### Number: 148 From: "David Barker" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(dns) Date: 8/4/97 11:54pm Subject: TLD's I hope this message has been properly directed. I am concerned with the issue of DNS entries being owned by one group or another. As it stands in my understanding .com , .net , .org are all controled by one company. This I feel is wrong, they are the most recognized letters on the net. The US is a capatalistic state and I beleive that no one company should be allowed to monopolize these entries. ### Number: 149 From: Jim Tippins <email@example.com> To: NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(dns) Date: 8/4/97 10:14am Subject: Electronic Filing of Comments on Internet Domain Names 1. Extend the address standard to at least 1024 bit length addresses. 2. Eliminate the monopoly on net IP's by current service providers/big companies. (This will happen if net address restrictions in #1 above changes.) 3. Allow "first come" philosophy to select net names, regardless of "Name infrignment" lawsuits. Jim Tippins ### Number: 150
August 4, 1997
Ms. Patrice Washington
Office of Public Affairs
National Telecommunications and
Information Administration (NTIA)
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Dear Ms. Washington:
The International Trademark Association (INTA) is pleased to provide you with its response to the "Request for Comments on the Registration and Administration of Internet Domain Names" [Docket No. 970613137-7137-01], as published in the July 2, 1997 Federal Register. INTA is a not-for-profit organization comprised of 3,400 members from over 117 countries. The Association's membership crosses all industry lines and includes manufacturers, retailers, law firms, and professional and trade associations. What this diverse group has in common, is the understanding that trademarks are a company's most valuable asset -- a simple yet effective means of communicating with consumers in the global marketplace.
In addition to our official response, we are pleased to provide you with a "special edition" of INTA "White Paper:" The Intersection of Trademarks and Domain Names. This INTA publication has been prepared by the Association's Internet Subcommittee as a source of information on the meeting between the world of trademarks and the new world of cyberspace. Most importantly, Appendix II of the "White Paper" contains a complete version of INTA's proposal for a new domain name assignment system. All documents being provided by INTA are contained on computer diskette (WordPerfect 6.1) which has also been enclosed.
INTA appreciates the opportunity to present its views on this important and highly complex issue. Please do not hesitate to contact Mike Heltzer, INTA's Government Relations Program Coordinator, if you require further information.
Thank you for considering our submission.
INTA has answered a, b, c, d, e, and f
Competition in and expansion of the domain name registration system should be encouraged. Conflicting domains, systems, and registries should not be permitted to jeopardize the interoperation of the Internet, however. The addressing scheme should not prevent any user from connecting to any other site.
Ans: INTA recognizes the importance of competition and the importance of inter-operation. It is essential, however, that the administration of Internet domain names recognize that the important and valuable legal rights of trademark owners not be harmed.
The private sector, with input from governments, should develop stable, consensus-based self-governing mechanisms for domain name registration and management that adequately defines responsibilities and maintains accountability.
Ans: INTA generally agrees with this principle and, toward that end, participated in the International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC) and currently has a representative on the interim Policy Oversight Committee (iPOC) -- the body that oversees implementation of the IAHC plan.
These self-governance mechanisms should recognize the inherently global nature of the Internet and be able to evolve as necessary over time.
Ans: Although the Internet was conceived of and raised from infancy by the U.S. government, it has grown well beyond its borders, and the U.S. government should not now attempt to treat the Internet as a U.S.-asset. Instead, the U.S. government should work with the private sector, as well as other governments and international organizations to permit the Internet to evolve into a truly global asset.
d. The overall framework for accomodating competition should be open, robust, efficient, and fair.
Ans: INTA supports open, robust, efficient and fair competition with appropriate mechanisms to protect the rights of trademark owners.
e. The overall policy framework as well as name allocation and management mechanisms should promote prompt, fair, and efficient resolution of conflicts, including conflicts over proprietary rights.
Ans: INTA agrees that the overall policy framework for domain name allocation and management should promote prompt, fair and efficient resolution of conflicts, including those involving intellectual property. Toward that end, INTA believes that the IAHC plan is a positive step.
The IAHC plan also includes administrative domain name challenge panels (ACPs), that will not take the place of national or regional sovereign courts, but will assist trademark owners in the protection of their well-known trademarks. In addition, the IAHC procedures require detailed contact information of domain name applicants (and those renewing domain names), prepayment for domain names, annual renewal, and procedures for the immediate publication of domain names, all of which should assist trademark owners with their efforts to police against trademark infringement.
f. A framework should be adopted as quickly as prudent consideration of these issues permits.
Ans: INTA supports an early resolution of the problems relating to registration and administration of domain names. The need for an early resolution becomes more critical as the Spring 1998 termination date of NSI's contract with the National Science Foundation (NSF) approaches. However, INTA also notes that the issues that must be resolved involve new and complicated legal and technical concerns that must be carefully considered before arriving at a fair solution.
IAHC has created the necessary framework for the continued evolution of the domain name system. INTA encourages the U.S. government to support the IAHC plan, recognizing the accomplishments of the process, while permitting further evaluation of some of the elements of the plan, including the decision to increase the number of generic top level domain names (gTLDs), and the standards to be applied by administrative challenge panels (ACPs).
B. General/Organizational Framework Issues
INTA has answered questions 1, 2, 3, 4 (part), 5, and 8
1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the current domain name registration system?
Ans: The Disadvantages
The current system established by Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI) is inadequate to combat "cybersquatters." "Cybersquatters" are online pirates who routinely register domain names in bulk, without regard for the rights of trademark owners and with no other purpose than to ransom the names to the highest bidder. NSI procedures are also not equipped to handle cases where two companies own the same mark, or where an individual's name may be the same as a company's mark. In addition, NSI does not require sufficient information from the domain name applicant.
At the core of NSI's problem is its position that domain names have no legal significance, but are used only to address various sites in cyberspace. Further, NSI has stated that its only purpose is to register domain names, not perform trademark searches or arbitrate trademark rights. NSI contends that it is not equipped or funded to perform such searches and that it should not be responsible for any infringement that takes place involving the domain names it registers. This aspect of NSI's policy is disappointing to trademark owners, since like a trademark, domain names serve as a "shorthand" reference tool to locate information concerning a specific product and learn about the company offering the product for sale. Trademarks in cyberspace deserve the same level of protection they are afforded in the "real-world" of commercial activity.
Instead of being familiar with just a single policy, there is a potential requirement for trademark owners to be familiar with hundreds -- if not thousands of dispute policies. This system represents an unnecessary expenditure of money and manpower. Finally, some registrars do not even have a dispute policy.
The disadvantages outlined above make it evident that there are few, if any real advantages for trademark owners under the current domain name registration system. Notwithstanding, there are a select few aspects of NSI's application policy that represent a step in the right direction: (1) an applicant must submit a document that states, to its knowledge, the domain name requested does not interfere with or infringe the rights of third parties and (2) an applicant must have a bona fide intention to use the Internet domain name on a regular basis.
Finally, the ability to get a domain name put on hold may be considered an advantage.
2. How might the current domain name system be improved?
Ans: INTA has circulated a proposal for a new domain name registration policy, portions of which have been incorporated into the IAHC plan. A complete version of the INTA proposal can be found in "Appendix II" of INTA "White Paper:" The Intersection of Trademarks and Domain Names (see attached).
Highlights of this proposal include:
INTA also supports the plan developed by the International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC).
3. By what entity, entities, or type of entities should current domain name systems be
Ans: INTA encourages the U.S. government to support the plan of the IAHC and to
promote regulation by the private sector.
4. Are there decision-making processes that can serve as models for deciding on domain
name registration systems (e.g., network numbering plan, standard-setting processes,
spectrum allocation)? Are there private/public sector administered models or regimes
that can be used for domain name registration (e.g., network numbering plan, standard-
setting processes, or spectrum allocation processes)? What is the proper role of national
or international governmental/nongovernmental organizations, if any, in national and
international domain name registration systems?
Ans: In accordance with the IAHC plan, INTA supports a system which is
industry-driven. The Association does however, support the role of international
governmental organizations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
in the administration of on-line mediation and dispute resolution procedures.
5. Should generic top level domains (gTLDs), (e.g., .com), be retired from
circulation? Should geographic or country codes (e.g., .us) be required? If so,
what should happen to the .com registry? Are gTLD management issues
separable from questions about International Standard Organization (ISO) country
Ans: Given the current dependence of the commercial world on existing gTLDs,
particularly .com, the economic costs of retiring gTLDs would be too great. It
is too late to delete mnemonics entirely and use only random numbers based on names.
Likewise, requiring country code TLDs alone is not a realistic alternative give the historical
of gTLDs and industry's enthusiasm.
Management issues pertaining to gTLDs are separable from questions of ISO country
code domains for two reasons: one historical and one political/practical. The historical
reason is that gTLDs and ISO country code domains simply have been treated separately
over time by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). The political/practical
reason is one of sovereignty and self-determination. INTA believes that the latter remains
important in some respects, but the former does not. INTA would like to see all registry
policy uniform on questions of second level domain (SLD) assignment and dispute
8. How should the transition to any new system be accomplished?
Ans: INTA supports the revisions to the existing system contained in the IAHC plan.
This plan is currently being implemented by the interim Policy Oversight Committee (iPOC).
As a member of IAHC and now iPOC, INTA has been involved in developing the new
system and providing input which reflects the needs and concerns of trademark owners
from around the world. In May 1997, INTA signed the gTLD Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) acknowledging its support for the IAHC system.
INTA believes the following aspects of the IAHC proposal will be beneficial to
In light of the benefits to trademark owners which are listed above, INTA urges the
U.S. government to issue a statement which acknowledges its full support of the IAHC
plan. INTA further urges the U.S. government to ensure that the gTLDs which are
currently administered exclusively by NSI (.com, .org and .net) as
per a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF), be made a part of
the shared registry system developed by the IAHC.
