THE DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY TRUST
The DOT in .US

The Benton Foundation* with legal support from the Media Access Project (MAP)* is exploring the opportunities for managing the .us domain space for the benefits of all US citizens, especially those on the wrong side of the Digital Divide.  The Benton Foundation believes that the .us domain space is a public resource that should be utilized to help bridge the Digital Divide.  We further believe that the existing Commerce Department request for comments on this issue misses an excellent opportunity to take advantage of  the public .us domain space creatively to the benefits of all U.S. citizens.  Below you find a brief overview of the Digital Opportunity Trust project and talking points of the key issues that highlight the great opportunities and responsibilities for managing the .us domain space.  For further information please contact the Benton Foundation.

What?
The Benton Foundation proposed to narrow the “digital divide” in a new and innovative way.  We want to see the nation make use of its national top-level domain resource (.us) to advance the goal of universal access and participation in our networked society.  In order to make the .us space more valuable and attractive for commercial development and public interest use, we are proposing to improve how the space is administered and used.  Furthermore, we are proposing to set up a Digital Opportunity Trust, financed through auctioning of the .us top level domain space and sponsorships, that will invest in projects enabling the widest possible participation and access to information and communications technologies.

Communications technologies are central to
  how business is transacted,
  how goods and services are consumed,
  how work is organized, how education is delivered,
  how health care is managed,
  how government responds to its citizens, and
  how citizens participate in their community.
In other words, access to and the ability to use these technologies have become essential to full participation in contemporary life.  It is time for a forceful push to make the networked society a reality for all.  The Digital Opportunity Trust will not aim to duplicate the many ongoing and successful initiatives in both the public and private sectors.  Instead, the Trust will provide leadership identifying the greatest needs and missing pieces of the various projects as a whole, building on existing progress, and will devote the proceeds raised by the redesigned .us domain space to widening participation in the new economy and society.

Why?
There is a great need to overcome the “digital divide” and ensure broad participation in the digital economy and society.  Contrary to common notions about the “digital divide,” the gap will not be narrowed by simply providing access to a computer and the Internet in every school and home, i.e. by building out the hardware infrastructure.  This in itself is a huge task.  To truly close the gap, however, a concerted effort must be made to develop what some refer to as the ‘social infrastructure:’ literacy and research skills and motivation among users, content for and by all users, systems and organizational structures that encourage knowledge sharing and building communities of users, learners and mentors, with access to tools and know-how as needed.

The task ahead is formidable and it will be accomplished more quickly through a funding organization endowed with considerable resources that are sustained over a long period.  Currently, there are hundreds of separate “digital divide” efforts across the country, funded by both the public and private sectors.  An organization that consolidates and coordinates these various efforts and that applies a long-term funding perspective will ensure that new resources are used to their fullest potential.

A redesigned country code top-level domain name space provides a unique opportunity to generate private capital derived from the perceived value of newly available “real estate” on the network.  This public resource should be used to increase public participation in the economy and society at large.  The .us space until recently has been unattractive for commercial users and individuals, who are only permitted to register as fourth-level domains under localities.  By changing how .us is made available for commercial and non-commercial development, this proposed plan would make the domain more attractive to users and hence more valuable.  In addition to generating new resources from auctioning generic domain names under .us, a redesigned .us space should also be used to promote non-commercial public interest uses.  Channeling this newly generated value to further social goals and to benefit all of society is consistent with longstanding US policy.

How?
The proposed plan would auction new generic second-level domain names under .us (.e.g. business.us, loans.us), the proceeds from which would fund a “Digital Opportunity Trust” that connects, educates, and empowers people to participate in the networked society.  Until now the .us space has been unattractive for commercial users and individuals because of its cumbersome registration system under geographic localities, e.g. ibm.armonk.ny.us.  The new .us system we propose will auction generic names as an efficient way to allocate scarce resources and would be restructured to facilitate non-commercial uses in the public interest.

As the United States country code top-level domain space is redesigned, we believe that the .us name space should be managed mindful of the history of US communications policy and in accordance with the principle that the .us name space is a public resource that must further the public interest through both commercial and non-commercial development.  In particular, the following principles must be adhered to:
- The .us name space is a public resource, and must be managed in the public interest.
- As a public resource, .us name space must be managed to promote access by all Americans to communications services and to expose its citizens to a diverse marketplace of ideas and to foster civic discourse and the arts.
- The private sector should continue to play an important role in promoting these polices through commercial development of public resources.  In particular, the tradition of making commercial development subject to conditions designed to foster the public interest, such as conditions of non-discrimination or service to the local community, should be continued.
- Noncommercial organizations equally should continue to play an important role in developing our national resources for the public good.  Communications in particular, the set aside of spectrum for non-profit educational uses, and the funding of such enterprises by the public and private sector, have vastly increased the public’s exposure to diverse ideas and benefited the cultural life of all Americans.

