From: Charles James <email@example.com>
Date: 3/23/98 9:24pm
Subject: DNS Green Paper Response
Dear Ira Magaziner,
First of all, thank you for presenting your green paper, and for offering
your carefully proposed solutions to these critically important issues.
We certainly agree that at least 7 - 10 new top level domains be added to
the system as soon as possible. We encourage you to do this in a speedy
fashion, as the need for these is facing critical proportions.
However, we are distressed at the actions of some organizations, late to
the party, who seem to be trying to hijack the system with their own
version of the way it should be.
We feel that Image Online Design should rightly be allowed to activate
their .web top level domain, and that Iperdome be allowed to use their .per
top level domain. There may be others too, who have offered new domains for
future use. These companies have been registering these domain names for
several years now, and have done so in good faith. Now is the time to
include these and other new domains in the root servers, and once again
free up the internet for future growth.
Thank you for your consideration,
Date: 3/23/98 9:07pm
Subject: USCIB DNS Comments
Attached as an MS Word 7 for Windows 95 document as well as a text
document, please find the comments of the US Council for International
Business on the "Proposal to Improve Technical Management of Internet
Names and Addresses", as issued in the Federal Registry notice of
2/20/98. Please confirm receipt of the attached to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph H. Alhadeff
Director, Electronic Commerce
US Council for International Business
1212 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
COMMENTS OF THE US COUNCIL FOR INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE ON THE "PROPOSAL TO IMPROVE TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT OF INTERNET NAMES AND ADRESSES"
We appreciate the opportunity to respond to the Clinton Administration's "Proposal to Improve Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses", as issued in the Federal Registry notice of 2/20/98. We commend the U.S. government team for the time and attention they have devoted to these critical issues. We believe that the Green Paper addressed many of the key areas of concern to our member companies and offers a useful framework for how each of these areas can be addressed
The USCIB is a membership organization representing the global interests of American business at home and abroad, with the objective of promoting an open system of world trade, finance, and investment. The USCIB is the American affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE). Through these international business organizations, the USCIB officially represents U.S. business positions both in the main intergovernmental bodies, such as the OECD, the World Trade Organization, and the ILO, and in the U.N. system through the consultative status of its international affiliates.
The USCIB has a keen interest in facilitating the growth and use of electronic commerce. We believe that infrastructure stability, in terms of Internet addressing and domain name systems, coupled with reliable and predictable protection of established trademarks and brand names should be the goal. Consumers must have confidence in electronic transactions through a secure infrastructure and the ability to rely on established brand identities and corporate reputations as guideposts of trust and reliability. Developing this level of consumer trust in transactions will spur electronic commerce and enable new markets to be opened with competition from new entrants by developing a critical mass of e-consumers.
In our comments, we focus most on certain issues raised in the Green Paper: the need to maintain Internet stability, the need to provide predictable and reliable protection for trademarks in online environments and the need to assure an orderly transition of governance. We believe that the following principles could be a useful guide in the transition to private sector governance.
The U. S. Government's stewardship must end in a responsible manner so that the operational stability of the Internet is not adversely affected by the transition. We also agree that change and evolution in technical management is needed.
We are in favor of increased competition and, where appropriate, believe that competition should be encouraged and implemented. Some minimized form of government authority will continue to be needed, however, to ensure that trademarks are protected and that recourse is available. Competition is a desirable outcome, but not a means unto itself. The goal of sustainable competition requires a gradual transition period, since many new processes and systems must be tested, and end users will need the system to continue to operate successfully through all the changes proposed.
* Private, Bottom up coordination
We agree with this concept.
* Composition of the Board and Related Processes
We agree that the new governance structure should reflect the changing nature of the stakeholders, take into account the increasingly global distribution of stakeholders, and the increasingly commercial nature of the Internet's applications. The composition of the new Board of the new non-profit is a high priority to us. The proposed allocation of "seats" an excellent approach to achieve that "balance". We strongly endorse the approach of ensuring that at least 50% of the Board seats come from the trademark/commercial user sectors.
The Green Paper makes it clear that global representation is essential, but does not provide a clearly defined approach about how global representation is to be identified and recruited. We look forward to seeing more detailed discussions of this subject and offer the following comments on this subject.
We understand that there are some who question whether the proposed approach of the Green Paper ensures the United States a continuing and undeserved leadership role in the governance of the Internet and in trademarks. We are aware of the concerns expressed by the European Commission, and perhaps others. While we do not discount those concerns, it is our view that the transition period proposed in the Green Paper will provide near-term stability, while ensuring an opportunity to develop an effective approach to address the question of a longer-term global legal authority and related issues involving trademarks.
We agree that global representation is essential in the Board of the new Corporation and acknowledge that an increasing number of users (now close to 33%) are non-US in origin. However, we believe that the Green Paper provides for participation by entities located in other regions, and in other nations, ensuring that the decision-making process is global and representative. We support the need to make every effort to recruit Board participation that is representative of the global nature of the Internet.
We support locating the non profit corporation in the U.S., where the USG has legitimate authority to undertake such transitions; given the legal realities, that seems both a reasonable and essential step. We agree that it may be appropriate to consider methodologies to move some functions to other regions of the world once the transition is complete, and the new corporation is fully stabilized.
Respect, recognition, and protection of trademarks:
As major trademark holders, our members are experiencing problems already in dealing with cyber-fraud, cybersquatting, and efforts to dilute their famous brands. We recommend that additional attention and focus should be given to ensuring that trademarks are recognized and protected and to how best to deal with trademark conflicts. Therefore, we endorse the need for a study on these issues as outlined in the Green Paper and look forward to supporting such an effort.
Trademark holders are also encountering a serious problem with the use of false information provided to the registrar when obtaining the domain name, thus making it difficult or impossible for the trademark holder to serve the holder of the conflicting domain name.
We are very concerned that two areas of high priority be addressed in this transition period and beyond: 1) ensuring that trademarks are recognized, respected, and protected in an effective and affordable manner with a uniform and standardized approach (across all domains) to dispute resolution of conflicts, and 2) that the negative consequences on consumers of increased confusion is minimized.
We therefore urge that effective steps be taken to explore harmonization of trademarks, including recognition of trademarks in domain names via WIPO. We ask that the U.S. government explore harmonization efforts with the European Commission, and with other governments, including Australia, Canada, Japan, and with WIPO's Director General, Dr. Idris Kamil.
Creation of new gTLDS
We support the concept of separation of the registry and registrar functions, as recommended in the Green Paper, and share the concern expressed about promoting competition at the registry level. Cautions have been raised about the proposed addition of simultaneous multiple gTLDs, due to problems which arise in trademark conflicts and the resulting confusion to consumers. We think this area should be approached with great care so as not to disrupt either the marketplace or the trademark system. We therefore support the concept of a careful and phased introduction of a modest number of competing registries during the transition period. This phased and limited introduction will enable the recommended study to take into account what happens when new gTLDs are introduced.
Resolution of Trademark and Governance Issues
Overall, we are pleased with the thoroughness represented by the Green Paper and the approach it takes with many of the key areas; however, as we have noted, more attention needs to be devoted to the impact upon trademarks and consumers of the governance decisions. We believe that governance and transition decisions must take into account the potential for disputes involving trademarks and domain names.
There is a synergistic nature between decisions involving governance and decisions about ensuring protection of trademarks, and managing disputes for trademarks and domain names. The issues of governance decisions, composition and number of Board members, choice of national law, and authority to enter new gTLDs into the Root Servers all significantly impact trademarks and must be addressed with an awareness of their synergistic nature.
Both the trademark and governance issues require the highest priority of attention and resolution of these outstanding issues should be encouraged in the near term.
Comments on Appendix 2
Appendix 2, as drafted, is a good starting point in establishing minimum requirements to which all registries must adhere. Registries, and their interaction with Registrars, play an important role in ensuring both the stability of the Internet and the protection of trademarks. We question the advisability of placing so much reliance on WIPO for Trademark enforcement since no international law exists to back it in this area. We propose the following:
* In addition to WIPO look to other established dispute resolution fora, such as the ICC International Court of Arbitration, to provide users with the ability to choose between reliable fora.
* The trademark dispute resolution process should be identical for all registries and input from trademark owners/industry working groups should be solicited in the development of this process.
* Trademark owners' interests must be fairly represented on the proposed Board of Directors through sufficient participation of trademark holders and commercial users on the Board.
We also endorse the concept of the proposed study to evaluate the effects of adding new generic Top Level Domains and related dispute resolution procedures on trademark owners. We take note of the fact that substantial work has already been undertaken in this area by WIPO and that a history of discourse in this area already exists within the Trademark Community. We expect that the proposed study will take notice of, and build upon, this previous work.
This study should address a variety of issues, including but not limited to the following:
1. The number of gTLDs which should be introduced;
2. Whether the establishment of a trademark clearance process is necessary and how it might be developed and implemented across multiple registrars;
3. Whether a searchable database is needed, and how it might be funded and supported;
4. Identifying what information from Domain Name databases should be accessible for "clearing" of trademarks;
5 Whether Domain Name registrants should be required to provide certain information and certify its validity, under appropriate penalty, such as, loss of the domain and /or name and monetary sanctions if false information is used;
6. Identifying and evaluating known effective dispute resolution mechanisms and whether additional protections should be established by the registries; and
7. Focusing on choice of law or jurisdiction and trademark infringement liability for registrars, registries, and technical management bodies.
We believe the study should be undertaken with the participation of: (1) individuals and organizations responsible for trademark protection in individual corporations; (2) individuals and organizations concerned with the commercial growth and functioning of the Internet; and (3) consumers/users of the Internet for commercial delivery of services and products.
Submitted March 23, 1998
From: "William X. Walsh" <email@example.com>
Date: 3/23/98 10:28pm
Subject: Comments on Discussion Draft on Technical Management of Internet Domain Names
Enclosed are the official comments of myself to the US Green Paper
Proposal on Internet Domain Names.
William X. Walsh firstname.lastname@example.org
Director, Network Operations and Technical Services
TJ Network Services http://www.tjns.tj
Domain Name Services, Web Hosting, and Email Services
Comments on the US Green Paper on :
Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses
Comments are made by :
Director, Network Operations and Technical Services
TJ Network Services
TJ Network Services is a relatively new Domain Name Registrar, currently
providing management of the National Top Level Domain for the country of
Tajikistan under contract. We provide a wealth of value added domain name
services, as well as direct registration under the .TJ nTLD, including
World Wide Domain Name Registration under the existing Generic TLD's, and
other national TLD's. Our main source of business is derived in the value
added services which we package with these domain registration services.
TJ Network Services was formed as a result of a long standing goal to
provide low cost Internet Identity services that were easy to use, and
within the budget of the many people starting up small, home based
businesses on the Internet, and those who just wanted to have a permanent
identity to use in conjunction with their on-line hobby presence, or other
type of presence they are cultivating.
The very premise of our service is that we feel the establishment of a
permanent identity should be within reach of ANYONE on the internet who as
the motivation to seek one.
In light of the affects on this premise of the current proposal, we feel
compelled to provide our own comments, and to advocate changes which would
be in the best interest of the Internet as a whole.
We have waited till today to issue our formal comments in an effort to
review the comments and opinions of others, both formal and to various
internet based discussion lists of which we monitor.
We urge everyone on the Internet to read the document at
II. Summary of Comments
TJ Network Services feels the goals outlined by the US Green Paper,
Section V - Principles for a New System, are an extremely positive step
in the right direction. We do, however, feel that there is room for
improvement in the methodology used to implement these goals. We comment
on these in this document.
III. Time Frame for US Government Withdrawal
TJ Network Services applauds the Green Papers statement regarding the
need to balance stability issues with concerns that the US Government
would never withdraw from oversight. We feel that the time frames listed
should, however, be shorter, or at the very least mandated by statute, to
insure that there be no extension of this oversight past the maximum date
listed, September 30th, 2000.
We would like to see the oversight areas spelled out more clearly, with
time frames for the relinquishment of specific areas of oversight
IV. Representation on the New Corporation's Board of Directors
TJ Network Services feels the outline for the Board of Directors is
positive, but we would like to see it broadened to include representative
of the non-affiliated National TLD registrars who are not represented by
the Regional Number Registries.
Except for the comment noted above, we feel the representation is fair and
international in scope.
V. Minimum Requirements for Registries and Registrars
TJ Network Services operates on what we affectionately call a "shoestring
budget." Using Co-operative agreements we have in place with both
domestic and foreign entities, we provide an extremely stable and broad
base for our services. We do this on what is a VERY small budget. We are
also aware of another organization, Monolith Internet Services, which has
provided third and forth level domain name services with a variety of
add-on type services, to an international community of users numbering in
the tens of thousands. And this was done on a budget of practically
nothing, depending on small donations from users, and from small
sponsorship agreements. Monolith Internet Services has provided an
excellent level of service Internationally and under incredibly high
loads, with a VERY limited amount of resources.
We see many of these requirements as a means to keep the "little guys" out
of the market, and this is damaging to the very competitive process this
proposal is supposed to be seeking. By placing unnecessary restrictions,
you drive the costs of getting into the Domain Name Business up, and drive
up the prices of services, making it hard for services to offer free, or
low cost, alternatives to the higher priced, more commercial gTLDs.
A provision should be made to give people the choice of what service they
chose to us. There will be those Registries who will meet these
requirements, and well exceed them. They will be able to advertise this,
and use it as a means to promote the stability and security of their
services. But it should not exclude an individual from selecting to do
business with a Registry who does not meet those requirements, but can
still provide service.
We make the following proposal :
Prospective Domain Registries should meet the following minimum
1) A Primary Domain Name Server, under the direct control of the domain
registry, hosted on a network with at least T1 connectivity, and backup
power supply. The level of connectivity, and other pertinent information
should be noted on the registries publicly available website.
2) At least 2 geographically and network diverse Secondary Domain Name
Servers, also on networks of at least T1 connectivity. This information
should also be published as noted in #1 above.
3) A complete published set of policies and procedures as outlined in the
Green Paper, published as noted in #1.
4) A robust Database Management System, that will maintain records of all
transactions, and full information regarding each domain name
registration, and it's registrants. This information should be publicly
accessible in an easy to use and understand interface. A simplified, easy
to use automated system should also be in place to provide for simplified
domain name registrations, by Registrars if using the distributed
registrar model, or for use by users if a single Registrar model is being
used.. The level of current technology is sufficiently advanced enough to
allow for new and update transactions to occur over a secure web
interface, rather than the relatively insecure, and lengthy procedures
involved in using email form based solutions.
5) Registrars should set simple requirements for Registries. Frankly,
Registrars should be required to be little more than customer service
stations, and provide easy and fast access to registration services
provided to the Registrar by the Registries. Of importance to the
Registry, is to make sure the Prospective Registrar is capable of
providing the level of customer service which they deem appropriate for
their TLD. Again, this is the image that will be created for the TLD, and
it is the responsibility of the Registry to make the decision of the
overall image they seek to present, and make the policies under this
section and all the other sections with this premise in mind.
