From: "Pittman,Dawn P - LGA" <pittmand@att.com>
To: "'dns@ntia.doc.gov'" <dns@ntia.doc.gov>
Date: 3/27/98 10:34am
Subject: Comments on DNS Green Paper.

The Private Sector Working Group (PSWG) is pleased to respond to the
Clinton Administration's "Proposal to Improve Technical Management of
Internet Names and Addresses", published in the Federal Register on
February 20, 1998. The PSWG is an ad hoc group of companies concerned
that the transition of the Internet into a private sector led governance
model ensures trademarks are respected and protected in cyberspace, and
that those who use the Internet are assured of the integrity and
security of the Internet in its operation as a commercial medium.

We commend the U.S. government team, Ira Magaziner, Beckwith Burr, and
others in the White House, Commerce Department and other Federal
agencies, for the work they have done to develop a framework to ensure
that the Internet transition is addressed in a public and inclusive
manner. We agree that the Green Paper offers a sound framework for how
each of the key areas can be addressed.

There are several areas which the PSWG considers of priority in the
evolution to industry led governance:

* We support the need for a transition period, with a grounding in
the U.S. and U.S. law during the transition period, to ensure legal
certainty.
* Governance decisions cannot be unlinked from the impact they
have on the security and integrity of the Internet, trademark
recognition and protection, and consumer concerns about fraud and
confusion.
* We support the creation of a non-profit corporation with
specific authority, as defined in the Green Paper.
* The composition of the Board of the new corporation must include
a broad and fair representation of the commercial/trademark community,
along with the technical community, commercial users, registrars and
registries, and with global participation.
* We support the proposed study to evaluate the effects of adding
new generic top level domain names and dispute resolution procedures to
prevent consumer confusion, and ensure the success of the commercial
Internet.

The PSWG is in agreement with the four principles outlined in the Green
Paper.
We agree with the USG's responsibility to end its stewardship in a
responsible manner. We also agree that changes and evolution in
technical management are needed. Competition should be introduced so
that security, administrative/operational stability and protection of
trademarks and consumers is ensured. We support the concept of private,
bottom up coordination. The PWSG agrees that representation for users
of the Internet is essential. However, it is very important to recognize
that the "Internet community" of today includes commercial users and
trademark holders who are a significant and growing percentage of the
Internet; their interests must be fully represented.

We are in agreement with the creation of a new private, not for profit
corporation to manage the coordinated functions of the Internet, and the
four key areas of authority that the new corporation will hold. Criteria
to govern the introduction of new gTLDs should be developed with
considerable input and consultation from the trademark holders and
commercial users who are most affected by the need to protect and manage
trademarks.

We endorse the concept of the studies recommended in the Green Paper.
Many of the individual companies who participate in the PSWG are
interested in supporting and participating in the studies.

We agree with the gradual transition proposed in the Green Paper;
however, the September 1998, date seems overly optimistic. It is
important to remember that consumers, individuals and business, must
have stability and certainty, even if the transition moves a bit more
slowly than considered ideal by any one stakeholder group.

The composition of the Board is of significant concern and high priority
to us. Overall, the PSWG agrees with the proposed composition of the
Governance Board as outlined in the Green Paper. The new Board of
directors of the new Corporation should be "balanced and inclusive".
The proposed allocation of representatives, as described in the Green
Paper seems a very workable approach to achieve that "balance and
inclusion". We strongly endorse the approach of ensuring that a
significant number of the Board members come from the
trademark/commercial user sectors. We are not in support of having
individuals employed by national or regional governments, governmental
entities, or multi-lateral organizations on the Board.

The PSWG continues to be concerned about the introduction of multiple
gTLDs; however, the PSWG's comments address the possibility that some
(but a minimal) number of new gTLDs will be introduced at some time in
the future. Our support for the introduction of any new gTLDs is
predicated on the development of clearly defined objective definitions
for what gTLDs are to be introduced and when, an agreed upon criteria
for who can register in each gTLD, a uniform dispute resolution process
for all registrars, and an agreed upon approach to ensure that trademark
conflicts are minimized through the cooperative efforts of registrars in
accepting and complying with a uniform registration process.