To fulfill these principles, the plan envisions the creation of two independent nonprofit organizations.  The Digital Opportunity Trust will focus on charitable, programmatic goals to narrow the “digital divide,” using proceeds raised from auctioning generic second-level domain names.  A separate nonprofit operating corporation, the National Domain Corporation, would handle the policy and administrative functions of .us.  This Corporation will focus on policy and strategy while outsourcing routine operations, including the auctioning of second-level domain names.  The operator would work to gain broad acceptance for the plan and to brand .us as a premium domain.  The Corporation will establish policies that ensure that the .us space stays free of cybersquatters and other domain name space abuses.  As a registrar to ICANN’s Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy, the .us space remains subject to that policy.

The Digital Opportunity Trust will use the fees generated through auctions and other forms of sponsorship by corporations and philanthropic foundations to fund projects that aim to narrow the “digital divide.”  Its charter will be broad, flexible and evolving over time as deemed necessary by its independent board.  Potential funding criteria are:
- new technical approaches to addressing hardware infrastructure/access constraints
- creation of content for and by underserved communities
- building web-based networks to support communities of volunteers
- curricula development and other tools that proof effective with specific targeted audiences
- mentoring and other efforts that encourage informal learning
- seeding venture funding for technologies or firms devoted to expanding access and participation

Who?
The Benton Foundation with the Media Access Project are proposing this new approach to narrowing the ‘digital divide.’  The Media Access Project is providing legal counsel for this project and is preparing filings with the NTIA.

What Next?
Benton believes that there is great urgency to address the “digital divide” and that the most recent Commerce Department’s Request for Comments on the .us space provide an opportunity to move our proposal forward.  MAP and Benton also strongly believe that the framework provided by the RFC is too narrow and that it must be broadened based on the aforementioned principles to allow for the .us public resource to become a unique asset that can truly serve the interests of the nation as a whole.  MAP on behalf of the Benton Foundation will be filing comments in response to NTIA’s RFC.  We are looking forward to working together with other organizations to produce a joint filing.  We encourage interested parties to support this important project and to contact us for further information.  (Please contact: Katharina Kopp, The Benton Foundation, 202-638 5770, kk@benton.org).

_____________________

* The Alliance for Community Technology (ACT) is Benton’s partner in the development and implementation of the DOT project; the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation have provided funding for the development of this initiative.

      *Media Access Project is a twenty-four year old non-profit, public interest law firm which promotes the public's First Amendment right to hear and be heard on the electronic media of today and tomorrow.


Hello,

I have a few comments and tidbits that I would like to relate concerning the .US domain changes that you are looking to amend.

First, my story. It will provide background to substantiate my views as well as point out some of the problems with the current system.

About 4 years ago, I was working as a System Engineer with a computer reseller in Chambersburg, PA, my hometown. We had just gotten Internet access (at my behest, since I'd been using the Net at College since 1991) and I wanted to register a domain name and set up a web server and mail server for the company. After the owner initially balked at paying $100 for the Internic fees, I began looking into the .US domain. Chambersburg.PA.US was available at the time (no surprise, it is a rather small town).

I began an email conversation with the folks at ISI, because I was quite unsure as to the amount of resources that we as a company would need to throw at hostmastering a .US domain... and the policy was that if we registered first, we would be obliged with that responsibility. After several emails, and several assurances, I finally placed a call to ISI and spoke with none other than Jon Postel himself. It was quite an honor. He outlined what we would need and offered that it was people just like ourselves that ISI was looking for to administer local domains: companies or individuals within a local area with good relations with the community. I hung up the phone with a feeling that I was going to be "helping" out my community by extending the .US domain to them. Postel said that we could charge a "modest" fee if we decided, but that ISI would prefer it to be less than Internic's $50/year. At first, I had no intention of making it anything other than free, since I really couldn't think of five other companies in the area with interest in the internet. I immediately emailed the paperwork forms necessary to get our company set up as the registrar for Chambersburg.PA.US, by applying for Sunrise.Chambersburg.PA.US. And waited... and waited... and waited.

