From: "Keith Gymer" <Keith.Gymer@btinternet.com>
Date: 3/23/98 6:09pm
Subject: BT Response to US Green Paper on Domain Name Administration
The response is provided here as a Word 6 attachment
CC: "Gymer, Keith" <GymerK@hlcec1.agw.bt.co.uk>
[View attached document]
From: Trevor Hales <hales@MelbourneIT.com.au>
Date: 3/24/98 10:13am
Subject: Additional Comments on the Green Paper from Melbourne IT
Tuesday, March 24, 1998
Ms Karen Rose
Office of International Affairs
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230
United States of America
Dear Ms Rose,
Re: Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses
This letter is a response to the Green Paper concerning DNS issued by the
US Department of Commerce. It outlines in brief some issues that Melbourne
IT has with the content of the Green Paper, and some suggestions by which
the proposal contained therein could be improved. We hope that with these
suggestions and those put forward by other interested parties will
contribute to the development of an effective and appropriate system for
the management of Domain Names in the evolving world of the Internet and
This response is submitted by Melbourne Information Technologies Australia
Pty. Ltd., the premier operator of domain name services in Australia. As
the manager of the com.au domain we serve more than 80% of the Australian
domain name market and close to 100% of the business community. Further
information about Melbourne IT is available from our web site at
This submission is intended to be brief and supports the submissions of the
Australian Internet Industry Association and the direct submission of the
Australian Government via our National Office of the Information Economy.
There are four primary issues this submission will address: governance,
competition, self-regulation versus regulation, and jurisdiction.
It is the view of Melbourne IT that the body most appropriately responsible
for the DNS is a reformed IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority), with
a governing board formed both from US and international interests.
Australia, by virtue of its place as the fifth largest user of the
Internet, should be represented upon this board, though it is more
important that the appropriate processes be put in place than the interests
of any one country be pursued. Incorporating the new IANA as a US company
leads to a number of issues regarding jurisdiction, as referenced below.
The function of the registry, the database of Domain Names and associated
information, must be a matter of public trust, as this is the only way to
ensure that the interests of the end user are adequately served.
Accordingly, it is not an appropriate place for competition. It is,
however, appropriate that the registrar function, the registration of
Domain Names, is an area of competition, as this will serve to provide the
greatest benefit to the end user in both pricing and quality of services.
As Australia's leading registrar we fully support the principles of
free-market commerce and competition where they deliver the intended
benefits and opportunities to consumers.
3. Self-regulation versus Regulation
Australian industry is particularly experienced in self-regulation, having
pursued this approach for a number of years in many fields including
telecommunications. Melbourne IT is a major participant in the Australian
Domain Name Association, an industry based body for the self-regulation of
the DNS in Australia.
It is our view that self-regulation is preferable to government regulation
for the global DNS. This enables all stakeholders to be represented in
discussions, without being restricted by the problem of which country's
government is appropriate in which circumstance. Self-regulation needs to
be backed up by a light-touch regulatory framework and where international
bodies with responsibility for particular areas (such as the World
Intellectual Property Organisation) exist, these bodies may be able to
provide this regulatory support.
Jurisdiction over registrar operations must be divided between the DNS
governing body and the country within which the registrar is operating.
Jurisdiction over the DNS governing body (assuming, as suggested above, a
reformed IANA governed by an international board) is a more problematic
area, with no clear solution.
It may not be practical to have participation by each and every country (or
party) that may wish to do so. Equally, it would be grossly improper for
the United States to take an overbearing role in such a clearly
international area. Our suggested approach would be for a model similar to
that of the United Nations Security Council, with appropriate
representation by the key players together with implied obligations to
those parties not directly represented.
As a final point, it is the strong recommendation of Melbourne IT that
wider international consultation be carried out before the implementation
of any process that has such a great effect upon international industry and
localised businesses alike. The DNS is one of the foundations of
electronic commerce and will have an impact upon billions of dollars worth
of future revenues for many countries and companies. It is too important
an issue to be decided upon without the full involvement of industries and
businesses in all countries that make up the electronic marketplace.
Commercial Manager - gTLD
From: "Robert P. Bedell" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 6:17pm
Subject: Docket No. 980212036-8036-01
Attached is a cover letter from Mr. David Herman, Director - Electronic
Commerce for The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation and an Attachment setting
forth the comments of Dun and Bradstreet with regard to the Proposed
Rule and Request for Comments on the document entitled "Improvement of
the Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses" published on
February 20, 1998 by the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration (63 Federal Register 34, pages 8825-8833.) Together
these two documents and our prior submission to the Department of
Commerce on August 25, 1997 in response to their Request for Comments on
DNS Administration dated July 2, 1997, constitute the comments by Dun &
Bradstreet on this Proposed Rule and Request for Comments. We request
that they be included in the record of this proceeding.
The documents are in MS Word for Windows 6.0/7.0 format.
March 23, 1998
Ms. Karen Rose
Office of International Affairs
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230
Re: Proposed rule and request for comments concerning "Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses" that would amend 15 CFR Chapter XXIII published on February 20, 1998 by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the United States Department of Commerce
Docket No. 980212036-8036-01, RIN 0660-AA11
Attached are the comments of The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation concerning the above referenced notice of proposed rulemaking. We previously submitted comments on August 25, 1997 in response to a Request for Comments issued by the Department of Commerce on July 2, 1997, on DNS administration (62 FR 35896). We have generally not repeated those comments here, but request that they be considered as a response in this proceeding. Those comments may be found at NTIA Docket No. 970613137-7137-01. We are also submitting these comments to you at "email@example.com."
The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation is a $2.2 billion company operating in over 200 countries with over 16,000 employees. Its operating units include Dun & Bradstreet, the world's leading provider of business-to-business credit and marketing information and receivables management services, Reuben H. Donnelly, the largest independent yellow pages marketer in the United States and Moody's Investors Service, a global leader in rating debt.
Dun & Bradstreet was founded in 1841 to facilitate commerce by providing information about businesses to businesses. Although today's media by which such information is gathered and provided could not have been imagined then, the basic purpose of the enterprise remains the same. Today, we collect information on over 48 million business establishments worldwide and invest over $360 million annually in data collection activities. A single record in the Dun & Bradstreet database may include up to 1,500 data elements on each business, drawn from sources ranging from the owners or principals of the business itself to public records.
Because commerce cannot flourish without information and because providing that information has been our business for over 157 years, we have a fundamental interest in the potential of the Internet as a facilitator of commercial transactions.
We very much appreciate the opportunities that the Senior Advisor to the President for Policy Development, Mr. Ira Magaziner, his staff, and officials at the Department of Commerce and the Office of Science and Technology Policy have afforded us and others to comment upon and understand the basis, purpose and direction of the Administration's efforts on this important matter. The openness and accessibility of these officials has been superior and formed the basis for the support for this proposal and this effort.
We believe that the proposal is a good one. It is clearly superior to any other approach or proposal that has been offered, and we support it. Furthermore, we appreciate the difficult decisions that have been faced in developing this proposal arising from a situation that was not chosen, but that has arisen from the unprecedented and unanticipated growth and potential of the Internet. We wish to make it quite clear that we support the direction and the evident purpose of the enterprise as well as the process.
We believe that the Administration has properly identified the stability of the Internet as the overarching objective of the effort. That principle, with which we fully agree, is that:
"The U.S. government should end its role in the Internet number and name address systems in a responsible manner. This means, above all else, ensuring the stability of the Internet.... we should not move so quickly, or depart so radically from the existing structures, that we disrupt the functioning of the Internet. The introduction of a new system should not disrupt current operations, or create competing root systems."
As we have commented previously, there are at least two periods that will follow the current Domain Name System (DNS): a period of transition to a new DNS and a period governed by the new DNS. Most of the discussion in the proposal concerns the second period. The transition to the second period will be difficult and unpredictable in part because the functions described in the proposal will no longer be carried out by or for the United States Government (with all of the unique consequences attendant to that circumstance) and will instead be carried out by a new, private, not-for-profit corporation operating as any other corporation incorporated in the United States would operate a far different circumstance.
Not all of the things that need to be done to accomplish this change and to deal with its consequences need to be included within this proposal or should be. But to do what is proposed will be challenging and unpredictable. We support the goal and the effort and look forward to working towards the end described. In addition to comments that we have included in the Attachment to this letter on matters for which comments were specifically requested, we have a suggestion for the transition period.
We suggest that instead of quickly transferring the responsibility (and attendant resources) for carrying out the functions described in the proposal(1) to the new corporation, the United States contract with the new corporation for the performance of those functions during the period of the transition, which would end not later than September 30, 2000. We suggest this for several reasons: (1) the responsibility for carrying out these functions may be more rapidly and certainly assigned to the new corporation by contract; (2) they can be assigned by contract to the new corporation with a greater likelihood of success; (3) a contractual relationship with the new corporation during the transition would better enable the United States to ensure the stability of the Internet during this period if serious destabilizing events occur; and (4) it would also enable the new corporation to have some resources at the critical early period of its existence.
We do not view this suggestion as a significant change from what is proposed: the transition would occur as scheduled, the new corporation would carry out the functions described in the proposal and, after the transition, the functions would be assigned to the new corporation. We believe, however, that contracting with the new corporation would reduce the number of difficult issues that would have to be resolved successfully in a short period of time and that it would better meet the first principle: to ensure (and improve) the stability of the Internet during this critical transition period and thereafter. We would be pleased to discuss this suggestion with you further.