Trademark holders are encountering serious problems in policing their
trademarks in cyberspace, even before the introduction of new gTLDs.
Infringements and dilutions of the marks of businesses (both large and
small) are a daily occurrence. For instance, PSWG members have
experienced the following problems; dilutive and confusingly similar
registrations, registration of a dilutive form of a registered service
mark/trademark, using fictitious contact information so that the brand
owner experiences great difficulty in sending a cease and desist letter;
use of a dilutive form of a famous brand, to access a site which hosts
pornographic material (besides the PSWG member experiences, both NASA
and the White House have encountered this problem); frequent experiences
with individuals who register famous brands, or dilutive versions of
famous brands, and "hold" these names, sometimes offering them to the
brand holder for a "fee" in excess of the cost of registration.

Companies who own famous and well known brands are experiencing a
significant growth in domain name disputes with third parties during the
past year. In recent months, the PSWG working group has seen a serious
increase in these disputes; two companies actively involved in PSWG
have from 10-20 new active disputes per month. In some cases,
trademark holders are also encountering a serious problem with the use
of false information provided to the registrar when obtaining the domain
name, thus making it difficult or impossible for the trademark holder to
serve the holder of the conflicting domain name.

Like other trademark infringements, alleged domain name infringements
must be carefully reviewed and investigated, communications initiated
with the alleged infringer, and often negotiations conducted with the
third party's counsel. All of these efforts are time consuming, and can
be expensive. And, if a case has to be litigated, the issue of
jurisdiction becomes a serious question.

The PSWG endorses the proposed study to evaluate the effects of adding
new generic Top Level Domain Names and related dispute resolution
procedures on trademark owners. In the view of the PSWG, the study
should be undertaken with participation of (1) individuals and
organizations responsible for trademark protection in individual
corporations; (2) individuals and organizations concerned with the
commercial growth and functioning of the Internet; and (3)
consumers/users of the Internet for commercial delivery of services and
products.

Appendix 2 of the Green Paper, is a good starting point in establishing
minimum requirements. The development of a uniform set of registration
procedures and the use of a consistent dispute resolution process by all
registrars will bring significant benefit to registrars, applicants, and
trademark holders. We propose that a uniform process be established
for the transition period, and that the proposed study examine the
effectiveness and if necessary, propose modifications, or extensions.
Such a process can be more fully examined, and developed through the
proposed study, using a public process, and enabling participation by
the registrar community, as well as trademark owners, commercial users,
and other stakeholders.

We agree that it is important to have an independent and credible body
oversee such a study to ensure that it develops a balanced and well
substantiated set of recommendations and has credibility with all
stakeholders. We suggest that this can be supported by ensuring
international representation in the study, and including a public
comment process.

The PSWG agrees that global participation is essential in the Board of
the new Corporation, and acknowledges that an increasing number of users
(now close to 33%) are non-US in origin. We support the need to make
every effort to recruit Board participation that is representative of
the global nature of the Internet. As we understand the Green Paper's
intent, during the proposed transition period, participation by entities
located in other regions, and in other nations, is viewed as essential
to ensure that the decision-making process is global.

We recognize that the role of the USG in assuring an effective
transition is highly controversial in some sectors of the "Internet
community". In our view, given that there is no existing international
law to govern the administrative decisions, or disputes over trademarks,
it is essential that the USG provide the legitimate authority for an
effective transition period. The transition period will then enable
longer term development of agreements which can address these issues.

All major DNS servers, the root servers and the servers for all gTLDS,
must be operated securely. Necessary processes must be put in place to
protect against vulnerabilities to hacking, or other damaging attacks on
the root servers or databases. There must be no future replication of
situations such as the alterNIC incident. The PSWG agrees that the
review proposed in the Green Paper is important, and that individuals
from the private sector with expertise and experience in operational and
security issues should be involved in the review.

Overall, the goal of this transition, and the long term governance of
the Internet must be to ensure that the Internet attains its promise as
a commercial medium û the ability of companies around the world to rely
on the Internet for electronic commerce and the willingness of
individuals in all countries to entrust their private communications
must be a shared vision, and a common goal.

We are continuing to work together to develop more detail on these areas
and will consider submitting an amended set of comments in the near
future as well as to developing a broader consensus with others who
represent the interests of trademarks and commercial users, based on our
comments. We look forward to reviewing the comments of other
interested stakeholders and to continuing to participate in this
process.

Private Sector Working Group Participants
Bell Atlantic
Bell South Corporation
Ford Motor Company
Microsoft
Prince, plc.
SBC Communications
Warner Lambert

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