Requirements for Registries, if any, should be uniform and published in
accordance with the publication of information in the other sections.
6) Domain Name Registries should remove themselves from the Trademark
Protection Process, and registrants should be subject to the same
Trademark Laws as everyday citizens. Domain Name Registries should honor
judgments and ruling made regarding trademark disputes by courts of
"competent jurisdiction." Any further restrictions would be
anti-competitive in nature, and place undo responsibility on the Registry
to act as a "Policing" agency. This information should be made available
on the Registries website, published as noted above in #1.
7) A plan to allow for continued management of their Top Level Domain
should the registry become insolvent. This could involve a bond in an
amount sufficient to insure that minimum services can be provided for a
reasonable period of time, till the Registry can make permanent
arrangements for a new management contract by a solvent registry. This is
again just a suggestion, some TLD's may make no such provision.
Regardless, the Registry should be mandated to make this information
publicly available on their website in a prominent manner, published in
accordance with #1 above.
Other than as noted, no further requirements should be made for Registrars
or Registries. This would of course be subject to review by the board
after a reasonable period of time has elapsed and the results of such an
open set of requirements can be evaluated more fully.
VI. Summary and Conclusion
As can be noted above, TJ Network Services finds itself in agreement with
most of the points of the Green Paper, with the exception of the comments
made in Sections II through V.
We feel the market should be broaden to allow for various levels of domain
name registration services, from the free services who cannot provide any
service guarantees and minimal if any customer service, to the high end
commercial registries who provide absolute security in service guarantees
and customer services. The market in the International Internet Community
is broad and diverse enough to provide a robust market for Registrars at
both these levels and at all levels in between.
TJ Network Services welcomes comments on our position paper, which can be
made via email to email@example.com
William Xavier Walsh firstname.lastname@example.org
Director, Network Operations and Technical Services (NOTS)
TJ Network Services http://www.tjns.tj
Registry/Registrar for the .TJ (Tajikistan) Top Level Domain
For information about TJ Network Services, please contact email@example.com
For comments on this Position Paper, please email them to
TJ Network Services ==> Putting You in Front!
From: "vinton g. cerf" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 11:12pm
Subject: MCI Response to Green Paper
Please accept MCI's contribution to the Green Paper
review. The opportunity to comment on this important
initiative is much appreciated.
Sr. Vice President, Internet Architecture and Engineering
Response to the White House Green Paper
On Domain Name System Reform
MCI Communications, Inc.
March 23, 1998
Statement of Principles
As the operator of one of the leading Internet service providers in the world, MCI has taken an active interest in the current debate concerning the reform of the domain name system (DNS). Keeping in mind MCIís commitment to unleash competition in communications markets around the world, the corporation considers the following principles relevant to DNS reform:
The new system must be open and competitive. The perpetuation or the establishment of a monopoly regime in the domain name system is not in the public interest;
Any administrative infrastructure we devise must be flexible and scaleable -- so that it can change and adapt as the Internet continues its rapid growth, and as new technologies are introduced into the network;
The leadership of any regulatory body must be international in composition in order to reflect the increasingly global character of the Internet; and
Finally, in recognition of the far-ranging effect of the Internet on business, any system must be hospitable to the requirements of global commerce, including respect for intellectual property rights and recognition of consumersí reliance on trademarks.
In sum, these principles, if followed to their logical conclusion, will lead to a domain name system that is open, international and stable.
Every day, new networks are connected to the Internet - a global information infrastructure that knits together, in varying degrees, the nations and people of the Earth. The Internet is facilitating a level of cultural, social and economic exchange that was scarcely dreamed about even a few years ago.
The Internet has grown at a prodigious rate since 1988, but despite the ability to scale that the physical infrastructure has shown, the long-term viability of parts of the administrative infrastructure that supports the Internet is coming into question -- in particular, the area of domain name management.
About a decade ago, the U.S. Government designated, through the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), seven primary generic top-level domain names for the Internet: .int, .com, .org, .edu, .net, .gov and .mil. The latter two were for the U.S. Government and for the U.S. military, respectively.
Subsequently, in 1993, the National Science Foundation (NSF), which has responsibility for managing non-military domain names, signed a five-year contract with a consortium of companies called the InterNIC to provide network information and registration services for the Internet.
Under this agreement, Network Solutions Inc. (NSI) of Herndon, Virginia was and is the sole registrar of second-level domain names (e.g., mci.com) in .com, .net, and .org. In that first year, NSI registered an average of about 400 names per month. By 1996, this figure had risen to 70,000; today, NSI registers well over 100,000 names per month, mostly in the .com domain.
As a result of this incredible growth, cracks have begun to develop in this structure. First, the unanticipated and persistent use of trademarks in domain names, particularly in the .com domain, has set the Internet on a direct collision course with nationally based trademark law. In 1995, when NSF authorized NSI to collect a fee in exchange for domain name registration, many critics began to demand that competition be injected into the registration process.
Not surprisingly, these issues go straight to the heart of the matter of Internet governance. Since the founding of the Network, a loose confederation of U.S. Government agencies, corporations, and private associations have all had a role in ensuring that the Internet functions effectively and adjusts to the rapidly changing demands placed on the infrastructure. While these informal arrangements have worked well to this point (and many are right to point out that this "structure" has contributed mightily to the incredible growth of the Network), the Internet is simply growing too quickly for the current arrangements to remain satisfactory over the long-term.
An Industry-Led Plan
Last year, with the InterNICís contract with the NSF due to expire at the end of March, 1998, the Internet Society persuaded volunteers in the Internet community to come together to form the Internet Ad-Hoc Committee (IAHC), with the aim of reforming the domain name registration system. The result of their work was the Generic Top-Level Domain Name Memorandum of Understanding (gTLD-MoU), a document outlining the form of a new administrative infrastructure that is open, competitive, global and fair.
MCI is a signatory to the MoU, and, while MCI has lingering concerns with intellectual property protections and procedures, MCI supports its basic concepts as an avenue towards achieving de-monopolization of the domain name system.
The centerpiece of the IAHC's plan is the competitive provision of registration services in seven new generic top-level domain names to relieve the growing stress and monopolistic management of the existing generic top-level domains. The seven new names are: .firm; .shop; .web; .arts; .rec; .info and .nom. (In early November 1997, an original ".store" domain was replaced with .shop.)
A registrar would provide services in any or all of these new generic top-level domains. Conflicting name assignments would be detected and reported through the use of common databases, much in the same way that toll free telephone number assignments are kept free of conflict in the North American Telephone Numbering Plan.
The IAHC plan also created an international body of generic, top-level domain registrars who must meet an agreed upon minimum set of criteria. The set of registrars became the Council of Registrars (CORE), whose practices and procedures will be overseen by a Policy Oversight Committee which, itself, is advised by a voluntary Policy Advisory Board made up of signatories to the generic, top-level domain Memorandum of Understanding (gTLD-MoU).
While the plan initially applies only to the newly-created generic TLDs, it anticipates that, upon the termination of the NSF-sponsored cooperative agreement with NSI on registrations for .com, .net and .org, these important top-level domains will also fall under the purview of the CORE group.
Eventually, the practices and procedures adopted for the generic, top-level domains might also be applied to the national top-level domains; but the Internet community presently considers that registration policies and practices for these top-level domains lie solely within the purview of the sovereign nations to which these top-level domains
MCI found it commendable that this effort was initiated not by governmental action, but by concerned individuals from the private and non-profit sectors. It demonstrated visibly that reform of Internet governance does not always require government initiation, although it may well benefit from government cooperation and support.
MCI does not believe that the IAHC plan is perfect, nor even that the process by which it was produced was perfect; but MCI is committed to working with and taking a leadership role in the refinement of the policies, practices and procedures required to make the new, competitive domain name registration system work for the Internet community.
In the interim, the MoU has been the subject of heated and vigorous debate. Some in the Internet community have argued in favor of the status quo; others favored a go-slow approach, arguing that the system for registering the new TLDs be tested extensively before implementation. Alternatively, still others advocated opening registration for only a portion of the new authorized TLDs. Some groups have argued in favor of throwing the DNS system wide open, allowing registrars to register any TLD they wish, or even proposing the devolution of the DNS function directly to the desktop.
Phasing Out US Governmentís Stewardship: The Green Paper
In recognition of the crucial role the U.S. Government played in the establishment and development of the Internet, President Clinton (as part of the Administrationís Framework for Global Electronic Commerce) directed the Commerce Department to reform the DNS with an eye toward privatization, open competition, and the promotion of international involvement.
Immediately thereafter, the Commerce Department issued a Request for Comments on behalf of an interagency "Working Group" already tasked with examining the U.S. Governmentís proper role in the DNS system. The result of the Working Groupís efforts, headed by Presidential Adviser Ira Magaziner, is commonly referred to as the "Green Paper".
At the outset, the Working Group was faced with what many have described as a daunting task: evaluating often wildly divergent opinions on the future of the DNS and synthesizing portions of them into a coherent policy outline. Despite the magnitude of this challenge, the Working Group has produced a thought-provoking result. MCI views the Green Paper a useful contribution to the discussion and a basis from which to continue the dialogue.
Though there are many observations which could be made about the Green Paper, MCI confines its comments to three topics: the transition of the responsibilities of IANA to a private, non-profit corporation; the establishment of a competitive marketplace for the registration of second-level domain names and the maintenance of registries of a given TLDís database; and finally, trademarks and intellectual property law.
While this last topic is of vital importance to the future of the DNS, it is ancillary to the immediate concern of the founding of a new administrative design. Trademarks and intellectual property are therefore considered in a separate section of this paper. While MCI believes that the trademark issue is important and must be resolved, MCI believes that it is more important to de-monopolize the current domain name registration system and ensure a competitive environment. One should not keep the other from being resolved.
A New Non-Profit Corporation
The first question to be considered is where to vest the authority for the following tasks: the allocation of address space; the oversight function of the root or "A" server; the authority to decide when top-level domains are added to the root; and the development of technical standards to maintain universal connectivity on the Internet.
The Working Group suggests that these responsibilities be vested in a non-profit corporation which, while incorporated under the laws of and based in the U.S., will be subject to the authority of a board of directors of international scope. (Most significantly, officials of governments or inter-governmental organizations would be barred from serving as members of the board -- a welcome development.) Despite the proposed corporationís international character, the fact that it might be incorporated under US law has raised some concern in the international community.
In effect, this proposal would amount to the codification of the existing functions of IANA. The transition of authority would begin as soon as possible and be complete no later than September 30, 1998. Funding for the independent entity would be provided from the portion of DNS registration fees that currently flow to the Internet Intellectual Infrastructure Fund. That aspect of the plan may be in some doubt, as there is litigation surrounding the disposition of these funds. It is possible that alternative funding models will be needed.
One shortsighted aspect of this plan is its failure to fit in the Internet Society (ISOC) and its critical technical standardization functions through the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). These activities are essential for the continued health and growth of the Network.
MCI believes that progress on the founding of an independent IANA can be made quite independent of progress on the other matters contemplated in the Green Paper. Considering the importance of the functions of IANA and the clear need for leadership in this area, MCI urges all responsible parties to take action swiftly on the establishment of the new IANA organization. Many of the policy decisions now awaiting action by the US Government might then be undertaken by the newly-founded IANA organization, for the benefit of the entire Internet community.
Registries and gTLDs
The next topic of concern is functions that are to be left to the marketplace -- in particular the system for registering second-level domain names and managing TLD registries. Also to be addressed are the creation of the seven new gTLDs proposed by the MoU.
The Green Paper suggests that each new authorized registry be limited to a single TLD Ė arguing that this conservative approach is needed to allow the new corporation time to evaluate the effect of the new registries on the network. Also included is a detailed timeline outlining the exact steps needed for a transition to take place.
As was the case with the MoU, there are several items regarding this issue in the Green Paper that need to be addressed. First, while this route may be appealing to some in the deployment of new TLDs and competing registries, an accelerated pace is warranted. While the Green Paper initially envisions limiting registries from maintaining databases on more than one TLD, it would seem prudent to allow each registry to handle services for at least three TLDs so as to validate critical software aspects of concurrent and possibly competing registrations in multiple TLDs.
Some have raised the concern that adding that many new TLDs so quickly would create even more hazards with regard to trademark policing and enforcement. However, national authorities administering country-code TLDs (such as .io and .to) are already handling registrations across all kinds of second level domains. With this sort of activity already occurring, it is hard to see how allowing registries to provide services for at least three TLDs would add significantly to the problem.
Moreover, if registries are expected to compete, yet are permitted to monopolize operation of a registry for a single TLD, it is not difficult to imagine opportunities for highly anti-competitive behaviors. If customers are unhappy with the services offered by such a registry, they have no recourse but to move their DNS name and corresponding email addresses, URLs, etc., to another distinct TLD -- perhaps endangering the investment made in the name for purposes of marketing and branding.
MCI recommends that registries be formed as not-for-profit operations, possibly funded by the registrars who depend implicitly on the services of each registry. Such a plan could do much to defuse at least some of the potential for mischief in the operation of registries. In addition, MCI believes that there may be significant benefit to the formation of a contractual relationship between each non-profit registry and the IANA for purposes of supervising registry behavior, which, in general should operate as if the registration process is a public trust. In the course of achieving these various objectives, the U.S. Government has the opportunity to exercise its contractual relationship with NSI to assure that its registry functions in a manner consistent with these principles.
Domain Name Reform and Trademark Law
We also need to keep in mind what these proposals represent and what they do not. The proposed reforms are primarily designed to end monopoly dominance of the registration of commercial domain names, and to better organize the administration of the Internet. The reforms do not, and were not intended solely to, resolve the conflict that exists between trademark rights and domain names.
Again, although MCI supports these proposals, it also recognizes that the proposed reform plans are not perfect. What plan in this environment could be? Changes can and should be made in the area of trademark and consumer protection.
The existing trademark system has limited application and limited scope. The Internet has almost unlimited application and a truly global scope. The fact that these two systems conflict should not be a surprise to anyone.
Likewise, the fact that it will be nearly impossible to reconcile the differences between them should not be shocking either. Literally, the best that we can hope to do is to find ways to minimize initial conflicts, resolve those within our sphere of influence, and effectively respond to those that are not.
Some have proposed adding a country or geographic designation to all TLDs, i.e. mci.com.us. Unfortunately, this will cause as many or more problems than it solves.
Aside from entering the domain name system into the international debate as to what is a country and what countries get what designations, it leaves open the possibility that some portions of the worldís population will have no designation.
It would force many multinational corporations to obtain domain names in multiple countries where they would not normally need to seek trademark protection.
And it might force some entities to use a designation that they would rather not use, for political, religious or other legitimate reasons.
Next, some have suggested that a computer database of all domain names be developed, with sufficiently detailed information regarding the applicant and the intended Internet-related service for which the domain name will be used. While this would be an improvement over the current, limited information system, the trademark holder is still left to do the dirty work of research and enforcement.
