce in general and don't authorize regulation of a global system such as the Internet.
The steps proposed in the Green Paper to regulate the DNS, if implemented, would be subject to immediate legal challenges and create chaos instead of cooperation. The concept of protecting an existing monopoly and creating new ones also raises many constitutional and anti-trust issues, which would be better dealt with by constitutional and anti-trust attorneys.
The draft discusses the Administration's proposed transition from government oversight to private enterprise and largely outlines a process already completed by the International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC), the Policy Oversight Committee (POC), the Policy Advisory Body (PAB) and CORE to develop competition.
End Government Involvement, Don't Start It
As noted in the Green Paper, the President directed the Secretary of Commerce to privatize, increase competition in, and promote international participation in the domain name system. The U.S., as the global champion of free enterprise, can achieve this by making one of the most difficult decisions facing any regulatory body: ending, rather than initiating, government involvement.
The U.S. Government can ensure the rapid transition to competition and greater choices for users everywhere. It can provide leadership in creating a new system with not-for-profit Registries and broad choices of domain names immediately available in a competitive environment. It can facilitate the end of the monopoly situation on March 31, 1998, and the smooth transition to a level playing field, with technical oversight provided by a new non-profit IANA.
Based on input from Internet and regulatory experts around the world, CORE recommends the following ten steps that can be taken for immediate evolution of the Domain Name System to a new era of self governance and competition. The steps involve cooperation on many levels and continuing the processes already under way. If adopted, the plan will enable the U.S. Government to achieve its stated goals efficiently, effectively, quickly, with minimum interference and within the spirit of global consensus.
TEN STEPS TO SELF GOVERNANCE AND COMPETITION
1. Recognize the existing 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), without government involvement
3. Fund the new corporation through fees from domain name registries, regional registries, registrars and other mechanisms approved by its board; specifically exclude governmental funding
4. For future administration and marketing of the Domain Name System (DNS), IANA would oversee a two-tiered structure: a non-profit Registry for the administration of new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) and country codes; and Registrars, either for-profit or not-for-profit, which will provide retail registration services to registrants worldwide in a competitive environment (NOTE: a shared registry can handle multiple gTLDs. This ensures that the DNS is operated in the public trust and without the potential for ownership of gTLDs through new, parallel monopolies)
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 Memorandum of Understanding (www.gtld-mou.org)
6. Use the gTLD-MoU and CORE MoU as the foundations 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. IANA completes its commitment under the gTLD-MoU and immediately adds seven new gTLDs to the Root and administers registration through the Shared Registry System (SRS) developed by the non-profit CORE Registry and currently undergoing 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 and country codes; CORE intends to make its SRS software available to any other non-profit organizations approved by IANA as a Registry for TLDs
9. The U.S. Government should end the Network Solutions, Inc., monopoly on March 31, 1998. IANA can then determine 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 .com, .org and .net registry services to not-for-profit status; require that these gTLDs be operated through a SRS open to competing registrars 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, the IP address subnet containing all of its Root servers and all coordination of the Root server network to the control of IANA (NSI could use CORE for the non-profit Registry functions while continuing as a for-profit Registrar)
Introduction to CORE
The Internet Council of Registrars (CORE) is a non-profit organization established to provide domain name registry services in a new era of deregulation, competition and self-governance.
CORE was created as part of the long process toward self-governance and anticipated end to U.S. National Science Foundation funding of the Domain Name System (DNS). The process preceded the current efforts of the U.S. Department of Commerce to support competition and began in late 1995 when Network Solutions, Inc., under contract to the National Science Foundation, was allowed to begin charging for registering domains, a service that had previously been free. The Internet community was upset, but there was no recourse because NSI was a monopoly operating under contract to an agency of the U.S. Government. A plan proposed by Dr. Jon Postel, head of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), sought to break the monopoly and add up to 150 Top Level Domains to the Internet. He presented his concepts to the Internet Society (ISOC) and their joint efforts led to the formation of the International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC), which launched a rigorous public process in fall 1996 to solve the logjam and lead the Internet toward self-governance.
CORE and the Policy Oversight Committee (POC) evolved from this IAHC process and have developed protocols, procedures, systems and software to administer competitive domain registration. CORE is a non-profit open membership association funded by its members and developed with global consensus. In anticipation of the end of the NSI monopoly and the start of competition in domain name registration, CORE has completed development and acceptance testing of a shared registry system (SRS) with working infrastructure and well-defined operating standards. CORE currently lists 87 registrars in 23 countries, including 24 U.S. registrars with a presence in more than 100 American cities.
The gTLD Memorandum of Understanding
For governance, the gTLD-MoU model has drawn widespread support from the Internet community, major corporations and organizations worldwide. The rigorous process and quality of input from many sources and interests resulted in the generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). There are more than 200 signatories to the MoU, including: MCI Communications, Bell Canada, Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), Internet Society (ISOC), Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), Internet Policy Oversight Committee (POC), Internet Software Consortium, European Telecommunications Standard Institute, France Telecom, Internet Society of Australia, International Trademark Association, Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, Tokyo Internet Corp. and the Internet Societies of Geneva, Vienna, Israel, Japan, Ghana, Norway, Mexico and Thailand.
Guide to Abbreviations
ccTLD Country Code Top Level Domain
CORE Council of Registrars
DNS Domain Name System
gTLD generic Top Level Domain (not associated with country code)
MoU Generic Top Level Domain Memorandum of Understanding
IAHC International Ad Hoc Committee
IANA Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
IETF Internet Engineering Task Force
IESG Internet Engineering Steering Group
ISOC Internet Society
MoU Memorandum of Understanding
NSF U.S. National Science Foundation
NSI Network Solutions, Inc.
nTLD National Top Level Domain (also ccTLD)
PAB Policy Advisory Body
POC gTLD-MoU Policy Oversight Committee
RFC Request for Comments
SRS Shared Domain Name Registration System
TLD Top Level Domain
USG U.S. Government
WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization
# # #
For further information, see the CORE Web site (www.gtld-mou.org) or call:
Tom Gable (email@example.com)
Dianne Gleason (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Gable Group
Judy Whittlesey (email@example.com)
Clarkson Hine (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Susan Davis International
From: Mixmaster <email@example.com>
Date: 3/22/98 3:41pm
Subject: To Ira@Magaziner.nom
I am using this free eMail system
because I surf the Net in cybercafe.
I don't have a permanent eMail address.
I would like, in a near future, to own for my family a domain name "Robertson.nom".
So I would be able to use "John@Robertson.nom" as my personal eMail address
and give to my children and other members :"Myboy@Robertson.nom",
"Mygirl@Robertson.nom" and "Mysister@Robertson.nom"
they would kept these address for the rest of their life.
DO YOU HAVE CHILDREN ???
IS FAMILY IMPORTANT FOR YOU ???
DON'T YOU THINK THAT FAMILY COMMUNICATION IS A MAJOR CONCERN ???
My vote is for CORE, not for Magaziner's GP.
You don't heaven talk of CORE in your paper, are you blind
Act NOW !!!
From: "Friedrich Kisters" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/22/98 4:23pm
Subject: Green paper
Dear Ira Magaziner
After having read all comments with a considerable efford I - frankly speaking - do not envy your position. Let me tell you, that even if I am a "Europeen Internet User" I am still convinced of your doing a good job to the international developement of the internet and all of its users.
Most of the negative comments to the Green Paper in my eyes are just written by people who are "greedily" waiting for their advantages from pre-registrations of domain-names or whatever else.
The main question is: How to be or become "international"?
One of the major points seems to me that the Internet has become international before getting a real international basis and that economical interests and forces now try to substitute for this international basis the Internet should have been built on from its beginning.
The need of an international basis may not cause a direct profit to anyone, but it will allow effective regulations on one level and therefore be unrenouncable. On the other hand, international organizations like the UN may not yet be "ready" for taking decisions concerning the future of the Internet.
A possible solution might be the following:
1. Each member (country) of the UN hires his own internet-specialist as a representative in a newly to be formed organization which forms part of the UN, call it UNI (United Nations of the Internet). All selected members have to first pass an exam to show their beeing experts of the Internet.
2. Each country is free in choosing his own representative, regardless his or her nationality.
3. Countries with a very strong Internet presence may be allowed to delegate more than one expert (e.g. 1 representative/ xx million Internet users/ country)
4. The UNI takes decisions with a majority of 2/3 of the members present.
In that case experts could decide the future of the Internet, they would represent a wide range of countries and no lawsuits filed in one single country, e.g. the U.S. could lead to unforseeable problems. At the same time decisions would not just be made in respect to financial interests.