C. Creation of New gTLDs
INTA has answered questions 10, 11, 12 and 13
10. Are there technical, practical, and/or policy considerations that constrain the total
number of different gTLDs that can be created?
Ans: Some proposed domain name plans call for hundreds, even thousands of new
generic top level domains (gTLDs). This scenario presents a policing problem for trademark
owners, requiring them to spend countless hours monitoring for infringing use of their
marks. "Cybersquatters," the pirates of the Internet, would also be given more
opportunities to infringe on the good names of trademark owners.
11. Should additional gTLDs be created?
Ans: Not at this time. INTA advocates a "go-slow approach" and views the seven new
gTLDs (as proposed by the International Ad Hoc Committee) as an experiment, the results
of which, particularly in terms of the increased policing burden on trademark owners, must
be considered prior to adopting any more gTLDs.
12. Are there technical, practical, and/or policy issues about guaranteeing the
scalability of the name space associated with increasing the number of gTLDs?
Ans: See answer to question 10.
13. Are gTLD management issues separable from questions about ISO country code
Ans: The issues relating to gTLD management are separable from questions involving
ISO country code domains for two reasons, one historical and one practical. The historical is
that gTLDs and ISO country code domains simply have been treated separately over time
by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). The political/practical reason is
one of sovereignty and self-determination. INTA believes that the latter remains
important, in some respects, but the former does not. INTA would like to see all registry
policy uniform on questions of second level domain (SLD) assignment and dispute
D. Policies for Registrars
INTA has answered questions 18 and 20
18. Are there technical, business and/or policy issues about the name space raised by
increasing the number of domain name registrars?
Ans: There are significant business and policy reasons that caution against increasing the
number of domain name registrars. It cannot be emphasized enough that domain name
registrars must serve in a critical position of worldwide public trust. If one registrar fails
to keep that trust, the entire domain name system will suffer.
A policy to support a large (or unlimited) number of registrars bears a likelihood of
unintentionally creating economic incentives that will injure trademarks and the overall
interests of the domain name system. Because a high number of newly created registrars
would be competing for the finite resources of domain name applicants, such registrars
would be motivated purely by financial considerations to urge the creation of more and more
gTLDs over time to ensure profitability. Registrars would seek to create more gTLDs
regardless of the effect upon trademark rights or the needs and best interest of the
Internet as a whole.
Numerous registrars competing for profit and for finite resources, also create the
potential for a variety of other abuses. For example, a registrar, motivated by financial
gain, could misuse proprietary information in a shared registry database to encourage its
own applicants to "lock up" certain names. Registrars located in countries whose laws
are not as favorably disposed to protecting trademark rights, could also take advantage of
the current lack of harmonization in international trademark laws by encouraging
extortionists and infringers to take advantage of the jurisdictional advantages afforded
under the laws of a particular country. For these reasons alone, the number of domain
name registrars must be limited.
It is also instructive to look to the Final Report of the International Ad Hoc Committee
(IAHC) for guidance on this issue. That report had proposed the creation of no more than
28 new registrars, based on a regional quota and selected by lottery. One key feature of
that proposal was the requirement that the applicant agree to locate the registrar only in
countries that are party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property,
or are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and comply with at least Article
2 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
At an absolute minimum, it is critical to ensure that registrars be located in
countries that respect trademark laws.
20. Are there any other issues which should be addressed in this area?
Ans: Registrars should also be subject to a consistent set of registration and dispute
policies. INTA has proposed a domain name registry policy for second level domain names
that encourages meaningful and effective procedures for (1) ensuring accountability
by domain name registrants, (2) allowing complainants sufficient information through
an application, pre-screening and publication process to pursue appropriate legal remedies
against extortionists and infringers, (3) reducing "deadwood," i.e., unused domain names, (4)
increasing the available pool of domain names, (5) ensuring fair and legally supportable
decisions regarding domain names; and (6) reducing Network Information Center (NIC)
exposure and costs by taking NIC out of the dispute resolution business. INTA endorses the
procedures discussed in its proposal and recommends
that it serve as the mode to be adhered to by all approved registrars. A complete copy of the
INTA proposal can be found in Appendix II of the
INTA "White Paper."
E. Trademark Issues
INTA has answered questions 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27
21. What trademark rights (e.g., registered trademarks, common law trademarks,
geographic indications, etc.), if any, should be protected on the Internet vis-a-vis domain
Ans: INTA believes, that under certain circumstances, trademark rights need to be
protected vis-a-vis domain names. The issue should not be categorized in terms of
whether trademark rights stem from common law rights or registration but rather whether a
party can lay any claim to superior rights. It is important to note that trademark
registration does not confer trademark rights in the U.S. and certain common law
countries, but rather merely constitutes rebuttable evidence of those rights. In the U.S.,
substantive trademark rights arise from actual use as a trademark. In civil code
countries, trademark rights exist only through registration. Under trademark law,
most trademark owners do not own the right to
use the mark in question to the exclusion of all others -- many similar and identical marks
coexist happily and peaceably in commerce because rights are very often
limited by dissimilarities of products or services, and by jurisdictional territory.
Additional problems arise in the context of the Web. Because people use domain names
to locate Web resources, companies doing business online want domain names that are easy to
remember and relate to their products, trade names and trademarks. For example, a florist
might find the domain name flowers.com very valuable to identify it as a source of
flowers. Likewise, owners of famous trademarks (such as Microsoft) typically register
their trademarks as domain names
(such as microsoft.com). This kind of identification can be highly important to a
business that conducts commerce on the Internet. Moreover, many consumers
who do not know the domain name of a company often will first choose the principal
trademark of such company to locate the company's Web site.
However, the Internet was not created solely for commercial enterprise, and domain
names should not be the exclusive province of trademark owners. Thus, those with legitimate
non-trademark interests in second level domain names have to be accommodated along
with the rights of trademark owners. Similarly, the interests of owners of trademarks which
in commerce concurrently for non- related products or services must be considered, as do those
of well-known marks.
22. Should some process of preliminary review of an application for registration of a
domain name be required, before allocation, to determine if it conflicts with a trademark, a
trade name, a geographic indication, etc., if so, what standards should be used? Who should
conduct the preliminary review? If a conflict is found, what should be done, e.g., domain name
applicant and/or trademark owner is notified of the conflict? Automatic referral to dispute
Ans: After significant study and consideration, INTA concluded that Network
Solution's (NSI) domain name dispute resolution policy is unworkable and cannot be
"fixed," because neither NSI, nor any other future registrar or network information
center should be a tribunal for trademark dispute resolution or be expected to be a
specialist in trademark matters.
INTA believes that the issue of whether a domain name conflicts with a trademark
or trade name or otherwise is violative of some fundamental principle of trademark law,
would best be determined in the manner that trademark rights in
general are determined by established judicial and alternative dispute resolution
methods. Under the INTA plan (see Appendix II "White
Paper"), the proposed domain name would be published on a publicly available and
well- publicized database prior to its activation for a period of 90 days. During this
time, a potential challenger would have the opportunity to take whatever action it deemed
necessary with respect to an applied for second level domain name (SLD), including seeking
appropriate relief in the courts. It is anticipated that the publication period would afford
potentially adverse parties the opportunities to resolve their differences without litigation.
Generally, it is impractical to assume that satisfactory results will result if domain name
conflicts are automatically referred to any dispute settlement mechanism. There is no single,
international trademark law, so it not possible to reserve
disputes involving trademarks and domain names to a body applying a globally recognized body
of law. Therefore, in case of an automatic dispute referral system, the dissatisfied party will
often seek to have its rights adjudicated in a
INTA believes, however, that the alternative dispute mechanisms contained in the plan
created by the International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC) may be practical tools for
resolution of a number of international domain name disputes.
23. Aside from a preliminary review process, how should trademark rights be
protected on the Internet vis-a-vis domain names? What entity (ies) if any, should
resolve disputes? Are national courts the only appropriate forum for such disputes?
Specifically, is there a role for national/international governmental/non- governmental
Ans: Ideally, trademark disputes involving domain names should be settled voluntarily
by the parties. Whether by direct negotiation or mediation, these voluntary
solutions should be highly favored whenever possible. INTA is a strong supporter of
alternative dispute resolution.
The IAHC, of which INTA was a member, recognized that trademark owners rights arise under national trademark laws because there no single, universal international trademark law. The IAHC and INTA also recognize, that involving the registrar as an arbiter of disputes, no matter how well-intentioned, summarily confers upon a non-judicial body the discretion to essentially grant an injunction against a continued use of a second level domain, without any adjudication of the merits of the trademark owners claim against the domain name holder. Therefore, at this time, the INTA believes that national courts serve as the appropriate forum within which trademark rights can be fairly adjudicated if all voluntary efforts fail.
The IAHC, recognizing the demand for some kind of streamlined dispute resolution,
at least in the case of disputes involving a well-known mark, has recommended
the creation of administrative domain name challenge panels. These panels do not
substitute for national or regional sovereign courts; they have authority over the domain
names only, not the parties. Unlike courts, however, the challenge panels would have the
ability to exclude certain names such as well- known trademarks from all generic top level
domains (gTLDs). These standards by which such panels would operate are still being
developed. INTA believes that such an approach may prove to be an effective tool against
24. How can conflicts over trademarks best be prevented? What information
resources (e.g., data bases of registered domain names, registered trademarks, trade
names) could help reduce potential conflicts? If there should be a data
base(s), who should create the data base(s)? How should such a data base be used?
Ans: Conflicts over trademarks in cyberspace can best be prevented through traditional
means. A party wishing to protect a trademark throughout the world, should register
the trademark in as many countries as possible and otherwise attempt to publicize the
proprietary status of the trademark. The importance of national trademark registrations is not
diminished under INTA's proposed policies, as national trademark courts will continue to
look to national laws, which primarily rely on trademark registrations as indications of a
mark's protectability. Trademarks which are well-known around the world can be protected in
countries in which the mark is not registered under the provisions of Article 6 (bis) of the
Paris Convention to which nearly all trademark jurisdictions are signatories.