Listed in the Attachment to this letter are comments regarding specific matters for which the proposal requested comments. Again, we applaud the work so far on this important undertaking and for the efforts of the Mr. Magaziner, Ms. Burr, Mr. Kahin and others at the Department of Commerce and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Director - Electronic Commerce
COMMENTS OF DUN & BRADSTREET ON THE
PROPOSED RULE AND
REQUEST FOR COMMENTS ON THE DOCUMENT ENTITLED
"IMPROVEMENT OF TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT OF
INTERNET NAMES AND ADDRESSES"
PUBLISHED BY THE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION
Our comments are set forth in numbered paragraphs for ease of reference. (The order does not necessarily indicate the importance we place upon the matter.) Our use of the term "proposal" is intended to refer to the entire document entitled "Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses" published by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Department of Commerce, on February 20, 1998 (63 Federal Register 34, pages 8825-8833.
1. The overriding purpose of the proposal.
Comment: We agree with the document that it is a first order principle that whatever the United States Government does with regard to its current governance role concerning the DNS, that it acts to improve the stability and the perception of stability of the Internet. The specific proposals (or suggestions) in this or any other plan should be tested against this principle.
2. Contracting with the new corporation. "The U.S. Government would gradually transfer existing Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA) functions, the root system and the appropriate databases to a new not-for-profit by September 30, 1998."
Comment: We believe that instead of quickly transferring the responsibility (and attendant resources) for carrying out the functions described in the proposal(2) to the new corporation, the United States should contract with the new corporation for the performance of those functions during the period of the transition, which would end not later than September 30, 2000. The proposal outlines a large number of difficult tasks that must be performed in a very short period of time, and these tasks require cooperation from a large number of parties. In our view, there is a significant risk that some of these interrelated tasks will not occur as proposed or when proposed and that the stability of the Internet may be jeopardized thereby. Our suggestion is intended to reduce somewhat the difficulty and uncertainty of achieving the objectives of the proposal by promptly contracting with the new corporation to carry out the functions described in the proposal.
We believe that there are significant advantages to contracting with the new corporation to carry out these functions.
(1) the responsibility for carrying out these functions may be more rapidly and certainly assigned to the new corporation by contract. These functions have largely been carried out by contract with federal Agencies for several years. Contracting for the performance of these functions is, in other words, something that the federal Agencies know how to do. It would also provide a well understood basis in United States federal contract law for the oversight by the United States that is contemplated by the proposal for the transition period. This would not change the timing of the transition period or the roles of either the United States or the new corporation;
(2) these functions can be assigned by contract to the new corporation with a greater likelihood of success. It is not clear from the proposal (or otherwise) how under the proposal the functions described would be transferred to the new corporation. Transferring assets of the United States is often a complicated and controversial matter. It may take more time than the proposed schedule contemplates to accomplish a transfer. Again, contracting for the performance of these functions is something that can and has been done;
(3) a contractual relationship with the new corporation during the transition would better enable the United States to ensure the stability of the Internet during this period if serious destabilizing events occur. As discussed above, establishing a new, private, not-for-profit corporation headquartered and incorporated in the United States that will successfully carry out these functions in a way that ensures or hopefully improves the stability of the Internet is a significant undertaking especially in the short time period envisioned. It is likely that things will not occur as planned. For example, what would happen if the incorporators decided not to (or could not) follow all of the provisions of the proposal? What will the rule portion of the proposal cover and what if it conflicts with the incorporation?
If a transfer of the described functions and the attendant assets were somehow to occur as early as described, subsequent untoward destabilizing events may be beyond to reach of the United States to stabilize. It may not have the ability to carry out its stewardship responsibilities. A contractual relationship during the transition period would provide a well-understood basis for ensuring that the transition will succeed. It would ensure that the new corporation could carry out the functions successfully before transfers and other actions are taken that might be difficult to alter or undo; and
(4) it would also enable the new corporation to have some resources at the critical early period of its existence.
3. "The document also proposes to open up to competition the administration of top level domains and the registration of domain names."
Comment: We agree that registrar functions for a DNS can and should be provided competitively. This can and should be done during the transition by authorizing (or requiring) the new corporation to do so in the contract we suggest be used during the transition.
4. The creation of up to five new top-level domains during the transition period.
Comment: It is not clear what problems the creation of new gTLDs solves. Indeed, the creation of new gTLDs would appear to compound the problems of trademark owners for they (we) would have to seek to protect their (our) marks in additional domains. It would also likely increase the difficulty of Internet users to find and identify one another.
If the creation of up to five additional gTLDs is an experiment, then the granting of them should be done in a way that if the experiment does not succeed, it can be ended without claims. (See also our comments concerning directories.)
5. New procedures and forums that are unique to the Internet should not be established to resolve trademark issues .
Comment: In our comments in August, 1997 with regard to the Request for Comments on the Registration and Administration of Internet Domain Names by the Department of Commerce we stated that
"[A]ll trademark rights should be protected in accordance with existing law and processes. The creation or use of domain names, however, does not require -- and should not result in -- the creation of new laws or legal systems."
Either the proponents of the creation of new Internet trademark rights, procedures or forums seek authorities that are not now available to them as a matter of trademark law or they do not. In the latter case, nothing need be done; in the former, nothing should be done. If the creation of new Internet trademark rights, procedures or forums is desired, in our view it should be made for all trademark issues, not merely those with regard to Internet matters.
Again, in our earlier comments to the Department of Commerce we stated that
"One of the reasons mentioned in the Request -- the need to solve international trademark issues -- is currently resolved within existing legal structures. Unfortunately, resolutions are more difficult on a worldwide basis and traditionally, new international solutions have not come easily, quickly or without additional problems that usually make the costs outweigh the benefits.
"Commerce is successfully undertaken around the world today without the need to have only one business name used by only one business. In every city in the world of any size, there are many businesses that use the same name but usually in different areas of enterprise. For example, there can be Georgetown Caterers, Georgetown Cleaning Co., the Georgetown Deli, Georgetown Roofing Co., etc. It is not clear that the benefits of establishing an international legal system to resolve which single entity in the world can use "georgetown.com" are worth the costs, especially if there are better alternatives and we think there are."
We very much agree with the document in not establishing new systems concerning trademark disputes dealing with the Internet.
6. Trademark "clearing." "Trademark holders have also called for the creation of some mechanism for ``clearing'' trademarks, especially famous marks, across a range of gTLDs. Again, we seek comment on this proposal, and suggested mechanisms for trademark clearance processes.
Comment: Some trademark holders have called for the creation of such a mechanism, although many (including us) have not. We are quite concerned and vigilant about protecting our mark around the world. We have over 157 years of history invested in it. We believe that trademark issues should be carefully considered in fashioning a new DNS, but that trademark issues should be only one of many factors to be considered.
We have concerns with regard to a trademark "clearing" mechanism. First, we are concerned with who would make the determination that a trademark meets the criteria to be able to block uses in all other domains. Second, we are concerned that because there are today different criteria that are applied to trademark issues by the many different jurisdictions that control trademarks within their jurisdictions that this proposal would likely entail establishing a new, administrative trademark for the purposes of the Internet that may interfere with the determinations made in these jurisdictions. Third, it is not clear how broad the blocking would be. Frequently, not only is an exact mark protected, but the use of marks that would present confusion would be protected.
We do not support, especially without full details, a new trademark system that would apply to the Internet and that would likely conflict with trademark practices within the jurisdiction of governments. If trademark activities of governments should be harmonized, then that harmonization should apply to the Internet. But the Internet should not be used to try to compel such harmonization. The appropriate action is to conduct further study on these issues as described in the proposal.
7. Directories. "We expect that in the future, directory services of various sorts will make it easy for users to find the sites they seek regardless of the number of top-level domains."
Comment: In our comments in August, 1997 with regard to the Request for Comments on the Registration and Administration of Internet Domain Names by the Department of Commerce we stated that
"Location of Web information about particular companies based on their names has become an increasingly difficult problem as the Internet and the Web grow. The use of a naming convention and the domain name system (DNS) for that purpose has caused complications for the latter while not solving the problem. While there have been several proposals to use contemporary, high capability, directory service and search protocols to reduce the dependencies on DNS conventions, none of them have been successfully deployed.
The absence of an appropriate and adequately deployed directory service has led to the assumption that it should be possible to locate the Web pages of a company by use of a naming convention involving that company's name or product name, i.e., for the XYZ Company, a Web page located at
has been assumed.
However, as the network grows and as increasing numbers of Web sites are rooted in domains other than ".com," this convention becomes difficult to sustain: there will be too many organizations or companies with legitimate claims -- perhaps in different lines of business or jurisdictions -- to the same short descriptive names. For that reason, there has been a general sense in the community for several years that the solution to this information location problem lies, not in changes to the domain name system, but in some type of directory service."
We continue to believe that Internet directories are inevitable and will be made even more necessary with the proliferation of gTLDs. Ironically, it may well be that directories will make it unnecessary to create new gTLDs, but then, it will be difficult to rescind new domain names even if granted as a test.
8. "Attempts to impose too much central order risk stifling a medium like the Internet that is decentralized by nature and thrives on freedom and innovation."
Comment: We agree; in fact we believe that too much of any order risks stifling innovation on the Internet. On the other hand, it is sometimes governments that provide for the freedom and innovation desired, e.g., the current Internet. There probably are very few things that must be highly structured on the Internet in order to ensure its stability. We believe that the domain name system is one of them.
9. "At the time of registration, registrants could agree that, in the event of a trademark dispute involving the name registered, jurisdiction would lie where the registry is domiciled, where the registry database in maintained, or where the ``A'' root server is maintained. We seek comment on this proposal, as well as suggestions for how such jurisdictional provisions
could be implemented."