Even if this solution were adopted, we would still need to spend a significant amount of time developing the software and infrastructure to support it. And, there would still be conflict between different trademark systems and the rules of the registries. Ultimately, many of these conflicts may be obviated by fostering greater consumer dependence on directories to locate companies and their products, and lesser dependence on trademarks embedded in domain names.
Who will exercise the discretion to determine which domain names violate a trademark, and what criteria they will use? In many cases, a straight database search of the minimal information in the NSI database may cast a possible violation in either too broad or too narrow a fashion. This, of course, leads us to add the human factor, and forces us to ask just whom we want to assign the responsibility of adjudicating these disputes -- and the finality of such resolutions.
Considering these factors, MCI would like to offer the following trademark policy recommendations. First, the idea of a hold period on the permanent assignment of domain names is a prudent one, and should be adopted. The original proposal in the gTLD-MoU called for a 60-day hold, however, MCI believes that a 45-day hold would be sufficient.
A mandatory waiting period benefits both trademark owner and domain name applicant, by allowing the trademark owner sufficient time to investigate and, if necessary, take appropriate action before the applicant has invested in, and begun use of, the domain name. Absent a waiting period, there should be a procedure for automatic, albeit temporary, suspension of a domain name registration upon timely objection.
Next, a shared dispute resolution system must be established to make the process accessible to everyone -- no matter where complaints are filed or by whom. Just as parties will be able to register domain names at multiple sites, trademark holders must also be able to lodge protests no matter where the defendant in the dispute may be located, and be assured of having the same rules applied and an opportunity for the same resolution. A fair system simply cannot tolerate unscrupulous individuals shopping for more favorable jurisdictions. Accordingly, the same dispute resolution system should apply across all registries. There is room here for some creative thinking. Perhaps more than one option for dispute resolution can be devised. What is critical is that every mechanism be
accessible everywhere, to avoid what might be inevitable gaming of the system.
In addition, in keeping with the principle of constructing policies and procedures that are "consumer friendly", parties must be able to file a complaint online, without having to submit mountains of paperwork. These provisions, working together, will go far in leveling the playing field for trademark holders who may not have the resources
to hire a cadre of lawyers to plead their case.
Then, we must determine what parties may adjudicate disputes. As part of the process of obtaining a domain name, or filing a protest, all applicants should agree to participate in some form of mandatory mediation and arbitration process which, to the extent possible, should be conducted on-line -- a process that can be quick, efficient and final. An international body, like the World Intellectual Property Organization, or another similar group, or a collection of groups, might handle the process.
The question also arises as to what law applies to domain name disputes involving trademarks on the Internet. Nationally based law governs trademarks, for the most part. The Internet, on the other hand, has no geographic boundaries. While we continue to press for international trademark harmonization and initiatives that may lessen the utility of trademarks as Internet addresses, we must give careful consideration to the principles that will govern resolution of disputes in this uncharted territory.
The Green Paper notes that trademark holders are seeking the creation of a mechanism for "clearing" famous marks to ensure against their piracy in the new top-level domains. MCI suggests that this may be a good place to begin in developing principles for governing domain name disputes. In particular, the gTLD-MoU provides just such a mechanism, under the Administrative Challenge Panel (ACP) Guidelines for internationally known marks. Implementation of these or similar guidelines, however, require use of objectively based criteria.
As an initial matter, such disputes may be limited to only those involving trafficking in internationally known marks or other instances of bad faith. The definitions of "trafficking" and "bad faith" in the Third Draft of the ACP Guidelines, released on January 16, 1998, are commended. Trademark piracy appears to be the prevalent problem in the intersection of trademarks with domain names, and steps to deter piracy and speculation in the new top-level domains are required.
The Green Paperís suggestion that, to deter the pirating of trademarks, a registry could require an applicant to certify that it knows of no entity with superior rights in the domain name sought to be registered, is not enough. NSI requires a virtually identical certification in its registration form, yet the certification appears to have done little or nothing to deter piracy and speculation. Steps must be taken to show that piracy will not be tolerated in any top-level domains.
Speculators also may be deterred by use of a more detailed application, e.g., the Registration Agreement and Application Form for Assignment of Second Level Domain Name, attached as Appendix C to the CORE-MoU, with sanctions for false statements. The application requirements in Appendix 2 of the Green Paper are insufficient, either to deter speculators or to assist trademark owners in effectively policing domain name registrations. In addition to the information set forth in Appendix 2, applications should include:
Also not to be discounted are possible free market solutions. It is not difficult to posit the development of a search engine that would allow users to discover URLs based on a trademark search. In addition, the problem may fade away all together if we devise a solution that would divorce the URL from a name that could possibly violate trademark rights.
Many of these themes are echoed in the Green Paper, although, in contrast to the other suggestions maintained therein, there seems to be some hesitancy to offer guidelines for actions as concrete as other sections of the text. While some may say this betrays a weakness, the opaque nature of this policy question, suggests that further debate and discussion is needed to clarify the issue.
Taken together, MCI believes these proposals would represent a good start toward establishing some sound ground rules to clear the fog that often surrounds the intersection of the Internet with trademark law. At the least, they provide a foundation for more informed debate and discussion.
This is the conundrum we face: trademark law traffics in limited rights; and we are struggling to apply these rights to the ultimate unlimited medium -- the Internet. In the end, the best we can hope for is to design tools to help trademark holders to exercise their rights, while remaining mindful of the Internetís ability to resist traditional methods of regulatory control.
Putting together any plan to ensure the continued growth and vitality of the Internet is a non-trivial task, and the individuals who labored long and hard to produce both the gTLD-MoU and the Green Paper deserve our thanks and gratitude.
The task now is to take the positive aspects of both plans, and meld them into a coherent set of concrete rules and guidelines to openly and fairly reform the DNS.
First, MCI endorses the formal establishment of IANA as an independent, non-profit agency. The role IANA plays is central to the administration of the DNS, and it is important that this step be taken as soon as possible.
Next, any plan must also put into place a system that recognizes the increasing global character of the Internet, and the logical choice to play that role is ISOC. Since 1992, ISOC has served as an open and impartial forum for those with a stake in the functioning and future of the Internet. It seems sensible to take advantage of the expertise and credibility ISOC can bring to the reform process.
Additionally, it is important that the reforms we put in place take effect sooner rather than later. The .com, .org and .net TLDs now administered by NSI should be moved to a multi-registrar system as soon as it has been shown that the supporting software is reliable and scalable. At the same time, the registry function should be externalized and brought into harmony with the proposed new IANA operation.
Finally, many have high hopes for the development of electronic commerce. However, in order to promote it, provisions must be made to protect the rights of those that do business on the Internet. Hence, the hard work involved to hammer out guidelines that protect trademark rights must begin. While the lack of any clear direction in this area today may help spur needed debate; the interested parties need to move quickly to provide concrete solutions in this area.
MCI believes that now is the time to lay aside the differences that separate the parties to the DNS debate, to search for common ground, of which there seems to be a reasonable amount, and begin the hard work that is needed to guarantee the Internetís continued vitality for years to come.
[comments may be sent to email@example.com]
From: Eric Bickford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 11:27pm
Subject: Re: "Green Paper" Discussion Draft
March 23, 1998
Ms. Karen Rose
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
U.S. Department of Commerce
I support the "Green Paper" proposal for creation of a new organization
to handle technical management of Internet names and address. However, I
have a difference of opinion in several areas of the proposal.
-- The proposal does not recognize an important distiction between
"generic" Top Level Domains (gTLD's) and trade or "industry" Top Level
Domains (iTLD's). The problem with existing gTLD's .com, .net, .org, etc.
is the fact that they ARE so generic and are not trade or industry
specific. The proposal should emphasis a desire to add additional iTLD's
rather than generic and/or country code TLD's. Given a choice, I suspect
most registrations in ccTLD's would prefer to register in iTLD's.
-- Only allowing an initial 5 new TLD's is overly restrictive. Every
effort should be made to allow and enable the expedited introduction of
new TLD's. Internet stakeholders desire a wide selection of low cost
TLD's to choose from and any quota system runs counter to this.
-- I support the proposal's concept of multiple, competing registrars.
-- I am ambivolent about the idea of one registry per TLD. There is a
real danger of a conflict arising between two or more parties desiring to
become a sole registry for the same TLD. There is also a real likelihood
that some registry's will charge a very large amount for registrations
(e.g. $500 to $50,000).
Eric Bickford email@example.com
Web Broadcasting Corporation http://macweb.com/
Web Essentials for FileMaker Pro WEB FM, PICT FM, LOG FM, TAG FM
From: Ron Kawchuk <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 11:35pm
Subject: CAIP's comments re: the Green Paper.
Attached are the Canadian Association of Internet Provider's comments re:
The Discussion Draft on Technical Management of Internet Domain Names.
They are in MS Word 6.0.
CC: "Timothy M. Denton" <email@example.com>
23 March, 1998
Comments of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP)
in regards to the
Department Of Commerce
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
15 CFR Chapter XXIII
[Docket No. 980212036-8036-01]
The Green Paper
What is CAIP?
The Canadian Association of Internet Providers is the national association of Canadian Internet service providers (ISPs). Our membership numbers over 100 companies, and includes all the major players in all regions of the country.
CAIP is the principal spokesman for the commercial Internet service industry in Canada. Details of our positions, submissions, membership, structure, and rules of conduct are set forth at our website at http://www.caip.ca.
CAIPís Previous Submission to the US Government on Domain Name Administration
CAIP submitted a paper to the US Government on August 18, 1997 on this subject. Parts of it remain completely relevant to the issues addressed by the Green Paper and influence the positions that CAIP will take in this response. CAIPís earlier response was supported by the conclusions and recommendations of a workshop on domain names held in Ottawa on June 20, 1997 under the sponsorship of the Canadian federal Department of Industry. The results and conclusions of that meeting are worth noting again, because they supply some of the criteria by which CAIP judges the Green Paper. They were:
Domain name registrars should be granted a qualified immunity from trade mark and other commercial liabilities.
International generic top level domains are feasible and are a good idea if and only if they are individually governed by a predictable legal system, which may be national by default but may also be specified in contracts by reference to model law
The principles for the governance of top level domains should be embedded in an international legal framework for which there is a clear national act of acceptance.
Since Canadians have paid and may continue to pay through the .com .org and .net NSI registry certain moneys that are earmarked for the intellectual development of the Internet, some benefit should accrue to Canadians.
There was a consensus that any steps taken by the Federal Government to reserve certain top level domains (e.g. .canada, .cdn ) in international forums should not constitute a tacit acceptance that an agency or agencies of the Federal Government should determine the arrangements by which domain names are assigned in Canada. There was agreement that the Federal Government should be included, by way of consultation, in future development of domain name registries in this country, and in defending the interests of Canadian citizens in the evolution of international top level domains.
The submission of August 18 from CAIP also pointed out certain issues that needed to be addressed by any new system of domain name administration, some of which are worth repeating here.
Registries and registrars
In our view, domain name Registries would perform backroom functions and would be not-for-profit cooperatives. Registries would be owned and managed by industry stakeholders, while the agents of the Registries would function in a competitive market.
The need for a legal framework
The primary disadvantage of the current system of international domain name registration (.com especially) is the absence of an agreed-upon legal framework by which the current system or any future international system might work.
The need to accommodate different languages and cultures
[The domain name system] should also accommodate the different regional cultures, languages and customs throughout the world.
The need for stability in the transition to a new system
The transition must proceed in a way which ensures stability during the transition.
Policies for registries
gTLDs should be a common/shared resource administered by regional agents representing the National registries in each country. Moreover, the licensed user of a gTLD domain name should be able to register it or change his registration information with any registry.
At the core of what CAIP proposed last August was an improved system of national registries with national registrars.
1. The registrar function:
These registrars would be numerous and compete with one another freely. They would have the right to apply for national domain names or top level generic domains.
2. The top level registry function
It was implicit in what CAIP wrote that the top level domains would be administered in some fashion by an organization composed of national registries. This is distinctly different from what the Green Paper proposed. We shall discuss this aspect of the paper in more detail later.
On trademarks and their relation to domain names
At this time, evolution of domain names should be considered separately from any evolution of trademark law. The issues are similar but far from identical.
A system of National Registries and greater use of country domains by commercial organizations will help considerably by removing a number of the International trademark conflicts.
The Green paperís Proposals
1. Administration of the domain name system
The responses in this section will concentrate on the proposals for domain name administration. Trade mark issues, the intellectual infrastructure fund, and transitional issues are addressed below.
CAIP considers that the Green Paper is, on the whole, informed by an appropriate philosophy towards the Internet, is duly respectful of the extent to which we cannot know in advance what will work, and within the limits of time available, and the conflicting pressures operating on the author, the report sets out a modest and well-reasoned approach.
1b) Role and authority of the US Government
CAIP also understands that proposals made in the Green Paper may represent the limits of what could be accomplished within the constraints of American law and without going to Congress for new legislation. However, despite the jurisdiction which the US Government has over the organizations that control several vital functions of the Internet, it is imperative for the future of the Internet that its structures of authority move away from being purely American, even though their political conception will be influenced by American ideas. The Internet is a world-wide phenomenon of people linking to each other through computers. Its governance should conform to some of these features.
1c) Inventing authority
It is acknowledged that the Internet needs very little central coordination, but that a small number of technical parameters do require central coordination in order for the Internet to function as a unified system.
Here is a classic case of inventing a suitable form of authority to perform these functions. An entirely new thing is being created: a system of technical governance for the world-wide linked system of computers we call the Internet. These moments in history are rare. It is widely recognized that the current and somewhat accidental institutional arrangements should be put on a new basis. Strong controversies exist over how this should be accomplished. In order to understand the nature of the options before us, it may help to borrow the terms of political theory to analyze the proposals: monarchical, oligarchic, and democratic - government by one, the few and the many.
Efficient administration of technical matters where the expertise is concentrated tends to call for a centralization of authority in a chief executive officer, who operates by and with the consent of a group of councilors. This is the monarchical model, which despite the name survives in the structure of the modern corporation, and many other places where results count for more than the process of decision-making.
The rule of the few likewise occurs when power or expertise is concentrated, and where representation in the governing circles is determined by the status of the organization or interest one represents, rather than by popular election. Many proposals for Internet governance seem to be of this variety. Where a governing board consists of people appointed to represent small inside groups, who themselves self-select, the oligarchic principle is at work.
Finally, there is the democratic principle. It is the view that the executives and the higher councils must be accountable to the people in whose interests they purport to make decisions. It tends to work best when the electorate is sufficiently informed to make rational choices and abide by lawful procedures.
While the needs for continuity and technical efficiency in domain names and numbering are paramount, it is CAIPís view that all institutional arrangement should provide for a strong measure of democratic accountability, in this case, to those affected by decisions, which are holders of domain names. The central technical functions of the Internet should combine administrative efficiency, with insider advice and democratic accountability. The proposals we have seen to date have not emphasized this last point.