Trademark owners will continue to have a duty to police the use of their marks
throughout the world. Vigilant policing and early detection of infringement usually prevents
disputes from becoming litigations.
The IAHC plan (and INTA's proposed domain name registration policy) mandates that
an application to register a second level domain name be quite detailed, as
explained in response to question 25. Under INTA's proposal, all of these details would be
published by the local registrar on a central publicly available Web site for 90 days before the
registration becomes effective and before
the registrant may begin use. The publication period would commence no later than one
week after the registrar receives a fully completed application, including the fee. The
publication period would allow potential challengers to take appropriate action. It is
assumed that commercial searching services and smart agents/robot searching
programs would be sufficient to monitor the publication Web site. In fact,
such agencies already actively monitor the registration of new domain names
and the use of trademarks on the Internet. The purpose of the database would be for
potential challengers to a SLD to determine if sufficient cause exists to object to or take
any action against the issuance of the new domain name, preferably, within the 90-day
25. Should domain name applicants be required to demonstrate that they have a basis
for requesting a particular domain name? If so, what information should be supplied? Who
should evaluate the information? On the value of what criteria?
Ans: Applicants should be required to identify the basis for their particular domain name request. As further described in INTA's proposed registry policy (see Appendix II of INTA "White Paper"), INTA believes that standard registration procedure should require the applicant to disclose the following information:
* That there is a bona fide intention to publicly use the
domain name within 60 days of its registration and a bona fide intent to continue
such use for the foreseeable future.
* That the domain name will be used for a [stated] use (e.g.,
for a web site to advertise the applicant's business, namely,________.) (This
can be a very broad statement and is not intended to restrict actual use.)
* That the applicant believes that the domain name is available
and does not infringe the rights of any other party.
* That the applicant submits subject matter jurisdiction in an
action brought under trademark or unfair competition law, or analogous laws
arising out of the actual or intended use of the domain name, and also submits personal
jurisdiction in any competent
tribunal in the county in which the registrar to which the domain name would
be registered is located, and waives the right to challenge either
* That the basis for the claim could be the applicant's
trademark, or business name, or nickname, or child's name, etc.
The INTA domain name registration policy would also mandate a renewal process,
similar to the application process, with a sworn statement by the applicant individual or
the officer/general partner of the applicant business entity setting
forth the actual use of the domain name since the application or last renewal
It is not the purpose of the registrar to evaluate the information. The information would
be made publicly available so that owners of trademark rights or other potential challengers
of the second level domain may fully evaluate the basis on which the domain name has been
requested. It is INTA's belief that a great deal of litigation can be avoided once it is made
clear that a domain name applicant's intended or actual use does not conflict with any trademark
rights of the potential challenger. Additionally, INTA strongly believes that a potential
domain name holder will be very hesitant to commit acts of piracy when, as opposed to the
present time, it is forced to disclose extensive information under oath and subject itself to
services of legal process and jurisdiction.
26. How would the number of different gTLDs and the number of registrars affect the
number and cost of resolving trademark disputes?
Ans: Creating multiple gTLDs may result in more problems for the owners of
trademarks by imposing an enormous policing burden on the trademark owner requiring them to
spend additional fees for monitoring each new international top level domain
(TLD) for potential infringement/dilution. Further, as long as registering another's
trademark as a domain name is considered lucrative, each new gTLD creates the opportunity
for valuable trademarks to be misappropriated.
27. Where there are valid, but conflicting trademark rights for a single domain name,
are there any technological solutions?
Ans: A directory of domain names could assist in alleviating likelihood of confusion, but this is not a complete solution. A directory would assist in situations where legitimate trademark owners would normally co-exist without confusion in industry. For example, apple.com could legitimately be owned by companies such as Apple Computers, Apple Records or Apple Bank. A directory appearing on the screen at the outset when "apple" is typed could assist the user in locating the correct company. However, a directory will not help in the case of an extortionist who registers a well-known mark as a domain name. Further, a directory would not assist in instances where the user does not have enough information in the directory to figure out which company it is seeking: e.g., XYZ, Inc., XYZ Company, XYZ Industries. Consequently, INTA supports development of directories, but maintains it only addresses one part of the domain name problem.
### Number: 151 From: Darrell Greenwood <Darrell_Greenwood@mindlink.net> To: NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(dns) Date: 8/4/97 3:21pm Subject: Comments - Registration And Administration Of Internet Domain Names Before the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Telecommunications and Information Administration Washington, DC 20230 In the Matter of ) ) REGISTRATION AND ADMINISTRATION OF ) Docket No. 970613137-7137-01 INTERNET DOMAIN NAMES ) Comments of Darrell Greenwood (signed) by Darrell Greenwood Aug 4, 1997 Darrell Greenwood 3985 Dundas, Burnaby, BC Canada, V5C 1A6 Retired Aug 4, 1997 ------------------------------ break ------------------------------ TABLE OF CONTENTS Summary A. Appropriate Principles Principles a-f Other principles B. General/Organizational Framework Issues Questions 1-9 C. Creation of New gTLDs Questions 10-14 D. Policies for Registries Questions 15-20 E. Trademark Issues Questions 21-28 F. Other Issues [List other issues addressed] ------------------------------ break ------------------------------ SUMMARY I support the principles of the gTLD-MoU at <http://www.iahc.org/gTLD-MoU.html>. I reproduce these principles below for ease of reference; SECTION 2. - Principles The following principles are adopted: a. the Internet Top Level Domain (TLD) name space is a public resource and is subject to the public trust; b. any administration, use and/or evolution of the Internet TLD space is a public policy issue and should be carried out in the interests and service of the public; c. related public policy needs to balance and represent the interests of the current and future stakeholders in the Internet name space; d. the current and future Internet name space stakeholders can benefit most from a self-regulatory and market-oriented approach to Internet domain name registration services; e. registration services for the gTLD name space should provide for global distribution of registrars; f. a policy shall be implemented that a second-level domain name in any of the CORE-gTLDs which is identical or closely similar to an alphanumeric string that, for the purposes of this policy, is deemed to be internationally known, and for which demonstrable intellectual property rights exist, may be held or used only by, or with the authorization of, the owner of such demonstrable intellectual property rights. Appropriate consideration shall be given to possible use of such a second-level domain name by a third party that, for the purposes of this policy, is deemed to have sufficient rights. ------------------------------ break ------------------------------ Before the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Telecommunications and Information Administration Washington, DC 20230 In the Matter of ) ) REGISTRATION AND ADMINISTRATION OF ) Docket No. 970613137-7137-01 INTERNET DOMAIN NAMES ) Comments of Darrell Burtt Greenwood I, Darrell Greenwood, respectfully submit comments in this proceeding. I am a retired telecommunications manager and internet user who participated fully in the IAHC-discuss mail list, reading all submissions to the mail list during its life, reading related material and commenting to the mail list as appropriate. I have no financial or other interests in any internet, ISP, or registrar business and submit these comments as an internet user. ------------------------------ break ------------------------------ A. APPROPRIATE PRINCIPLES a. Competition in and expansion of the domain name registration system should be encouraged. Conflicting domains, systems, and registries should not be permitted to jeopardize the interoperation of the Internet, however. The addressing scheme should not prevent any user from connecting to any other site. Yes. b. The private sector, with input from governments, should develop stable, consensus-based self-governing mechanisms for domain name registration and management that adequately defines responsibilities and maintains accountability. Yes. c. These self-governance mechanisms should recognize the inherently global nature of the Internet and be able to evolve as necessary over time. Yes. d. The overall framework for accommodating competition should be open, robust, efficient, and fair. Yes. e. The overall policy framework as well as name allocation and management mechanisms should promote prompt, fair, and efficient resolution of conflicts, including conflicts over proprietary rights. Yes. f. A framework should be adopted as quickly as prudent consideration of these issues permits. Yes. ------------------------------ break ------------------------------ B. GENERAL/ORGANIZATIONAL FRAMEWORK ISSUES 1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of current domain name registration systems? Disadvantage - NSI monopoly. 2. How might current domain name systems be improved? Eliminate monopolies. 3. By what entity, entities, or types of entities should current domain name systems be administered? What should the makeup of such an entity be? The gTLD - MoU covers this well. 4. Are there decision-making processes that can serve as models for deciding on domain name registration systems (e.g., network numbering plan, standard-setting processes, spectrum allocation)? Are there private/public sector administered models or regimes that can be used for domain name registration (e.g., network numbering plan, standard setting processes, or spectrum allocation processes)? What is the proper role of national or international governmental/non- governmental organizations, if any, in national and international domain name registration systems? The gTLD - MoU covers this well. 5. Should generic top level domains (gTLDs), (e.g., .com), be retired from circulation? Should geographic or country codes (e.g., .US) be required? If so, what should happen to the .com registry? Are gTLD management issues separable from questions about International Standards Organization (ISO) country code domains? It is not practical to retire the gTLDs. 6. Are there any technological solutions to current domain name registration issues? Are there any issues concerning the relationship of registrars and gTLDs with root servers? The gTLD - MoU covers this well. 7. How can we ensure the scalability of the domain name system name and address spaces as well as ensure that root servers continue to interoperate and coordinate? The gTLD - MoU covers this well. 8. How should the transition to any new systems be accomplished? The gTLD - MoU covers this well. Direction is needed from NSF or appropriate agency to NSI to cause NSI to cooperate in making the transistion to the system outlined in the gTLD - MoU. 9. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this area? I have no further comments in this area. ------------------------------ break ------------------------------ C. CREATION OF NEW gTLDs 10. Are there technical, practical, and/or policy considerations that constrain the total number of different gTLDs that can be created? No. 11. Should additional gTLDs be created? Yes. 12. Are there technical, business, and/or policy issues about guaranteeing the scalability of the name space associated with increasing the number of gTLDs? Yes. The issues are handled by the gTLD - MoU. 13. Are gTLD management issues separable from questions about ISO country code domains? Yes. 14. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this area? I have no further comments in this area. ------------------------------ break ------------------------------ D. POLICIES FOR REGISTRIES 15. Should a gTLD registrar have exclusive control over a particular gTLD? Are there any technical limitations on using shared registries for some or all gTLDs? Can exclusive and non-exclusive gTLDs coexist? A gTLD registrar absolutely should *not*, repeat *not*, have exclusive control. This would have, and has had, a major negative impact on domain name holders. 16. Should there be threshold requirements for domain name registrars, and what responsibilities should such registrars have? Who will determine these and how? The threshold requirements should be as low as practical. Ideally every ISP should find it possible to be a registrar if they wish. 17. Are there technical limitations on the possible number of domain name registrars? No. No practical limitation in the near future, other than not having too many during the startup period. 18. Are there technical, business and/or policy issues about the name space raised by increasing the number of domain name registrars? Yes. The gTLD - MoU handles this well. 19. Should there be a limit on the number of different gTLDs a given registrar can administer? Does this depend on whether the registrar has exclusive or non-exclusive rights to the gTLD? No, there should be no limit on the number of different gTLDs a registrar can handle. 20. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this area? I have no further comments in this area. ------------------------------ break ------------------------------ E. TRADEMARK ISSUES 21. What trademark rights (e.g., registered trademarks, common law trademarks, geographic indications, etc.), if any, should be protected on the Internet vis-a-vis domain names? Minimal trademark rights should be protected. In this case the gTLD - MoU is possibly more protective than it should be in my opinion, but I can live with 'internationally known' trademarks being protected as detailed in the gTLD - MoU. 22. Should some process of preliminary review of an application for registration of a domain name be required, before allocation, to determine if it conflicts with a trademark, a trade name, a geographic indication, etc.? If so, what standards should be used? Who should conduct the preliminary review? If a conflict is found, what should be done, e.g., domain name applicant and/or trademark owner notified of the conflict? Automatic referral to dispute settlement? gTLD - MoU is the best solution for these questions. In the long run policies should be adopted by the POC of the gTLD - MoU which eliminates the profitablity and existence of domain name hoarders. 23. Aside from a preliminary review process, how should trademark rights be protected on the Internet vis-a-vis domain names? What entity(ies), if any, should resolve disputes? Are national courts the only appropriate forum for such disputes? Specifically, is there a role for national/international governmental/nongovernmental organizations? The gTLD - MoU covers this well. 24. How can conflicts over trademarks best be prevented? What information resources (e.g. databases of registered domain names, registered trademarks, trade names) could help reduce potential conflicts? If there should be a database(s), who should create the database(s)? How should such a database(s) be used? A domain name should not be considered a trademark item any more than a 'vanity' automobile license plate is considered a trademark item. 25. Should domain name applicants be required to demonstrate that they have a basis for requesting a particular domain name? If so, what information should be supplied? Who should evaluate the information? On the basis of what criteria? No. 26. How would the number of different gTLDs and the number of registrars affect the number and cost of resolving trademark disputes? If there is minimal interaction between trademarks and domain names as there should be, the number of different gTLDs and number of registrars will have no effect in the number and cost of resolving trademark disputes. 27. Where there are valid, but conflicting trademark rights for a single domain name, are there any technological solutions? No. 28. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this area? I have no further comments in this area. ------------------------------ break ------------------------------ F. OTHER ISSUES I have no comments in this area. ------------------------------ break ------------------------------ Annex 1 SERVICE LIST [List parties to whom you provided courtesy copies.] None. ### Number: 152 From: "Justin T. Youens" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(dns),NTIADC40.SMTP40("aggie@clea... Date: 8/4/97 12:23pm Subject: dns comments my comments on dns setup I think that the current system is reliable at best. We need faster and more solid processing on domain services. My company is a victim of the sluggish and "forgetful" registration process. One request for a modification, registration, or deletion should be all that is needed, and a response should happen instantly, with processing shortly there after. We all know where technology is right now, and it is certainly capable of going through a database, no matter the size, and making a couple of changes in a couple of minutes. Yet we must wait weeks for even a reply that the request was recieved! I thought E-Mail worked faster than that! I guess it doesn't, my friends just see into the future and write me replies to my mail weeks in advance. This also applies for NIC Handles, DNS information, and everything. I think that the future of the net needs to be a little more concerned about the businesses that make up, support, and rely on it. As for organization of domains. There needs to be more defining extentions. Lets make so new ones that reach out further and divide the people having fun from the businesses. Make a new one for "tourist attractions" maybe ".fun". One for porn, maybe ".xxx". One for public schools, maybe ".pub". This would make things so much easier if someone would sit down and think up who has domains, and how to catagorize them. I know it would make programs such as Net Nanny easier to opperate, and it could even be incorporated into browsers easier. Schools could simply lock out all "????.xxx" and not have to worry about it. Then enforce it. No one can put commercial stuff on ".fun", and no porn unless its on a ".xxx". If someone breaks the rules, take their domain. Or make a 3 strikes you're out program. Or if its a user on an ISP, make the ISP cancel their web page abilities. Also have the ISPs check their own space so that the work can be divided up. And if they don't, or they slack off, penalize them. We can't have the net a place of anarchy, but we shouldn't try to be dictorial about it either. My 2 pence. John Daniels I-Pagez Internet Creations email@example.com (as soon as my domain gets its modification processed) firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com ### Number: 153 From: Barry Cohen <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: 8/4/97 4:03pm Attached please find the CASIE Response to the Department of Commerce request for Comments regarding the Internet. The format of the document is WordPerfect 6X for windows. Please call me at the number below or send email if you have any problems accessing this file. Barry Cohen Director of Information Technology Hall Dickler Kent Friedman & Wood LLP 909 Third Avenue New York, NY 10022-4731 212-339-5456 Coalition for Advertising Supported Information and Entertainment (CASIE) Submission to the Department of Commerce Request for Comments on the Registration and Administration of Internet Domain Names Docket No. 970613137-7137-01 To: Patrice Washington, Office of Public Affairs, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Room 4898, 14th St. And Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20230 From: Douglas J. Wood, Esq., CASIE Legal Counsel, Hall Dickler Kent Friedman & Wood LLP, 909 Third Ave., New York, NY 10022. Telephone: (212) 339-5400; Telecopy: (212) 935-3121; email: email@example.com. This submission to the Department of Commerce Request for Comments on the Registration and Administration of Internet Domain Names is filed on behalf of the Coalition for Advertising Supported Information and Entertainment (CASIE), a joint effort of the U.S. based Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA or 4A's), the members of which have and continue to spend millions of dollars per year on Web sites and electronic commerce. They are among the true users of the Internet. Before commenting on the specific questions posed by the Department, some general observations are in order. I. CASIE and Its Involvement Since January, 1996, CASIE has been monitoring and evaluating changes to the Internet that may become effective as early as this fall. This included attendance at key meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, Washington, D.C. and New York City. These meetings included sessions with representatives from both the International Ad Hoc Committee ("IAHC") and Network Solutions, Inc. ("NSI"), the two main proponents of change. The proposed changes may have a profound impact on the Internet. Unfortunately, the IAHC, now known as the Interim Policy Oversight Committee ("iPOC") and NSI have become polarized in the debate. The polarization is largely due to NSI's failure to participate in the public forums in Geneva and elsewhere sponsored by, or held on behalf of, the iPOC. This lack of open communication and debate by and between the two primary players in the controversy has created the troublesome possibility of disruption -- or worse yet fragmentation -- of the Internet. This could mean e-mail does not get delivered, security is compromised, and Web sites become inaccessible from some computers. Given the fragility of the Internet and its unproven performance as an effective form of media for advertisers, the present situation has received close attention by the U.S. advertiser and advertising agency communities who collectively have contributed the bulk of funds thus far invested in the Internet. II. The Historical Perspective While CASIE does knows that the Commerce Department is aware of much of the history of the Internet that has brought us to the present situation, it is nonetheless helpful for CASIE to outline its understanding of that history. If there is any material error in its understanding, CASIE welcomes corrections. Historically, Internet administration was primarily under the auspices of the Internet Architectural Board ("IAB") and the Internet Assigned Number Authority ("IANA"). IAB was responsible for the technical architecture of the Internet and the IANA was responsible for administering the allocation of Internet addresses among various registrars that dealt with those in the public who wanted to establish a presence or Web site on the Internet. From the outset, IAB and the IANA worked with the National Science Foundation ("NSF"), an agency within the U.S. government dedicated, in part, to the development of new businesses in the science and technology sector. As the Internet grew, the NSF decided some existing roles could be subcontracted to the private sector. In 1992, the NSF called for private sector bids to administer registrations under the .com, .net, and .org. gTLDs. NSI won the bid. The contract expires in March, 1998. Upon winning the bid, NSI took control of InterNIC, the body that dealt with the public in the registration process in a nonprofit status. At the same time, two other "NIC's" were operating, ApNIC, covering the Asian Pacific area, and RIPE, covering most of Europe, although the geographical coverage of each was technically not exclusive. Nonetheless, InterNIC focused primarily on the United States where the greatest growth occurred. NSI invested millions of dollars in developing .com, .net, and .org. It was .com, however, that saw the greatest growth, now with more than 1.4 million registrants and new registrants coming aboard at a reported pace of nearly 100,000 per month. All this ran smoothly until 1996 when the NSF granted NSI permission to charge a fee to new registrants and to require renewal fees from those already on the Internet and to become a profit-making entity. Not surprisingly, NSI started making significant revenues, much to the consternation of some members of the Internet community. The prospect of profits also caught the attention of many would-be entrepreneurs hoping to cash in on the bonanza. They took a number of forms. First, an entire industry of Web site designers and access providers was born. Today, it is probably the most robust industry associated with the Internet. On a somewhat parallel course to the InterNIC, the Alternic was formed by a loose association of companies offering access to the Internet via their own network servers, using any variety of top level domain names to entice registrants. Some of the Alternic's TLDs included .corp., .web, .arts, and .sex, each name intended to indicate the nature of materials a consumer might find within the given gTLD. The Alternic, however, never really took off and is rumored