Even then it would be very hard to avoid monopoles in the Internet, such as the NSI or the CORE (only few people seem to have realized that both are at least potential future monopoles). But at least all possible future monopoles could just be active on an economical basis, not on a political one.
As the governments had to be represented by specialists, the decision-making process could be expected to be even faster than it is now.
From: Cliff Dilloway <email@example.com>
Date: 3/22/98 5:09pm
Subject: Improvements to Internet Domain Name System
This submission addresses two quotations
that we give from "A Proposal to Improve
Technical Management of Internet Names and
Addresses - Discussion Draft 1/30/98" (The
Our submission covers wider Internet
issues than Names and Addresses. The
Internet has to develop for the benefit of
humankind and name and address resolution
is but an important building block in a
wider scheme of things. We regard it as
essential to look beyond the technical
management of Internet names and addresses
so that decisions taken in the near future
are made mindful of the probably
inconceivable breath of future Internet
development. Our submission is a
philosophical contribution to "planning in
the context of the future". The
evolutional development we suggest is
going to happen anyway, one way or the
other, so a "workable proposal" is not
possible in a submission.
We conceive an International Law of the
Internet (Lex Interretis). We discuss the
development of such a law on the basis of
the resolution of disputes as they arise.
We emphasise that we are *not* repeat
*not* solely addressing the narrow field
of domain name disputes. The current
discussion of domain name disputes is part
of the evolution of a Lex Interretis and
we make no direct contribution to the
domain name dispute resolution debate.
Our quotations from the Green Paper:
"Without changes, a proliferation of
lawsuits could lead to chaos as
tribunals around the world apply the
antitrust law and intellectual
property law of their jurisdictions
to the Internet."
"On July 1, 1997, as part of the
Clinton Administration's Framework
for Global Electronic Commerce, the
President directed the Secretary of
Commerce to privatize, increase
competition in, and promote
international participation in the
domain name system."
Operative words from these quotations are
"chaos" and "privatize". We seek to avoid
the former and encourage the latter. In
our submission we take it that President
Clinton's vision was not restricted to the
domain name system.
We see a need for International Internet
-That is Internationally enforceable.
-That follows the mores of the
Internet rather than the law of any
one jurisdiction or, worse, the
different laws of different
jurisdictions in different places at
-That is rapid and final.
-That does not violate the
constitutional principle that
every citizen of a sovereign
state shall have free access to
his country's courts.
Put another way, it should not, in a
practical sense, be any more possible for
a properly constituted court anywhere to
have any more effect on the communication
and information free operation of the
Internet than, in a practical sense, any
one registry, root server or node would be
able to exercise. Paradoxically, of
course, we are all dependent on the courts
to ensure that we retain these freedoms.
So the courts cannot be excluded from the
Internet, but it is submitted that no one
should be able to use a court system in a
perverse communication and information
restrictive way for their own private ends
or ideas on Internet management and
Over time and in the same way as all laws
have evolved there will be a Lex
Interretis that comes to be accepted
internationally as the Law Merchant of the
Internet. Ecommerce is dependent on
confidence and trust in the Internet being
at the same comparable level as
businessmen and consumers have in other
forms of international trade and
communication. Private use follows on the
coat tails of ecommerce.
It needs to be explained that whatever set
of laws may govern a business contract
there is no reason why some other set of
laws cannot govern the process of dispute
resolution. While the Internet itself
could be conducted on a not yet fully
established Lex Interretis basis the
dispute resolution process used needs to
be conducted under a recognised and
internationally enforceable set of laws,
or anarchy prevails (aka chaos).
We now set out our submission on how the
above principles can be achieved through
the use of international arbitration
-Internationality is achieved as an
arbitration award is enforceable in
over 140 states (including the US,
Japan, China and the EU) under the New
There are few countries that will
enforce the court judgments of another
country but in practice arbitrators'
awards are routinely enforced almost
-A requirement is established that
every Arbitrator appointed to resolve
an Internet Dispute shall meet a
standard of Internet involvement as is
shown by being either a credible
webmaster or a moderator of an on-line
forum. A moral requirement is placed
upon these arbitrators that they
develop and enforce a Lex Interretis.
Naturally enough these arbitrators
will start from presently understood
international commercial law. With an
understanding of the Internet their
multiple decisions, given by many
people in different Internet Disputes
(and feedback from the Internet
community) the Lex Interretis will
Those that have read the previous
paragraph too quickly should go back to
realise it is saying that arbitrators do
not necessarily have to be webmasters or
moderators but they do need to have that
level of practical Internet involvement.
Most modern laws on the practice of
arbitration permit provision for the
exclusion of the courts from any appeal
process. But no court could be required
to countenance anarchy in the arbitration
process. In most jurisdictions the
legislature and the courts have in recent
years taken steps and actions to encourage
private dispute resolution by arbitration.
As an example maritime arbitrators readily
produce awards that afternoon or
overnight. When the mists of the Internet
Dispute Resolution Process clear, quicker
results should be possible if needed.
Those that believe that what is being
suggested here is the administration of
justice outside the law will be comforted
to know that under Section 46 of the
English Arbitration Act 1996 the
Arbitrator may determine the law that
applies to a contract. Under Section 46
an arbitrator could quite rightly decide
that it is the Lex Interretis that applies
in a particular dispute and also hold what
the law is on the particular point in
issue. Competition between international
arbitration centres is such that the
Section 46 model is being followed with
similar legislation in other
A modicum of history is not inappropriate.
When communications were poor, that is up
to about the middle of the nineteenth
century, differences had to be resolved
locally and merchants appointed one of
their number to determine disputes. Among
itinerant traders there grew up an
accepted "Law Merchant" unenforced by any
statute. When communications improved the
Judges toured around and as the judges
developed the law this was called the
"Common Law". Then lawyers appeared to
practice the common law. Much the same
thing happened in civil law countries
except that the laws were prescribed
centrally based on an origin in Roman law.
It is submitted that ecommerce and the
Internet represent a freeing up of
communication and information flow
comparable with that achieved by the
easing of transportation that occurred in
the nineteenth century. Wise men in
committee may try to apply and develop
precepts established over 100 years ago to
a new communication age. We prefer to see
the law developed by the multitudes honing
with varying but individual decisions to
produce, an as yet unfathomable, Lex
Interretis. To do otherwise presents the
probability that the development of the
Internet will be slowed along a path
strewn with court decisions.
Arbitration usually takes place in private
and only the failures make the news -
hence arbitration has a bad press. We
mention as successes:
-The US-Iranian Claims Tribunal
-The British privatizations. The
Electricity and Railway industries,
for example, have been broken down
into many competing companies. Both
industries have arbitration schemes to
avoid washing their dirty linen in
public. The critics who forecast
wholesale litigation after
privatization have been confounded.
Arbitrators' awards are not published nor
are they binding beyond the parties to a
dispute. Nevertheless we are confident
that the Internet is sufficiently leaky
for a Lex Interretis to emerge. When it
does what the Scots call the "great
writers" will produce what Americans call
a "Restatement" of Internet Law on the
basis of a wide consensus. Is that not
what we would all like to see? Is not
voluntary submission to arbitration a
superior route to the "green fields
beyond" than the decisions of legislators
This submission is made in the sincere
belief that it reflects a widespread
desire in the Internet community for
freedom. But what is freedom in a spam
filled world of various types of addict?
This submission is an attempt to show how
existing world mechanisms can be used to
define the freedom space of the Internet.
Detractors will stop at nothing and well
wishers' suggestions for improvements are
The author of this note is: a Member of
the International Panel of the American
Arbitration Association, a Registered
Arbitrator by the Chartered Institute of
Arbitrators, a World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO) listed Mediator and
Arbitrator, a listed Arbitrator by the
Electricity Arbitration Association, a
Member of the London Court of
International Arbitration, a CEDR
Accredited Mediator and the named
Arbitrator in a world-wide contract
between two Multi-nationals. He is also a
Chartered Engineer, a Chartered
Information Systems Engineer, a Fellow of
the Chartered Institute of Management
Accountants, a Fellow of the British
Computer Society, and a Fellow of the
Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. As a
Webmaster he is the sole maintainer of his
own website http://www.endispute.co.uk.
Note that he is not a lawyer. As an
experienced sole practitioner working on
his own in dispute resolution he would
prefer a low profile but, realising that a
Lex Interretis is a common goal, seeks to
explain the path through which it will
have to evolve. There may be false starts
and diversions (aka mistakes or bugs) but
understanding the requirement is a great
help. Let us proceed with deliberate
speed rather than haphazard rambling. We
can be confident of the same result in the
end however we proceed but time spent on
reconnaissance is seldom wasted.
From: Aveek Datta <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/22/98 5:09pm
Subject: Comments on the draft.