1d) Moving to a more democratic accountability
It is CAIPís view that the governance of domain names and of numbering should accommodate the interests of those tens of thousands, and soon to be millions of people, who actually hold domain names from national and top level registries. These people are the stakeholders, these people pay the money to hold domain names. They should constitute the "citizenry" of the Internet, insofar as it is agreed that there needs to be central authority exercised over a very few essential functions of making the Internet work.
In order to avoid misunderstanding, it may be necessary to explain what we do not mean as well. We do not think the Internetís governance should be vested in some kind of organization of nation-states, or some treaty-based organization whose constituent members are states. Domain name holders should be the people to whom name and numbering organizations should be ultimately accountable.
Further on in this paper we sketch how principles of accountability might be introduced.
1e) Points of agreement and disagreement
CAIP considers that, given the nature of the interests involved, international and domestic, the administration of domain names and numbering is a long way from being settled. Accordingly, CAIP agrees with:
CAIP maintains different views on some points:
1f) Ensuring accountability
The thrust of CAIPís proposals in this portion of the response is to start the process of thinking about the accountability of this new corporation to a membership.
CAIP is proposing a system whereby the voters would be drawn from organizations of domain name holders, both national and top-level.
The Green Paper envisages that seven members of the Board would come from a membership association, to be created, of Internet users. It has also made other proposals for a board of directors, the result of which would be a kind of representation by groups having status in 1998. Other proposals for these functions are equally concerned with the "executive" functions of the new Internet technical governance body.
CAIP has made a somewhat different proposal. CAIP is concerned with who would be the people to whom Internet governors should be accountable, and how they could make their views known, consistently with the need for effective administration of IANA functions. Who would be voters for the board of directors? CAIP recommends that these voters should be representatives of the users, and that they might best be organized through national domain name administrations, which should be owned and managed by the holders of domain names within the country, as well as by top-level domain name administrations, organized on the same basis.
The "shareholders" of this corporation to be created should be the national domain name administrations, themselves owned or controlled by the Internet domain name holders of national domain names, and the organizations representing the top level domain name holders. At the moment there are about top-level and national 250 domain names. As Jon Postel remarks, "The formation of additional groups to represent the country code TLDs and other gTLDs is urgently needed."
The reason they are needed is to provide an electorate and a set of broadly-based stakeholders to whom the government of Internet technical functions should be accountable.
Accordingly, one of the functions of the Internet domain name and IP corporation would be to devise criteria to recognize which national and top-level domain name organizations possess a suitable democratic and constitutional structure to be admitted as voters within the corporation.
It is assumed that, as a general rule, voting would be weighted according to the numbers of members that each of these domain name organizations might have.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of this form of voting and representation?
CAIP considers that, of the several possible objections to this scheme, the serious concern must be with the state of national domain name managements. Few have been put onto a lawful, democratic and constitutional basis. Canada, for instance, is in the process of transferring authority over domestic .ca domain names from a person authorized by Jon Postel to carry out these functions, to a legally constituted entity, where domain name holders will be voters.
Second, nothing in this scheme prevents the representatives from the regional number registries, the Internet Architecture Board, and other organizations vital to the functioning of the technical aspects of the Internet, from being named to the board for a number of years, as an interim and conservative measure, or permanently.
The objection that such a scheme is too democratic, or would led to the dominance of the Internet by business interests, needs to be carefully considered. This scheme contemplates a large number of national and top level domain name associations of name-holders having votes in this new corporation. That is its democratic aspect, which should be distinguished from the structure of the executive. CAIPís proposal does not specify which organizations should sit on the board of directors, or how the executive functions of this corporation should be carried out. It is merely a plan for a transition to responsible government of the Internetís few essential technical functions. Accountability to a broadly based membership is the missing ingredient of several important proposals for Internet name and numbering governance.
As to the fear that the Internet could be taken over by narrow business interests, CAIPís proposal is designed to balance the needs of business with the needs of other classes of Internet user. A wide variety of domain name associations would operate and vote for the management of the proposed name and numbering corporation. There is no more reason to believe the pattern of voting would favour business interests than it would favour Ďtechiesí. After all, domain name holders would be the voters, and they represent all varieties of interest.
1g) Composition of the Board
This leads us to the vexing question: the composition of the first Board of Directors. How adequate are the proposals made in the Green Paper? Should the US Government even attempt to recommend the composition of the Board? The Internet Society takes the view that the composition of the Board should be determined through public discussion and electronic forums.
The Green Paper seeks to balance the interests of the "techies" with those of the users in the Board of the new corporation. Some have criticized the size of the Board as too large.
CAIP considers that this particular form of representation (by institution) on the Board becomes significantly less important when the Board is linked to a set of organizations, composed of domain name holders across the world, to which it is accountable.
As the Green Paper states:
The new corporationís charter should provide a mechanism whereby its governing body will evolve to reflect changes in the constituency of Internet stakeholders.
CAIP considers that the constituency of Internet stakeholders most vitally interested in domain name, numbering, and other IANA-like functions are the domain name holders themselves. This is self-governance, and it is to these people that the management of the technical functions of the Internet should ultimately be accountable.
1h) Nature of interest in a domain name
Though it is not dealt with in the Green Paper, CAIP wishes to support the view taken by the Internet Society regarding the nature of the title in names, numbers and associated data held by registries and domain name holders. The Internet Society has emphasized that the nature of the relationship of registries to the names, numbers and data that they administer is in the nature of a trust, and that these things are not owned absolutely by the registry or the domain name holder. CAIP thinks that the trust concept is preferable to the idea of absolute private ownership in these matters. Nevertheless, property rights in domain names and data should be sufficiently defined so that they can be marketable - developed, improved and capable of being exchanged for value. The trust idea should not preclude the development of markets where markets are appropriate.
2. Trademark Issues
The chief objection that foreign commentators will have with regard to any US proposal for domain name administration is this: people should not be required to attorn to the United States to solve trade mark disputes. There are two reasons for this. The first is obvious, that domain name - trade mark settlement procedures are not intended to be job-creation programs for United States attorneys. The second is somewhat related. US trademark law contains doctrines, such as famous marks, and diminution of famous marks, that are unknown throughout the world, and the world sees no reason why they should be exported.
The positions that the industry delegates took at CAIPís domain name workshop were as follows:
Domain name registrars should be granted a qualified immunity from trade mark and other commercial liabilities.
International generic top level domains are feasible and are a good idea if and only if they are individually governed by a predictable legal system, which may be national by default but may also be specified in contracts by reference to model law.
The Green Paper asked for comment on the following:
1. Whether registries should be required to resolve disputes within a specified period of time after an opposition is filed, and if so, how long that period should be.
CAIP considers that it would be consistent with its previous position, and by far the better course of action, that registries be under no obligation to resolve domain name disputes, first, because frequently one or both of the parties have no interest in resolving them, and secondly because the stronger of the parties will probably not accept an adverse ruling from the registry, but will pursue its desired result through every available forum. As long as parties may attorn to some other forum, putting a time limit on the resolution of matters by the registry only creates a predictable period before which the dissatisfied party seeks redress in another forum. Such a time limit may therefore be useful, but has little to do with actually resolving the dispute.
2. Whether registrants could agree that, at the time of registration, in the event of 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.
As CAIP stated previously, foreign opposition to the Green Paperís proposals will concentrate on the possibilities that registrants will be dragged into the US court system, one of the most expensive and least predictable environments known to the civilized world. This view may come as a shock to American readers, but it is widely and deeply held.
Every one of the criteria for jurisdiction would tend to result in the dispute settlement occurring in the United States, where the top level domain name registries are domiciled, where the registry database is maintained, or where ten out of thirteen root servers are maintained.
As trademark battles will frequently be of the order of David versus Goliath, CAIP recommends that the registrant have the option of establishing jurisdiction in his own country, and the right not to be dragged into the US courts. It is unlikely that the Green Paper proposals regarding trade mark disputes will survive intense international protest unless registrants are immunized from this possibility.
3. Whether there ought to be created a mechanism for clearing trademarks, especially famous marks, across a range of generic top level domains.
CAIP has no objection to the idea of a mechanism for clearing trademarks. It notes that the doctrine of "famous marks" is particularly American, and is, to our limited knowledge, not a feature of any other nationís trademark law. CAIP thinks that this illustrates how US-centric these trade mark issues will become unless very careful attention is paid to the means of resolving them. In CAIPís view, foreign trademark experts must participate in the formulation of the questions and issues that dispute settlement mechanisms and clearing houses are intended to solve, and if this does not occur, international opposition to otherwise sensible and helpful proposals such as those contained in the Green Paper will face intractable opposition.
3. Disposition of the Intellectual Infrastructure Fund
In the winding down of the Intellectual Infrastructure Fund, the disposition of assets should recognize the contributions made by registrants from various countries, and a portion of the moneys should be returned to appropriate Internet infrastructure organizations within those countries, where registrants have employed .com, .org and .net, in proportion to their contribution to the Fund.
We are pleased to see that NSI has announced price reductions consistent with the phase-out of the Intellectual Infrastructure Fund. Subsequent arrangements by the US Government in relation to this fund should seek to disburse it to the benefit of the world, with some recognition of the proportion from each country.
4. Transitional measures.
1. Correct the problems with .com domain administration before inserting new top level domains, and
CAIPís reading of the Green Paper leads us to believe that the US government is determined to correct the situation with the .com administration before inserting new top-level domains. We can only concur.
2. Attend to the .us system
The principal unseen driver behind much of the problems facing the top level domains is the unwieldiness of the geographic .us nomenclature, which causes a reluctance on the part of American businesses to be identified with the state and country naming system. Another federal country, Canada, may provide a useful example of what can be done. First, it is in the process of putting its domestic .ca administration into a proper legal context. Second, the .ca domain administration is proposing to relax its rules regarding the use of provincial prefixes, so that more organizations could use a national .ca domain name without being identified with a province.
A comparable move by the United States to make the .us domain name administration more competitive with .com would lower the pressure on the top level domains to be the entire answer to all problems.
CAIP generally agrees with the measures spelled out in the Green Paper regarding the transition from the current system to the new one. However, the respective roles of the US Department of Commerce, IANA and the new domain name and IP assignment corporation need to be carefully considered.
CAIP considers that the Green Paper is a worthy effort and that it proposes many sensible ideas. We have outlined our differences. Principally CAIP is concerned to move to a system where national and generic registry organizations, owned or controlled by domain name holders, become the Ďshareholdersí or constituent elements, of the new Internet governance corporation. These proposals offer a means of introducing a measure of organized accountability in the governance of the essential technical functions of the Internet.
From: Phil Howard <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 11:45pm
Subject: DOC Docket No. 980212036-8036-01
ASCII format follows:
Department of Commerce
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Comments filed regarding the matter of Docket No. 980212036-8036-01
Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses
Also known as: The Green Paper
Comments filed by:
Philip David Howard
19009 Preston Rd. Ste. 215-240
Dallas, TX 75252
I begin my comments by congratulating and thanking the Department of
Commerce and the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration for making an open forum work more visibly to the
public through the new electronic means that will be the historical
mark of the 1990's, the Internet. Through this forum and others like
it, United States citizens and other interested participants can help
ensure that governments works in the interests of all.
I have been involved with the Internet since 1986. My work has been
in both the academic and commercial areas of the Internet. My roles
have varied from systems programmer, network engineer, consultant,
and am currently Director of Internet Services for a business provider
in Richardson, Texas.
My work has enabled me to be deeply involved in the technical aspects
and details of how the Internet operates. Domain name services is just
one of many areas that a network engineer needs to understand about
how the Internet works. This knowledge of the technical details of
the Domain name system has made me realize one aspect of this system
that seems to have been overlooked in the proposal.
Root servers are the starting point of the multi-step lookup process
that is involved in finding the numeric address for a computer on the
Internet. Each step in the lookup queries what is referred to as a
"zone". Every level is a zone, from top to bottom. Examining the
name used for hosting the proposal, WWW.NTIA.DOC.GOV, there are five
zones involved. The final "zone" is actually the whole name itself.
There are three higher level zones, NTIA.DOC.GOV, DOC.GOV, and just
GOV by itself. This design was intended to distribute the management
and administration of computer node names, and to provide a means for
varying the different policies that are likely to occur. There is
yet one more zone that is not obvious from looking at the name. This
is called the "root" zone, or sometimes the "dot" zone in reference
to how the zone is set up on a server. It is analogous to the C:\
directory familiar to users of the MS-DOS PC system.
It is the root zone that stores the information about where to find
the various top level zones like GOV or the more familiar COM. It is
the root zone that is the focus of the controversy of domain names.
Traditionally, the Internet used a single version of the root zone.
The root servers were distributed throughout the world for diverse
access and the ability to sustain operation during large network
failures. But the information content for these servers was centrally
A number of people have experimented with and established alternatives
to the traditional root servers. Through these servers they are able
to examime how additional new Top Level Domain names will work. One of
the results of this has been the IAHC/CORE effort which has proposed
some specific new Top Level Domain names to be added to the traditional
root servers. Others have opened their root servers to public access
and have immediately offered alternative Top Level Domain names. One
impact of this has been a "collision of names", where different parties
have offered the same name in entirely different contexts.
What is at stake in this proceeding is the choice of Top Level Domains.
To make this choice, control must be made over the root zone which is
the information content that carries the list of Top Level Domains and
where the subsequent information with the corresponding zones resides.
Because so many parties wish to be involved in one or more of these
Top Level Domains, the whole matter of managing the Domain Name System
has become extremely controversial. It is essentially the subject of
a power struggle among hundreds and perhaps thousands of individuals,
corporations, organizations, and governments.
There is no clear authority in this struggle. The Internet, which
started as a scientific research project that produced the technology
upon which it is founded, is not really owned by anyone. Further,
with its international scope, no one government can exert control over
the entire Internet. Fortunately, special Top Level Domain names have
been reserved within which each nation and its government can implement
its own policies and still be a part of the whole international Internet
community. Unfortunately, the most popular Top Level Domains, as well
as the proposed alternatives, just do not fit to be controlled by any
one government. The United States government does not have any greater,
or lesser, right to govern over the COM domain as, for example, the
government of France.
What we may end up with in this struggle is a struggle for control
between governments that which should be a free and open market.
We face the dilemma between a tug-of-war and an unmanaged system.
My work with the concept of root zone domain name servers has also
yielded a course to a solution to the dilemma. The traditional root
servers do not actually need to be used to obtain the function they
perform. Any domain name server that performs the lookups from other
servers can readily skip any zone it already knows about. By giving
each server all the information about the root zone, it can bypass
the root servers altogether and go directly to the servers that have
the data for the Top Level Domain zone of interest. Domain name
servers already do this through a system called "caching" where they
simply remember previously obtained information, typically for a day.
Because each of the Top Level Domains is so freqently accessed, each
server really is holding information about almost all Top Level Domains
at nearly all times. Only a freshly restarted server does not have it.