Comment: Contracts, licenses and the like often specify what law will govern the resolution of disputes and what procedures will apply prior to judicial activity. Whether those practices would be required by new registrants and in new registries should be a matter left for them to decide.
10. "We welcome suggestions as to whether the pool of applicants [to operate one of up to five new top-level domains] should be limited, and if so, on what basis." Apparently, consideration is also being given to restricting the pool of applicants to "those who, in response to previous IANA requests, have already invested in developing registry businesses."
Comment: There are many ways in which new top-level domains could be allocated. For example, auctioning them would bring in funds for appropriation to Internet or other uses, would provide fairness in the process of allocation and would optimize the prospects for the most economic use of the domains. Auctioning and allowing resales has worked well in a wide variety of circumstances from sales of excess government property to take-off and landing rights at airports to spectrum allocation.
Among the least desirable alternatives would be to allocate these domains to the pool that has "already invested in developing registry businesses." Those who made those investments understood the business risks of doing so and should not be rewarded because their hopes or expectations did not materialize. We believe that many have made investments in "developing registry businesses" even if some concluded that the risks of doing so were too great or that there were better opportunities. In addition, there are likely to be far more who have made such investments than there are domains to allocate, so a secondary allocation scheme would be required.
We agree with the approach in the proposal for further study on other issues, and recommend that this -- the allocation method as well as whether to increase the number of top-level domains during the transition period -- be included in the list of things to be studied.
1. 6 1"1. To set policy for and direct the allocation of number blocks to regional number registries for the assignment of Internet addresses;
"2. To oversee the operation of an authoritative root server system;
"3. To oversee policy for determining, based on objective criteria clearly established in the new organization's charter, the circumstances under which new top-level domains are added to the root system; and
"4. To coordinate the development of other technical protocol parameters as needed to maintain universal connectivity on the Internet." Page 8288.
2. 1 "1. To set policy for and direct the allocation of number blocks to regional number registries for the assignment of Internet addresses;
"2. To oversee the operation of an authoritative root server system;
"3. To oversee policy for determining, based on objective criteria clearly established in the new organization's charter, the circumstances under which new top-level domains are added to the root system; and
"4. To coordinate the development of other technical protocol parameters as needed to maintain universal connectivity on the Internet." Page 8288.
From: David Kunkel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 6:27pm
Subject: PSINet Comments on DNS Architecture
Please accept the attached file as comments of PSINet Inc., and please be
so kind as to acknowledge receipt.
David N. Kunkel
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
PSINet Inc., Herndon, VA
phone: 703.904.4100 x1291
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Washington, D.C. 20230
Improvement of Technical Management )
of Internet Names and Addresses ) Dkt. No. 80212036-8036-01
) RIN 0660-AA11
Proposed Rule )
William J. Schrader
Chairman, President, and CEO
510 Huntmar Park Drive
Herndon, VA 22070
March 23, 1998
COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSED RULE FOR
IMPROVEMENT OF TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT
OF INTERNET NAMES AND ADDRESSES
I. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY
PSINet is pleased to respond to the Department's Request for Public Comment [hereafter "Request for Comment"] regarding its proposed rule to reform management of the Internet domain name system. PSINet is the first commercial Internet Service Provider, and has taken a leading position in the formation and development of the commercial Internet. Throughout its history, PSINet has championed the consultative processes that have guided the Internet's successful self-regulation through nearly a decade of rapid growth. PSINet is a leading provider of turn-key corporate Internet and intranet access. It manages one of the world's largest and most advanced fast-packet networks, which provides state-of-the-art, high speed Internet access ranging from dedicated high-speed circuits to ISDN to high-speed modem dial-up. In addition, PSINet provides Domain Name Service to over 19,000 customers, as well as to other Internet users.
PSINet applauds the work of the White House and the Department on the Green Paper and proposed rule, as well as the efforts of the Internet community as a whole in assisting and informing the Administration's efforts. In PSINet's view, the proposed rule has made significant progress in paving the way for an inclusive, democratic transfer of control of the DNS system to competitive forces. The Administration can now complete its role in helping to bring about the change, by refining the proposed rule so as to:
· achieve self-governance of the new domain name management system and promote international acceptance of the system by promptly turning control of the domain name management system to an international non-profit corporation that is representative of the Internet community and subject to rigorous safeguards;
· immunize registries and registrars from trademark liability for registering domains on behalf of third parties, other than targeted injunctions to suspend or reassign a domain, and clarify that registries and registrars are not responsible for resolving trademark disputes relating to the registrations of third parties; and
· permit the registry function to be performed as a low-cost public service by a diverse range of interested parties, by increasing safeguards and altering the economic incentives for registries.
II. THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SHOULD PROMPTLY GIVE UP CONTROL OF THE MANAGEMENT OF DOMAIN NAMES TO A NON-PROFIT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AND SUBJECT TO STRINGENT SAFEGUARDS.
A. The U.S. Government Should More Clearly Divest
Itself of Control of Management of the DNS System
The Administration Green Paper and proposed rule are a very positive start toward opening the domain name assignment and management functions to competition. However, another principal goal of reforming the management of Internet domain names should be to enable the Internet community to govern itself through a legitimate, international non-profit corporation that is representative of the Internet. Indeed, one of the goals set forth in the White House "Framework for Global Electronic Commerce" was to solve the domain name question through a process that "foster[s] bottom-up governance of the Internet."
Maximizing international self-governance is not only the right thing to do. It will also fend off criticism and the threat to interoperability of the network from other governments alleging that the United States is somehow securing control of the domain name system into the next century, or establishing a management structure that is primarily subject to U.S. law.
PSINet is in general agreement with the Department's proposal to establish an international non-profit corporation to conduct overall management of the new system. However, PSINet urges the Department to make clear that the U.S. Government will not engage in the sensitive role of selecting members of the non-profit board or involving itself in any manner in the formation of the new membership associations to be created under its plan.
PSINet further recommends that the U.S. Government announce that it will end "policy oversight" of the domain name system well before September 30, 2000. The Request for Comment already indicates that the U.S. Government's intention to phase out such oversight "as soon as possible." In light of the benefits of self-governance and criticism from abroad about continued U.S. control of the system, PSINet recommends that the Department specify an earlier date for transfer of control.
B. The Final Rule Should Incorporate Additional
Safeguards Over the Conduct of the Non-Profit Corporation
PSINet welcomes the Request for Comment's goal that "the new corporation's processes be fair, open and pro-competitive." We agree that the non-profit corporation's stewardship of the root domain should be subject to antitrust restrictions, that its deliberations should be recorded and made publicly available, and that its decisions should require a supermajority vote of the board.
However, to provide further safeguards against conflicts of interest in this sensitive function, PSINet first recommends subjecting the non-profit to annual outside audits and the relevant non-discrimination and transparency requirements applicable to registries. Second, the function of operating and maintaining management of the root server network should be contracted out on a temporary basis. This would avoid entrenched control of what should be a technical function, and minimize opportunities for abuse. Third, the corporation should be constrained to resolve competing bids from qualified applicants to manage gTLDs by renting control of the registry for a limited period of time to the highest bidder. To avoid any possibility of conflicting interests, the non-profit corporation should be restricted from applying any of these proceeds to its operating costs beyond expenses incurred in managing the system.
Appropriate safeguards should be incorporated in all contracts with registries, registrars and registrants, so that the safeguards can be enforced internationally and with minimal government intervention. In effect, the contract could bind all registries and registrars through their parents to the root domain. However, if necessary, the corporation's contract with the root registry could provide for grandfathered registration of the TLDs derived from country codes, subject to minimal requirements such as guaranteeing interoperability and security measures sufficient to prevent spoofing of domains within the country's TLD. In this way, sovereign governments may impose different regulations upon its citizens in connection with its own portion of the namespace without constraining progress towards a more global solution. These grandfathered TLDs should be strictly limited to national governments recognized by the United Nations. All other TLDs should be subject to generic registration rules.
All relevant participating members of the Internet community would be required, as a condition of their use of the DNS system, to commit themselves by contract to observe the safeguards for registries and the limitations on trademark liability discussed below. Furthermore, to prevent future officers of the corporation from unilaterally altering or failing to enforce the root registry contract, the corporation and its officers would be required to commit themselves by contract to observe the terms under which the root registry and other registries are assigned.
PSINet shares the Department's concern about the stability of the Internet. Based upon our experience with the growth of the commercial Internet, we believe, however, that interoperability is the bedrock on which the global Internet is founded, and what is required for interoperability is agreement on the rules by which the content of the domain name system database is determined. This agreement, together with a system of checks and balances that assures that the agreement is not compromised over time, are the essential requirements for stability.
III. REGISTRIES AND REGISTRARS SHOULD BE LARGELY IMMUNIZED FROM TRADEMARK LIABILITY AND SHOULD NOT BE PLACED IN THE ROLE OF RESOLVING TRADEMARK DISPUTES.
PSINet urges the Department to recommend in the final rule that registries and registrars be immunized from trademark infringement liability other than injunctions to revoke or reassign a domain name. It also urges the Department to clarify that registries and registrars are not required to resolve trademark disputes concerning registration, but simply to abide by the decisions of courts and mutually agreed-upon alternative dispute resolution bodies.
Where a registry or registrar registers a domain name on behalf of a third party under the process set forth in Appendix 1, it should be immune from trademark liability except for an injunction to withdraw or suspend a domain name assignment. This rule will prevent overbroad injunctions that could seriously interfere with Internet interoperability, will reduce operating and insurance costs significantly, will enable smaller players without large legal budgets to perform the registry and registrar functions, and will not compromise the ability of trademark holders to correct domain assignments. The Department could act on the need for immunity through recommending that the non-profit corporation incorporate a trademark liability limitation in its contracts, as well as by recommending legislation to Congress, and raising the issue at the OECD and other multilateral international fora.