After nearly two weeks (which is a long time, and longer than Postel had said it would take) I received an unsolicited email from a company in Kansas City about registering my domain... for $50 per year. At first I thought that it was some sort of ruse, by another registrar, having possibly been knowledgeable of my application. I declined, because I was sure that my company had the technical capability to host the domain. I waited a bit more (another week). Finally I called Jon Postel back at ISI to inquire about my application. This is when I realized that speaking to Jon Postel several weeks earlier was, perhaps, not an honor.

Mr. Postel told me that the other company that had contacted me was the registrar for my domain. I asked if he remembered our conversation. He did. I asked him how they could have gotten my email information, since I sent it to ISI, not to them. He stated that my email was "forwarded" to them. I asked him why. He stated that since they were the registrar, that was what was done. I asked him how, if the domain had NOT been registered the day I spoke with him (and for that matter had no open applications for registry), could my IMMEDIATE submission of application could have been superceded by another registrar. He stated that they had applied "at the same time". Although this sounded awful fishy, I pursued. I asked why, with two separate applications on the same 3rd level, one from a local company with good relations with the community (the kind of group they were "looking for") the other with a registrar in Kansas City who already had snatched up several other locations in PA, they would have chosen the latter. He stated simply that he could not discuss the other applicants and that that was "just the way it was". I then asked him about the $50 per year price. He stated that the registrar could charge a "reasonable" fee. I countered that the fee was contrary to both what he said to me and the spirit of the .US domain. I then pretty much said what I had been thinking. I accused Jon Postel of GIVING our 3rd level away to a for-profit agency, because he was the ONLY individual that knew of my plans, other than whoever had read my application... both occuring BEFORE the other applicant could have applied. It was, as far as I was concerned, corruption pure and simple. He then terminated the phone call.

I went back to the ISI site and searched for other 3rd level domains in my area. With little surprise I found that the very same registrar that had gotten Chambersburg.PA.US had also, over time, snatched up many, MANY other 3rd levels around PA. For that matter they had many around the COUNTRY!

So, I decided to appeal directly to the registrar. I sent email after email. But never got a response. So I got sneaky. Through a bit of tracerouting and "hacking" tricks, I found that all the 3rd level web pages were running on ONE Windows NT box. I then went to the Internic database and found the contact info for the domain name they were using and called them. They were NOT happy that I called. But even MORE telling, the representative on the phone said "They [ISI] told me not to talk to you."

So, there is a problem with the .US domain. The cost of obtaining a 3rd level is prohibitive and a ridiculous scam. With CORE registrars in the .com space working on open source registrar software, I can see no reason why a .US domain should cost more than the Network Solutions wholesale price ($6). Also, by taking a long look down the list of registrars, it becomes apparent that large geographic segments have been swallowed by a few registrars. I believe this needs to be undone. And I believe that any locality currently registered under one of these squatters with fewer than 25 registered 4th levels should be handed over to the municipal government presiding over that locality to be handed out to a registrar of that locality's choice. The squatter would then have the right to bid to the local government for the contract, if they so desire.

As long as the insane capitalists control the .US space, it will not grow. It should be a lesson that after Network Solutions (Internic) was forced to open up, prices for domains went from $50 per year down to $6. To me that is sad. Especially coming from a program that was regulated by the Federal Government. How long would that price abuse of the global citizen have lasted if Network Solutions had spent a bit more money in Washington? But perhaps the .US domain situation is even more sad, since what started out as a free service has escalated into a near unusable stagnation.

Thank you for finally looking into this mess.
Scott Boone
Scott Boone Consulting


There are currently no appropriate domains for individual persons.  We have names and Social Security Numbers that we can keep forever, and we should each have a stable domain name as well.  The gTLDs .com, .org, and .net are all inappropriate, and so are the current city.state.us domains (because most people move).

ICANN may eventually provide a gTLD for individuals, but of course keeping a name requires paying an annual fee.  It may be in the interest of the U.S. to have a domain name associated with each of its citizens (and residents, and probably anyone with a taxpayer ID).

They could, for example, have the form *.i.us (i for individual), and could be registered on a first-come-first-serve basis.  There would be no charge for someone's first domain name.  If they ever wanted to change their domain name, they could be charged a fee for the new name. The old name should become an alias (CNAME record) for the new name; it should never be used for someone else--that would lead to confusion. Changing one's domain name should be about as common as changing one's real name.