This information can be permanently placed into each domain name server.
Such a server would never request information from the root servers.
At first this would seem to be a management nightmare. But what it does
is actually form the basis for a true and total return of the Domain
name system to the public sector, without any struggles for gaining
control over a centralized management of root servers. What there will
be is the kind of struggle seen in all forms of commerce in a free
market system, the struggle of competition, with its innovations. This
should be the embracement of the United States.
Each domain name server, whether operating at a network provider
business, a network user business, educational institutions, or the
various national governments, would need to compile a list of all
the Top Level Domain names, as well as the information necessary to
delegate the zones to the proper servers for thoe Top Level Domains.
This can be difficult to do as it is necessary to make sure that no
domain information is missing. Otherwise, someone's network lookup
will fail with the common error "could not find host", when it should
succeed. But there is a solution to this.
Two months ago I developed a web based application program, using a
method known as CGI (Common Gateway Interface, a reference to how a
program operates on a web page), and compiled my own database with
as many Top Level Domains as I could find, and made a system which
would allow anyone to select which Top Level Domains they wanted to
have, which they wanted to omit, and which source of information they
wanted to use for those that had alternatives. The final result is
the configuration file to be included with a Domain Name Server to
integrate the root zone information within it. I have made the web
page for this open to the public, as well as the source code to the
CGI program and the database it uses. Anyone can either use the web
page I provided, or they can use the source code and database to put
their own version online.
I called this page The Grass Roots Servers. It gives the control of
the whole domain name system to the individual servers collectively,
and to their operators and administrators. It follows the same model
as a free market does, where competitors offer their goods and services,
and the consumers make the choices based one what they decide will be
best for them. It is the ultimate way for the United States Government
to turn the control of the Internet and the Domain Name System to the
public sector with the least level of struggle for power. The power
will be distributed instead of centralized.
The locations of these web pages are as follows:
The actual CGI form can be selected from a link at the top of the page.
Those interested in the source code and database (designed for a UNIX
based system but could be recoded for others) will find a link at the
bottom of the page to do the download.
Several people have run their name servers using this method. I run my
own with it. Others may improve on what I began. But the real issue
will be whether the Internet goes the way of the free market, or if it
goes the way of the centralized bureacracy. I urge the Department of
Commerce and the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration to choose the course that goes the way of the free
Thank you for the opportunity to present my views.
Philip D. Howard
From: Gabriel Accascina <email@example.com>
To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" <email@example.com>
Date: 3/23/98 10:37am
Subject: response to green paper
Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP)
response to the RFC on the Proposal to Improve Technical Management of Internet Name and Addressees (hereinafter referred to as the Green Paper)
APDIP is a United Nations Development Programme regional initiative, which covers 42 countries in Asia-Pacific and aims to provide assistance to member nations and regional bodies in the area of Information Technology (IT) to promote sustainable human development. The programme promotes the use of the Internet as a communication medium to foster knowledge exchange and information dissemination. APDIP strives to ensure that the less developed nations are equitably represented in Internet forums, and they have a voice where and when the decisions made have the potential to affect them.
APDIP's position on the Green Paper
The US Government's plan to end its stewardship over the domain name system and allow self-governance is welcomed by APDIP. The programme appreciates the effort made by the US government to solicit feedback on its plans to improve and sustain the Internet. We would like to commend the work of dedicated individuals such as Mr. Ira Magaziner for providing frank and open dialogue grounds to discuss the issue at regional level.
The Internet is indeed a border-less phenomenon and future plans for its impending development can be made only through a global participatory process.
It is APDIP's opinion that there are two separate items discussed in the Green Paper: firstly the formation of a corporate body to provide Internet governance, and secondly, the planned creation of additional generic top level domains (TLDs) and their relative registrars. APDIP will comment on these two items and their related issues, based on the rationale that the Internet is a global entity, and as such it must be shaped and administered in partnership with an organisation which unmistakably represents the international community of Internet regulators, providers and users.
The proposed formation of a non-profit corporation to provide Internet governance
APDIP proposes the establishment of an internationally represented body to manage Internet infrastructure, international agreements and Internet number assignments. Registration for a gTLDs should be handled through the national registrar in agreement with that international body. Moreover APDIP suggests that domain registration issues should be entirely handled at national level. National handling of registrations for all domains, including gTLDs, will ensure that national judicial systems can be used for the resolution of disputes.
APDIP is concerned that by creating a private corporation as proposed by the US government, and making it binding under US law, the US government fails to achieve transparency in promoting global Internet self-governance. A US corporation, as proposed, may fail to truly represent the global nature of the Internet.
The Internet is a global entity and the organisation charged to shape its future should not come under the jurisdiction of the laws of a single nation except in areas like the trademarks which should be country-centric. In line with the given goals for the creation of this new corporation, APDIP sees IANA's policy setting role being played by an internationally represented organisation. This organisation should be technology driven, responsive to the needs of the Internet community and distinguishable from the existing traditional inter-governmental structures. As said above, this organisation must be an independent entity made up of stakeholders from the international community including, but not limited to governments, providers and users.
As formulated by the US government, the structure of the US registered, non-profit corporation will negate inter-governmental participation in the policy-making process. APDIP is strongly against the exclusion of governments and inter-governmental agencies in the development of global Internet. It may be possible for the US Government to relinquish control over the Internet within the next few years, but in the vast majority of countries, access to the Internet depends wholly on Government engagement, participation and support. The call to relinquish government control over this critical resource may be premature and counter-productive. In the vast majority of countries, Internet connectivity is maintained or operated by governments, and their agencies or sub-contractors. Furthermore, by definition, Governments have the prerogative to administer the local TLD registry. Governments must endorse any organisation that will formulate policies for Internet management on their behalf, hence their participation in its formation and operation is inevitable.
To conclude, APDIP calls for the creation of an international organisation, charged, among others, with the following tasks:
1. Equitably and sustainably administer the Internet, including regulation for charging schemes of access provision;
2. Assign IP addresses to national registries;
3. Maintain the A root server operations;
4. Informing and representing the Internet international stakeholders community;
5. Provide a fertile ground for discussion of regulatory processes;
6. Respond promptly to national registrars queries and needs;
7. Mediate disputes at international level.
The structure of this organisation has to be such to provide timely response to the needs of the international community while providing an international forum to the resolution of disputes.
The proposed creation of additional generic top level domains (gTLDs) and their relative registrars
While the following section makes a case for the abolition of the majority of gTLDs, APDIP believes that there is a need to improve the management of gTLD name registration as stated in the objective of the proposal, and promoting competition has been the traditional avenue for governments to deliver quality services. However, it is difficult to see where there could be competition in the area of gTLD registries, as the gTLDs indicate a certain focus area for the registered entity, .com for companies, .edu for educational, etc. It would be inconceivable for a company in the consulting line to change its domain from "consulting_company.firm" to "consulting_company.arts", because the registry managing the latter gTLD offers a better service. Allowing more "NSI like" companies to operate to foster good competition will not lead to the desired outcome of quality service. As profit centres, they may choose to wind-up if the business becomes unprofitable or worse, become TLD cartels.
As on the previous section, APDIP believes that the assignment of gTLD could be handled by national registries in agreement with the international organisation. Doing this will allow an US registry to handle registration only for that country by checking first that such domain is currently available from information provided by a searchable database. A registry in a different country will have the same opportunity to access that database to provide registration services to its clients. Generic TLDs must be reserved for regional or international entities, proven multinationals and international trademark holders, who would have the resources to police trademark infringements at the international level. The approval for gTLDs will rest with the national registries.
We do understand that it is necessary to charge a minimal fee to meet administration and maintenance costs, but the registrars and registries should not be made into profit based entities. In short, NSI's role should be taken over by an internationally sanctioned non-profit organisation, which in turn will maintain an automated system to allow national registries to extend the service to their countries.
A case to streamline gTLD assignments
APDIP believes that the US government should strongly consider enforcing the use of the .us country code for national users, as in all other countries. This direction will make trademark and other legal issues easier to resolve, as they will fall under the jurisdiction of the laws of a specific country. For all US users, the only difference will be the addition of the .us suffix. For users outside the US, APDIP suggest to follow the recommendation to manage all registration nationally. Eventually, most domains will have a country code, and only few truly International companies or organisations will have generic TLDs. Again, the point is to place national registries in charge of registration activities in each country and have jurisdiction on them.
APDIP warns against the formation of a US corporate body to govern the Internet and the commercialisation of TLD registry services, and has reservations about the criticality of adding new generic TLD names.
APDIP strongly recommends considering the creation of an international organisation charged with the task of informing and representing the global user community including governments and service providers, and would like to add that many developing countries have been unintentionally excluded from worldwide forums on Internet due to the limited access to this medium. This important RFC should also be distributed via traditional communication channels or existing inter-governmental framework, if the global community in its entirely is called to take an active role in the continuous development of the Internet.
To conclude, the US Government should not rush into decisions without studying the issues in greater details. Time is needed to identify the stakeholders worldwide and develop practical and equitable solutions. APDIP encourages the US government to reconsider the timeframe given for deliberation before implementing changes to the existing Internet infrastructure.
From: Ronda Hauben <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 11:54pm
Subject: Comments for DNS Rule
I am submitting the following paper that I have written
outlining the principles and practices that helped to
develop the Internet as a means of worldwide communication.
The kinds of principles and practices promoting the
development of a medium of communication are what need
to guide the U.S. government in its plans and practices
with regard to any changes like changing the means of
administering and the structure of the DNS that
it is proposing with respect to the future of the Internet.
I have submitted objections earlier to the current proposed
rule, but also wanted to submit this paper as an example
of the kinds of thinking and principles that need to guide
a new rule that will be based on the Internet as a
communication medium, rather than trying to transform
the Internet from a means of worldwide communication into
a vehicle to promote commerce.
The Internet is something new in the world and it is important
not to try to change it to mimic old models, but to continue
its development as something new and important which has
its own unique characteristics.
I am proposing that the current proposed rule be withdrawn
and a new process initiated to utilize online mailing lists
and newsgroups to encourage and welcome discussion to determine
what if any is the problem with the DNS as it now is developed
and what needs there are that the DNS is to serve and how to
create a way to meet those needs and solve the problems.
Following is the paper I am submitting to provide helpful
principles and guidelines for such a process.
P.O. Box 250101
New York, N.Y. 10025-1531
ARPANET Mailing Lists and Usenet Newsgroups
Creating an Open and Scientific Process
for Technology Development and Diffusion
by Ronda Hauben
From: name.space <email@example.com>
Date: 3/23/98 11:41pm
Subject: Comments of pgMedia, Inc. on the Green Paper
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS & INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION
Washington, D.C. 20230
Improvement of Technical Management )
of Internet Names and Addresses ) Docket No. 980212036-8036-01
Proposed Rule )
COMMENTS OF PGMEDIA
pgMedia, Inc. <http://namespace.pgmedia.net>, respectfully submits these
comments on the "Green Paper"
<http:www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/dnsdft.htm> released by the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration ("NTIA" or the "Department")
regarding management of the Internet Domain Name System ("DNS").
INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY
NTIA's Green Paper proposes that certain key "centralized"
functions for DNS administration be transferred from Network Solutions.,
Inc. ("NSI") and the
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority ("IANA") to a new, not-for-profit
corporation that will be governed by a broad cross-section of Internet
stakeholders. This approach is clearly preferable to the current DNS system,
under which NSI enjoys monopoly control of all generic top-level domains
("gTLDs"), including the huge ".com" registry, as well as the DNS "root" servers
on which universal Internet connectivity is based. NTIA is plainly correct that
competition in domain name registration services, on the basis of shared gTLDs,
should be introduced as soon as possible.
The new Internet governance structure contemplated by the Green
Paper would remove the anticompetitive incentives inherent in the current
DNS system, under which potential registry competitors must depend on NSI,
which controls the "essential facility" of the "A" root server, for access
to "the dot." By
contemplating a "set of authoritative and consistent roots" managed by a
competitively impartial entity, instead of a single root server managed by a
single commercial enterprise, the Green Paper would place the root server
resources -- and with them the public interest requirement for universal
resolvability of all Internet domains -- beyond the threat of anticompetitive
conduct or catastrophic network failure. Such a development would mean that the
customers of entrepreneurial registries such as pgMedia could, for the first
time, have a fair chance to become a true part of the global Internet.
The Green Paper has a fatal flaw, however, in proposing that only
five new gTLDs be opened for competition in the period through September
30, 1998. NTIA apparently believes that such a restriction is necessary
(1) to assure technical "stability" of the Internet; (2) to assist
trademark holders in "policing" violations of their intellectual property;
and (3) to avoid "consumer confusion" from a proliferation of gTLDs. Even
if the Commerce Department (or NTIA), let alone the United Stated
government, had the legal authority to impose a limit on the number of new
gTLDs -- which it does not -- none of these policy
justifications has any validity.
* As NSI itself has conceded, there "is no technical reason" why gTLDs need to
be limited, because "[d]omains are equally scaleable at all levels of the DNS."
The "dot" is, in reality, a simple 75K text file that can easily be expanded to
virtually unlimited size, and at least comparable to the current ".com" zone
file of 1.5 million entries. Thus, there is no stability reason why the Green
Paper must artificially restrict the number of new gTLDs than can be added to
the root servers, especially in the short run.
* There is no difference between the Internet and any other medium of
communications (TV. magazines, billboards, etc.) with respect to trademarks,
because in each instance trademark owners have the resources, and the legal
power, to assert challenges to their legal rights in any jurisdiction worldwide.
* Consumers will not be more confused by different gTLDs than they are today by
the massive proliferation of incrementally different second-level ".com" domains
(e.g., flowers.com, florists.com and flowersforyou.com); rather, the
introduction of new gTLDs (e.g., flowers.delivery or caruso.florists) could
produce a new level of comprehension in consumer use of DNS.
In short, the Green Paper relies on misconceptions, unsubstantiated fears and
chimeras in support of its crucial finding that only five new gTLDs should be
added to the Internet root server system.
pgMedia strongly believes that, given the global nature of the
Internet and the status of gTLDs as global communications resources, the
U.S. government does not have the legal authority to restrict competition
in top-level namespace on the Internet. There is no question that the
Department of Commerce and NTIA
lack any statutory authority to promulgate rules restricting the opening of new
gTLDs, and that the National Science Foundation similarly has no authority to
override ordinary U.S. antitrust rules applicable to access to essential
facilities like the root servers maintained by NSI. Therefore, it is crucial
that NTIA delete the third of the fourth functions it proposes be delegated to
the "new corporation," namely to determine "the circumstances under which new
top-level domains are added to the root system." Consistent with the Green
Paper's preference for market-based solutions and bottom-up decision making, the
NTIA should instead conclude that -- in the absence of an affirmative showing by
the new corporation that technical considerations warrant a limit on gTLDs --
all gTLD registries which meet minimal technical standards must be added to the
By eliminating any restriction on gTLDs and permitting future
limitations only based on documented technical constraints, the Green Paper
would meet its professed principles of introducing DNS competition as fast
as possible while preserving consensus-driven, technically-objective
Internet decision making. DNS administration should be as open, objective
and competitively neutral as is the IETF RFC process of Internet
standards-setting. The only way to achieve this goal is to eliminate the
political and competitive incentives inherent in today's NSI monopoly of
the "dot" while making gTLD competition a matter of purely technical, not
pseudo "policy," consideration. After that, the marketplace itself would
determine -- as a result of consumer demand -- which gTLDs are desirable
and which registries, and registrars, will succeed commercially.