Attached are my comments on the Green Paper.
The DOC file is a Word 7.0 document file. If for some reason it is not
readable, I have also attached an ASCII (or mostly ASCII, as much as Word
converted it) version that can be looked at as a fall back.
I've also placed the files online at http://datta.ml.org/cdns
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important issue.
COMMENTS ON THE GREEN PAPER
COMMENTS ON THE GREEN PAPER
Submitted by AVEEK DATTA
President, Monolith Innovations Group, Inc.
v1.0 March 22, 1998
Monolith Internet Services is one of the world’s largest free domain registry. We serve over 200,000 domain names to over 100,000 registered users. Our service was founded at the time that Network Solutions abruptly started charging $50 a year for their generic top level domains. Our domains are served to the general public.
Monolith is one of the few organizations that can try to speak for the individual and small business interest in the domain name issue. Other ‘Internet Society’(ies) still charge for membership and since many people on the Internet do not pay, or pay very little, for their Net access, it is preposterous to think that they represent anything close to the true ‘Internet Society’. Through our volunteer work and long history in this field, I hopes this opinion will be taken seriously and weighed with those of larger, more cash heavy interests.
This document is a response to the Government’s Green Paper on domain names, available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/domainname130.htm
For outside users, it is urged this document be read before this document.
Editor’s Note: This is not official opinion of Monolith Innovations Group.
The issue of representation is key in the domain name issue. Those who are currently very well represented are those with a lot of money, clout, or trademarks. The green paper is a step in the right direction of recognizing the rights of the others who use domain names, but there still remains a ways to go. This document outlines a few very generic points and hopes to stimulate thinking on the implementation of these ideas.
The original document is quoted and excerpted below offset by an indent.
Our consultations have revealed substantial differences among Internet stakeholders on how the domain name system should evolve. Since the Internet is changing so rapidly, no one entity or individual can claim to know what is best for the Internet. We certainly do not believe that our views are uniquely prescient. Nevertheless, shared principles have emerged from our discussions with Internet stakeholders.
The principles you have listed are a good summary. Stability and Representation are by far most important in this current debate. Many have addressed the issues of stability that are obviously very important as more and more money, time, and hard work are invested in an online presence. The representation issue still needs to be addressed more fully.
We propose the creation of a private, not-for-profit corporation (the new corporation) to manage the coordinated functions in a stable and open institutional framework. The new corporation should operate as a private entity for the benefit of the Internet as a whole. The new corporation would have the following authority:
There should be some centralized control of the system more than the ‘adhoc-racy’ of IANA. However, there is no reason to create this organization in the US governed by US law. Similar international issues have been dealt with throughout time. There are many more satisfactory solutions than this organization, which is more subject to US laws than any international consensus.
The board of directors for the new corporation should be balanced to equitably represent the interests of IP number registries, domain name registries, domain name registrars, the technical community, and Internet users (commercial, not-for-profit, and individuals). Officials of governments or intergovernmental organizations should not serve on the board of the new corporation. Seats on the initial board might be allocated as follows:
The makeup of the board is a reasonable start, especially the appointment of one entity of ‘non-commercial, not-for-profit use of the Internet’. However, it is not enough. It is too vague and open to too much interpretation. More positions should be created on the board for 'average user representatives. Two to three would be a better number, with at least one being for ‘not-for-profit use and/or sale of domain names’.
This distinction should be made since there are many many Internet societies out there, all who profess to some degree of sponsorship of non-commercial/non-profit use. However, a seat should be reserved for those who are specifically interested in the free domain name issue rather than other causes or more generic issues. This will ensure that someone of competent background in this particular issue will be available.
Some have scoffed at the idea of a free top level domain. A free top level domain should be as much of a possibility as any other specialized top level domain. There is no reason why ‘generic’ TLDs have to be exactly alike. Instead, there could be ‘specific generic top level domains’ (obviously a less oxymoronic name remains to be found) like the following:
The key thing to note here is that ALL TOP LEVEL DOMAINS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL. There is no reason not to create specialized top level domains, including what is my goal, a free top level domain. Monolith has been serving free domains under ML.ORG for several years now. We are more than willing to work with other interested parties to setup a free top level domain.
Both registry and registrar functions could be operated on a competitive basis. Just as NSI acts as the registry for .com, .net, and .org, other companies could manage registries with different TLDs such as .vend or .store. Registrars could provide the service of obtaining domain names for customers in any gTLD. Companies that design Web sites for customers might, for example, provide registration as an adjunct to other services. Other companies may perform this function as a stand-alone business.
Separation of registrar and registry is a very good idea. There is no reason to bundle simple database services along with the more complicated customer service/billing/etc that is associated with any registrar. .COM, .NET and the other current generic top level domains are an excellent example – outside of one major outage, database (registry) services have been very good while registrar services are what many people feel could be improved on.
All these arguments have merit, but they all depend on facts that only further experience will reveal. At least in the short run, a prudent concern for the stability of the system requires that expansion of gTLDs proceed at a deliberate and controlled pace to allow for evaluation of the impact of the new gTLDs and well-reasoned evolution of the domain space. The number of new top-level domains should be large enough to create competition among registries and to enable the new corporation to evaluate the functioning, in the new environment, of the root server system and the software systems that enable shared registration. At the same time, it should not be so large as to destabilize the Internet.
Do not 'let loose' the root zone-- that will only move the mess that is .COM into the root zone. On the other hand, this green paper is more cautious. There is no reason not to create dozens of new top level domains. As mentioned above, creation of specialized generic top level domains will mean that the average person may only be able to use half a dozen to a dozen of the new top level domains. The current proposals still leave noticeable portions of the Internet society without any options.
Creation of top level domains is an experiment that all sectors of the full Internet society should be able to participate in. For example, gtld-MOU registrars that have been widely pre-registering names. This means that even before the new top level domains are released, users interested in free domains will probably be out of luck for a wide majority of usable names in all the new top level domains.
The Trademark Dilemma
Trademarks do not have to be as strictly enforced as stated in every top level domain. There obviously is a lot of force behind .COM – Roger McDonalds would not have much of a chance to get MCDONALDS.COM. However, there is NO reason why he can not have MCDONALDS.USER or whatever.
You can get even more ridiculous here -- let's say that Roger McDonalds creates a website at http://his.isp.com/user/mcdonalds/, can McDonalds still claim trademark infringement? If the answer is that's a URL and not a domain name, what about http://mcdonalds.home.ml.org, a free service we provide. Can McDonalds claim domain over this?
And what about a person with X trademark in the USA and another person with the same trademark in some other country. If the latter gets his/her domain first, under the current system the former can yank that domain away, just because the system is so US biased! And we won't even get into the case where we deal with trademark classes.
The bottom line is that protection of trademarks should be followed to the limits of the law in all domains. If Roger set up the above websites to specifically infringe on the McDonalds trademark, then it should be decided in a court of law. However, if the only infringement is the domain name, it is ridiculous in some cases.
Obviously, in some top level domains, such as .COM, extra protection should/may be provided due to the valuable 'virtual real estate'. However in others, there is no reason to, as outlined above. Simply speaking, the trademark policy should be associated with the top level domain rather than a global policy on all names. Let the law do its work here and please do not make every Tom, Dick, and Jane have to worry about trademark infrigement everytime they setup a domain name.
Looking through the suggested implementation of these changes, I have one major comment – do not generalize so much. The steep requirements listed for registry/registrars should not apply, for example, to a non-profit free top level domain. Remember, The right registrar for the right domain.
A quick comment on the GTLD-MOU. I participated in the IAHC's discussions from nearly day one till the day when the final proposal was released. I was pleased at the progress in the intermediate proposal but very disappointed at the final proposal. There was no evidence of representation the complete makeup of the whole Internet but instead just those with money and clout.
While GTLD-MOU supporters may claim to be representative of the 'Internet Society' they are actually only representative of the more affluent members of our true 'Internet Society', especially those who stand to profit from the system they created. Please do not go down the road they have created. Remember, there a lot of good people out there who do not care for the commercialization of domain names but rather want to make them accessible to all. Do not let these people down.
Let us examine an interesting phenomena in computers and the Net in general: No matter how much a not-to-be-named company tries to create one operating system for all, some people insist on using alternate operating systems. They do not fit into the mold created for them by the company. It is true the majority of users are satisfied with the supposed 'generic' operating system but sizable minorities do thirst for something different. This phenomenon is not limited to the operating system and many case studies exist in the computer world and even more so in the Internet. Another example would be mail server software -- there is a standard, good for most, but not used by all.
The Internet is possibly one of the most mixed bags of users that any developer could work for. Do not try to create one solution for all but instead create several solutions, one of which all can use. Please do not forget these lessons learned as embark on a new frontier of Internet domain usage.