today to be largely a thing of the past, although some of the organizations that first formed the Alternic are supposedly trying to form yet another network that will access the Internet. The NSF added more confusion to the situation when it announced in April, 1997 that upon expiration of its contract with NSI in March, 1998 for the administration of its gTLDs, the NSF would not renew NSI's contract and would no longer stay involved in Internet administration, leaving it to the private sector to sort it all out. This abandonment allowed NSI to claim brand ownership of .com, .net, and .org, the underpinning of NSI's competition model. This is a somewhat curious position. Clearly, when NSI was awarded the contract, it did not own the gTLDs it administered under the terms of its contract with NSF. Its position, however, is that it built the gTLDs into the brands they are today. In NSI's words, "it invested millions in developing personnel, policies and infrastructure to run domain name registrations. Through its own efforts alone, NSI has taken full risk on profit and loss, with no assurances of profit." It is under this theory that NSI presumably believes it has a right to claim ownership of its gTLDs. This, however, would depend upon applicable local trademark laws. During this process, it also became apparent that the second level domains ("SLDs") were very valuable commodities. Since the Internet is a technical environment, no two SLDs can be identical within the same gTLD. For example, there can be only one cocacola.com. While that may seem logical insofar as The Coca-Cola Company is concerned, the issue is far more complicated in other examples. Who should have the right to delta.com? Delta Airlines or Delta Faucets? Who should have the right to united.com? United Airlines or United Van Lines? This dilemma gave rise to cybersquatters, individuals who rushed to register as many SLDs with names associated with famous trademarks or companies as they could with the hope of later selling them to the highest bidder. Trademark owners revolted and demanded that NSI address the situation. In response, NSI set up a rigid procedure whereby a disgruntled trademark owner could challenge a domain name holder on the basis of its superior trademark rights. If victorious, the trademark owner would have the right to the disputed SLD. While the NSI challenge process served to solve some of the problems, it created new ones as well, particularly since it depended on the judicial system if a matter could not be settled. According to NSI, the result has been twenty six lawsuits naming NSI as a defendant. All but four of the suits have reportedly been settled. NSI points out that this is a relatively insignificant number given the more than 1.4 million registrants. Not within the number of lawsuits, however, are the unknown number of private battles between claimants to the same or similar SLDs and the unknown number of would-be registrants who have abandoned a claim to a previously claimed SLD even where they might have had a valid claim. Add the business disruption that lawsuits cause, and the "insignificance" of the problem is put into better perspective. As the phenomenon of cybersquatting grew, it became apparent that SLD space was a very valuable commodity that grew scarcer every day as more and more names were registered with InterNIC. Amid all this controversy, there was also a concern among some in the Internet technical community, that the .com domain was growing too fast and that its growth could undermine the structural integrity of the network. It should be noted that NSI disputes the conclusion that huge growth within the .com domain threatens the stability of the Internet. From this was born the IAHC. While it is not altogether clear how the IAHC was formed, its goals were to establish a centralized administrative structure for the Internet and to introduce competition to NSI in domain name registration and administration. To understand the next stage of the controversy precipitated by the organization of the IAHC requires some basic understanding of how the Internet works. Composing the heart of the Internet are the primary root servers. There are presently nine primary root servers operating, eight in the United States and one in Sweden. There can be as many as thirteen primary root servers under the present structure of the Internet, the technical reasons for which are unnecessary to this discussion. These primary root servers are designated with the first thirteen letters of the alphabet -- "A" through "I" (most of which are maintained by uncompensated volunteers who consider IANA the ultimate authority). It is to the primary root servers that the Internet Service Providers ("ISPs") and Internet Access Providers ("IAPs") connect to access the Internet and begin the journey of a given message from one remote computer to another somewhere else in the world. Perhaps the easiest way to understand the structure is to picture the primary root servers as a multi-line telephone, with the "A" server representing the first line and the remaining servers, "B" through "I" representing the balance of the lines. In order for the Internet to work, all registrants in all TLDs, including the ISO 3166 country codes, must have their Internet addresses entered first on the A server's database and then downloaded to the B through I servers. By doing so, whenever a Web user accesses the Internet through his or her ISP or IAP, that Internet provider's connection to any of the primary servers enables a search of the primary root server databases until the location of the address the Web user requested is found and the connection completed. At present, NSI owns and controls the "A" primary root server. Every day, thousands of new Internet addresses are loaded into its database by registrars of the ISO 3166 country codes, its own InterNIC database of new registrants, and any new registrations from APNIC or RIPE. These are in turn downloaded into the databases of the other primary root servers. Thus, new addresses, including any new gTLDs and associated SLDs attached to those gTLDs, cannot get into the Internet unless they are first entered into the NSI's primary root server. Recently, however, NSI has publicly taken the position that it does not have the authority to accept new gTLDs, citing that such authority must come from a consensus within the Internet community. Contrary to previously understood "protocol," it has become apparent that NSI no longer recognizes the IANA as the authority over the authorization of new TLDs, despite the fact that NSI accepted that authority for years under what is described as a cooperative agreement between NSI and the IANA. Since the IANA is a part of the IAHC and a proponent of the IAHC competition model, it would be inconsistent for NSI to propose its own plan and at the same time take instructions from the IANA, despite its history of doing so. On the other hand, the IANA clearly believes it has authority to unilaterally authorize the new gTLDs, although a letter has been circulated by NSI from legal counsel for the University of Southern California where the IANA resides that denies the IANA unilaterally has such authority, again citing that such authority must come from a "consensus" within the Internet community. The problem with both NSI's and USC's legal counsel's position is that NSI can effectively veto any additional gTLDs if it disagrees with their implementation since NSI is a material part of the Internet community whose disagreement with a given course destroys the prospect of consensus. This is where the real confusion starts. The IANA has publicly said it does not believe NSI will violate its long-standing cooperative understanding with the IANA and refuse to program the new gTLDs into the Internet Domain Name Service. The IANA has posted a number of warnings to NSI regarding what the IANA believes to be NSI's obligation in that regard. NSI, however, continues with its public position of lacking authority to implement the IAHC proposal. In the face of this, it is rumored that the IANA could order a realignment of the primary root servers so that the one maintained by NSI is no longer the "A" server from which all programming of new Internet addresses emanates. The problem with that scenario, however, is that nothing would force NSI to include the new programming on its server, thereby "splitting" the Internet so that .com could not, for example, communicate with .firm and vice versa. The IAHC proposal calls for the new gTLDs to become active as early as fall 1997. If the stalemate between NSI and the IANA is not resolved by then, the Internet community may face a disruption of the Internet. It is also important to remember that among the original group of Internet founders are those who are very passionate about the integrity and stability of the Internet. Should NSI or any other organization play an active role in any disruption, the "old timers" on the Internet, many of whom are very technically savvy, may strike back by creating even more disruption with "spamming" or other destructive programming. It is possible that, should the IANA "program out" NSI's "A" server, the remaining servers comprising the Internet might be significantly more vulnerable to hacker attacks. Such knee jerk reaction by Internet fanatics is not unprecedented. III. The Competing Proposals A. The IAHC Proposal The IAHC has proposed a number of profound changes in the present structure of the Internet. The key changes are: ú Basic administration of the Internet by the Policy Oversight Committee ("POC") whose members are appointed by a group of trade associations and quasi-governmental organizations. The POC will be physically based in Geneva, Switzerland. The iPOC is in place until the full POC is appointed later this year. ú Seven new gTLDs: ú firm -- for businesses or firms; ú store -- for businesses offering goods to purchase; ú web -- for entities emphasizing activities related to the World Wide Web ú arts -- for entities emphasizing cultural and entertainment activities ú rec -- for entities emphasizing recreation/entertainment activities ú info -- for entities providing information services ú nom -- for those wishing individual or personal nomenclature ú The addition of new registrars to compete with InterNIC via a shared database of all SLD registrations worldwide. Under the iPOC proposal, SLDs are "portable" -- a company can choose to use any registrar to register and/or administer its SLD and can change registrars at any time. Such a move would not require a change in an Internet address and would be transparent to consumers, much like a change in long distance telephone carriers. ú The establishment of a self-regulatory process to resolve disputes over the ownership of SLDs in instances where the owner of an "international trademark" disputes a SLD registrant's right to a particular domain name. The procedure also allows for the owner of an international trademark to petition for a special ruling that its international trademarks can be used only by it in any or all of the gTLDs. A. The NSI Proposal In response to the IAHC proposal, NSI released its own plan. The key provisions in the NSI proposal are the following: ú Basic administration of the Internet by the Federal Advisory Committee initially under the sponsorship of a U.S. government agency and later shifted to an organization sponsored by an entity like the U.N. ú SLDs would not be shared in a common database. NSI would continue to "own" .com, .net, and .org and all the SLD registrations within those domains. Marketplace demands would dictate whether new registrars are formed to compete with NSI's InterNIC. If a company desires to enter the market as a registrar, it would create its own gTLD and "own" it and the SLD registrations within it. Thus, SLDs are not portable among registrars unless an owner is willing to change the gTLD, e.g., cocacola.com would become cocacola.firm. ú Unlike the IAHC proposal, no new gTLDs are immediately proposed. New gTLDs would be added as new companies chose to become registrars as marketplace demands dictate. ú Much like the present procedure, there is no centralized SLD dispute resolution system in the NSI plan. Fights over who has the right to a given SLD would be determined primarily by local courts. IV. CASIE's Review and Conclusions In the end, CASIE's primary concern is that the Internet be a stable medium for delivery of product and service information and commercial messages to consumers. Any system must also respect brands, minimize consumer confusion, and avoid unnecessary administrative expenses in doing so. The IAHC proposal is one approach. NSI's is another. The fact remains that many individuals, organizations, and companies very new to the Internet only learned of the IAHC/NSI debate in December, 1996, the timing of which made it very difficult to focus on given the holidays. In the ensuing months, however, CASIE has had the opportunity to review both the IAHC and the NSI proposals and to meet with the principals of both organizations as well