In addition, contracts between the non-profit managing the domain name system, the domain registries and registrars and between registrars, and registrants must provide for indemnification by the registrant for any damages or costs associated with trademark litigation resulting from registrations on behalf of third parties.
The Request for Comment expresses the Department's clear agreement with this proposition, but nonetheless proposes to extend such immunity only to the non-profit corporation the proposed rule would establish. PSINet respectfully submits that the logic of limiting liability for third-party trademark infringements does not stop at the new non-profit corporation, and that the new system will function far better, and be open to far more competitors, if the threat of unjustified law suits is removed by contract and by law. Furthermore, the fact that "trademark/domain name disputes arise very rarely on the Internet today," does not mean that this issue is not important, or that such disputes will not increase as Internet commerce grows and the number of gTLDs expands.
Second, the final rule and Appendix 2, section 4 should make absolutely clear that registers and registrars should not be responsible for resolving trademark disputes or paying others to resolve such disputes. The Request for Comment asks "whether registries should be required to resolve disputes within a specified period of time . . . ." Id. at 8830 (emphasis supplied). The answer to this question is that such dispute resolution is beyond the competence of registries and registrars whose function requires considerable technical -- not legal -- expertise. It would be a serious mistake to evaluate or penalize registries and registrars based upon their ability to resolve such disputes.
Furthermore, requiring registries and registrars to bear the cost of funding or furnishing alternate dispute resolution services for third parties would run counter to standard practice for bearing the cost of arbitrations. It would also needlessly impose the costs of the parties involved in the dispute upon all other customers of the registry or registrar by driving up the cost of the registry's or registrar's service. The increased cost of doing business would again favor participation in the DNS system by companies with large legal budgets over companies with small ones.
Trademark and other intellectual issues are properly divorced from domain name administration. Domain names are first and foremost used to uniquely identify Internet resources independent of their location for purposes of protocol interoperability (unlike I.P. addresses, which contain topological information relating to the entity to which a block of I.P. addresses has been assigned). They function more like vanity phone numbers than brand names and, indeed, appear adjacent to phone numbers in many advertisements. Because the domain name system is a critical element of the interoperability of the Internet, it is essential that its operation be encumbered as little as possible by intellectual property disputes.
To the extent that the Department deems additional avenues for protecting trademarks desirable, PSINet observes that popular Internet search engines do primarily associate names, brands, slogans, trademarks, and other terms having human significance to particular Internet resources. Unlike domain name assignments, they need not interoperate, can be diversely administered, and can be subject to diverse legal constraints without adversely affecting Internet interoperability.
For all these reasons, PSINet urges the Department to protect registries and registrars from trademark liability with the exception of narrow hold-harmless injunctions to suspend or reassign a particular domain name, and to clarify the elements of Appendix 2, section 4. a. to make clear that registries and registrars are not responsible for resolving intellectual property disputes or furnishing a forum for the resolution of such disputes.
IV. RULES FOR REGISTRIES SHOULD PROVIDE GREATER SAFEGUARDS
AND DIFFERENT INCENTIVES FOR MANAGEMENT OF THE DNS gTLD REGISTRIES.
While the Department's decision to open the registrar function to competition is an enormous step forward, PSINet urges the Department to amend its proposed rule to create greater safeguards for the sensitive registry function. Specifically, we recommend that the final rule make the temporary non-discrimination and open access requirements for registries permanent, by incorporating them into the registry requirements set forth in Appendix 1. PSINet also recommends that the Department seriously consider requiring registries to share a large portion of their annual profits in the form of dividends with parties holding domain name assignments with the register.
PSINet believes that the final rule must treat the gTLD databases ("registries") themselves as the shared property of the global Internet community, and adopt rules by which they can be managed in a non-controversial manner as a low-cost public service by a diverse range of parties.
Propagation of the shared database for use in the DNS resolution service is already supported by effective mechanisms based on public-spirited cooperation among nearly all members of the community. The operations of the so-called "root servers," as well as other operational elements of the domain name system, are contentious only when they are viewed as a way to control database contents.
Similarly, the mechanical addition of new entries into the database -- the so-called "registry" function -- engenders little controversy insofar as it is considered independently from how database content is determined. Indeed, if registries have no economic stake in which entries are made in the namespace, nor any role in determining rules for distribution of the namespace, it is likely that the registry function would, in fairly short order, be largely automated and supported as a (low-cost) public service by a diverse range of interested parties.
PSINet recommends several changes to the proposed rule to address these important policy goals. First, PSINet proposes that the temporary requirement that registries "treat[ ] all registrars on a nondiscriminatory basis, with respect to pricing, access and rules" be made permanent by incorporating it into the management requirements for registries set forth in Appendix 1. Similarly, Appendix 1 should contain a specific requirement that registries make their database contents (including ancillary contact information) available in an open, automated way (e.g., through zone transfers) to any party, so that any party may concurrently provide resolution service or subsequently assume the registrar role for the zone in question. The proposed rule's requirement that registries operate through a separate subsidiary with unspecified "[a]ppropriate accounting and confidentiality safeguards," is not adequate to protect competition in light of the importance of these databases and the critical role of registries in Internet interoperability.
It is essential that the new domain name management regime contain strong safeguards against anti-competitive behavior by registry operators because control of essential registries could give the controlling entity enormous power over the operation of the Internet. As the Proposed Rule notes, these safeguards are important "so that registrants may choose their registrars competitively on the basis of price and service." They will be no less important in the future, and should be made permanent. Such measures will not only avoid risks of abuse, but will also help to minimize controversy about the control and function of registries, and promote international acceptance of the new plan.
Second, PSINet urges the Department to revise its proposed rule to create a different incentive structure for registries -- one that attracts a diverse range of registry operators who will perform this function as a prestigious, but relatively low-cost public service, rather than a major profit center. In PSINet's view, registries should be in a position to make less money, and, as noted above, should have less liability than under the regime envisioned in the proposed rule.
In addition, because the DNS databases are the property of the Internet community, not the registry, PSINet recommends that registries be subject to a mechanism for sharing a significant part of their profits (in the form of dividends) as identified by outside auditors with all parties holding assignments from the registrar. This rule would help both to depoliticize the registry function and to avoid the temptation for the registry controlling desirable namespace (such the ".com" domain) to raise prices dramatically.
Through these rules, the registry function can be largely automated, and may become more of a public service function than an opportunity for lucre which threatens the operational stability of the Internet. All these proposed changes would make the Department's final rule more conducive to competition, while making the role of the registry and decisions to award registries less controversial.
Date: 3/23/98 2:08pm
Subject: Comments on the Green Paper by NAME.SPACE supporters
Dear Mr. Magaziner
I Paul Kalocsay am grateful for this opportunity to respond to the "Green
Paper" issued by the NTIA on 1-30-98. While the NTIA should be
commended for its attention to the DNS issue, and to the monopolistic
control of Network Solutions, Inc. over the domain name registration
market, the solution proposed by the NTIA is flawed in that it does not
create a truly competitive environment. The following is a list of
principles and policies that must be followed in order to produce a
competitive, efficient and equitable structure for DNS.
The need for universal resolvability of domain names requires, as NTIA
proposes, that root server functions be coordinated.
Root server functions for gTLDs are currently monopolized by NSI, which
has led to significant competitive disparities and thus to poor customer
service, inflated prices and lack of innovation.
A domain name is speech.
The only technical limit on the number of TLDs are the limits imposed by
the UNIX operating system. Otherwise put, it is technically possible to
have millions of TLDs. Therefore, there is no technical reason to
artificially limit the number of new TLDs to 5 or any other number for that
The only requirement for creating a new TLD should be that the creating
registry meet the technical requirements, as defined in the then applicable
RFCs for nameservers. If such requirements are met whatever entity is
entrusted with the maintenance of the "root.zone" file should make the
required change in a timely fashion.
The Market should decide what TLDs should be created.
NSI is a monopoly and this lack of competition has produced a system that
is unresponsive to consumer demands and extremely slow in developing and
implementing technical innovations.
While protecting the rights of Trademarks holders is a valid concern,
creating new TLDs does not increase the difficulty of policing trademark
The introduction of new gTLDs would help to organize the information
available on the Internet, thereby, making it more accessible to the
end-user of the Internet.
From: "Esther Thompson" <email@example.com>
Date: 3/23/98 5:46pm
Subject: Missing Pieces of the Draft
Dear Department of Commerce,
Your draft "Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses"
is inappropriate at this time. It does not address key issues raised with domain
names which the draft mentions at the beginning.
It is quite possible you neglected to read the gTLD-MOU which provides an international
solution to your domain pollution. The essential remedies that are missing from
the draft are dealt with quite effectively with the gTLD-MOU.
Create your free personalized e-mail address at http://www.n2mail.com
From: John Cook <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 6:50pm
Subject: (no subject)
I support and would request that the U.S. government fully endorse the
gTLD-MoU plan to create 7 new top level domains. This solution is a
well thought out plan that is available today that would serve as a
great first step in the government's transition out of Internet domain
I would like to see the government endorse this plan during the
"transition" phase to complete privatization of the Internet.
CORE has set a high standard for a single, shared, not-for-profit
registry and multiple, competing registrars that enables portable Domain
Names. This is important.
CORE has also taken into consideration trade name resolutions under the
guidance of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), while
the "Green Paper" government plan completely ignores trademark
infringement issues, passing the burden on to our overcrowded US courts.