There should not be separate subdomains for citizens versus residents, because residents tend to become citizens, and the names should be stable.

Of course, actually using a domain name to receive email or serve web pages requires internet service, and I am *not* suggesting that the government do that.  It should merely be possible for people to point their domain names at whatever servers they are currently using, and it should be easy to change these pointers (without involving a human).

I don't know what government agency would be most appropriate for managing this registry.  Perhaps the Postal Service or the IRS, which already have experience keeping track of hundreds of millions of people, and which have both demonstrated their ability to provide online services.

By the way, there was once a time when the idea of a single registry of 300 million names seemed absurd, but I don't think that will be a problem.  The .com domain already has several million names.  With computing power doubling every 18 months, and bandwidth growing even faster, the technical ability to serve 300 million names should be available before that many people have actually bothered to register.

Adam M. Costello


The canadian government is taking the exact opposite view of domain registry at this time. The citizenry of Canada have not whole heartedly bought into the domain name structure due to the non exclusive nature of the city.state.country style. They are looking at opening up the just .ca to achieve exclusivity.
Just a thought

Scott Etches

Lets@worldeffect.com
P>S> A canadian with 30 some odd dot com names and not one dot bc dot ca


I attempted two times to get a .us domain name. (scrooge.eugene.or.us). The applications were forwarded by the .us domain admin (USC) to hostmaster@structured.net . Structured.net has been delegated the eugene.or and most other .or domains. That was the end of it, nothing happened, except a copy of an e-mail from USC threatening structured.net to respond, or their delegation would be revoked.  I gave up.

Michael V. Hoffman


It is evident, from even a cursory reading of the NTIA's Request for Comments on its Statement of Work regarding the reorganization of .US, that the DOC intends, or at least wishes, to place .US under the aegis and control of ICANN. This will, rather than make of .US a haven for personal, individual, non-profit, and non-commercial users (as was originally intended by the DOC itself and supported by most of the participants in the past two years of multilateral discussions on .US reorganization), turn .US into another commodity to be exploited by craven registrars and their greedy clients, just as has been done with .ORG and .NET.

The ICIIU considers the NTIA's intention to subject .US to ICANN, implicit in its recent RFC, to be a very grievous error bordering on madness.

The ICIIU will be publishing detailed comments in response to the NTIA's RFC.

Michael Sondow
INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF INDEPENDENT INTERNET USERS


These are some quick inital thoughts.

Question 4.

I think the market has spoken, and the current .us structure isn't a good one.  People don't want to be stuck on 4th level domains.  I think it is essential to flatten the domain structure, with less emphasis on geograph within the US.  That said, I think a reservation of certain 2nd level tlds would be very useful.  Groups that might benefit from this are:

Non-Profit organizations (under at least Sections 501c3 and 501c4 of the US IRS code).
Unions
FDIC insured banks
US Credit Unions

Question 10.

Why not limit the .us domain to individuals, organizations or firms that accept US jurisdiction of law?

Question 12.

I don't think that shared registry should be an end in itself.  I think that it would be good if the .us registry permitted shared register to some extent, as some ccTLDs do now, but creating business opportunities for registrars it not itself that important.

 Jamie Love

James Love, Director
Consumer Project on Technology


Re: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/usrfc2/dotusrfc2.htm

 Question 1
 Regardless of the naming structure or registration policies of the usTLD, several core registry functions need to be provided by the successful offeror responding to an RFP to administer the usTLD ("Awardee"). Does the list in Section I.A of the Draft SOW accurately reflect the full range of core registry functions? Should other/additional core functions be included?

It is well known that the DNS has a very serious problem - it is not secure.  Users of the service have no way to verify the information provided thru the DNS other than to hope that the routing infrastructure is itself secure, which is also a false assumption.

It is very important that the .us domain provide digital signatures on the information it provides so that client computers can verify the information.

 Question 2
 Are any particular technical specifications, software, or  methods and procedures necessary to complete the tasks outlined? Are  there other tasks that should be required as part of this section?

The best current methods for securing DNS information are DNSSEC, RFC2535 and TSIG, RFC2845, and their successors.

Thank you,

Neal McBurnett


Docket Number 980212036-0235-06
RIN 0660-AA11
Management and Administration of the .us Domain Space
AGENCY: National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S.
Department of Commerce

TO: Karen A. Rose
Department of Commerce
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Room 4701 HCHB
1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20230

Dear Ms. Rose

I am writing regarding the proposals for management of the .US Domain Space, cited above.

