Government Rulemaking/Private Implementation
An Overview Proposal for .US Authority and Reorganization
The Domain Name Rights Coalition
Kathryn A. Kleiman, Esq.
Co-Founder and General Counsel
601 Madison Street, Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
The current allocation of .US domain names by geography is not sufficient to meet the rapidly changing needs of a diverse and mobile US population. Further, the proposals by the World Intellectual Property Organization threaten to make the gTLDs a place in which US individuals, small businesses, entrepreneurs and community organizations will not be able to or afford to defend their rights to domain names.
What DNRC discussed with Mr. Ira Magaziner and Ms. J. Beckwith Burr in a meeting of December 23, 1997, and laid out in a paper of February 2, 1998, about the opportunity of the .US domain remains true today:
"Reorganizing .US .... also creates a safe haven for American citizens and interests. The . US domain would provide individuals with a place for political speech free from fear of violating the content restrictions of other countries - who could simply block the .US if they found exposure to such unbridled information too "dangerous" or "polluting" for their culture. It would also provide a laboratory for entrepreneurs to provide Internet services, such as registering second level domains, without risking the Integrity of the entire Internet. Finally, it would allow the United States to experiment and discover the proper balance of free market enterprise and government oversight to produce a dynamic, viable Internet that protects both private and public interests."
Needs of the Entity Creating the Rules:
To properly create the rules so that all Americans, current and future, noncommercial and commercial may benefit from the .US domains requires responsibility for and accountability to the US public though:
Government Rulemaking/Private Implementation:
The tall order set out in the above section is not an impossibility, but a reality.
The Federal Communications Commission, an independent agency of the US Government, meets this mandate every single day. It does so, in one particularly noteworthy example, with the rulemaking, oversight, and appeal of private radio frequencies. The FCC creates the rules by which private organizations, such as the Personal Communications Industry Association (PCIA), handle the coordination of private radio frequencies for business and other users throughout the U.S. Using its expertise in communications, and with the input and guidance of the coordinators,
the FCC has fashioned a set of rules that fosters competition in the private radio arena, encourages technological innovation, and enables low-cost service to be available to small and large businesses alike.
The FCC is charged in its mandate from Congress with operating in the "public interest, convenience and necessity," and on its own authority can recognize needs that might exist even if those with the needs are unwilling or unable to represent themselves.
Further, the FCC provides an avenue for appeal of particularly egregious or discriminatory conduct which is far less expensive than turning, at least initially, to the courts.
Accordingly, DNRC puts forward its proposal for the FCC to handle the reorganization, management and competitive registrations in the .US domain, and to be the agency tasked with handling appeals of egregious or discriminatory conduct and requests for changes to the rules. The rulemaking would be performed with public notice in the public interest. Registration would be performed by private, competitive entities, who are protected because the rules under which they conduct their business were created through a public process by a government entity.