Date: 3/23/98 6:49pm
Here is the letter in attachment form.
Mr. Ira Magaziner
Special Advisor to The President of the United States
Dear Mr. Magaziner:
I am writing you this letter in regards to the Domain Name Green paper that
you had written. Today is the last day to publish comments on the paper. I do
not have lobbyists or lawyers to be able to file a formal comment so I am
publishing my comment on this website. I thought it was very brave of you to
come out the way you did in your paper and oppose the CORE registry System.
I do not agree with a lot of things Pat Buchanan preaches but one thing I do
agree with is the proposition that we do not give away our U.S. Sovereignty
and the ability to guide our own destiny.
If you feel there is a need for more registries that is fine but under no
circumstance allow for the control of the domain name system and hence the
Internet itself to leave this country. There is two hundred years of Trademark
Law and Business Law that has evolved in this country and if you send the
registry to Geneva you might as well have dumped the existing laws in the
Atlantic Ocean. You can not allow faceless bureaucrats in Geneva to look out
for the well being of the American Economy and the American jobs that go with it.
You must stick with your idea that the Registry stays here in the United States.
The only people that will benefit by a move to Geneva will be the multi-national
corporations. The small and medium sized businesses that employ most of the people
in the United States will be hurt the most as they will have no trademark or
business law to stand on to protect their businesses.
The United States Government created and funded the Internet in its infancy stages
and there is no reason why control of the Internet at this point should be transferred
to Geneva. You control the name servers so there is no way you should give in to
these people. If the shoe was on the other foot and they controlled the name servers
you could be sure they would be planting that foot in our collective rear ends. For
the sake of the American Economy and the Jobs that go with it keep the registries here
and under the jurisdiction of American Laws. Just imagine the technology and
competition problems the United States economy would be facing if the Windows
operating system was a foreign product and not under the control of the U.S.
Courts and laws and then multiply it by 100 and that will give you an idea
at the problems facing us with the Internet under foreign control with no
accountabiliy at all for American Citizens.
From: Bob Helfant <email@example.com>
Date: 3/23/98 7:05pm
Subject: response to green paper Dear Mr. Magaziner,
GlobeComm has been involved in the Internet name space since early 1996. As all our businesses depend on the Internet and the stability of the name space, our primary interest is in preserving this stability and finding a safe way to see it evolve. We pay close attention to domain registration policy because our ability to continue successfully growing our company depends upon the stability and growth of the Internet name space.
We entered this business by acquiring two companies: Vanity Mail and Broker Agent. Vanity Mail offered lifetime vanity email addresses and Broker Agent was a site where people could post domains they wanted to sell. We built Vanity Mail into what is now iName and Broker Agent into what is now Best Domains. iName is an industry leading email service provider currently providing Web Based email, forwarding and POP for Alta Vista, Lycos, Switchboard, CMP, NFL teams, Jam TV, Billboard Magazine and other sites. Best Domains is the leading site where people can trade or sell domain names.
In the summer of 1996 Jon Postel issued his RFC to add TLDs to the name space. We supported this initiative. His idea was to give approximately 50 companies three TLDs each to develop. This model if implemented, would have encouraged companies to spend money, build stable, state of the art infrastructure to host TLDs and compete with NSI for registrations. When this idea met with some criticism, he turned the process over to a group that was first known as the IAHC and then as POC.
During this time a group formed known as the AlterNIC, which allowed companies to choose up to ten TLDs in which to register names. We supported this movement as well because it was a way to increase the name space while encouraging competition between companies.
POCís idea was to create one company that would register domains under all the TLDs on the Internet to replace NSI and AlterNIC. AlterNIC fell apart due to the inability of its architects to work together. When AlterNIC split into smaller groups, we supported the IAHC/POC movement because it was the only group that seemed to be moving forward with a plan. Before the final release of their plan, they decided that it would be best if there was only one Registry (CORE) and that it should be a non profit company. They didnít want multiple Registries, each with their own TLDs, competing against each other for business on the Internet. In the IAHC/POC plan, any company who wanted to register names would have to become a member of CORE. Once a member, they would have access to all the TLDs through the single company they proposed to form. We believe there needs to be competition on the TLD level, as well as the Registrar level for a true, free-market to exist. Your plan agrees.
We support your plan because it responsibly increases the domain name space while encouraging a free market mentality. There is a place in your plan for the CORE non-profit model as well as allowing companies to compete with their own branded TLDs. You have set up a good barrier to entry by insisting on responsible technology. Our only suggestion for change, is that you allow each company that applies and is accepted to run a Registry, three TLDs, as NSI currently has three commercial TLDs (.COM, .NET and .ORG) instead of one. We believe that a company with three TLDs has a better chance of remaining financially stable over time. We think that these companies should be allowed to apply for an additional three TLDs every three years to keep their business viable over time. It will do no good to create companies that run out of names to register every few years. We also believe you should wait to introduce new TLDs into the root until you have approved at least five new Registries with three TLDs each. This would add enough new TLDs to increase the name space without creating the land rush that releasing a few new TLDs could cause. In addition, it will not give an unfair advantage to the first new Registry in the marketplace, whoever that may be.
We are currently a member of CORE and hope to see CORE TLDs in the root. We also have taken registrations in several AlterNIC/eDNS TLDs and hope to see these in the root as well. We believe it would be dangerous to allow one company to control all the TLDs. This is the current NSI model, which we are all trying to improve upon. It is neither comfortable nor desirable to have one company control everything, nor does it promote a healthy free market landscape.
Consider this letter a statement of general approval and a vote of confidence for your plan, as well as a formal notice of our application for becoming a Registry under your process. We can meet the technical requirements set forth in your green paper. Thank you for helping to bring order to this new industry.
Senior Vice President Operations
From: Bonnie Richardson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 9:43pm
Subject: Comments of MPAA
Attached are the comments of the Motion Picture Association of America
submitted in Microsoft Word 97 format.
Bonnie J. K. Richardson
COMMENTS OF THE MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA BEFORE THE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE REGARDING GREEN PAPER "Proposal to Improve Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses"
Trade and Federal Affairs
Motion Picture Association of America
1600 Eye Street NW
Washington, DC 20002
FAX: 202 293-7674
COMMENTS OF THE
MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
"Proposal to Improve Technical Management of
Internet Names and Addresses"
MPAA commends the efforts of USG in analyzing the many crucial and complex issues addressed in the "Proposal to Improve Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses," published in the Federal Register on February 20, 1998. We support many of the elements contained in the proposal and, after certain crucial questions relating to trademarks have been resolved, we may well come to support more of the solutions. However, the importance of retaining the confidence of consumers and commercial users canít be overstated. We, therefore, favor a step-by-step approach, rather than trying to address too many of the crucial issues at once. By tackling too many issues up-front, we risk disruptions that could destroy confidence and undermine the development of this exciting new tool for international communication, commerce, and entertainment.
The Motion Picture Association of America is a trade association representing the interests of the seven major producers and distributors of films, television programs, home videos, and digital representations of moving sounds and images. They include: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc. (Disney); Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios, Inc.; and Warner Bros. All MPAA member companies own internationally famous intellectual property and rely heavily on internationally accepted rules for the protection of that property.
We support establishment of a new, non-profit Corporation to manage the smooth operation of certain coordinated functions. We submit that this corporation also might usefully serve as the manager of a centralized registry of all generic Top Level Domain names (gTLDs) currently in use as well as any newly created gTDLs. At a minimum, the new Corporation should help ensure a smooth transition to increased competition within other functions of the Internet system by serving as a policy-setting body and by establishing procedures under which a new, more competitive system could emerge. We advocate substantial USG involvement with this new non-profit corporation during a prudent, well-managed transition period. We also recognize the need for encouraging a well-coordinated international regime.
There are many key questions regarding the establishment and governing of this Corporation. One of those key questions includes the importance of ensuring that this Board is truly representative of the many different interest groups that make up the online community. We are concerned that the proposed structure of the Board may not adequately ensure the interests of the commercial uses and owners of trademarks. We therefore recommend that members of the business and trademark community should be given equal representation on the board.
NTIA proposes multiple, competitive, for-profit registries and the immediate addition of 5 new generic Top Level Domain names (gTDLs), before solutions are found to address the fundamental concerns about how trademarks will be protected. We believe it would be far preferable for the Corporation to first establish the detailed, workable procedures for how trademarks will be protected, including clearance and registration of new domain names and dispute settlement, before decisions are reached on single or multiple registries and before new gTDLs are added.
MPAA supports NTIAís proposals for "Minimum Dispute Resolution and Other Procedures Related to Trademarks" contained in Appendix 2 with regard to requiring accurate identifying information and a certification statement. In addition, applicants should be required to state the reason for applying for a requested domain name, e.g., whether the requested name is based on the registrantís personal name, or on trademark rights held by applicant, or a description of the intended use, or other reasons. The statement of intent to use the domain name should be accompanied by a specified period of time within which use is to commence.
All applications should be posted promptly, within 7 days of filing, on a central website. The website data should be easily searchable by all fields on the domain name application and would have to be updated regularly and no less than monthly. MPAA further believes that a single, common application format and process should be established. Should competition between registrars and/or registries be introduced, this agreed format and process would be required for all.
MPAA believes that a 30 day pre-registration period is not unreasonable and would be very useful. This pre-registration period would allow third parties to object to the new name before it is registered and before business under the new domain name commenced. We reject the idea that such a short pre-registration period would significantly limit the flexibility of the Internet. Moreover, such a system would be less disruptive and costly than the potential of suspensions of business during the pendency of disputes. However, especially if the Administration definitively rejects a pre-registration process, provisional suspension of a domain name registration within the first 30 days of registration, with the appropriate safeguards, will be necessary. Challengers should be required to demonstrate a strong probability that the challenge will succeed on its merits, that irreparable injury will occur if the suspension is not granted, and that the balance of the harm favors the challenger.