President, Monolith Innovations Group, INC
MLIG Website: http://www.ml.org
Monolith Inquiriers: email@example.com
From: Jean-Guy Testut <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/22/98 5:43pm
Subject: Comments on GREEN PAPER
It is insane to see that the americain government is trying to
control the net.
Internet is and must remain something international where nobody has to
go through the US government to obtain something
The ohter day, I was reading about CORE, a non-profit organization
represended by more than 20 countries. Let them do the gob, they will be
a much more open minded contact than the US government
If today they represent 20 countries or so, how do you think you can be
the one rulling Internet
The US represents a tiny part of what will be Internet tomorrow - USA
cannot pretend they are going tu rule it. I will do everything I can to
prevent it. I will make known to whomever I can what is going on right
From: "Sam Carmalt" <email@example.com>
Date: 3/22/98 11:49pm
Subject: Comments on DNS administration proposed rule
Attached is a document in Word (v6.0/95) which contains comments on
the proposed rule.
Comments in regard to :
See you at INET'98, Geneva 21-24 July '98, http://www.isoc.org/inet98/
Sam Carmalt SW Consulting SA
1, chemin du Jura Tel: +41-22-758-1031
CH-1292 Chambesy Fax: +41-22-758-3303
Switzerland e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.swconsult.ch PGP public key available
Comments in regard to :
Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses
Docket No. 980212036-8036-01 as per
Federal Register of February 20, 1998 (v63 no. 34 p. 8825ff).
The proposed rule is technically flawed and cannot be adopted as it is. The justifications for some of the proposed changes are muddled in expression if not concept. The internet's established self-governing mechanisms published a plan in May, 1997 (cf. http://www.gtld-mou.org) which addresses the concerns of this proposed rule; the gTLD-MoU generally follows the principles expressed in this proposed rule.
The portion of the gTLD-MoU plan to establish seven new top-level domains should go forward this month; this can be done without jeopardizing stability and without changing any existing structures. It should also go forward because the plan was developed by the established internet governing boards, in full light of public comment, and with the full knowledge of all US Government.
With respect to all other aspects of the proposed rule, the proposals of the gTLD-MoU should be adopted. If it is legally necessary for the gTLD-MoU plan to be published by the Department of Commerce, then the proposed rule should be withdrawn and the gTLD-MoU published as the proposed plan for public comment.
Terms, abbreviations and definitions used:
CORE -- Council of Registrars, the body of all registrars established by the gTLD-MoU plan
DNS -- The hierarchical system of 'user-friendly' names which are used as internet addresses (e.g. www.ntia.doc.gov)
Domain -- A user-friendly name which, via the domain name system, points to a specific internet address. Of particular concern are the TLDs (top-level domains).
Green Paper -- the initial publication of the proposed rule in January 1998
IAB -- Internet Architecture Board, a group which provides a forum for long-term design issues involving the internet
IANA -- Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, the part of the University of Southern California which, under contract from the USG, controls the numeric addresses which enable the internet to work
IETF -- Internet Engineering Task Force, the group which publishes detailed, technical papers on how the internet works.
ISOC -- Internet Society, a not-for-profit corporation, registered under the laws of the District of Columbia, which is open to all individuals and organizations interested in the internet.
NSI -- Network Solutions, Inc., the private company which currently operates much of the public gTLD system under contract to the USG
PAC -- Policy Advisory Body, a group constituted under the gTLD-MoU plan to advise on major policy issues. It is open to anyone who subscribes to the gTLD-MoU.
POC -- Policy Oversight Committee, a not-for-profit corporation, registered under the laws of Delaware, which is the ultimate authority for the administration of the DNS under the gTLD-MoU plan
proposed rule -- The document published by the Department of Commerce at Federal Register vol. 63, no. 34 pp. 8825-8833 (February 20, 1998), Docket No. 980212036-8036-01, "Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses; Proposed Rule".
registrar -- an organization which is allowed to make entries into the definitive copy of a domain's lookup table
registry -- a term best avoided. As defined in the gTLD-MoU and proposed rule, it is an administrative body which administers the unique definitive lookup tables (or database or zone files) of one or more domains.
TLD -- Top Level Domain; the right-hand-most portion of an internet address (e.g. .com or .gov or .uk).
There are two types of TLDs, the 2-letter ISO country codes (e.g. .ca and .uk) and the 'global' TLDs (e.g. .com and .mil). The global TLDs are referred to as gTLDs.
USG -- United States Government
For the internet to work, each computer connected to it must have a unique numeric address. Because these numeric addresses are not 'user-friendly', the computer is generally addressed by means of a name. The relationship between these names and the unique numbers must be such that a name uniquely resolves an address. However, one numeric address may be addressed by several different names.
The names routinely used on the internet (e.g. http://www.ntia.doc.gov) are hierarchical; this hierarchical system is known as the Domain Name System. At the top of the hierarchy are domains composed either of the 2-letter ISO country codes or one of a small number of generic names (.com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, and .org). The second level of domain names are such names as whitehouse, exxon, and panda. These second level domains only have meaning when they are added to a top-level domain (e.g. whitehouse.gov, exxon.com or panda.org), and not on their own. Indeed, it is implicit in a hierarchical system that panda.com and panda.org are different names; both might exist, and they could point to different, unrelated numeric addresses.
The DNS system works by lookup tables (referred to in the proposed rule as zone files; technically a type of database). Because the system is hierarchical, there is not just a single database; rather there is one for each level of the hierarchy which has sub-levels. Each of these tables must contain the lookup for the names registered at that level; each of the computers represented by these names might then maintain its own lookup table for the next level down, etc.. In order for software to resolve a name, each lookup table must also know the location of the lookup table in which it is itself listed, so that requests for lookups outside of its own scope can be passed either upward or downward to the appropriate lookup table.
As a practical matter, and one of the very clever design features of the system, is that a lookup table can keep copies of information which it may frequently use in addition to the information which it must keep due to its own position in the hierarchy. Therefore in practice a lookup table will have both definitive information relating to its own position in the hierarchy and copied information, which is not definitive, from other tables.
The table at the top of the hierarchy is unique in that there is no further upward reference possible. Note also that this top table is very small (presently about 200 entries -- one for each 2-letter country code plus the 6 existing gTLDs).
It is important to distinguish between the logical and the physical lookup tables. For historical reasons, the lookup tables for four of the second-level domains (.com, .edu, .net, .org) and the lookup table for the top level have been kept together in a single physical database. This is not necessary; neither is it objectionable. What is critical for the system to work is that there must be a single, definitive source for each lookup table.
The present level of database technology permits multiple users to have access to the same database, either in whole or in part. The definitive lookup table for each domain must be definitive, that is to say unique. This does not preclude multiple users from having access to it. As should be obvious, a user who is one of many with access to database A may also be one of many with access to database B. When multiple users are allowed to share access to a database, some authority must define their access rights, including which records they are allowed to enter, modify, delete, etc.. There can obviously only be one such authority.
At issue in the proposed rule is the control over the definitive lookup tables for the top-most lookup table, and for the lookup tables for .com, .edu, .net and .org.
[As a side note, the Department of Commerce should consider proposing legislation which imposes criminal penalties on manipulating definitive records in domain-name databases in an unauthorized manner. Such legislation should apply both to an organization which does this and to any individual who actually performs such operations. The same legislation should probably include criminal sanctions for knowingly introducing incorrect non-definitive records in a domain-name databases.]
At present, the ultimate assignor of IP addresses is IANA, which exercises its authority under contract to the USG. In practice, IANA assigns large blocks of IP addresses to regional bodies, which allocate smaller blocks, etc..
Both the top-level look-up table (that is the one which points to the look-up tables for top-level domains) and the look-up tables for .com, .edu, .net and .org are managed under USG contract by NSI. The recent public offering of stock in NSI and the associated filings with the SEC are a classic example of the profitability of controlling a monopoly.
Also at present, and not mentioned in the proposed rule, is the fact that, as the internet has grown and evolved, it has evolved mechanisms for its own operation. These mechanisms have evolved under the oversight, but not the direction, of the USG. Bodies such as IANA, IETF, IAB, and ISOC exist and have evolved to provide a robust, grass-roots, participatory mechanism for the continuing stable operation of the internet.
As the issue of top-level domains became clearly critical, these established internet bodies formed the committees and working groups needed to address the problem(s). These groups drafted a proposal, contained in the gTLD-MoU. This was done openly, with many iterations for public comment. The fial plan has been supported by a very large number of internet users.
The proposed rule:
The proposed rule is in response to a Presidential directive to the Secretary of Commerce to 'privatize, increase competition in, and promote international participation in the domain name system'.