I. THE NEED FOR UNIVERSAL RESOLVABILITY OF DOMAIN NAMES REQUIRES,
PROPOSES, THAT ROOT SERVER FUNCTIONS BE COORDINATED
Universal resolvability can be achieved while allowing for
competition among domain name registries, thereby benefiting both the
content providers and the end-users of the Internet. Likewise, the true
value of the Internet can only be realized if all addresses are universally
resolvable. That is to say, pgMedia agrees with the Department that the
value attached to having a network of networks is maximized only when the
root server network is properly coordinated allowing any user of the
Internet to seamlessly access any site on the Internet using that site's
domain name. To achieve universal resolvability, domain names must be
unique and the protocols used must be standardized.
A. The Internet Root Server (or The "Dot") Functions As The "Traffic
Cop" of the Internet, Allowing All Name Service Providers to Look to
Servers for the "Zone" Files Necessary For a Seamless Internet
The "dot" file is a plain-text file used by the nameserver software to
define the available toplevel domains ("TLDs") to the rest of the network. Like
all other "zone" files it contains the hostname to IP address mapping that the
nameserver uses to find and connect computers over the network. Specifically,
the "dot" file lists each available TLD and the names and addresses of the
various nameservers that carry the Second-Level-Domain ("SLD") listings under a
particular TLD. The ROOT-SERVERS that run the "dot" file direct requests to the
appropriate TLD server which sends the request on to the Internet service
provider ("ISP") or network managing the listed SLD that then returns the IP
address for the requested domain name. So, for example, a request for
"PGMEDIA.NET" would first be directed to the "dot" file that would return the
locations of the TLD server for ".NET." The request would then be forwarded to
the ".NET" server which would return the location of the nameserver for the SLD
server for "PGMEDIA.NET" which contains the name to IP number mapping for the
Universal resolvability of TLD's requires that there exist an
authoritative file that will direct requests to the appropriate server for
any particular domain name request. There is more than one possible
solution to achieving this goal. The Department's Green Paper suggests
that the "dot" file be controlled by one entity. However, due to recent
improvements in network administration technology, it is no longer required
that a single entity, alone, manage the "dot." Decentralized and
synchronized administration of the "dot" file would be a far better
solution so long as there is free and open access by registries to the
"dot" file. Under this model, the goal of competition in the domain name
registration market can be achieved while true universal resolvability can
B. Root Server Functions For gTLDs Are Currently Monopolized By NSI, Which
Has Led to Significant Competitive Disparities
NSI controls and profits from the administration of the gTLDs (i.e. com,
net, org, edu, int). NSI also controls the "dot" that would permit a gTLD to be
universally resolvable. The "dot" file is an essential facility, because, the
only alternative available to a registry wishing to compete with NSI, without
access to the "dot" file, would be to create a new Internet. pgMedia, through
its name.space(SM) division has created a network of 13 nameservers in seven
countries. name.space(SM) currently offers registrations in more than 530 TLDs,
these names are fully resolvable by the name.space(SM) nameservers, but are not
universally resolvable on the Internet because NSI has refused to make the
simple text edit to the "dot" file that would allow that universal
pgMedia supports the Department's position that coordination of
root servers does not require a single "root," but rather consistent
technical standards for interoperability and symmetry of all servers so as
to maintain universal connectivity on the Internet. Operators of "dot"
servers merely need to agree to run exact versions of the "dot" file and to
implement a secure system to keep the contents synchronized whenever it is
SINDI(TM), developed by pgMedia, is software technology designed to
fulfill the function of keeping the name data synchronized in near
real-time with security and authentication built in. This technology
registries to simultaneously submit unique SLDs to any TLD based a first come,
first served basis, and to easily survey the root file for existing TLDs.
Through deployment of technologies like SINDI (TM), there is no need for
monopoly control of the root server functions to continue to be awarded to NSI.
Rather, registries around the world would be free to amend the root file based
on market demand.
C. Transferring Control Of Root Servers To An Independent, Non-Profit
Corporation, With Wide Representation Is A Valid Approach To Root Server
pgMedia supports any solution that would open the domain name
registration market to competition, so long as there is a
non-discriminatory and simple procedure for adding new TLDs. As discussed
above, there no longer exists an explicit technical need for the root file
to be managed by a single entity. However, more importantly, there are
serious and pressing problems associated with allowing the root server to
be controlled by a private entity with a vested interest. NTIA's proposal
to end NSI's monopoly control of the root server through creation of a
"private, not-for-profit corporation . . . to manage the coordinated
function in a stable and open institutional framework," is right on target.
The root server is an essential facility, access to which is required for
participation in the domain name business. The Department's proposal would
transfer control of that essential facility to a non-profit organization
created to serve the best interests of the entire Internet community, not
just one company or set of companies.
pgMedia agrees wholeheartedly with the Department that there is no
longer a need to propagate a domain name monopoly and the resultant
monopoly rents paid by Internet users every day. In moving away from a
privately controlled arrangement, an independent, non-profit corporation
will remove the commercial conflict of interest that has been present to
date. As a matter of policy, no registry should also control the root
server, and NTIA's proposal to separate the two is admirable.
II. gTLDs ARE A PUBLIC DOMAIN RESOURCE WHICH MUST BE SHARED AMONG
pgMedia believes that generic-TLDs should be shared among the competing
registries. gTLDs are not the property of any entity, including NSI. The
technology exists today to allow such sharing and there is no public policy
reason why such sharing should be restricted. Although there are stakeholders
who advocate a branded model for TLDs, such a solution only benefits the
registries that would then have monopoly control over that particular TLD.
Rather, Internet users would benefit the most from an open system of TLDs
whereby each registry could register new domain names under any existing or new
A. NTIA Correctly Adopted pgMedia's Approach of "Shared" Registries, Under
Which All gTLDs, Including Existing ".com" Registry, Will Be Open To Competitive
Registration of Second-Level Domains.
pgMedia believes that all registries should compete on the basis of
service and price, thereby benefiting the users of the Internet rather than
developing a system of branded TLDs which would only benefit the registries
by creating an artificial shortage in the generic name space. NTIA
correctly recognized the importance of competition in the domain name
registration industry in adopting a "shared registries" concept in its
proposed rule. pgMedia urges the Department to retain this fundamental
improvement in any further rule.
pgMedia has long supported shared gTLDs, and believes that gTLDs are a
public resource that should not be within the commercial or competitive control
of any one entity. The Department should resist creating new monopolies (in
each new TLD) by giving a single registry the sole right to register under any
one TLD. Such a proprietary system would be akin to geographic market
allocation--each registry would own a series of TLDs over which it could
exercise complete price and service control. To the extent that certain TLDs
became recognized as the market norm for an industry or organization, as is the
case currently with .com, users in need of domain names under those TLDs would
be forced to deal at whatever price demanded. An open, market-driven system on
the other hand would require different registries to introduce efficiencies,
innovation and price reduction into the registration services market in order to
compete and survive.
name.space has already made numerous achievements and improvements in
registration services, even though its own registry does not currently enjoy the
market benefits of universal resolvability. These include:
a. Instant, form based registration
b. Virtually instant updating of the zone files
c. Address portability
d. "Smart" Whois ("sWhois") --
a software application that allows
cross-registry look-up capabilities
e. Secure Internet Name Data Integrator (SINDI)
f. Lower prices for users
These advantages are available today via the name.space (SM) system.
Competitive gTLDs are a technologically feasible reality, as demonstrated by the
over 500 gTLDs operated by name.space (SM). Shared gTLD registration is also
technically possible and competitively preferable. Although companies like
pgMedia have been able to make significant technological break-throughs in DNS
administration despite the existence of a blanketing monopolist, it is simply
indisputable that true competition in the domain name registry industry would
result in even greater technological improvements, leading to better services
and lower prices for consumers.
III. NTIA HAS INAPPROPRIATELY LIMITED THE SCOPE OF DNS COMPETITION
FALSE, UNSUBSTANTIATED CONCERNS REGARDING THE TECHNICAL STABILITY OF THE
The Department proposed a transitional limitation on the addition of new
gTLDs to a total five NTIA's basis for this decision was (1) concern regarding
the stability of the Internet (2) the potential impact of more new gTLDs on the
trademark dispute process, and (3) fears of exacerbated consumer confusion. The
Department was wrong on all three issues.
A. There Are No Technical Restrictions to Increasing the Number of
There are no technical constraints on the number of gTLDs that can
operate simultaneously on the Internet, and absolutely no basis for any
concern that expansion of the TLD name space will contribute even to
transitional instability of the Internet. NSI readily agrees:
NSI believes that there is no technical reason why the number of worldwide TLDs
needs to be limited. Domains are equally scalable at all levels of the DNS.
There can be as many TLDs as there are potential second-and third-level domains.
NSI Comments (August 18, 1998) at C-10.
As NSI recognized, Dr. Paul Mockepetris, the inventor of the Domain Name
System ("DNS") is equally convinced that there exists no technical reason for
limiting the number of new TLDs. "DNS is highly scalable. There is no technical
limit to the number of new top-level names that could be introduced. The
original designer of DNS, Paul Mockapetris, has verified the
scalability of DNS. As well, America Online's eight million-plus third-level
domains are also evidence of DNS scalability. There may be some practical and
operational issues to the introduction of new TLDs, but we should be very
suspicious of those that seek t control, limit and administer TLDs under the
false pretense of technical feasibility."
(Internet Domain Name System: Myths and Facts, NSI 6/18/97
pgMedia has already proven that such expansion of the TLD namespace is possible.
The name.space registry (SM) has been servicing many hundreds of new TLDs for
over one and one half years with no problem or interruption in service. The
same cannot be said for NSI who's antiquated update procedures led to the
catastrophic failure of DNS last July.
The technical explanation for the feasibility of TLD expansion is
simple. Behind the current "root.zone" or "dot" file, which lists the
recognized toplevel domains, is simply a 75K text file; updating the file for
new gTLDs is technically trivial and transparent to the end users--new toplevel
namespaces will simply become available and functional just as any new country
code or new second level domain becomes transparently available as changes are
made to the DNS listings on a daily basis without interruption of service or
other noticeable change.
For example, the current zone file for ".com" contains over 1.5 million
entries and can scale indefinitely. The structure of all zonefiles is identical
and used in the same way by the software. Thus, structurally, the "root.zone"
file and the "com" file are identical and the number of possible toplevel
domains is equally as scaleable as is any other zone file in the existing DNS
system. Therefore, to the extent the DNS can handle over 1.5 million
registrations under the TLD ".com," there is no reason it cannot handle as many
The record before the Department from the August comments does not
support any technical rationale substantiating NTIA's conclusion that the
number of gTLDs in the short run "should not be so large as to destabilize
the Internet." As stated above, there is literally as much of a technical
basis to limit the total number of gTLDs as there is to limit the number of
entries under the ".com" TLD.
Hence, there is no justification for NTIA's proposals that:
1. There be a completely arbitrary limit of five new gTLDs between now and
2. The new non-profit corporation should set policies for determining "the
circumstances under which new top-level domains are added to the root system"
Any gTLD administered by a technically competent registry should be
included in the root server system. At most, any non-profit corporation
established by the Department should set minimum technical criteria for
gTLD registries, per existing RFCs covering name service.
B. Trademark Disputes Do Not Involve DNS Registries, and Do Not Provide a
Technical Impediment to Allowing New gTLDs
pgMedia agrees with the Department's characterization that "trademark
disputes arise very rarely on the Internet today," and that "management of the
Internet must respond to the needs of the Internet community as a whole, and not
trademark owners exclusively."
However, pgMedia disagrees with the Department's determination that
increasing the number of gTLDs would make it more difficult for trademark
holders to protect their marks. The addition of new domain names would have
zero impact on trademark prosecution.. The addition of new TLDs would not slow
the search of domain name databases for trademark violations any more than the
addition of new domain names under an existing TLD would. Any claim to the
contrary is merely an effort to drag TLD registries into a fight that belongs
solely to trademark owners.
As is the case now, trademark owners should continue to be required to
police and prosecute their rights under their own devices. There is no other
communications medium where those involved in providing the communication are
responsible for participating in trademark policing or prosecution. The
proliferation of other communications mediums, such as television or radio, has
never been slowed or diluted to allow trademark owners an easier time of
protecting their rights. In fact, it is the ubiquity of the medium, in this
case the addition of thousands of new gTLDs, that gives mark owners the
opportunity to add national and international value to their brand names.
Rather than complain about this windfall, and the offsetting costs associated
with tracking the worldwide exposure to their brand, trademark owners should be
encouraging the immediate transition to an open gTLD system.
C. The Addition of New gTLDs Will Not Impact Consumer Confusion
Even with a limited number of gTLDs, there currently exist an infinite
number of lower level domain name combinations that can registered and employed
by interested parties. Registrants are free to use virtually any second, third,
fourth, etc., level domain name, so long as it has not been previously
registered. It is therefore inconceivable that the addition of new gTLDs will
somehow make consumer use of the Internet more difficult to employ. There is no
substantive difference between the existing possibilities for confusion
associated with an unlimited number of lower level domain names (flowers.com vs.
florists.com vs. flowers.foryou.com) and those that might be found under a
rubric of varied TLDs (flowers.com vs. flowers.delivery).
Rather, the recognition of specific domain names will be a function of
advertisement and public awareness, as it is now. A few short years ago, few
consumers knew what an Internet address was. Today, many, if not most, could
not even name the five basic gTLDs, or even realize that there are gTLDs
available for every country in the world. How can the addition new gTLDs be any
more confusing than the existing fact that .za refers to South Africa?
Despite the confusion associated with the existing system, through
advertising and repeated use, consumers are becoming more and more comfortable
maneuvering on the web and locating the destinations of their choice. So too,
in a world of many gTLDs, hosts will advertise and consumers will browse, and
means for reaching each other will evolve. To the extent such a transition may
cause some initial disruption, it is far better that it occur earlier in the
growth of the Internet than later, when habits and customs will be more
entrenched. More importantly, any minimal confusion that might occur in a
multi-TLD environment that doesn't occur now, is more than offset by the
advantages to consumers that true competition in the domain name industry will
IV. NEITHER THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT NOR THE DEPARTMENT OF
THE LEGAL AUTHORITY TO RESTRICT THE NUMBER OF gTLDs
There exists no statutory or other authority that would permit the
Department of Commerce or the United States Government to limit the number of
new TLDs. If anything, Congress has expressed a clear interest in leaving the
It is the policy of the United States-
(2) to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently
exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by
Federal or State regulation. 47 U.S.C. § 230(b)(2) (emphasis supplied).