as attend key meetings on the future of the Internet. CASIE feels it is very competent to voice its opinion on the various proposals. On the basis of that review, CASIE believes that the IAHC plan is a sound beginning and that the NSI plan is fatally flawed and should be rejected as a viable structure for the Internet for numerous reasons, including the following: ú The NSI proposal has more government involvement and oversight than the IAHC proposal. Contrary to the rhetoric in the marketplace, the IAHC has less government oversight and involvement than the NSI proposal. Indeed, the entire underpinning of the NSI proposal is initial sponsorship by a U.S. government agency. While the IAHC proposal has quasi-government organizations involved, their role is not pivotal and is less intrusive. Interestingly, NSI describes the IAHC proposal as "too bureaucratic." Yet NSI's proposal has just as many bureaucratic layers. ú The NSI proposal will allow for virtually uncontrolled proliferation of gTLD's without a common SLD dispute resolution system in place. Since increasing gTLDs will undoubtedly become a reality in the near future, it is better that it be controlled by a single source rather than by the whims of entrepreneurs. Otherwise, there is no assurance that a given gTLD will be here one day and fail the next, leaving registrants in the lurch. Thus, the NSI proposal is not attractive for brands and brand protection for at least two reasons: > There is potential for consumer confusion as gTLDs are added without centralized control or efficient directories, e.g., consumer confusion in trying to remember which gTLD serves a given SLD and whether it has changed. > Because the NSI proposal has no viable provision for centralized SLD dispute resolution, it leaves controversies to present judicial systems where brand protection is spotty and expensive and where each country may have entirely different approaches to trademark protection. ú The lack of portability of an SLD together with its corresponding gTLD poses a significant problem for brand owners. Since brand names are often embedded in the domain address, changes are undesirable. In addition, the task of notifying consumers of a change should a registrant change to another gTLD is unnecessary and cumbersome. Under the NSI proposal, if a registrant is dissatisfied with its registrar, it must change its address to a new gTLD should it "relocate." This would in turn require "change of address" notices to Web browsers and consumers, revising Web page content, and loss of immediate connection by those consumers who have bookmarked the prior location. Under the IAHC proposal, a change in registrars would be transparent to the consumer. The result is better for both the domain owner and the public. ú The competition model in the IAHC proposal is better. Based upon competition at the SLD level, the IAHC proposal will create more robust competition. Pricing and service will be the keys to distinguish one registrar from another under the IAHC proposal. Under the NSI proposal, competition is at the gTLD level. Given the inability to migrate an address, a registrant is somewhat captured by a registrar under the NSI proposal. Clearly, it is less desirable to change a gTLD under the NSI proposal than it is to change a registrar under the IAHC proposal. The latter is invisible to the consumer, the former requires Web page content changes, explanations to consumers, and additional expenses. NSI argues that the "IAHC proposal does not recognize the need for market branding in the commercial world. Legitimate corporations will not invest time, stockholder capital, and other resources in 'shared' brands." While it may be true that a given company may be more motivated to invest in servicing a gTLD if it owns it, there are plenty of marketplace examples where servicing shared databases has made for very healthy competition. The battle for long distance telephone carriage is but one of them. NSI's conclusion is a generality that does not pass muster under examination. ú Contrary to perception, the key players in the iPOC are U.S. based and thereby maintain, at least philosophically, a U.S.-centric Internet. While the NSI proposal is also U.S.-centric, it is dominated by government, not business. It is inaccurate to characterize the IAHC proposal as a power grab to remove the U.S. from its dominant position within the Internet community. The first chair of the iPOC is a well respected and accomplished trademark attorney from a Chicago law firm. Without doubt, the United States is well represented in the IAHC plan. ú NSI has been less than forthcoming in its public statements regarding the issues surrounding the IAHC proposal. For example, NSI has repeatedly claimed in written materials that "The White House, State Department, European Commission, CIX (the largest ISP organization with 170 members), and dozens of other commercial and international organizations outright reject or have serious concerns with the IAHC proposal ..." At best, this statement can be described as exaggerated; at worst misleading. At meetings in Geneva when this statement was read into the record, the United States representative and the European Commission delegate denied the characterization. Their positions have been that they take no position -- positive, negative, or neutral -- on the proposal. That is a far cry from saying they "outright reject or have serious concerns" with the proposal. ú NSI has not participated in the open meetings conducted by the IAHC in Geneva despite opportunities to do so. It is disingenuous at best to criticize a competing program while refusing to publicly debate the opposing side when given the opportunity to do so. NSI has said it did not participate because it did not want to give the impression that it recognized the IAHC as having authority to propose or implement any of its proposed changes. Such a position is nonsense. The members of the IAHC are as much a part of the Internet community as NSI. NSI should have given them the mutual respect of open discussion. It would have prevented much of the rhetoric that clouds the issues at hand. ú NSI's proposal is motivated primarily by its desire to protect its investment and market share, particularly in light of its recently announced plans for an initial public offering. That is entirely understandable. Were they to adopt the IAHC proposal, it could result in corporate suicide. Follow this scenario. The IAHC proposal is endorsed by NSI and its database of registrants becomes part of the shared database available to all registrars. Among the new registrars are the likes of Digital, MCI, and other telecommunications giants. Overnight, NSI would move from a dominant to an insignificant role. Given that not unrealistic scenario, one can understand NSI's position. What is best for NSI's market position, however, is not necessarily what is best for the Internet community. The players in the IAHC proposal do not appear, however, to be in the game for money. Two of the IAHC members -- ITU and WIPO -- are quasi-governmental agencies. The remaining members -- the IANA, INTA, ISOC, and IAB -- are non-profit entities. While it is true they seek power, that power appears to be motivated not by economics but by their collective perception of what is best for the stable operation of the Internet. One may disagree with many parts of their proposal, but it is clearly a plan by a group far more representative of the Internet community than NSI. In CASIE's support of the IAHC plan, however, it should not be assumed that CASIE does not have material concerns about that plan as well. In CASIE's opinion, the following issues should be debated and resolved before the IAHC plan is implemented: ú Its alternative dispute resolution system's failure to include coverage of the ISO 3166 country codes may create inconsistencies; ú The POC should be more representative of the Internet community and include members of the marketing community, third world countries just beginning to take part in Internet commerce, and international chambers of commerce, to name a few. ú IANA's and ISOC's veto power on the POC is unworkable and likely to alienate whatever Internet community exists; ú The lack of formal legal status of some of the bodies within the IAHC structure creates due process and jurisdictional issues that need to be resolved; ú Further attention needs to be given whether there will be a way to pre- screen SLDs; ú The impact, if any, of moving jurisdiction over the administration of the Internet to Geneva needs to be evaluated. ú France's concern expressed in Geneva at the late May meeting that the IAHC proposal SLD dispute resolution system as submitted may be hard to enforce, is time consuming, and may be too expensive should be evaluated. ú NSI properly points out that the IAHC proposal does not "address the total situation." NSI claims IAHC fails to address three important areas: the allocation of IP addresses, the management of Internet identifiers, and the administration of the "dot" (that part of an Internet address that helps route a message or request). While these areas may be matters the iPOC will take up later or considers to be within the present IAHC proposal, its position in respect to these issues needs to be clarified. Without doubt, the IAHC stumbled when it initially proceeded too quickly and did not allow full participation by the Internet user community. They have begun, however, to mend their ways. It now appears that the iPOC is considering a more participatory period of discussion and debate. That remains to be seen. V. CASIE's Formal Response to the Questions Posed by Commerce The following constitutes CASIE's formal reaction to the policy statements and response to the questions posed by the Department of Commerce, lettered and numbered to correspond to the form published by the Department: A. Appropriate Principles -- Are the following principles appropriate? Are they complete? If not, do they need revision and might they be fostered? a. Competition in and expansion of the domain name registration system should be encouraged. Conflicting domains, systems, and registries should not be permitted to jeopardize the interoperation of the Internet, however. The addressing scheme should not prevent any user from connecting to any other site. CASIE Response: CASIE believes competition in the domain name registration system is long overdue. Without competition, services will not improve and prices will remain inelastic. CASIE agrees, however, that it is crucial that change and competition not impact on the integrity of the Internet. Therefore, the change must be slow and controlled. Of the two proposals presented, the IAHC proposal is the most controlled with a central body determining the timing for new gTLDs. The NSI proposal is potentially too unsettling by permitting new gTLDs at the whims of would-be entrepreneurs. Controlled growth like that proposed by the IAHC is one way to ensure fluid and transparent communication among consumers and users of the Internet. b. The private sector, with input from government should develop stable, consensus-based self-governing mechanisms for domain name registration and management that adequately defines responsibilities and maintains accountability. CASIE Response: CASIE agrees that the private sector, with appropriate input from governments throughout the world, is the best structural alternative. The Internet has become a global phenomenon, beyond the exclusive regulatory control of any one government. While the U.S. government certainly has the greatest claim to the Internet, it should adopt an open, leadership role in fostering private sector control of the network. c. These self-governance mechanisms should recognize the inherent global nature of the Internet and be able to evolve as necessary over time. CASIE Response: This principle is a critical part of any evaluation of Internet governance. The Internet is a truly global communications network without boundaries. Its growth can only be ensured if the various interests in the Internet community learn to work together with evolving self-governance. Both the IAHC and the NSI proposals seek such a structure, the only primary difference between the two being the greater degree of government supervision in the NSI proposal. d. The overall framework for accommodating competition should be open, robust, efficient, and fair. CASIE Response: CASIE agrees with this policy statement. The structure for competition, however, should be focused on what will best serve the interests of the Internet user, not those competing for the business. Thus, the NSI proposal of registrars "owning" gTLDs must be rejected. It is fundamentally unsound both for competition and for service to the Internet user. e. The overall policy framework as well as name allocation and management mechanisms should promote prompt, fair, and efficient resolution of conflicts, including conflicts over proprietary rights. CASIE Response: Obviously, CASIE agrees with this policy statement. The mechanisms, however, will have to evolve