The proposed rule sets forth in section V the principles for a new administration of the Domain Name System. These principles are unobjectionable. In particular, this section recognizes that there are some functions which must be managed in a 'coordinated' manner, suggests a non-profit corporation as the mechanism for doing so, but that for all other aspects a market-driven, competitive environment should be allowed to develop.
The actual proposal starts on p. 8827 at section VI. Starting on p. 8828 the proposed rule is divided into sections A to E.
Section A -- Coordinated Functions -- suggests that a non-profit corporation be established to undertake and achieve four specific functions. Such a non-profit corporation has already been established by the established internet governing bodies, has been incorporated on a not-for-profit basis in Delaware. This is the POC as set forth in the gTLD-MoU. Because the internet community has foreseen this need, the organization is in place, and transfer of authorities as indicated in the proposed rule can commence. There are some minor details of funding and organizational procedure between the proposed rule and the POC by-laws, but these are not significant. The specific antitrust problems alluded to for the hypothetical organization are not an issue, as can be seen from the POC structure (see the gTLD-MoU web site for details).
Section B -- 'Competitive Functions' -- starting on p. 8828 is a masterpiece of obfuscation. As noted in the technical section, there must be a unique lookup table for each domain. Many different people can have access to modify this lookup table (modify as used here includes making new entries, modifying existing entries and deleting old entries) provided there are clear rules for such access, and that there is a procedure in place for resolving any conflicts which may arise between the multiple users.
There seems to be general agreement that there should be multiple users able to modify each TDL lookup table, that is multiple registrars. These registrars will be able to compete on price, quality of service, etc. To be allowed their access to the lookup tables, they must agree to the rules for dispute resolution which will govern the operation of the lookup tables. Taking the case of the .com lookup tables, there can be several registrars authorized to make entries; the only requirement is that they have to be bound by whatever dispute resolution procedures are in place.
Similarly, there can be multiple registrars for the .org lookup tables. These registrars can compete with each other, but must all agree to be bound by whatever dispute resolution procedures are in place for the .org lookup tables.
One company might therefore choose to be a registrar for only .com addresses, focusing that company's expertise, value-added services, etc., entirely in the commercial company area. Another company might choose to be a registrar for both .com and .org lookup tables. This company might provide lower costs for actual registration, but less support for the ultimate owner of the name.
As a precaution to ensure equal access to the lookup tables by the multiple registrars, no registrar should ever administer or otherwise operate the lookup tables for a domain for which it is also a registrar.
The discussion of competitive registries in this section is misplaced. There can be no competition in how a lookup table is administered. The .com lookup table must be administered according to the rules for .com; the .org lookup table must be administered according to the rules for .org, etc.. It is possible that the rules for .com and .org might be identical, or they might not be.
The 'lock-in' effect and comments on competitive 'registries' are properly the subject of the next section, creation of new gTLDs.
Section C -- ' Creation of new gTLDs' -- Both the proposed rule and the gTLD-MoU agree that any increase of TLDs should be done gradually, so that the effect of this change on the system can be assessed. The gTLD-MoU plan suggests that seven (7) new TLDs be added, to be administered under a single set of dispute-resolution rules. We agree that this is a sufficiently large number to be able to assess the effect of a change, and not so great a number as to cause any risk of system instability. The infrastructure developed under the gTLD-MoU is in place to do this immediately.
The proposed rule suggests that a maximum of five (5) new TLDs be added, and that they be administered under five different sets of dispute resolution rules, none of which are proposed. Furthermore, no infrastructure exists with which this proposal can be implemented immediately.
The remainder of Section C discusses, but makes no proposal, the issue of how future expansion of the top-level domain name space should be done. The gTLD-MoU proposal has some specific mechanisms in this area, which involve both all existing registrars (through CORE) and all other participants (through PAC) making suggestions, which would then be definitively acted upon by the POC (the Delaware non-profit corporation which has final oversight authority under the gTLD-MoU plan).
Section D -- 'The Trademark Dilemma' -- This section of the proposed rule makes several suggestions and requests comments in several specific areas of trademark dispute resolution, but does not offer any concrete mechanism for resolution of name disputes during the transition period. In contrast, the gTLD-MoU has a very specific, very rapid (by standards of legal procedure), on-line mechanism for such resolutions. As with any body of jurisprudence, this will evolve with time and experience.
The proposed rule is totally lacking in its discussion in two important dimensions: first name disputes are not the same as trademark disputes. There is no trademark dispute between a Vectra™ computer (Hewlett-Packard's trademark) and a Vectra™ automobile (Opal division of General Motor's trademark). But there can only be one www.vectra.com. The other element lacking is that the internet is international, so what should be done in conflict-of-laws situations in which two different international jurisdictions might well award the same absolute rights to two different parties. There is no generally agreed upon jurisdiction of last resort in such situations.
The proposed rule suggests that more advanced search mechanisms be developed so that trademark problems can be more easily identified. This seems to be to be an excellent example of the sort of value-added service that a particular registrar could provide to its competitive advantage.
Because the thorniest trademark-related questions will be international in scope, the WTO or the WIPO would seem to be the best final resort. If dispute resolution procedures become a competitive issue (as is implied by having a requirement on presumably competitive registries for the timeliness with which they handle conflicts), then the least expensive final resolution for such problems will prevail. In such circumstances, the US system of open access to the judicial system at the cost of protracted and delayable proceedings will rapidly lose out to systems which may offer much less opportunity to individuals. The gTLD-MoU dispute resolution procedures, developed under the auspices of WIPO, avoid most of these pitfalls.
The concept of multiple, competitive registries is also undermined by the trademark dispute resolution problem. As has been pointed out earlier, there can only be a single, definitive lookup table for each domain. There are almost no costs to administering such a lookup table; hence the only way for the administration of one lookup table (the registry) to compete with administration of another lookup table (another registry) is by means of the dispute resolution rules which they respectively use. If a single set of dispute resolution rules is mandated for all registries, then there is little left on which to compete. On the other hand, if each registry can formulate its own dispute resolution rules, then the outcomes may well be different in different registries. This can either be accepted, which could well lead to confusion, or would require a separate administration to resolve disputes between registries.
Section E -- The Intellectual Infrastructure Fund -- The authorized charges which NSI collects for domain-name registrations are a transitory issue.
To clarify what should be paid, and to whom, NSI should be instructed to immediately segregate the three functions it currently performs under contract to the USG (viz. serving as registrar for the .com, .edu, .net and .org domains; serving as the lookup table administrator for the .com, .edu, .net and .org domains; and serving as the lookup table administrator for the unique, top-level lookup table).
As mentioned earlier, NSI should relinquish either its role as registrar or its role as lookup table administrator for the four domains for which it presently serves both roles (.com, .edu, .net and .org). This should be done as soon as practicable. While the choice of which of these two roles to relinquish should be left to NSI, it seems reasonable that as a private company it will want to retain its role as registrar.
In this case, the role of administrator, which requires uniqueness, should be assigned to IANA which has the expertise to do the job, until a longer-term, non-governmental, non-profit solution can be found. Actual costs for this administrative role will not be great, and to the extent that they can be estimated, it can be stipulated that the registrars who have access to modify the lookup tables be charged user fees which cover the costs.
This leaves the fees which should be charged by NSI in its capacity as registrar until such time as there are multiple registrars. Once there are multiple registrars, then competitive pressure will determine the fees NSI can charge, and the discussion becomes moot. Until the registrar service becomes competitive, the USG must set the fees which NSI should collect from users and these should be set to approximately cover the costs that NSI incurs to run the service, not more. To allow NSI to collect more for any protracted period would be for the USG to sanction a private company's profit from a USG-granted monopoly. Because this is an interim situation, not too much effort should be invested in getting the fees correct to the last penny; as a consequence the USG should be prepared to pay a single contractor's fee if the user fee it mandates can be shown to be below the actual costs which NSI incurs.
Part VII of the proposed rule, beginning on page 8830, deals with transition procedures. Many of these are duplicative of actions already taken by the internet community under the gTLD-MoU. Where the necessary actions have already been taken by the internet community, the USG is under an obligation to show cause as to why it should duplicate such efforts at significant cost.
Part VII begins with a listing of six specific actions which must be taken:
Section A -- The NSI Agreement -- The ramp-down period. As I understand this section, the four points starting on page 8831 apply to the period between the end of March 1998 and the end of September 1998.
I would prefer for NSI to transfer the administration of the four lookup tables to some other body, either IANA or POC as quickly as possible. As stated before it is inappropriate for a registrar to administer a lookup table in which it has registration rights. Six months of imperfection is tolerable, so long as it is not extended. The sharing of the registrar function should, as indicated, start as soon as possible.