I wish to comment on Posted Question 8, cited at:
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/usrfc2/dotusrfc2.htm

I believe registrations at the various levels could be encouraged if the COM, NET, ORG names were incorporated into the second and third levels of .US Domain structure. For example:

Second Level:

applicant-name.com.us
applicant-name.net.us
applicant-name.org.us

Third Level:

applicant-name.com.(State-Code).us
applicant-name.com.ny.us
applicant-name.net.ny.us
applicant-name.org.ny.us

A pricing structure could be suggested for the above domains. The second level domains cited above would be desired by National Companies or Organizations, and could carry a premium price. The third level domains cited above would be desired by State level Companies or organizations, and could carry a moderate price.

The current structure of locality based US domains should remain available as well, remaining either free or at a low cost to applicants, who should be forseen as local-based applicants:

Locality Level Domains (Currently available):

applicant-name.daytona-beach.fl.us
applicant-name.washington.dc.us
applicant-name.new-york.ny.us

Applicants for any of the current or new domains should demonstrate a physical presence in the domain applied for.

I currently use a handful of the locality based US domains. One is for a business, one for a social club I belong to, and the last for my personal web site.

Thank you for your time and attention.

regards,

George A. Miziuk


Regarding the .us top-level domain.

Background:

I, Andrew Mossberg, have been an Internet user and administrator of Internet-connected systems since approximately January 1985, including use of the HOSTS file prior to widespread use of DNS. My background includes responsibility for Class B, and Class C networks, as well as an assortment of second and third level domain names in the .edu, .com, .net, and .org TLDs.  I also was the owner of a .us domain for many years, sfer.miami.fl.us, now defunct.

My experience with the .us TLD was circa 1989-1992, with a .us domain that I obtained for a local environmental group and newsletter, the South Florida Environmental Reader.   My use of the domain ceased because of two problems with the group that took over responsibility for the miami.fl.us delegation. First, at no time was there reliable DNS servers handling the miami.fl.us domain. Second, the group decided to impose charges of about $30 a year for the domain, which had previously been at no charge.  Given that at the time one could have a .com, .net, or .org domain for $70/2 years, there was no incentive to continue use of the .us domain.

Comments on the draft SOW:

Q4. The current .us structure has severe problems related to the vast differences in capabilities of the various delegates for the second level domains, and coordination amongst them. The Draft SOW does much to address these shortcomings.

Q6. The suspension is an appropriate step in order to ensure the stability during an evaluation period. Delegation transfers should also be suspended generally, with provision for transfer only in cases where a delagate is unable to provide minimum services.

Q7. Any fees that are imposed should be at a minimum level, designed solely to recover actual costs. If fees are imposed, a portion should go to any delagates for local subdomains.

Q8. Specialty second level domains under .us should be allowed following a RFC procedure. Creation of one for personal non commericial use would be an excellent approach that should provide good visibility and growth for .us

Q10. Yes, .us registrations should continue to have the requirement of US-based hosting. The restriction should be "located in". Criteria should be valid street address in the US, and in the cases of a commercial entity, incorporation or other legal US entity with a valid street address within the US.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit my comments. Upon review of the current ICANN and IETF documents, I will submit comments regarding questions 11-15.

andrew mossberg
Director, Operations, Asoki Corporation
President, Inicom, Incorporated


The .US domain has always been the "poor relations" in the Internet world.  It continues to be so, one reason why no one wants in.

The RFC for the .US domain is wordy, creating obscenely long email addresses, a second reason no one wants in.  It doesn't allow for catchy names other than at the end of a long geographical locator.

In 1994 or so, I did battle with Dr. Postel on the issue when I tried to create a NCOOK.EDU domain for several K-8 schools. .EDU was too rarified for the hoi polloi of public education.

Another argument was that the name space for .EDU was too limited, but I countered with the fact that using just letters and numbers, there are 2.8 trillion combinations so that if only one in a million worked, there were still 2.8 million possible names.

I lost, and became .NCOOK.K12.IL.US which in a way was a compromise over the RFC's suggested email address of JMUNDT@SPRINGMANJR.DISTRICT34.COOK.K12.IL.US.

I work at a high school, .DISTRICT125.K12.IL.US, which is subtly ridiculed by people whose address is FOO.NET, or FOO.ORG.  Postel was jpostel@isi.edu at the time.