Renewal process: An annual renewal would help ensure that the contact information remains accurate and up to date and would provide a mechanism for deleting registration of unused domain names.
Famous Marks: Trademark or service mark holders should be permitted to deposit with the corporation lists of famous marks they wished to protect in all gTLDs. The Corporation should establish criteria to prevent registration by third parties of the well-established marks deposited by the trademark or service mark holder. The standard should be set at a high level, based on widespread, longstanding use of established marks recognized by competent authorities.
Dispute Resolution: Establishment of a single, unified dispute resolution system with one set of procedures and one evolving set of precedents is essential. The Corporation should create this single set of dispute settlement procedures and basic rules addressing issues such as false applications and cybersquatting. The Corporation should also establish a single administrative dispute resolution body to enforce the rules across all registries. The dispute resolution system should include provisions for mediation and arbitration as well as online mediation and arbitration.
MPAA appreciates the opportunity to participate in this important process for improving the management of Internet Names and Addresses.
Bonnie J. K. Richardson
Trade and Federal Affairs
Motion Picture Association of America
1600 Eye Street NW
Washington, DC 20002
FAX: 202 293-7674
From: Sascha Ignjatovic <email@example.com>
Date: 3/23/98 8:01pm
Subject: Comments on the Technical Management of Internet Domain Names + apel for a global internet governance cooperation and establishement
dear vice president al gore
ntia doc officers
please accept my humble respect and sory for bad english
thank you very much for your leadership in anageging
the government of the united states of america
in the matter of global internet
we apreciate very much your efforts to establish a stable and progresiv
internet infrastructure wich on itself would become the main
infrastructure for management of many societys systems and probably
the global internet could be the first intelligent common-management
infrastructure of the planet earth
in this way i would humbly request you to further angage the goverment of
the USA in the effort to build a planetar infrastructure
hope you understand very well that the global internet can not be
directed by one nation allone and that the best way to angage the many
governments in the matter of internet and cyberspace could be to build
a common ground for discussion like the united nations are in many other
so i request you humbly again to take into consideration the benefit
the international political cooperation would have on global internet
development and to help to establish a "information/internet societys"
competence for the united nations
a global cooperation and coordiantion is requayered
internet is not only "electronic commerce" but hase also a
religious scientific political economical cultural and working aspect
so we sugest a building of a special internet policy matters departement
within the office of the vice president al gore who is in our opinion
very advanced in understanding the visions of the future planetar societys
and should lead the national governments in the effort
regarding the matters of the
internet domain name system
please allove me to make a humble sugestion
i am a signator of the gtld-mou and also a member
of the pab-policy advisory board to the poc-policy oversight committee
wich oversees the core-council of registrars
their gtld-mou plan for the evolution of the internet dns as sugested by
the internet society and iana may be not perfect in any details but
it is the best around :-)
i have respect for your green paper contribution but in my limited
understanding of the matter-as nearly 90 % of the comments you have
received the preference of the broad internet community is for the
direction the isoc iana and gtld-mou have geved to the process
so finaly i beg you with all to me available humility to accept the
cooperation with the people and organisations who hase worked very well
for the benefit and leaded the global internet and continues to do so
like dr.vinton cerf and dr.jon postel to name the most prominent of them
and mr.don heath the most active one speack isoc iana and of course the
gtld-mou organisations poc/core/pab/
i respect and wellcome the rolle of the US government as leader and
mediatior in internet related processes and hope you will be ablle to
particiapate in and lead other nations and governments toward a
better understanding of the imens potential the global internet hase for
the progres of the humanity by starting a process
within the united nations where the governments of the planet earth could
discuss the influance and benefit the internet could have on the planeth
and cooperate with the natural autorithys founders and visioners of the
internet of the planet earth
thank you very much
individual internet society member
proposed internet society
chapter of vienna president
0043 1 796 2823 home
0043 676 33 18398 cellular phone
ps.please allove me to use this oportunity to thank mr.gore for starting
many years from now the advancement of the government into the field
of information society and to lead it in the further
like to thank mr.michael nelson who as the secretary of at this time
senator gore hase recomenden me to the internet society and so broth
me in contact with dr.vinton cerf
like to thank dr.vinton cerf for the tremendous work he and his
collegues have done in "building" protecting and advancing the
global internet and i still accept dr.cerf as the leading authority
for the planetar internet
like to thank dr.jon postel for his pioniering and great work and his
continued leadership for the benefit of global internet
i also consider dr.postel as one of the highest internet authority on
and also like to thank mr.don heath for his great angagement and
leadership wich is based on deep and wide understanding of the
tremendous benefit the internet could have on humanity and consider
him as one of the global internet authority
CC: "vinton g. cerf" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 8:02pm
Subject: Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses.
While it is true that the U.S. did not invent all of the technology
behind the Internet and the World Wide Web, it was the U.S. that
nurtured it and brought it to fruition. Where were the others (the
stupid EU Commission) when the Internet took its first tentative steps?
They were busy throwing obstacles in front of it in a pathetic attempt
to protect their state monopolies. And now they want to have a big say
in what goes on in the Web?
I say leave them out in the cold, where their stupidity say they
belong. If they want to make the standards, let them come up with a
brilliant idea for once. The U.S. made the Internet what it is today
and the U.S. have every right to exploit it to the advancement of U.S.
citizens and taxpayers who had subsidized this project. If the idiot EU
wants to extend their cumbersome bureaucracy into cyberspace, let them
hogtie their own inventions (i.e. the Minitel) instead of ruining the
A Voting Citizen of the U.S.
U.S. rules are for the benefits of
U.S. citizens and corporations,
not some idiot bureaucrat across the
Kam F. Woo
From: "Clint N. Smith" <cnsmith@UU.NET>
Date: 3/23/98 9:07pm
Subject: WorldCom comments -- hard copy to follow
Improvement of Technical Management
of Internet Names and Addresses
March 23, 1998
Department Of Commerce
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
15 CFR Chapter XXIII
[Docket No. 980212036-8036-01]
Inc., and its subsidiaries engaged in the provision of Internet
services, UUNET Technologies Inc., CompuServe Network Services, Inc.,
and ANS Communications, Inc. (collectively referred to as "WorldCom"),
commend the Green Paper's authors for producing an insightful analysis
of an issue that is critical to the continued evolution of the
Internet. WorldCom firmly believes that the Green Paper should serve
as the starting point for all further policy planning on this topic.
WorldCom has the following specific comments on the Green Paper and the
issues it addressed:
<bold>Central Authority. </bold>WorldCom strongly supports the
establishment of a central authority (the "New Entity") for the
management and administration of Internet address space, domain names
and the root server system. (Protocol conventions and RFCs should
continue to be set by the IETF and other international standards
bodies.) All TLDs, generic and country-code based, should derive their
authorization and existence from the New Entity. TLDs should be
treated as a common public resource and the New Entity's role should be
that of a trustee charged with protecting and managing this resource in
the public interest.
<bold>Transitional Governance. </bold>The U.S. government's first
priority should be to facilitate formation of the New Entity. This can
be achieved only by finalizing binding agreements with the Internet
Assigned Numbers Authority ("IANA") and Network Solutions, Inc.
("NSI"). These agreements must explicitly recognize the New Entity's
authority and should contain provisions consistent with the comments on
Registries, Registrars, Dispute Resolution, and Transparency outlined
below. To complete this work within the Green Paper's September 30,
1998 timeline, it would be advisable to put on hold the Green Paper's
proposal to create five additional gTLDs. The New Entity, once
created, can consider whether the creation of additional gTLDs is
necessary or appropriate.
<bold>Registries</bold>. Because of the likelihood that the registry
function for a TLD can most efficiently be performed by a single
entity, a Registry must operate under different rules than a normal
business. A Registry should be administered on a non-profit basis, must
agree never to assume Registrar functions, and must offer all
Registrars equal access to the Registry's databases for registration of
second level domain names. The New Entity must maintain title to the
data and databases assembled by a Registry. The New Entity's contracts
with a Registry should provide for frequent review of the Registry's
operations, and should provide for a clean transition of the Registry's
responsibilities to another registry operator if the Registry's
performance does not meet the standards established by the New Entity.
<bold>Registrars. </bold>WorldCom recommends that the New Entity adopt
policies that promote competition in the registration of domain names.
Registrars should be independent enterprises each competing for
registrant business on the basis of price, reliability, responsiveness,
and value added service. The New Entity, and not a Registry, should
have final authority to determine who may serve as a Registrar. The
work done by the International Ad Hoc Committee ("IAHC") should serve
as a starting point for Registrar qualification requirements.
<bold>Trademarks and Designation Technology.</bold> Disputes arising
from the current linkage of DNS and trademark law are unfortunate,
though unavoidable given that DNS is a mathematical construction which
cannot accurately reflect the subtleties of trademark law. The
solution is an improved Internet directory infrastructure which
supports "designators" entered in a browser by the user. This richer
directory infrastructure must allow the Internet user to designate
"where I want to visit" in a heuristic manner within a user-centered
context. The New Entity should aggressively promote deployment of
designation technology, as this technology will both benefit Internet
users and reduce trademark-related domain name disputes.