Points 3 and 4 read as though NSI, in its discussions with the authors of the proposed rule, has indicated that it is perhaps not going to recognize that its participation in the internet over the past five years has been under government contract. For NSI to fail to take the actions in these to points, or if it even attempts to delay doing so, it is attempting to seize control of the topmost, controlling aspects of the internet. For a private company to even attempt such an action strikes me as unconscionable, especially when taken in violation of the trust implicit in being awarded a government contract. If such a scenario is indeed on the horizon, I would work immediately with Dr. Postel of IANA and the Department of Justice so as to take immediate and forceful action. Technically, there would be little problem in doing this.
Section B -- Competitive Registries, Registrars, and Addition of new gTLDs -- The concerns expressed at the beginning of this section are without foundation as the proper structures, organizations and procedures have been foreseen by the internet community and are in place. The detailed suggestions are therefore needless.
Section C -- The root server system -- This section can be implemented as is.
Section D -- The .us domain -- The musings on the .us TLD are in total agreement with my thinking on this subject. Commercial use of this space should be encouraged. The USG will have to work with IANA to resolve all the same problems with respect to management of the .us TLD domain as have been discussed in the rest of the proposed rule with respect to the gTLDs. The one greatly simplifying factor in the .us domain situation is that the international questions are absent; jurisdiction is totally within the US.
Section E -- The Process -- The only existing, ground-up proposal for the domain-name issue address by the proposed rule is the gTLD-MoU plan. This plan has been critiqued by all of the technical experts and internet policy commentators involved with internet operation and governance. There are no problems with stability in it. The ability to be a registrar is equally open to all. The governing mechanisms are as broad-based as can be constructed. Opponents seeking their own selfish gain will play on fears such as 'instability' to achieve their own ends. Care must be taken to listen to those with sufficient technical expertise in such cases.
Comments on appendix 1
We note that even developing the detailed rules envisioned here is an additional administrative burden for IANA; one which puts it (as agent for the USG) in a greater administrative role than at present. I thought the aim of the proposed rule was to extract the USG from such administration of the internet. Would it not be better to use the PAC for this purpose? Doing so would help to move the governance of the internet to the user, ground-up bodies desired.
The introductory section notes that 'registries will be separate from registrars'. The company which administers a domain's lookup tables must be non-profit (or in some other way non-commercial) inasmuch as it must be a unique, and therefore monopoly, entity. Non-profit companies do sometimes own for-profit companies, so the appropriate rule would be that no company which administers a TLD lookup table may have more than 5% ownership of any registrar allowed to access the lookup tables which it administers. Similarly, no registrar should have be able to have more than 5% ownership or control of any body responsible for administration of a lookup table.
One of the most attractive mechanisms for providing the administration of a lookup table might be as a cooperative of the registrars. In such cases the above 5% rule is interpreted to mean that at least 20 registrars be involved in forming such a cooperative, and there should also be assurance that all registrars in such a cooperative have equal stature, and that there is no way that a few of the strongest or largest registrars in the cooperative can control it.
The sentence 'Each top-level domain (TLD) database will be maintained by only one registry and, at least initially, each new registry can host only one TLD.' does not make sense. The best I can make of it is that it is a tautology, as the lookup table for a domain must be definitive. Hence the lookup table for a TLD is administered by one administrator, and there can only be one administrator for a TDL. As has been noted, one administrator might administer several different lookup tables. Since this is a non-profit, monopoly activity anyway, it seems reasonable to allow an non-profit organization which is set up to do this to do so for several different lookup-tables.
I take the specific requirements for 'registries' to be those for the non-profit entity responsible for maintaining the lookup table for a TLD. For the most part the recommendations are prudent critical database management requirements. Item 1d should probably include specification for daily mirroring to an offsite location. Item 1g is a bit problematic -- as a monopoly, and therefore non-profit entity, the administrator cannot be expected to give away software; more appropriate would be that the administrator provide any such software to the registrars on an equal basis, and at a price that approximates actual cost. Item 2a begs the question of 'which jurisdiction?'. I agree that lookup table administrators might provide backup and security functions for each other.
With respect to the registrar requirements, these are generally given in too great detail. For example, it may be that a registrar can function quite adequately with a single ISP connected internally and externally at two different locations (e.g. the registrar has locations in San Francisco and Boston and a private network between the two locations and at each location is connected to the internet via AT&T; in this case a second ISP doesn't seem warranted). Similarly, some sites might actually be able to demonstrate that alarmed premises are actually more secure than unalarmed premises with a 24-hour guard (who can fall asleep). Perhaps these should be given as expectations, but with waivers being possible if the independent assessment believes that in the specific circumstances the registrar still meets the goals intended by the guidelines. Obviously, the lookup table administrator could absolutely require much higher standards as a criterion for being a registrar for that lookup table.
Comments on appendix 2 …
Again, there is a tendency to specify too much detail. For example, 1a would imply that without a fax number one cannot register a name. Many small organizations (and this is becoming more common) have only phone and e-mail; fax is an obsolete technology. There is no objection to requiring valid contact information.
I am not at all sure that the certificate in 1b is needed. For one thing, the entitlement phrase is what lawyers would probably term 'impossibly vague'. 'superior rights' goes back to the thorny questions of 'in what jurisdiction?' and 'which right of several is ''superior''?'. One or two prosecutions for extortion would probably be more effective in discouraging extortion than these proposals.
As commented earlier, the facility of searches would be better left for registrars to offer as a value-added service. But I agree that the information needed for registrars to construct such services should be available publicly.
The portion of item 3, which requires a domain-name owner to 'describe how the owner is using the domain name', is pointless. The domain name can only be used as a pointer to a numeric address. However, the status could be reported (basically the IP number can be listed, if the name is simply being held in reserve, there will be no IP address).
The critical point in item 4a is the word requires in 'requires no involvement by registrars'. Providing name conflict resolution might well be a value-added service that a registrar would want to offer.
The proposed rule either duplicates the gTLD-MoU or makes changes based primarily on a technical miscomprehension of the need for uniqueness in the administration of a domain lookup table. Where the proposed rule advocates redoing what has already been done under the gTLD-MoU, I can see no reason for duplicating this effort. Where the proposed rule is based on technical confusion as to the need for uniqueness in domain lookup tables, it is fundamentally flawed, and needs to be completely redone.
On balance, the best course of action is to move to implement the gTLD-MoU suggestions.
March 22, 1998
Date: 3/22/98 7:45pm
Subject: Comments on the U.S. Proposal to improve DNS by JPO
RE: Comments on the U.S. Government's Proposal to Improve Technical Management of
Internet Names and Addresses
by Japanese Patent Office (JPO)
We would like to submit the following comments on the PROPOSAL TO IMPROVE TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT OF INTERNET NAMES AND ADDRESSES DISCUSSION DRAFT 1/30/98.
We hope that our comments will be helpful and contribute to the efforts of the U.S. Government on this issue.
We would also like to emphasize that our comments are based on the studies of relevant groups at the Japanese Patent Office and are not the official comments of the Japanese Government.
1. The Coordinated Functions
While we support the establishment of a new, not-for-profit corporation as a successor to IANA, we think it is very important to consider the following factors.
(1) In view of the "borderless" characteristic of the Internet, it is essential that participation in the new corporation be on an international basis. Moreover, this international participation must pay utmost attention to regional balance.
(2) The not-for-profit corporation is to have a Board of Directors formed from executives chosen from all around the world. However, in deciding the member formation of this Board, it is important to take into consideration that the opinions of all those involved must be widely and clearly reflected. With regard to the proposed member formation, we would like to make several constructive comments: (a) trademark representatives must also be included (b) given the "borderless" characteristic of the Internet, there is no difference between gTLD and ccTLD, and therefore representatives of individual countries' registries need also be included.
(3) Further, in order to take into account points (1) and (2) and create a suitable regulatory organ, the place of establishment of the not-for-profit corporation needs to be decided through studies by all the involved leading countries, not a priori decided to be located in the U.S..
2. The Competitive Functions
(1) We approve of the clear division between registry and registrar.
(2) We are in favour of the introduction of competition between registrars.
(3) Basically, We support the introduction of the principle of competition between the registries and the establishment of new gTLDs for this purpose. However, these must be established on a controlled basis. Also, since responsibilities are unclear, new gTLDs should not be created until the not-for-profit corporation succeeding IANA be established. We believe it is also necessary to discuss procedures for promoting sound competition between the registries of the new gTLDs and the NSI(.com), which has already had some success.