over time and everyone must be patient. The present judicial systems among the various countries throughout the world differ widely. It will take years to sort out the many differences. For that reason, self-regulatory models should be tried and revised. Over time, a system for the "prompt, fair, and efficient resolution of conflicts, including conflicts over proprietary rights" will evolve. f. A framework should be adopted as quickly as prudent consideration of these issues permits. CASIE Response: A rapid resolution of the issues is important. Otherwise, the rhetoric and misinformation will only continue, further undermining the confidence the advertiser and advertising agency communities have in the Internet. In this respect, it would seem advisable for the NSF to utilize the six-month "flexibility period" between April 1, 1998 and September 30, 1998 provided in the NSI contract to orchestrate an orderly transition to new governance of the Internet. B. General/Organizational Framework Issues 1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the current domain name registration systems? CASIE Response: (i) Advantages -- with one predominant commercial domain, i.e., .com, communications to and from consumers is simple. Assuming a particular second level domain name owner is first to claim its name, consumers can easily find it by coupling the second level domain name with .com. For those owners who captured their second level domains early, the system is fine. There is little, if any, advantage to them to see change. (ii) Disadvantage -- unfortunately, the bulk of potential users of the Internet who might want their own SLDs is increasing exponentially. As a result, the "space" within .com for appropriate SLDs that in some manner identify the owner is becoming an ever declining commodity. This is a distinct disadvantage to new users. They must adopt names that a consumer can only find through search engines, themselves overloaded with countless variations within the .com domain. For them, new gTLDs are necessary and desirable. In addition, the current NSI SLD dispute resolution procedure is inequitable and contravenes accepted principles of trademark law. NSI insists it is not an arbiter of rights to SLDs, yet NSI can and will reassign or place on indefinite "hold" a well-known SLD simply because the owner of a trademark registration for the same name demands it. NSI's procedure automatically favors the trademark owner, even when the cited registration is not for Internet-related services and the owner is not using the mark on the Internet. NSI also disavows any liability to, and demands indemnification from, the registrant for suspending an SLD, even if the disruption damages or destroys the registrant's business and NSI suspends the SLD with reckless disregard for the registrant's legal rights. Earlier this year, the International Trademark Association's Internet Subcommittee released a paper which "propose(d) that the current NSI Dispute Policy be recognized as a failure and eliminated, (and) that domain name disputes be left to the courts." Regardless of whether one prefers the courts or the SLD dispute resolution plan proposed by the IAHC, it is clear that NSI's procedure is unacceptable. 2. How might current domain name systems be improved? CASIE Response: Controlled addition of new gTLDs is one solution that appears to have the most support. At the May/June meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, however, two alternatives to the addition of new gTLDs were proposed. A number of the European countries appear to favor an emphasis on the ISO 3166 country codes. There are nearly 200 such TLDs, one for virtually every country. According to those country representatives who supported this approach, using the country codes instead of the existing or proposed gTLDs would alleviate the present SLD conflict. That position is incorrect for at least two reasons. First, the use of gTLDs like .com is too widespread and accepted to turn back the clock. Second, and more importantly, focusing emphasis on the ISO 3166 country codes presents a nightmare for brand management with each country separately determining the fate of a given brand name. A smaller group of countries suggested abandoning unique SLDs entirely and making all SLDs random numbers. This would eliminate the trademark issue since it would be impossible to use a brand name. While this alternative may have been viable at the inception of the Internet, it's far too late to introduce that now. Too much equity has been built up by companies in both the gTLDs and the ISO 3166 domains to reverse the trend. Therefore, the only viable solution appears to be the addition of new gTLDs. Another improvement would be the creation of a central, searchable directory of SLDs, much like an on-line telephone book, that would provide a simple mechanism for Internet users to determine SLD owners. The present "Whois" search does not cover the ISO 3166 domains and does not allow searches by corporate names rather than exact SLDs. 3. By what entity, entities, or types of entities should current domain name systems be administered? What should the makeup of such an entity be? CASIE Response: (i) It seems to be universally agreed upon that governments should not be the administering bodies. Both the NSI and the IAHC proposals suggest predominately self-regulatory systems. Upon close analysis of the two proposals, there is not much difference in their respective approaches. CASIE believes that the self-regulatory philosophy is sound and that either proposal could eventually evolve into an acceptable administration model, although the IAHC proposal appears to be more aggressive in that regard while the NSI proposal starts off with more significant U.S. government oversight. CASIE questions whether that oversight is needed or desired given the global nature of the Internet and its many years of self-regulation without significant disruption. (ii) The entities that are involved in the administration should be representative of the Internet community and evolve as the Internet grows. The IAHC proposal only begins that process. The proposed structure of the Policy Oversight Committee ("POC") should, however, be shuffled to allow for participation of other sectors of the Internet community, e.g., the commercial sector, third world nations, etc. The NSI plan is not clear on the mix of participants, but it is assumed that the same basic policy applies. 4. Are there decision-making processes that can serve as models for deciding on domain name registrations systems (e.g., network numbering plan, standard-setting processes, spectrum allocation)? Are there private/public sector administered models or regimes that can be used for domain name registration (e.g., network numbering plan, standard setting processes, or spectrum allocation processes)? What is the proper role of national or international governmental/non-governmental organizations, if any, in national and international domain name registration systems? CASIE Response: (i) CASIE believes that self-regulation and dispute resolution systems that avoid formal judicial process are well suited for the Internet. The WIPO has established procedures for arbitration and mediation, together with an experimental process, the Administrative Challenge Panels ("ACPs"), for the resolution of second level domain name disputes on the Internet. The WIPO system is very worthy of consideration. Other self-regulatory bodies may propose similar systems, but the WIPO process is an established, global system. The fears of some "U.S.-centric" companies and individuals that the WIPO system undermines the U.S. judicial system must be alleviated, however, through more thorough discussions with representative from the WIPO than thus far have occurred. (ii) An increased role of national or international governmental organizations in national and international domain name registration systems should be avoided. The Internet has largely been a self-regulated system for most of its existence. To now impose significant government oversight would be disruptive. There is also no apparent reason that it is necessary. There is a role, however, for certain quasi-governmental organizations like the U.N. bodies or other such global organizations. Such organizations, however, should play more of a supportive role than a governance responsibility. Governance should be placed with non- governmental trade associations, businesses, and organizations that are the primary users of the Internet. 5. Should generic top level domains (gTLDs), (e.g., .com) be retired from circulation? Should geographic or country codes (e.g., .US) be required? If so, what should happen to the .com registry? Are gTLD management issues separable from questions about International Standards Organization (ISO) country code domains? CASIE Response: (i) CASIE strongly believes that the present gTLDs, i.e., .com, .org, and .net, should not be retired. Many companies and individuals have invested millions of dollars in developing their Web sites at these gTLDs. By retiring them, such companies are deprived of their investment for no logical reason. Nor would it be logical to retire those domains for new registrations, leaving the present owners intact. Despite the ever declining "inventory" of available SLDs, .com is a robust and active gTLD. Nothing should, or needs to, be done to undermine it. (ii) As discussed earlier, requiring ISO 3166 country codes will not solve the problems at hand. First, the present gTLDs are too established. Second, requiring new addresses that include the ISO 3166 designation will only confuse Internet users and cost millions in unnecessary investment. (iii) As stated, the .com domain should remain intact. There is no reason to undermine or diminish its worth. (iv) CASIE believes that the ISO 3166 country codes must eventually come within the same governance umbrella as the gTLDs. In this respect, it would appear that the NSI proposal is better than that proposed by the IAHC where ISO 3166 governance is not addressed. As a first step, however, it may be necessary to start with governance of the gTLDs and evolve into full governance of both the gTLDs and the ISO 3166 country codes. That evolution, however, needs to be debated and should not be left unresolved as is currently the case in the IAHC plan. 6. Are there any technological solutions to current domain name registration issues? Are there any issues concerning the relationship of registrars and gTLDs with root servers? CASIE Response: (i) CASIE lacks the expertise to opine on whether there are any technological solutions to the current domain name registration issues. (ii) CASIE strongly believes that if a registrar controls a primary root server there is an inherent conflict of interest. The owner of a root server can directly affect the routing of a given gTLD and its corresponding SLDs. If a given owner of a root server is also a registrar, it could disrupt other registrars' customers. Therefore, the root servers should be independent from the registrars. 7. How can we ensure the scalability of the domain name system name and address spaces as well as ensure that root servers continue to interoperate and coordinate? CASIE Response: CASIE lacks the technical expertise to respond to this question. 8. How should the transition to any new system be accomplished? CASIE Response: While the various dimensions of this question are not clear to CASIE, any transition should be carefully considered. Clearly, the National Science Foundation should play a leadership role, together with its historical partners in the Internet, the Internet Assigned Number Authority, the Internet Architectural Board, and NSI. The transition must also involve the members of the former IAHC. 9. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this area? CASIE Response: It is unclear in either the NSI or the IAHC proposal how the administrative functions are going to be financed. Proper administration under both plans will require full time staffs and many volunteers. Who will be compensated? By whom? How will they be financed? Who will administer the administrative funds? C. Creation of new gTLDs 10. Are there technical, practical, and/or policy considerations that constrain the total number of different gTLDs that can be created? CASIE Response: CASIE lacks the technical expertise to respond to this question. 11. Should additional gTLDs be created? CASIE Response: For the reasons stated in the answer to question 2., CASIE believes that the addition of new gTLDs is a sound alternative. 12. Are there technical, business, and/or policy issues about guaranteeing the scalability of the name space associated with increasing the number of gtlDs? CASIE Response: CASIE lacks the technical expertise to respond to this question. 13. Are gTLD management issues separable from questions about ISO country code domains? CASIE Response: As stated in its answer to question 5., CASIE believes the gTLD and ISO 3166 country code management issues, while separable, must some day come under one, centralized administration. 14. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this area? CASIE Response: CASIE has no further comments on Section C of the request. D. Policies for Registries 15. Should a gTLD registrar have exclusive control over a particular gTLD? Are there any technical limitations on using shared registries for some or all gTLDs? Can exclusive and non-exclusive gTLDs coexist? CASIE Response: (i) CASIE cannot over-emphasize its belief that no registrar should have exclusive control over a particular gTLD. Allowing such control is contrary to the best interests of the SLD owner and the clear trend of portability in global communications. NSI's position that companies will not invest in gTLDs they cannot "own" does not withstand scrutiny. Certainly, the competition among long distance carriers for service of consumers illustrates how portability best serves the consumer. In addition, the International Telecommunications Union and other international governmental and non- governmental bodies have clearly adopted the idea of portability in telephone numbers as the wave of the future. Why would there be any reason not to adopt the same concept to the coupling of SLDs to gTLDs? (ii) CASIE lacks the expertise to evaluate whether there are any technical limitations on using shared registries for some or all gTLDs. (iii) Allowing exclusive and non- exclusive gTLDs will only cause confusion. Since there is no justification to allow exclusivity in the first place, placating the internal financial fears of the present registrars is poor management and a flawed decision. 16. Should there be threshold requirements for domain name registrars, and what responsibilities should such registrars have? Who will determine these and how? CASIE Response: (i) While CASIE would support a minimum financial requirement for registrars (provided that requirement did not act as an unreasonable barrier to entry for companies interested in becoming registrars), CASIE has insufficient knowledge to determine what minimum capitalization a given registrar should have. (ii) Presumably, NSI, NSF, and the members organizations of the IAHC have the collective expertise to set the minimum standards. 17. Are there technical limitations on the possible number of domain name registrars? CASIE Response: CASIE lacks the technical expertise to respond to this question. 18. Are there technical, business and/or policy issues about the name space raised by increasing the number of domain name registrars? CASIE Response: (i) On the technical side, CASIE lacks the expertise to respond to this question. (ii) CASIE believes that, in principle, increasing the number of domain name registrars should not create business or policy issues, provided registrars follow standardized procedures and utilize a centralized database that insures the integrity of the Internet. Presumably, the greater the number of registrars, the more robust the competition. 19. Should there be a limit on the number of different gTLDs a given registrar can administer? Does this depend on whether there registrar has exclusive or non- exclusive rights to the gTLD? CASIE Response: (i) CASIE is unaware of any business or policy reasons a registrar should be limited in the number of gTLDs it administers. CASIE lacks the expertise to determine if there are any technical reasons a registrar should be limited in the number of gTLDs it administers. (ii) As CASIE has stated in its answer to question 15., it strongly believes there is no logical justification for a system of both exclusive and non-exclusive gTLDs. Therefore, the answer to the second question is moot. 20. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this area? CASIE Response: CASIE has no further comments on Section D of the request. E. Trademark Issues 21. What trademark rights, e.g., registered trademarks, common law trademarks, geographic indications, etc.), if any, should be protected on the Internet vis-a-vis domain names? CASIE Response: SLDs that utilize established brand names or variations thereof should be afforded full protection under trademark laws. The very purpose of an SLD owner in using its established trademarks or variations thereof is to denote a source of goods or services that can be found on the World Wide Web. In that sense, the SLD is used as much as a trademark as it is as an Internet address. In addition, it is clear that misuse by third parties of such established trademarks that do not have legitimate rights therein dilutes the value of the trademark and causes consumer confusion when a Web user attempts to find the Web site of a particular trademark owner only to find that the site is either unavailable or controlled by a totally unrelated party. The extent of the protection should be subject to established principles of trademark law. Thus, geographic designations should be afforded little protection unless strong secondary meaning has been established through use, registration, and other extrinsic evidence. Similarly, common law trademarks would not be expected to have the same broad protection afforded federally registered trademarks. 22. Should some process of preliminary review of an application for registration of a domain dame be required, before allocation, to determine if it conflicts with a trademark, a trade name, a geographic indication, etc.? If so, what standards should be used? Who should conduct the preliminary review? If a conflict is found, what should be done, e.g., domain name applicant and/or trademark owner notified of the conflict? Automatic referral to dispute settlement? CASIE Response: (i) The idea of a process for preliminary review of an application for registration of a domain name was extensively discussed at the WIPO May/June meeting in Geneva. There are considerable complications in adopting a pre-screening process, the least of which is the lack of adequate global databases that incorporate trademark registrations from around the world. While there are some companies that have apparently made progress in this regard, e.g., Internet Computer Bureau Plc., Bridge House, 181, Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4DD, United Kingdom, tel: 0171 837 6889, e-mail: Paul.Kane@ICB.co.uk., a comprehensive database appears years away. Until it is in place, pre-screening is not realistic. (ii) Until a viable database is in place, establishing standards is premature. (iii) Just as is the case in the present U.S. system, the first review should be by the applicant before it files an application. Once filed, the registrar would then compare the name against the existing database for an identical name. Assuming there is no exact match, the SLD should be issued. (iv) This should be followed by publication on the Internet at a location that can be easily accessed and searched by trademark owners. By periodically searching this location, trademark owners will be able to determine whether any potential infringements have been registered. If so, the trademark owner may then take appropriate measures to protect its trademark rights. There should be no affirmative obligation by the registrar to notify anyone. (v) The concept of an automatic referral to dispute settlement is an unnecessary administrative burden. It should not be the responsibility of a registrar to police the trademark rights of non-registrants or other registrants. Trademark owners should bear the responsibility of initially policing their trademark rights. 23. Aside from a preliminary review process, how should trademark rights be protected on the Internet vis-a-vis domain names? What entity(ies), if any, should resolve disputes? Are national courts the only appropriate forum for such disputes? Specifically, is there a role for national/international governmental/nongovernmental organizations? CASIE Response: (i) The resolution of SLD disputes via a self-regulatory system as an alternative to local courts should be available. It should not, however, be mandatory. Trademark rights are territorial. No "global" trademark law exists. While over time, case law developed through the self-regulatory system may develop global principles for the Internet. But in the short term, trademark owners should have the right to resort to the judicial system. There should also be a mechanism like that proposed by the IAHC that allows global protection of internationally known trademarks. The procedures for such protection, however, require far more debate than has occurred thus far. (ii) The IAHC's ACP format is an example of an alternative dispute resolution system, although its relationship with local courts needs to be carefully reviewed. CASIE is unaware of any other viable proposal. (iii) Without doubt, national courts are not the only appropriate forum for such disputes. Virtually every modern judicial system recognizes the wisdom and value of alternative dispute resolution systems. The Internet is no less an environment for ADR than any other forum. (iv) While CASIE believes there is a role for national/international governmental organizations, the primary focus should be on nongovernmental alternatives given the unique global nature of the Internet. 24. How can conflicts over trademarks best be prevented? What information resources (e.g., databases of registered domain names, registered trademarks, trade names) could help reduce potential conflicts? If there should be a database(s), who should create the database(s)? How should such a database(s) be used? CASIE Response: (i) At present, preventing conflicts over trademarks on the Internet is an evolving dilemma. Over time, principles will be established both in courts and through self-regulatory systems. It is far too early to state any definitive manner to prevent conflicts short of adopting random numbering for SLDs, an alternative that has little, if any, viable support in the Internet community. (ii) Clearly, comprehensive databases of SLDs and trademarks (both registered and common law) are desirable. The precise configuration of such databases requires much discussion and debate. Most importantly, however, progress in resolving the gTLD/SLD controversy should not be delayed for lack of adequate information resources. (iii) Preferably, the databases should be created by the private sector. Some companies have already begun the task. Clearly, private sector efforts will be faster and more comprehensive than governmental efforts. (iv) It is premature to decide how such databases should be used. Until we know what those databases should or will include, how they would be used is idle speculation. 25. Should domain name applicants be required to demonstrate that they have a basis for requesting a particular domain name? If so, what information should be supplied? Who should evaluate the information? On the basis of what criteria? CASIE Response: (i) While CASIE believes that applicants should file requests in good faith, any requirement to "demonstrate" a basis for requesting a particular domain name should be minimal and inexpensive. Otherwise, access to the Internet is limited by economics. (ii) Similar to the present system used in the Untied States for federal trademark registrations, applicants should be required to file an affidavit that attests to their good faith belief that they have the right to claim ownership of the SLD and that their registration and use of it will not infringe upon the rights of any third parties. Beyond that, little more can be expected until viable databases are in place that allow for economical pre-screening. (iii) At present, other than comparing the requested SLD against the database of previously registered SLDs in a given gTLD, registrars should not evaluate the information included in an application. Requiring more would be an unnecessary administrative burden. Furthermore, there presently are no comprehensive databases that allow for a viable review. (iv) In CASIE's view, since requiring an evaluation of the information included in an application is unrealistic, establishing criteria is unnecessary. 26. How should the number of different gTLDs and the number of registrars affect the number and cost of resolving trademark disputes? CASIE Response: This question poses the "Catch 22" of adding new gTLDs. While new gTLDs are necessary to allow legitimate owners of trademarks to adopt SLDs that are associated with such marks, the corresponding need to police all of the gTLDs for trademark infringement increases the cost of marketing on the Internet. It remains unclear whether increasing the number of registrars will similarly increase costs. Assuming, however, that all the registrars use a shared database and follow centralized, consistent rules regarding disputes, the number of registrars should have little bearing on costs. 27. Where there are valid, but conflicting trademark rights for a single domain name, are there any technological solutions? CASIE Response: CASIE lacks the technical ex-pertise to respond to this question. 28. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this area? CASIE Response: CASIE has no further comments on Section E of the request.