<bold>Dispute Resolution. </bold>WorldCom recommends that the work of
the IAHC serve as the foundation for establishment of a formal
international domain name dispute resolution process. The intellectual
property disputes which inevitably will arise in connection with the
registration and use of domain names must be resolved efficiently and
effectively. The New Entity should be vested with express authority to
design and implement an appropriate dispute resolution process.
<bold>Service Providers' Governance Role. </bold>The Green Paper's
list of the stakeholders whose interests should be represented in the
New Entity omitted mention of Internet Service Providers. Because
Internet Service Providers operate root name servers, allocate IP
addresses to customers, register domain names on behalf of customers,
and are investing hundred of millions of dollars each year in the
expansion and improvement of the network, they must be effectively
represented on the board of directors of the New Entity. Service
Providers merit representation in the New Entity not only because of
the central role they play in the operation of the Internet, but also
because they are well-positioned to articulate and protect the
interests of their customers, without whom the Service Providers would
<bold>Transparency</bold>. Policies and practices that reflect the
public interest are best established in an atmosphere of full
disclosure and open deliberation. For this reason, the New Entity
should adopt the private sector equivalent of "Government in the
Sunshine" provisions. Board meetings should be public. Comprehensive
financial information should be made public periodically. All
agreements between the New Entity and Registries, Registrars, and
vendors should be public documents available for review and comment by
interested parties. This all would be consistent with the treatment of
non-profit corporations under U.S. law. By adopting the principle of
transparency, oversight of the New Entity and its operations can be
shared by all members of the public involved in or affected by its
work. Only in an atmosphere of openness will the New Entity remain
accountable to the public whose interests it was created to protect.
</bold>WorldCom hopes that these comments are of assistance in the
refinement of the proposals made in the Green Paper. If you would like
WorldCom to elaborate on any of the points set forth above, or would
like to hold an in-person meeting with the WorldCom experts who
formulated WorldCom's positions on these matters, please do not
hesitate to contact us.
/s/ /s/ /s/
<underline> </underline> <underline> </underline> <underline>
</underline>Catherine Sloan Michael O'Dell Martina Knee
WorldCom Vice President, UUNET Vice President, UUNET Vice President,
Public Relations Chief Scientist General Counsel
From: Jim Dixon <email@example.com>
Date: 3/23/98 4:15pm
Subject: NTIA Proposal to Improve Technical Management ...
Attached please find the EuroISPA reply to the Department of
Commerce's "A Proposal to Improve Technical Management of
Internet Names and Addresses".
This document will shortly be available on the Web as
Jim Dixon VBCnet GB Ltd http://www.vbc.net
tel +44 117 929 1316 fax +44 117 927 2015
A Commercial and Global Internet
the United States Department of Commerce
"Proposal to Improve Technical Management of
Internet Names and Addresses"
EuroISPA is a grouping of the Internet trade associations of Europe. It currently has member associations representing ten countries of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom), with others expected to join shortly. Representing over five hundred Internet services providers and other organisations involved in the commercial Internet, it is the largest ISP association in the world.
While the contributions of the United States to the development of the Internet are universally recognised, the contributions made to the Internet by foreign researchers and subsequent investments made by private industry should not be overlooked.
The Internet was not developed solely in the United States. Far from it. Even in the early days of Arpanet researchers outside the USA, particularly in Germany, the Netherlands, and Britain, were making important contributions. The .UK domain is nearly as old as the domain name system itself.
Perhaps more significantly, while funds appropriated by the US Government were important in the early development of what was to become the Internet, these have long been eclipsed by the huge investments made by private industry, particularly the world's Internet service providers. These investments amount to billions of dollars annually, thousands of times more than the sums invested by the US Government.
We do not wish to belittle the very important contributions made by America. However it is important to understand that the Internet has been from the beginning a global development and that in the last few years the Internet has been transformed radically. It is no longer an academic research network; it is now overwhelmingly commercial and funded by private enterprise.
The Internet belongs to the world, not the United States. And the Internet of today is overwhelmingly the result of commercial investment; government funding is insignificant.
In this context, an assertion of authority over the global Internet by the United States government is highly questionable. People, businesses, and institutions from all over the world have developed and paid for the Internet. The Internet transcends any single national government.
The Domain Name System
The domain name system consists of tens of thousands of name servers all over the world co-operating to translate domain names into IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. A key element used in effecting this co-operation is the set of thirteen root name servers. One of these, a.root-servers.net, acts as master. The other twelve copy the data on the master daily, so that all thirteen are consistent.
The primary function of the root name servers is to provide the addresses of the name servers for the top level domains. There are several hundred such TLD servers, some primary and some backups. Most of these are name servers for the national TLDs, what the NTIA proposal calls ccTLDs. A few are the name servers for the existing generic TLDs; most of these are also root name servers.
Two things need to be understood here. First, the root name servers do not represent a significant financial investment. There are tens of thousands of name servers. While the root name servers are somewhat more expensive than normal name servers, they represent a very small fraction of the overall cost of the domain name system infrastructure.
Secondly, and much more importantly, no one need use the root name servers. They are a convenience.
Authority on the Internet
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and Jon Postel are frequently referred to as being the authority behind all names and numbers on the Internet. For obvious reasons, this is interpreted by many as "authority" in the normal legal sense of the word. However, IANA's authority is not based on any law and is backed by no obligation. It is instead based on voluntary co-operation for mutual benefit. Those who do not understand this fail to understand one of the fundamental principles of organisation of the Internet.
The primary root name server is authoritative because the tens of thousands of root name servers in the world use it. This use is entirely voluntary. There is no contract between IANA and the operators of the other name servers and no law obligates those operators to obtain their data from the root name servers. Obviously there could in fact be no such law, for these machines are scattered all over the world. The operators of the world's name servers, mostly Internet service providers, simply choose to regard the root name servers as authoritative - and so they are authoritative. This is the basis for authority on the Internet: voluntary co-operation for mutual benefit among organisations all over the world.
The Internet address system works in exactly the same way. There is no law or contract that obligates the operators of the world's routers to use certain sets of addresses and not others. It is simply to the mutual benefit of all parties to co-operate with one another. This co-operation is effected in part through regional IP address registries which distribute blocks of address space to Internet service providers. These are co-operative bodies that operate across national boundaries.
In both cases any attempt by a national government to assert authority over such a co-operative venture would be wrong and would most likely fail. No national government has the necessary legal authority. Should any particular government attempt to impose a solution, it would find itself involved in a very expensive legal quagmire. The domain name system is extraordinarily cheap to operate only so long as it is voluntary.
This is not a minor point: it is fundamental to understanding our critique of the NTIA proposal for improving technical management of Internet names and addresses.
While the US Government's good offices can be very helpful in managing the reorganisation of IP address space and domain name management, if being helpful strays into asserting legal authority over the Internet in general or the IP address space or domain name system in particular, only trouble can result. An attempt to assert national control over a global entity will lead to world-wide protest. And a serious attempt to replace the co-operation for mutual benefit that underpins the domain name system with some sort of legally enforceable system would require an explosion of bureaucracy and an increase in cost sufficient to fundamentally change the nature of the Internet.
The Role of IANA
IANA's activities fall into three principal areas; it also has some minor functions. First, it manages the root of the domain name system, deciding which top level domains should exist and who should manage them. Secondly, it is the ultimate arbiter over the Internet address space. Thirdly, it is responsible for the numbers used in certain Internet protocols. In addition, for no particular reason, IANA is responsible for editing the documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and for the .US domain.
These activities are collected at IANA not because they are necessarily related to one another but largely by chance, because at one time or another IANA was a convenient place to lodge a function that needed a home. There were responsible people there who had been entrusted with other shared resources and handled them well, so another was added to the collection.
IANA at Risk
As we all know, IANA is no longer able to cope well with some of these functions. This is largely because of the growth and commercialisation of the Internet and its collision with other older and more established interests.
The acute problems obviously involve the domain name system. IANA is no longer able to properly manage the DNS in part because it faces a multiplicity of legal challenges if it takes any actions at all regarding the generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) and in part because the questions it faces are no longer technical but very complex legal problems that require an entirely different sort of expertise.
At present, IANA has no legal existence at all; it is just the name of a contract between the University of Southern California and the Federal Government. To deal with the problems it now faces it must be entirely restructured; that restructuring is of course the primary subject of the Department of Commerce paper we are replying to.
Problems with the NTIA Proposal
The NTIA proposal is to simply transform IANA as-is into a US-based corporation run by a chief executive with experience in business backed by a board of directors drawn from a wide range of constituencies. We believe that this is not a wise course of action.
IANA can be seen as a cluster of three main sets of functions, as outlined above. Let us call these:
IANA/IETF IANA as the administrator of the numbers used in Internet protocols and editor of IETF documents.
IANA/ADDR IANA as manager of the Internet address space, and
IANA/DNS which is IANA as manager of the domain name system,
It is worth while considering one aspect of IANA/DNS separately. This is IANA as manager of the generic Top Level Domains; we could call this IANA/gTLD.
IANA/IETF faces no legal challenges. Its smooth functioning requires co-operation with technical experts all across the globe, particularly of course within and on the basis of the IETF framework. IANA/IETF's operations would not benefit at all from the involvement of the commercially-oriented chief executive or the trademark specialists proposed for the board of the "new IANA". They would not understand IANA/IETF's activities and would be likely to antagonise the technologists they would have to deal with. In any case no large sums of money are involved and the only result of adding a layer of commercial management would be to increase the cost of operations to no one's benefit. IANA/IETF is a critical resource of the Internet. Its functions should not be jeopardised to no purpose.