While the Telecommunications Act of 1996 did not specifically address the domain
name issue, it is clear that the Congresses' twin goals of deregulation and new
competition would be severely undermined if the Department were to propagate
some sort of "transitional" regulation regarding the number of new gTLDs that
may be added to the root file.
pgMedia is sympathetic with NTIA's concern regarding coordination of
essential Internet functions, but the agency, and for that matter, the entire US
government, lacks the power to control the number of gTLDs, even in the short
run. gTLDs are not a United States', but rather a global resource. The U.S.
lacks the authority, under the U.N. charter and customary international law, to
unilaterally assert extra-territorial jurisdiction by restricting the number of
gTLDs. As policy matter, exclusion of EU and other nations from policy process
could lead to costly fragmentation of the Internet community.
Historically, NSI has operated root servers pursuant to a "cooperative
agreement" contract with the National Science Foundation ("NSF"), but neither
that contract, nor NSF's statutory charter, grant either NSI or NSF the legal
authority to restrict gTLDs and exclude competitors from the existing root
server system. NSF Cooperative Agreement No. NCR-9218742. However, that is
exactly what is currently happening, and, unfortunately, is what the Department
proposed in the Green Paper when it suggested that only five gTLDs be added to
The cooperative agreement between Network Solutions and The
Foundation leaves NSI with the power to implement new naming schemes or systems
without seeking the approval of the NSF. NSI has improperly used this NSF
agreement to perpetuate its monopoly and to prevent competition so as to
continue its substantial profits derived from domain name registrations.
According to NSI's own figures there are some 120,000 new domain name
registrations per month equaling $ 12,000,000 in gross revenues per month.
pgMedia believes that the arguments advanced by NSI have been
protect this lucrative monopoly position for as long as possible. By
restricting the creation of new TLDs the Department of Commerce would be an
unwilling accomplice in this bilking of the Internet community.
Congress has not granted either the Department of Commerce or NTIA the
authority to constrain competition in the Internet. Congress created NTIA for
the purpose of managing federal government's radio spectrum and advise the
President on telecommunications policy. 47 U.S.C. § 902 (b). In addition, NTIA
is given authority to "conduct studies and make recommendations concerning the
impact of the convergence of computer and communications technology." 47 U.S.C.
§ 902 (b)(2)(M). Neither this nor NTIA's authority regarding telecommunications
policies give it the right to restrain competition by restricting the number of
gTLDs that may be added to the DNS. Similarly, the general regulatory authority
granted to the Department of Commerce by Congress neither directly grants the
Department regulatory authority over the Internet, nor expressly grants the
Department the right to restrict competition. Therefore, any rule promulgated
by the NTIA limiting the creation of new gTLDs would be ultra-vires.
VI. ANY LIMITATION ON THE NUMBER OF NEW gTLDs, BY EITHER THE NSF, THE
DEPARTMENT OR ANY OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY, THAT IS NOT BASED ON TECHNICAL
NECESSITY, WOULD BE VIOLATIVE OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT OF THE UNITED STATES
The Internet is "a unique and wholly new medium of worldwide human
communication," Reno v. ACLU, 117 S.Ct. 2329, 2334 (1997), that "represent[s] an
extraordinary advance in the availability of educational and informational
resources to our citizens," 47 U.S.C.A. § 230(a)(1). As such, the Internet as a
method of communication receives heightened protection under the First Amendment
from restriction of the content it transmits. Reno, 117 S.Ct. 2329, 2334.
And, a domain name is more then the address for a site on the
domain name may be imbued with an idea or indication of the material to be found
at the particular Internet site. pgMedia agrees with the Domain Name Rights
Coalition ("DNRC"), that, at a minimum, "domain names are the identifiers used
to designate and locate expression and communication." Limiting the number of
TLDs limits the way in which content providers on the Internet can express these
ideas. In the name.space (SM) system a candidate for political office may
register their name in the following fashion "gore.for.president;" while in the
current system, or the system proposed in the "Green Paper," this simple form of
political speech would be impossible.
It is well settled law that for the government to limit a
such as speech, it must first demonstrate 1) a compelling governmental interest
that would be served by the regulation, and 2) that there exists no less
restrictive method for achieving the governmental objective. See Sable
Communications, Inc. v. FCC, 492 U.S. 115, 126 (1989). Absent any technical
constraints on the expansion of the top-level name space, there is no compelling
governmental interest that would be served by preventing pgMedia from offering
domain name registrations under its expanded list of gTLDs. Moreover, even if
there were a compelling governmental objective to be served by regulating the
top-level name space, limiting the expansion to only five TLDs would by no means
be the least restrictive alternative available. Therefore, any attempt by the
Department to limit the expansion of the top-level name space would violate the
For the reasons stated above, pgMedia urges the Department to (1)
any effort to restrict the number of gTLDs that may be added to the DNS; (2)
continue to support the creation of a non-profit organization to serve as
neutral administrator of the root server, thereby separating the root
administration services from registry services; and (3) continue to support a
policy of shared rather than proprietary gTLDs, whereby true competition can
work to lower domain name prices and improve services.
Paul Garrin, President
11 East 4th Street, 2F
New York, NY 10003
Dated: March 23, 1998.
From: "Donald E. Eastlake 3rd" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 11:59pm
Subject: Comment on Green Paper
Attached are my comments on
Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses;
[Docket No. 980212036-8036-01]
in Microsoft Word Rich Text Format. This should be readable by Word 6.0,
Word98, and other versions of Word.
Donald E. Eastlake 3rd +1 978-287-4877(tel) email@example.com
318 Acton Street +1 978-371-7148(fax) firstname.lastname@example.org
Carlisle, MA 01741 USA +1 703-620-4200(main office, Reston, VA)
CC: "Donald E. Eastlake" <email@example.com>
[View attached file]
From: Robert Simpson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Karen Rose <email@example.com>
Date: 3/23/98 11:54pm
Subject: Comments on "Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses"
Comments on "Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and
March 23, 1998
First, all registrars should have equal access to all registries. Once
a registrar is approved (by one registrar or the new non-profit
corporation) for one gTLD, it should be able to register names with any
registry without duplication of effort and expense for approval by other
Second, registries and registrars should be permitted to register only
variations of their company names. They should not be permitted to
register a large number of highly desirable names in anticipation of
being able to provide them to their customers at a later time.
Third, the rule requiring a domain name holder to put a successfully
registered name into use within a limited time should be strictly
enforced. Any name not in use within a given time (60 days) should be
made available again. This rule could also apply to the .com, .net, and
.org domains as they come up for renewal.
Fourth, in some cases, the ".web" gTLD in particular, the same names
have been "pre-registered" through multiple CORE registrars as well as
being registered through alternate registries such as AlterNIC,
Iperdome, and "The .web Registry". In the case of the ".web" gTLD, if
".web" gTLD registry is managed by "The .web Registry", and their
customers are given priority (by date of application, for example, in
order to satisfy the requirement that all registrars must be given equal
access to the registry) then applicants requesting the same names
through the CORE registrars will be disappointed. If customers of "The
.web Registry" are given the same opportunity as customers of CORE
registrars, then many of the former will lose names which have been
registered for as long as two years. One possible resolution of this
conflict would be, for "pre-registrations only," to assign applicants
their requested names as third level domain names under second level
names which designate the registrar. For example:
Assigned Name For Applications Submitted Through
anydomain.aetea.web AETEA Information Technology
anydomain.db.web Altronics Domain Bank
anydomain.cas.web Computer Analytical Systems
anydomain.dd.web Domain Direct
anydomain.eni.web Epoch Networks Inc.
anydomain.dc.web Galaxy Star Systems Domain Communications
anydomain.gic.web General Internet Corp. NetBenefit
anydomain.halo.web Halo Technologies
anydomain.itn.web Interactive Telecom Network Domain Domain
anydomain.idt.web International Discount Telephone
anydomain.idr.web Internet Domain Registrars
anydomain.io.web IO Design "The .web Registry"
anydomain.ns.web LanMinds Name-Store
anydomain.nn.web NetNames Ltd.
anydomain.psi.web Procurement Services International
anydomain.site.web Site Leader World Wide Domains
anydomain.csl.web Versand Computer Service Langenbach
The advantage of this scheme is that it treats all registrars equally,
including CORE registrars and alternate registries and that applicants
will get some variation of their desired name. Another advantage is
that all of the desirable second level names will not already be spoken
for (through "pre-registrations") when the registries finally begin
operation. The disadvantage is that some applicants may not wish to
register the slightly altered name, so they should be allowed to decline
the name without any additional charges due the registrar.
(Note: I have "pre-registered" names through both CORE and "The .web
Registry," so I am not proposing this solution because I missed out on
pre-registrations. The names I have pre-registered would be affected by
the name alterations.)
Finally, on the matter of trademark disputes, let me point out some
facts of the situation, draw some conclusions, and then propose a
* There are more categories of trademarks than the number of gTLDs. If
a company claims rights to a trademarked name in a single top level
domain, there may be other companies with the same name trademarked
under different categories.
* Additional top level domains will provide some relief only if
companies and organizations with .com, .net, and .org names cannot
automatically claim rights to the same names in the new domains.
* For any company or organization, or any one of a company's trademarked
products, there should be one preferred gTLD, for example ".com" for
commercial products and ".org" for organizations.
* It is possible for more than one company to have legitimate claims to
a particular domain name under one gTLD.
* The more gTLDs under which a company can claim rights for a single
trademark, the worse the situation will be.
* Companies should be discouraged from instigating trademark disputes in
all but the most desirable gTLD for their trademarked name.
* If a company sues to obtain a name in a particular top level domain,
they should be required to release all rights to the same name in all
If they own the name in another gTLD, that name should be made available
after a reasonable transition period.
* A company should be able to sue for a trademarked name in at most one
gTLD. They should never be allowed to sue a domain name holder for a
name in any other gTLD which existed at the time the first suit was
filed. (They could, however, sue for a better-suited gTLD added at a
* Prema toys is requesting that NSI take the domain name "pokey.org"
away from 12-year-old Christopher Van Allen (see
http://www.pokey.org/eek.htm). If they were limited to only one gTLD,
they would be forced to choose the best gTLD for the "pokey" name.
Since the "Pokey" toy is a commercial item, it would make more sense for
them to try to obtain the domain name "pokey.com" from Steven Pokrandt
of "digitaledge". If they obtained the name "pokey.org" through dispute
resolution, they would not be permitted to file another dispute for
"pokey.com". This might prompt them to reconsider their strategy and
file the dispute against the owner of the more desirable (for their
purposes) name "pokey.com" instead. However, if they obtained the name
"prema.com" through dispute resolution, they would still be permitted to
file another dispute to obtain the name "prema.firm" if and when ".firm"
becomes a new gTLD.
From: Pindar Wong <pindar@HK.Super.NET>
Date: 3/23/98 5:52pm
Subject: Domain Names -- Additional Comments from APIA Board
BRIEF COMMENTS OF THE ASIA & PACIFIC INTERNET ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Monday, March 23, 1998
The Asia & Pacific Internet Association (APIA), is a unique regional trade association of Internet related service providers. Its mission is to facilitate the stable and sustainable growth of the region's diverse Internet related service marketplace by acting as a "forum for dialogue and a channel for input".
Since its formal inception in May 1997, having had an informal existence as an Asian Pacific Networking Group (APNG) Commercial Working Group for two years before that, it is currently focused on Internet Governance, sustainable Internet bandwidth financing and Electronic commerce issues.
Since this inception, the APIA has quickly grown to a membership base of 32 influential members over this nine month period. Details on our membership, our governing structures, etc. can be found at our website (www.apia.org.).
The APIA has previously submitted comments to the Request for Comments in August last year, and also organized a meeting with Mr Magaziner in Manila during APRICOTí98 to facilitate active discussion on the Green Paper in our region.
Most of our comments have already been incorporated in that recent discussion; transcripts of which can be found on the NTIA and APIA website. However, as we fully understand that our region comprises many diverse countries, cultures, industries and opinions -- we have actively encouraged individual entities to submit their unique comments directly to you.
Having said this, please find below some additional brief comments from the APIA Board to add to these:
If not initially, at least in time to come, this new corporation should be able to relocate to another site if necessary. This may include another site within the country of jurisdiction under which it is currently proposed.
The new corporation will be of international importance and should be able to locate itself legally, physically and financially, in the most effective and 'secure' of locations. Its formative charter should not prevent this re-location and should encourage it. For example, the corporation should be able to protect itself by relocating or re-structuring itself away from risks of significant tax liability, of aggressive legal actions or of political instability.
The membership association formed from the registries and registrars should include the national registries. However it is suggested that some criteria be set on which to decide whether a national registry can be a formal member. These criteria will ensure that the registries have a reasonable relationship or representative position to the 'nation' whose TLD it manages. National registries are organized in different ways and where a similar structure of registries and registrars is in place, the consideration should also be given to the inclusion of the ccTLD registrars (i.e. country code TLD registrars -- using the ISO3166 definition of country code).
The other major issue relates to the formation of the membership association for "Internet users". How and when this can be done remains to be seen. Also what criteria will be used to determine legitimate user organizations needs to be clearly spelt out.
In considering top level domains, and whether new ones are needed (or indeed if any are needed at all), the issue must be seriously considered as a whole and not piece meal.
If the non-country code top level domains are considered global, then this must apply to all of them -- including for example .mil and .edu.
However, alternatively we would suggest bringing the US-only top level domains under the .us domain. Once effectively migrated to .us, the TLDs can then be removed. This may required that RFC 1480 be revisited with its original role expanded.
Also, the draft appears to focus implicitly on the issue of commercially oriented gTLDs. Yet in the future there may be many other opportunities for gTLDs including ones for religions, ethnicity, trade and professional groupings, and other social and community identities. Such groups may also require current consideration.
Although five new TLDs are proposed, it is not clear what purpose they would serve apart from providing competition amongst the registries.
During the Internet Executive Summit in Washington, organized by Prince Plc., some trademark people stated that it would be necessary for trademark holders to register in all new TLDs, and requested that there be procedures or facilities available to make this easy. If this is the attitude then we suggest that nothing will be gained by adding new TLDs as means of providing more space for legitimate organizations that want to trade internationally and have similar or the same trademarks in their own jurisdictions.
Possibly, the real dilemma is simply that domain names are automatically global and trademarks, in general, are not. The solution to this is to encourage the legal community to develop global agreements and rules. The people and organizations that run and use the domain name system should be able to operate within a reasonable and sensible legal environment and not have to work around an unclear, irrelevant or non-existent framework. Electronic commerce and the continued commercial growth of the Internet requires stability and predictability.