3. Trademark Dilemma
(1) We are in favour of the establishment of simple and rapid procedures for dispute settlement. However, the fact that each registry can create its own policy for the settlement of dispute is going to lead to chaos amongst users. It is therefore necessary to create a common policy for dispute settlement. Moreover, if the role of dispute arbiter is to be played by a registry, problems of neutrality in dispute settlement are bound to arise. We propose therefore that the settlement of disputes should be entrusted to third-parties and, as one alternative, we should consider the use of WIPO/ACPs. We would, moreover, like to see a common third-party being used for all gTLD disputes. This proposal should not be taken to mean that there will be one exclusive dispute settling organ or that the use of each country's judicial system or intermediary organisation will be hindered.
(2) With regard to dispute settlement, it would be worthwhile to establish a time limit but this must be discussed along with definite plans for a common dispute settlement policy as a whole.
(3) We agree with consent on matters of jurisdiction (place of the registry, place of registry/database maintenance, place of A route server management ) taking place at the time of domain name registration. However, " place of trademark rights' violation" must also be added to the matters to be agreed.
For example, in the case where the ".com" domain name violates trademark rights registered in Japan, lawsuits arising in Japan will also be covered.
(4) With regard to the exclusion of domain name consisting of others' well-known trademarks, the JPO has initiated action on a plan to establish and make public a database of famous and well-known trademarks but it is also necessary for other leading countries to take similar measures. Also it should be studied measures that registries and registrars use the database as a tool for trademark clearing.
4. Country-code domains (ccTLD)
Under the auspices of the not-for-profit corporation established as successor to IANA, we propose that domain name registration for national domains also be based on international rules agreed at a minimum level. At the very least, the registries' and registrars' requirements should also be applied to national domains.
5. Appendix 2
(1) With regard to Certification Statement of the Minimum Application Requirements in Appendix 2, We propose that it should include a requirement to specify the reason for selection of domain name in application. Also, as a part of stating that another person's trademark will not be violated, We think the possibility should be studied of making it a rule to attach the related prior rights investigation result data.
(2) In order to clarify the responsibilities of domain name usage and to control unfair possession, domain name registration should be renewed every year. I propose this also be specified in Appendix 2.
(3) In order to serve the uses of the trademark rights holder, information on application or renewal of domain names should be quickly published on the website.
(4) Taking into consideration the expected increase in gTLDs and the problem of ccTLDs, a database of registered domain names and the information outlined in (3) need to be interconnected by a network, which the trademark rights owners can access easily. For example, one idea would be for this network to be controlled by the not-for-profit corporation formed as a successor to IANA.
6. Future works
The JPO places great importance on this transition plan and we believe that from now onwards there is a need for a structure to present information at every stage of the transition and to canvass a wide range of opinions.
From: Izumi Aizu <email@example.com>
Date: 3/22/98 8:49pm
Subject: Comments on Green Paper
<fontfamily><param>Century</param> My Comments on Green
Paper <<Mar 23, 1998>
by Izumi Aizu <<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Principal, Asia Network Research
As a founder of a private, independent research institute dedicated to
growth of Internet and its use in Asia, based in Kuala Lumpur,
and an individual member of APNG (Asia Pacific Networking Group) and
(Asia Pacific Internet Association), Senior Research Fellow at GLOCOM
(Center for Global Communication, International University of Japan),
and Research Manager
at Institute for HyperNetwork Society, Oita, Japan, I would like to
following personal comments to the Green Paper on Internet Governance
First, I would like to appreciate and support the overall efforts and
framework proposed by the Green Paper. I view that there is a good
recognition for the conventional approach and wisdom that Internet
community exercised over the years, that of open, bottom-up,
approaches. While it is not stated explicitly for various reasons, I
the Green Paper team did incorporate as much as possible of the
from the Internet Community, such as ISOC, IAB, IETF and IAHC/POC
so far done.
I think and hope it will enhance the IAHC/POC gTLD structure, and it
contradict to it, but generate wider responsible participation in the
governance process than the original gTLD proposal which is an
I also appreciate the very open attitude that US government undertook
publishing this draft including the open meetings with Mr. Magaziner's
visit to APRICOT meeting in Manila as well as his visits to Tokyo to
accommodate as much as possible from wide-ranging voices of the
community, especially from Asia Pacific. I strongly urge that the US
administration keep this attitude more and listen to more voices from
region before making the final decision.
I also appreciate the inclusion of user group participation to the new
governing body which has not been that explicitly expressed in the gTLD
My overall position is to support the general direction this Green
Remaining concerns and issues
Now I would like to point out some of the remaining concerns and
especially seen from Asia-Pacific region's perspective to be further
incorporated for future improvement.
Ensure true 'global' participation
One of the primary objectives of the Green Paper, as I understand, is
gain true global participation for the governance of Internet. There
to be some rooms to be improved for that to happen, however.
Perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions from outside US may
"Why is the New International Organization proposed to be under US
If US Government believes, as Mr. Magaziner explained to us, that US
non-profit law actually offers better support for international
activities required for the new organization than the laws of most
countries, then the supporting evidences should be presented. It would
more convincing to carry out an objective survey that compares
locale and jurisdictions before making the conclusion to bring it to
That will gain more global support and participation.
At least, since IAHC gTLD decided to form CoRE under Switzerland law,
comparative study between the two jurisdiction system should be
for better judgment.
I assume that another factor affecting this decision of making it an
entity is the political pressure from the US Congress. While
amount of US taxpayer's money was spent for the development and
of the Internet's technical protocols and its operation, we must not
that other resources from other parts of the world have also been
contributed to the same cause. Let me illustrate only two examples:
APNIC was created by the collective efforts of Asia-Pacific Internet
community, a private membership funded organization, delegated to
Internet resources for the region from IANA. After DoD has officially
decided not to continue the funding support for IANA, significant
amount of money
was actually transferred from APNIC and RIPE-NCC, the European
to IANA to sustain its activities.
One of the most significant contributing factors of gaining the global
popularity of Internet, including that of business interests, was the
invention and propagation of WWW protocol which was originally
a British physics researcher, Tim-Berners Lee, while he was working for
European research institute, CERN.
Therefore, it is too early to conclude that global Internet is solely
mostly developed and managed by US taxpayers money. In this sense,
Internet grew not because US government single-handedly provided the
financial resources and supporting frameworks, it is these global
collaborative works including that of US government support that
the explosive growth of Internet.
Having said that, while I do not deny the critical roles that US
and its financial support played, US government and congress should try
find mutual solution to further promote the healthy and collaborative
of Internet rather than claiming its solo role as if it is the only
Then I think the Green Paper will be able to achieve the original goal,
gain true global participation more easily.
Balance governmental, commercial and non-profit societal forces.
Creation of new international non-profit organization seems to be a
start. However, how to make it a truly global body remains to be seen
US government can 'exit' from operational areas of Internet governance,
broader areas of social concerns may still require the proper
of governmental activities globally. These are, promotion of
building infrastructure, especially for the developing countries,
good information policies, protection of privacy, children and other
rights, ensuring the security.
In this regard, a need for broader Internet governance, consist of
governmental, commercial and non-profit civic sectors including NPOs
NGOs should be addressed.
Need more balanced geographic participation
While making the DNS registration process into a more competitive,
oriented process, evident in both Green Paper and gTLD MoU, have
advantages, one should not forget its possible drawbacks. That market
forces tend to provide uneven distribution of services and
commercial entities thus potentially leaving out the entities in the
side of the economy such as those in the developing countries.
Green Paper does not address these issues explicitly. Nor the gTLD MoU
For example, the vast majority of registrars applied and selected
gTLD MoU so far are mostly located in developed part of the world. Out
87 registrars, only less than 10 are from developing countries such as
China (2), South Africa (1), Mauritius (1), Singapore (1). Or of the
members of the POC executive commitee under gTLD MoU, 5 are from
Europe, and 4 are from USA, and remaining 2 were nominated by
international organizations but are from either US or Europe.
No one is representing Asia Pacific or any other developing
countries/economies such as Latin and South America, Middle East,
Central Asia or Africa.
I admit that the majority of the users of Internet today exist in the
developed part of the world, but in order to further promote the wider
distribution and participation of the global Internet, some
approach is more desirable for both developed and developing
We need true global representation from all corners of the world.
Need for a long-term global legal framework
What is absent in the Green Paper is the recognition of the need for
long-term task to establish new global legal framework that properly
addresses the new world reality made possible by the Internet and
technologies. It cannot be simply achieved by US government, or any
government alone, but we all know that the fundamental problem is that
pace of changes driven by technologies is much greater than that of
social/legal systems thus a concerted effort is inevitable.