IANA/ADDR is not that much different. The Internet address space is at this time managed by registries that are generally accepted, well-run, and financially stable. Most of the key people involved know one another. The address space registries already have a generally agreed-upon plan for funding and managing IANA, especially as it concerns their functions. Once again, IANA/NTIA's chief executive and non-technical directors would contribute nothing, drive up costs to no purpose, and antagonise the technologists that they would have to deal with. IANA/ADDR is another critical resource whose smooth operation would be put at risk by the "improvements" proposed in the NTIA paper.
IANA/DNS is where the problems would seem to be. However, in most regards this is also handled well. Except insofar as gTLDs are involved, there are few criticisms of IANA's handling of the domain name system or the root name servers. IANA's policy of deferring to the wishes of the relevant national governments when dealing with national TLDs has been successful; relations between IANA and the national TLD registries are generally smooth. It is difficult to see how they would be improved by the addition of commercial management, especially if the new IANA attempted to impose what were seen as US policies on the national TLD registries of other countries.
The management of gTLDs is the function that IANA in its current form is not able to deal with well. Obviously this area would benefit from a large infusion of non-technical expertise including knowledge of intellectual property rights law and commercial management. It is also in this area that IANA faces major legal challenges.
In summary, the NTIA proposals might conceivably be suitable for IANA as manager of the gTLDs. Unfortunately, it seems likely that they would be harmful for the rest of IANA's functions.
The IAHC and the gTLD MOU
The problems with IANA's management of gTLDs were recognised by IANA itself well over a year ago. IANA appointed a small group, the IAHC, to come up with a plan to deal with the management of the domain name system and in particular the problems arising from introducing new gTLDs. That plan recognised that there were two separate problems, one of legitimacy and the other of commercial viability. It sought to deal with the question of legitimacy by creating a new set of institutions endorsed by the older Internet bodies (IANA, ISOC, the IAB, etc.) and various international organisations (ITU, WIPO, INTA, etc), and backed by signatures on a gTLD MOU from various other organisations in the Internet community. The IAHC plan dealt with the second problem by passing over the actual business of managing new gTLDs to a set of registrars. These would compete with one another but co-operate in managing a jointly-owned shared database through the Council of Registrars, CORE.
In all the IAHC plan has created three bodies:
the Policy Advisory Body, the PAB, a forum for those who have signed the gTLD MOU
the Policy Oversight Committee, the POC, which is supposed to set policy for the management of gTLDs, this policy being based in part on advice from the PAB
and CORE, the entity responsible for operating the shared gTLD registry on a cost recovery basis.
The PAB has no formal existence; it is a talking shop.
The POC has been incorporated in Delaware; it is a non-profit entity whose operating expenses are paid for by CORE.
CORE is a non-profit association domiciled in Geneva; its shared registry database is located in California. CORE has approximately 90 registrars, each of whom has paid a $10,000 joining fee and an additional $2,000 a month since CORE was formed, and each of whom has demonstrated that they have at least a $300,000 line of credit. Many of the CORE registrars are substantial organisations. Many European national telephone companies are CORE registrars. So is ETSI, a major standards body.
Problems with the IAHC Plan
The IAHC plan has had a number of serious problems.
there is considerable opposition from people in the Internet community who feel that it constitutes a sell-out to trademark interests
there is considerable opposition from people in trademark and intellectual property
rights circles who feel that it doesn't give sufficient recognition to their interests
it faces determined opposition from those who see their commercial stakes in alternative approaches to gTLD management at risk, notably Network Solutions Inc (who currently manage the .com/net/org gTLDs as a monopoly) on the one hand and various parties who claim monopoly ownership rights over other gTLDs on the other
some CORE registrars appear to have taken payments for pre-registrations in CORE's proposed seven new gTLDs
the plan doesn't deal at all with the legal challenges facing IANA itself in the event of the delegation of any new gTLDs to CORE
support from the Internet community overall has been lukewarm; relatively few have sighed the gTLD MOU; some of the signatories have of course signed with explicit reservations
We regard the last two problems as the most serious.
Despite its flaws, the gTLD MOU plan has a number of positive aspects.
for better or for worse, it has been remorselessly scrutinised by an intensely interested group for most of a year.; those flaws which have not been corrected are presumably at least very well known.
it has support from many of the stakeholders in the Internet and a reasonably clear plan for repopulating its management body, the POC.
it has a working and tested suite of registry software.
It has some 88 reasonably well-financed registrars
it introduces real competition to the market which has so far been run by one monopoly registry
A Better Solution
IANA manages an odd collection of functions that are there largely for historical reasons. It is not necessary that these functions be kept together. The NTIA proposal already recognises this; it assumes that the .US domain should be moved away from IANA.
We suggest that IANA be split into two separate entities. One, what we might call IANA lite, would be responsible for the technical functions that IANA has already proven that it can manage well. The other, what might be called the Internet gTLD Authority or the IGA, would be responsible for the management of the global top level domains.
The advantages of this division of IANA into two separate bodies should be clear:
it isolates critical Internet functions from one another, so that any disruption in one area should have no effect on the others
it leaves the management of purely technical matters in the hands of technocrats
where things are already working well, it makes as few changes as possible
IANA lite would continue to edit RFCs, asssign protocol numbers, manage the top level of the Internet address space, and oversee the operation of the root name servers. It would continue to manage the national TLD entries in the root name servers under instructions from the relevant national governments - and it would manage the gTLD entries under instructions from the IGA.
IANA lite would have no commercial role and be responsible only for purely technical matters. How it is organised should be left up to Internet technical bodies, in particular the IAB (ultimately responsible for protocol numbers and the RFCs and other IETF standards documents),; the regional Internet address space registries (RIPE, ARIN, and APNIC), which already have a plan for rationalising and funding this function; and the TLD registries, which are already organising regional bodies.
IANA lite would not be responsible for .US. This is a national TLD; its management should be moved to a different entity, one that is US-based.
IANA lite would be funded by the technical bodies, principally by the address space and name registries. Its costs are likely to be similar to IANA's at this time. It would also be indemnified by the IGA in the event of any legal challenges over the IGA's decisions to add or drop gTLDs from the root zone.
The second successor to IANA would manage and be responsible for the generic Top Level Domains.
Whereas IANA lite is a neutral technical standards body, the IGA would be a policy body. The IGA would determine which gTLDs should be entered into the root zone; IANA lite would be responsible only for setting technical standards for entries into the root.
We see the "new IANA" of the NTIA Proposal as being the IGA and have no objections to the corporate structure proposed. We do however believe that because of the complex problems associated with generic Top Level Domains, especially the ramifications in the trade mark and intellectual property areas, any delegation of new gTLDs should be deferred for some time until there is broader agreement on how the gTLDs should be handled.
We suggest that delegation of new gTLDs be deferred for at least one year. During this time IANA can be reorganised along the lines outlined above and a transition can be made to a new scheme for handling the existing generic Top Level Domains, .COM, .NET, and .ORG.
The gTLD market is currently controlled by just one company, Network Solutions Inc (NSI) , who have a monopoly in the registration of the existing gTLDs. If this monopoly is allowed to persist, even if a number of new gTLDs are created, NSI is likely to continue to dominate the market because of its overwhelming market strength.
We believe that the greatest step forward that could be taken by the US government would be to end the NSI monopoly.
The simplest and most practical way to do this would be to transfer the existing gTLDs away from NSI to CORE, the only alternative to NSI at this time. This transfer could of course be temporary, perhaps for a period of two years.
CORE has the technology necessary to manage the registration of .COM/NET/ORG in volume, sufficient financial strength, and a broad base of registrars distributed across the globe. Unlike NSI, a CORE registry would be run on a cost recovery basis, with competition among registrars driving down costs and improving service.
There should be not necessarily be an obstacle to NSI becoming a CORE registrar. In fact it would be sensible for NSI to act as a CORE registrar during part of the ramp-down period on their existing contract.
CORE should be subjected to certain requirements. Most obviously, because the existing gTLDs have a majority of their users in the United States, it would be reasonable to require that CORE transfer its domicile to the United States. Also, it would have to agree to submit to polices established by the IGA. We doubt that CORE would reject either condition.
The .US Domain
The .US domain is currently managed by IANA. It would be to everyone's benefit if American end users were encouraged to migrate from .COM/NET/ORG to a restructured .US domain. This could obviously be done simply by moving existing domains such as XYZ.COM to XYZ.COM.US.
Given NSI's proven skill in this area, it would be sensible to transfer the .US domain into NSI's care for a period of time, perhaps three years. NSI would be charged with developing policies to encourage US users to migrate from the existing gTLDs to newly created second level domains under .US.
Note that this would put NSI in direct competition with CORE, in a situation in which CORE would have a strong interest in motivating consumers to migrate from .COM to .COM.US. Most observers expect that this would result in fewer and simpler trade mark disputes.
A Note on Registrar Requirements
While the NTIA proposals for registry requirements generally make sense, the registrar requirements are pointlessly strict.
Nominet, the .UK registry, is widely regarded as extremely well-run. It has over 400 registrars. These jointly own the registry and elect its managers.
Nominet has competed very successfully against NSI since Nominet was formed. Its registrars also compete against one another. Service has steadily improved and prices have steadily declined over the past two years or so of operation.
Nominet's registrars communicate with the registry using email. All registry database actions actually occur on Nominet's servers. In consequence the technical requirements for registrars are quite simple: they must be able to communicate with the registry using email.
In the light of this practical experience, the NTIA proposal's requirements for registrars seem excessive.
Jim Dixon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
President EuroISPA http://www.euroIspa.org
Member of Council ISPA UK http://www.ispa.org.uk
The assistance of Michael Schneider <email@example.com> of eco, the German Internet trade association, in preparing this document is gratefully acknowledged.