As a principle, possibly enshrined in law if necessary, the registries should be considered as listing agents only. They should specifically not judge any name they are asked to list in their register, and they should be assessed on how quickly and reliably they provide the registry function. Their role is to ensure the integrity and operational effectiveness of the servers and communications networks they maintain.
The role of the registrars is only mentioned in passing, however if anyone is to have liability, it should rest with the registrars as they have the role of working with the requester of the domain name. Simply put, the effective jurisdiction should then be where the registrar is located.
As mentioned above, if anyone, it should be the registrars that should bear such costs -- not the registries.
The major implication of the above is that registries (and registrars) should be in jurisdictions where trademark law is sympathetic to them and the costs of legal defense is inexpensive. If they have to be in the U.S., or covered by U.S. law, then we are restricting this activity to organizations familiar with operating in the U.S. legal environment and U.S. cost environment.
The Green paper takes a reasonable proportion of its space discussing issues relating to trademarks.
An alternative proposal could be:
This will cause all domain names to be registered in one of the existing ccTLDs (including the .us domain). The Country Code TLD (ccTLD), using ISO 3166, will by definition specify the country and so define the rules for registering names, the relevant trademark and other relevant legislation and jurisdiction under which disputes are heard. Should alternate dispute resolution procedures be required or provided, the context for them is similarly defined. There may be a very small number of ccTLDs that may require specific decisions on some of these issues.
All ccTLDs will have policies regarding registration in their respective domains. Some will have requirements to be located, registered or operating in the country, others will not. There will be different costs structures, different turn-around times, and different levels of validation of the requested names. These are all areas on which the national registries and registrars can compete. Correspondingly, different ccTLDs will naturally gain differing reputations. These differing reputations can act as a basis for comparison, in much the same way as comparisons can be made to where maritime ships are registered in different countries.
An observation is that all international corporations have a head office location. This location exists in a given country and as such there will be an appropriate ccTLD under which they can register.
The not-for-profit corporation's role will still be much as described, except that it will facilitate the ccTLDs in their role.
This alternative will address the objectives noted in the Green paper and will not prejudice the creation of new gTLDs in the future when international trademark law, and other agreements necessary for truly global Internet, are in place.
From: "Marc Berejka (LCA)" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/24/98 12:09am
Subject: Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Address es
Law and Corporate Affairs
21 Dupont Circle, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th and Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230
RE: Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses
(March 23, 1998)
We here at Microsoft want to compliment the Department for taking on the
vexing issue of how to improve the Domain Name System. As the following,
recent article from our Chairman and CEO, Bill Gates, indicates, it is
critical in any revision process that ALL steps -- at the end of the day
--enhance consumer confidence in the reliability and the utility of the
Internet. In particular, Microsoft supports the Department's proposal to
transition management of the DNS to a U.S.-based non-profit. This is a
prudent first step on the path to internationalization. In addition,
Microsoft supports a go-slow approach with respect to the introduction of
new gTLDs in order to minimize technical and trademark problems, and
consumer confusion. As the article notes:
If scads of new top-level domains are opened up abruptly, trademark
holders will have to defend their names on numerous new fronts--a huge
investment that many smaller companies can ill afford, and that no company
should have to afford.
It will also confuse Web users, who may not be sure whether the real
Walt Disney site is at disney.com, which it is, or at disney.web,
disney.fun, disney.kids, disney.info, disney.family, or whatever.
We thus urge the Department not to hasten to introduce 5 new gTLDs as its
proposals suggests, but rather to take a more measured deliberate approach.
Microsoft also has worked closely with the ad hoc Private Sector Working
Group (PSWG) and supports the more specific comments filed by that group
Federal Regulatory Affairs Manager
"Domania" rules the World Wide Web
By Bill Gates
A broker of Internet domain names lists "billgates.com" for sale for $1
million. I'm told the name, an Internet address, has been advertised for
months but remains unsold.
Perhaps I should be flattered that somebody imagines the name is worth so
much, especially since my parents gave me the same name 42 years ago for
Many domain names carrying outrageous price tags have been on the market for
a long time and, like billgates.com, may never sell. Why would somebody pay
$135,000 for the Internet address childsplay.com, $300,000 for treesco.com,
or $1.5 million for digitalimagery.com?
On the other hand, a market has developed for domain names that sell for a
few hundred or even thousands of dollars. A fellow I know recently paid a
broker $225 for the name farside.com, which he then gave to a friend, the
cartoonist Gary Larson, creator of the Far Side cartoons.
Asking prices for domain names are often between $500 and $2,000, and it's
not uncommon for really good names to fetch $5,000 or more. A media company
paid $7,000 for search.com and $15,000 for tv.com. Every once in a while, a
name sells for much more; business.com reportedly sold for $150,000.
But the vast majority of the domain names that have been issued in the U.S.
so far have cost their owners $100 each--the amount Network Solutions
(rs.internic.net) charges to register an unused name.
To get a name for $100 you have to be the first person or company to
register it, and you may have to defend against infringement claims if the
name is similar to someone else's trademark. Courts have shown an
understanding willingness to take domain names away from people who have
registered somebody else's trademark.
Until you know the rules of Internet names, it's easy to be confused by
A domain name consists of a word or other collection of letters and numbers,
followed by a period and an identifier known as a "top-level domain name,"
most often ".com." Additional words or letters tacked in front of a domain
name may be part of a Web address, but they aren't part of the actual domain
name. Words or characters that follow a slash after the top-level domain
name aren't part of the domain name either.
For example, my company's domain name is microsoft.com. It is part of the
email address at which I receive questions from readers of this column:
You can reach my company's Web site by typing into a browser either
microsoft.com or www.microsoft.com--but the "www." is not part of the domain
name. You can reach my personal Web page by typing microsoft.com/billgates,
but "billgates" is not part of the domain name.
The most popular domain names use the top-level domain of .com. The letters
are an abbreviation for "commercial." Other top-level domains include ".net"
for network, ".org" for organization and ".edu" for education. In addition,
there are scores of two-letter domains names intended for Web sites in
specific countries. For example, ".jp" is reserved for Japan, ".it" for
Italy, ".fr" for France and ".us" for the United States--although the .us
domain is seldom used. Each country has its own way of handling
The non-geographic domains such as .com are administered under the
supervision of the United States government because much of the Internet's
initial funding has come through the National Science Foundation. The U.S.
government is proposing to hand supervision over to a U.S.-based non-profit
organization--a prudent and very positive step. In the long run it will be
important to internationalize governance because the Internet is a worldwide
The growth in domain-name registrations is staggering.
Up through March of 1995, a total of only 52,500 domain names were
registered in the U.S. But now more than 125,000 new names are registered
each month in the U.S.--a total of about 2 million registrations. Perhaps as
many as 1 million additional names have been registered outside the U.S.
With so many names already registered, the available .com names can seem
pretty picked over. A lot of the obvious names are gone, and so are many
that aren't obvious.
I just picked a letter at random--B--and discovered that all of the
following domain names have been registered: b.com, bb.com, bbb.com,
bbbb.com, bbbbb.com, bbbbbb.com, bbbbbbb.com and bbbbbbbb.com.
Sometimes numerous domain names point to a single site. For example, to
browse Babynamer.com, a site that gives deep information on first names, you
can type namer.com, www.namer.com, babynamer.com, baby-namer.com,
babyname.com, namegame.com, nickname.com, or several other addresses. They
all forward you to the same place--a good strategy for the publisher, but
one that consumes many domain names.
There are controversial plans afoot to expand the number of domain names,
but I believe in a cautious approach. We should take it slowly when it comes
to opening vast new name spaces. It's important from both technical and
business standpoints that the Internet continues to work well.
If scads of new top-level domains are opened up abruptly, trademark holders
will have to defend their names on numerous new fronts--a huge investment
that many smaller companies can ill afford, and that no company should have
It will also confuse Web users, who may not be sure whether the real Walt
Disney site is at disney.com, which it is, or at disney.web, disney.fun,
disney.kids, disney.info, disney.family, or whatever.
Should you buy a domain name?
If you have an actual use for a name that is available inexpensively, then
On the other hand, if you're buying a name as a speculative investment,
you're on tricky ground. If you buy somebody else's trademark, don't count
on getting anything for it. Keep in mind that there are often dozens of
names that potentially work for a particular Web site, a reality that limits
the value of any specific name.
Also keep in mind that in the long run, most if not all addresses will be
devalued as browsers and other software get smarter about delivering people
to the Web sites they want. Web users in France may be delivered to .fr
domains by default, for example.
Today if you type "yellowcab.com" into a browser, it takes you to the pages
of a taxi company in the Los Angeles area. But the Web is becoming more
personalized, and it's only a matter of time before typing "Yellow Cab" will
take you to the pages of the Yellow Cab company nearest you or that you've
When that day comes, it won't matter so much if there are dozens of
companies with "yellowcab" in their domain names--as long as none violate a
trademark. Until then, "domania" rules the Web.
Date: 3/24/98 1:17pm
Subject: Resend of IITC Comments on DNS Proposal
Attached is a resend of comments for the DNS Proposal from the Internet
International Trade Council, in ASCII format. This was originally sent
March 23, 1998
The Hon. Clarence L. Irving
Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230
Re: Proposal to Improve Technical Management of
Internet Names and Addresses
Dear Mr. Irving:
The Internet International Trade Council (IITC) appreciates the opportunity
to comment on the National Telecommunication and Information Administration's
(NTIA) proposal to improve the technical management of the Domain Name
System (DNS). We congratulate you, the NTIA, and Mr. Magaziner and his staff
at the White House for the hard work that went into this thoughtful proposal, and
look forward to working with you on it as the process moves forward.
The IITC strongly agrees with NTIA that as the United States government
ends its technical management of DNS four basic principles must be carried
forward during the transition period and in the new system itself: stability,
competition, coordination and representation. For this reason, we also agree that a
private, not-for-profit corporation should be established to oversee the system. In
particular, to manage and coordinate the assignment of number addresses, to
coordinate the root server network, to maintain and coordinate the development of
technical parameters and set policy for establishing new generic top level domains
Regarding the administrative issues, we understand the pressures at hand
driving the need for timely action on these issues but are concerned that the
September 30, 1998-target date for establishing the new corporation may be too
ambitious. For example, everything possible should be done to assure that the
corporation's Board of Directors equitably represents the interests of the entire,
international Internet community. As mentioned in your proposal, a carefully
selected and balanced Board of Directors will be necessary to avoid dominance by
any one, or a group of commercial interests, and thus withstand antitrust scrutiny in
the U.S. as well as on a worldwide basis. It may take some time to select and vet
the appropriate individuals, and this should not be rushed.
Regarding the substance of the proposal, IITC agrees that one of the most
critical functions that should be given to the new corporation is overseeing and
establishing objective criteria for determining how and when new gTLDs are
added to the root system. There appears to be merit in fostering competition
among registrars since it can generate lower costs and better services, but it is
unclear whether the same can be said of competition among various registries of
In that regard, the creation of five new gTLDs as essentially a pilot program
designed to give the new corporation data on the use and impact of new gTLDs on
the Internet may be helpful. However, it is fundamental to the continued stability
of the Internet that user cost and confusion are kept to a minimum. IITC is
concerned that simply increasing the number of TLDs and then allowing the
registries to compete for users could increase not decrease costs, which could have
a disparate impact on individuals and smaller companies. For example, it is likely
that major companies will register all possible variations of their corporate name
with all existing domain registries to protect their trademark and other intellectual
property rights regardless of the cost. Smaller companies are likely to be forced to
do the same despite the disproportionate impact this would have on their operations
The Internet is an exciting and growing new medium for expression,
information and commerce, and the IITC strongly believes that everything possible
must be done to assure that it continues to offer entrepreneurial opportunities for
everyone. Consistent with the principles of free enterprise, the playing field should
be as level as possible for all entities--both large and small. Disproportionate
costs, such as those stated above, are barriers to entry that can, over time favor
large companies. The IITC opposes domination of the Internet in any way by large
and powerful interests since it will stifle entrepreneurship and creativity.
Depending on the data derived from the use of the five new gTLDs, the new
corporation may want to consider establishing clearer lines of demarcation between
gTLDs, especially those with commercial applications, instead of encouraging
gTLD registries to compete for the same customers. This would allow Internet
users to navigate with greater ease and find the information or services they are
looking for with greater certainty.
With respect to the protection of trademarks and other intellectual property,
IITC agrees that a mechanism must be put in place for swift and inexpensive
dispute resolution as an alternative to litigation. It would also be clearly beneficial
to establish an international mechanism for clearing trademarks across the range of
TLDs (although the need for this could be reduced by clearer TLD designations).
In some cases, litigation will be necessary and an international body is preferable
to ensure that decisions are given worldwide effect.
In conclusion, IITC commends you for moving forward on this very important issue and giving
the Internet community, and the public in general, the
opportunity to provide input.
Counsel, Internet International Trade Council
Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer & Quinn
2300 N Street, NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20037
phone: 202/783-4141 fax: 202/628-1852
From: "MailForm" <email@example.com>
To: "MailForm User" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 2:47am
Subject: Mailform Data
Posted From: by.ipro.se
Date posted: 03/23/98 02:47:40
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: Patent Department
ORGANIZATION: Perstorp AB
COMMENTS: 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 hindrance2. 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 board4. 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-fo!
r-profit, which will provide registration services to registrants worldwide in a competitive environment 5. Through the IANA board of directors, use the Internet Standards Process as outlined in RFC 2026 to establish technical and other standards for Registries based on the goals of: technical excellence; prior implementation and testing; clear, concise and easily understood documentation; openness and fairness; timeliness; and ethical standards as outlined in the gTLD Memo of Understanding (www.gtld-mou.org)6. Use the Memo of Understanding as the foundation for ethical standards to be agreed to by all Registries and Registrars; encourage comment and maintain an open process for its ongoing evolution and improvement 7. Based on approval by IANA, immediately add seven new gTLDs to the root and administer registration through the Shared Registry System (SRS) developed by the non-profit CORE Registry and already passed through acceptance testing; add more gTLDs as approv!
ed by IANA8. To encourage stability, efficiencies, economies of scale and common standards among registries, CORE can provide Registry services to other gTLD Registries [AAA: delete this] and country codes; CORE will also make its SRS software available to any other non-profit organizations approved by IANA as a Registry for gTLDs 9. The U.S. Government should end the Network Solutions, Inc., monopoly on March 31, 1998, and open a public process for determining how Registry services will be administered for the gTLDs of .com, .org and .net without offering further monopoly protection or favored treatment to NSI.10. Immediately convert NSI registry services to not-for-profit status; require that NSI open its SRS to all registrants on a cost recovery basis and operate within the same standards as all other registries; and require that NSI immediately hand over the authoritative root database and all coordination of the root server network to the control of IANA 11. I!
ndemnify IANA against legal challenges 12. Ensure ongoing review and continuous evolution of all critical functions related to the Domain Name System through an open, public process carried out with international participation
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