As an ad hoc solution, the general direction of Green Paper is
Otherwise, US congress will not allow the 'hand-over' of Internet
governance smoothly. Yet the many details of new governance structure
including number of registries, dispute resolution mechanisms should be
open as much as possible to the new governing body.
I strongly ask for further consideration to the developing countries
economies globally. More specific representation from outside US and
Europe should be incorporated to the new governance mechanism.
I also hope that the Green Paper framework be merged with the gTLD MoU
effort and the people who support it to achieve a good mutual
* * * * Izumi Aizu (email@example.com) * * * *
Principal, ASIA NETWORK RESEARCH (ANR) Sdn. Bhd.
Tel: +60-3-780-8738 Fax: +60-3-781-0590
No. 20B, Taman Desa Business Centre, Jalan Desa Jaya,
Taman Desa, 58100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
also working for:
Institute for HyperNetwork Society, Oita & Tokyo
GLOCOM, Center for Global Communications, Tokyo
* * * WRITING THE HISTORY OF THE FUTURE * * *
From: Trevor Hales <hales@MelbourneIT.com.au>
Date: 3/23/98 1:53pm
Subject: Melbourne IT comments on Internet Domain Name System
Melbourne IT comments on Internet Domain Name System
During the past 18 months, the Internet International Ad Hoc Committee
(IAHC), a broad spectrum of representatives from the Internet community and
the ITU, formulated requirements for enhancing and internationalizing the
Internet's global Domain Name System (DNS). The IAHC following extensive
public deliberations developed the Generic Top Level Domain Names -
Memorandum of Understanding (gTLD-MOU). These recommendations from IAHC
were accepted by the hundreds of international signatories to the gTLD-MOU.
Internationally the signatories are from world class organizations, eg
MCI, France Telecom
To implement those recommendations, the Council of Registrars (CoRE) and
Policy Oversight Committee (POC) were established with open membership.
Until very recently, the expectation was that the IAHC approach would be
confirmed as the future direction for Internet addressing in support of
On January 30, 1998, US Department of Commerce, released its long awaited
draft (Green Paper) on Domain Name Administration "PROPOSAL TO IMPROVE
TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT OF INTERNET NAMES AND ADDRESSES" - DISCUSSION DRAFT
1/30/98. This paper may be obtained from:
In brief, this draft contained the following recommendations
1. Establishment of a not-for-profit corporation as a replacement to
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).
2. Introduction of 5 new top level domain name spaces with an outline for
3. Termination of the Network Solutions Inc (NSI) contract for
administering .com, .net, and .org.
Following the release of the Green Paper the following criticisms have been
made of the paper:
1. Too US-centric and does not consider the world ramifications
It is too oriented to maintaining US control and financial benefit from the
growth of the Internet. The Internet and in particular the web are NOW
world wide and hence need to be considered from a global perspective. The
web initiative was initially a European activity from CERN.
2. Ignores international effort in developing a collaborative system
IANA is the policy body that manages the Internet Domain Name System and
most importantly the deployment of the global root name servers. The Green
Paper proposes the establishment of a not-for-profit corporation based in
the US to replace IANA. This position ignores the fact that IANA has
already developed a model for this transition in collaboration with the
international Internet industry.
Secondly, the paper fails to acknowledge or consider the extensive world
wide collaboration used to establish the gtld-mou and related
infrastructure. The agreed Internet IETF approach for consensus building
seems to have been followed in establishing CoRE, but ignored by the US
3. Poor competitive model
The Green Paper proposes the creation of 5 monopoly registries; it is
expected that most of these would be situated in the US. This approach
contrasts with the international industry initiatives which foster and
encourage international competition as realised in CoRE (88 competing
registrars operating globally with a Shared Registry for multiple domains).
The establishment of proof-orientated monopolies may have significant
disadvantages for end users.
4. Stability of the Internet
No oversight or custodian role is described or defined in the document.
Hence the long-term stability of the Internet and service provision for end
users may be compromised. To avoid this situation, it is likely that the US
government will continue to have a pivotal role in the control of the
5. Trademark protection
It fails to address the issues of international trademark protection. The
existing CoRE solution has been developed in close cooperation with the
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and thereby having
international acceptance for dispute resolution..
6. NSI position
The Green Paper sustains the monopolistic position of NSI and does not
provide an acceptable position concerning the stewardship of the Internet
The Green Paper proposals if implemented would stifle international
competition, negatively impact the growth of the Internet, and threaten the
burgeoning electronic commerce market.
The Green Paper fails to acknowledge or consider the significant progress
made by the truly internationalised CoRE in which Australia took a leading
role. The US Government should be urged to negotiate with the CoRE/POC/IANA
team to progress the evolution of the domain names environment.
From: Agnes Lee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/22/98 10:53pm
Subject: Comments from SGNIC in MS Word 97 (2nd retry)
>Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 11:01:36 +0800
>From: Agnes Lee <email@example.com>
>Subject: Comments from SGNIC in MS Word 97
>Please find, enclosed, Comments on the Green Paper from the
>Singapore Network Information Centre. Document is in
>Microsoft Word 97.
CC: NTIADC40.SMTP40("firstname.lastname@example.org") 15 April, 1998
To: U.S. Department of Commerce,
14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20230
COMMENTS on THE GREEN PAPER TO IMPROVE TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT OF INTERNET NAMES AND ADDRESSES
We are the national registry for .SG country code top level domain and read with great interest your Green Paper and thank you for the opportunity to present our views to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Attached are our comments on the various points raised in the Paper. It is our wish that they be given due consideration when finalizing the proposals for the management of Internet names and addresses.
We can be reached at 71 Science Park Drive, NCB Building, Singapore 118253 or via email to email@example.com.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Agnes Lee (Ms)
Comments on the Green Paper: Submitted by SGNIC in consultation with the IASPs
The following are comments submitted by the Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC) Pte Ltd in consultation with the various Internet Access Service Providers which are also represented in SGNIC’s Board of Directors.
1. Protection of the root DNS
One of the shared principles highlighted in the Paper is ensuring the stability of the Internet. We believe that protecting the root DNS would go a long way in doing this.
2. Continuity of delegated country-code top-level domain registry
Almost all existing national registries for country-code top-level domains have invested a lot of effort and resources in setting up the registry and putting in place registration policies and in some cases legal framework to handle domain name disputes. For most of them this is sanctioned by the respective national governments.
The Green Paper gives some assurance in letting these registries continue to administer such TLDs but does not say enough about the new corporation recognizing them. Some support from the new corporation may be necessary for these registries to continue doing their job.
3. Formation of new gTLDs
The Internet will be in a state of flux for some time with the formation of the new corporation to replace IANA. As such, it may be more workable for the new gTLDs to be introduced (if at all) only when the dust has settled. A good time frame would be a year from the formation of the new corporation.
4. Structure of the new corporation
The Paper has stated that a broad representation will be present on the board of directors for the new corporation. We noted that the representatives from the various regional registries would be considered. We would certainly hope that the international representation is reflected across the Board, i.e. with respect to all the seats and not be limited to the regional registries alone. What matters most is that the board members must have the support of the Internet community and are not influenced by national governments.
Finally, we would also like to voice our support for the new corporation to be a not-for-profit one.
5. Dispute resolution
Currently our policy is to allow for the disputing parties to settle the matter either in a court of law or by arbitration and we agree to abide by the decision. Our agreement with the registrants also allows for us to provide the contact information to the claimant. Additionally it requires the registrant to represent that the domain name does not violate or infringe the rights of a third party. With all these we do not see the need for the registry to be involved in the dispute resolution process as it is likely to eat away our resources.
At the same time we are amenable to the setting up of a "clearing-house" mechanism to clear famous marks across the gTLDs. A clearing house could reduce the dependence of the registrants and third parties on the registries in disputes resolution. In this regard INTA may be able to assist to draw up a workable model with the consensus of its members.
From: "MailForm" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "MailForm User" <email@example.com>
Date: 3/22/98 12:23am
Subject: Mailform Data
Posted From: ww-tn06.proxy.aol.com
Date posted: 03/22/98 00:23:06
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 CORE's 12-Point Action Plan in response to the Green Paper
NAME: Kalman Kaminer
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
Submit SEND MAIL
Identical copies of the previous message were also received on this date from the following people:
NAME: Jeff Muhlbock
NAME: DI Peter Burgstaller
ORGANIZATION: AINS GmbH
NAME: Joanne Toller
ORGANIZATION: Secret ShopNET/Ecom Communications Corporation
NAME: John Moran
ORGANIZATION: John Moran
NAME: Tim Hickman, Sr.
NAME: Ramiro Portillo
ORGANIZATION: M xico Web Guide
NAME: Charles Chidekel
ORGANIZATION: R&C Communications Inc