A third reason it is unpopular are the squatters who have taken over .CITY.COUNTY.STATE.US and want to sell DNS services for obscene costs.

Therefore, I suggest not defending or trying to do anything useful with the .US domain.  It is forever tainted.  Instead, create top level domains as has been suggested, but for K-12 education, create a .K12 top level domain and let schools duke it out for creative names.  those same 2.8 trillion combinations would apply, and our school could be

 .STEVENSON.K12
 .AESHS.K12
 .PATRIOTS.K12
 .SHS.K12 (if we got there first)
etc.

A second suggestion is to remove the geographical restrictions and allow the same .SHS.US or .AESHS.US, etc., names to be used in a manner not restricted by state, county or affiliation.  Those 2.8 trillion names are there for the US as well, giving 10,000 possible names for every man, woman and child in the US.

Sincerely,

John P. Mundt
Associate Director, Computer Services
Adlai E. Stevenson High School


Here's my two cents:

One problem with the internet is it's global orientation when you want to find something locally.  When ordering groceries or pizza, you don't want to be dealing with someone in Thailand... but ".com" could be anywhere.

".us" could be used to localize businesses and individuals who need to deal locally.  For example, the format could be: "www.domain.city.state.us" (possibly, zip codes could be used too, as in: "www.domain.zip.us").  If I want to order pizza, I could lookup "www.geppettos.slc.ut.us".  Such a scheme also begs for servers for searching for local businesses and individuals.

Thanks,

Chris Worley


SMITH & METALITZ, L.L.P.

ERIC H. SMITH                                                                                                                                                                                1747 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW
STEVEN J METALITZ                                                                                                                                                                                                             SUITE 825
ERIC J. SCHWARTZ                                                                                                                                                                                WASHINGTON, DC  20006-4604
MARIA STRONG                                                                                                                                                                                          TELEPHONE:  (202) 833-4198
     -------------------                                                                                                                                                                                                        FAX:  (202) 872-0546
MICHAEL N. SCHLESINGER                                                                                                                                                                             E-MAIL: metalitz@iipa.com

October 8, 2000

Ms. Karen A. Rose, Office of International Affairs
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
Room 4701, HCHB
1401 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20230

VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL TO USDOMAIN@NTIA.DOC.GOV

                    RE:  Request for Public Comment on Management and Administration of the .us Domain Space

Dear Ms. Rose:

    The Copyright Coalition on Domain Names (CCDN) welcomes this opportunity to provide comments on the draft Statement of Work (SOW) regarding management and administration of the .us Top Level Domain (usTLD).   These comments are filed in response to the Federal Register notice appearing on the NTIA web site at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/usrfc2/dotusrfc2.htm.

     CCDN brings together ten major associations of copyright owners with a common goal of preserving and enhancing free, unfettered, real-time access to Whois and other directory services.  These tools of the Domain Name System are essential for combating online copyright piracy, and for facilitating the licensed use of copyrighted materials online.  CCDN participants are listed at the end of this submission.

     CCDN applauds the approach taken in the draft SOW as it pertains to the key issues of transparency and accountability in the domain name registration system.  NTIA’s draft clearly recognizes the paramount importance of a robust, searchable, accurate and up-to-date usTLD Whois database to which members of the public enjoy unfettered access via the World Wide Web.  Such a system will enable consumers, intellectual property owners, and all other users of the Internet to quickly and easily learn who is responsible for the registration of a particular domain name within the .us space.  From the perspective of copyright owners, such transparency is essential in dealing with the potential for copyright piracy in .us, a potential which will certainly increase as this ccTLD moves away from its current relatively controlled status toward a more open and heavily populated environment, as the draft SOW contemplates.    This transparency is also needed to facilitate the licensing of online uses of copyrighted materials.

     We particularly appreciate the fact that the draft SOW builds upon and elaborates on the general Whois principles that are operative in the generic Top Level Domain environment.  Both within the current scope of .us, and in any expansion of the ccTLD that will ultimately result from the re-awarding of the managerial and administrative functions, the draft SOW calls for a Whois database that includes several critical features.  Importantly, the draft SOW specifies that the usTLD Whois must be –

    While in general we find the approach taken by the draft SOW commendable, we think that its provisions could usefully be clarified in two areas, and that two other registration policy issues should be addressed.

    The first clarification would spell out that the “free, public, web-based” Whois access (see draft SOW sections I.B and I.D) would be provided without any restrictions on the use of the Whois search results, other than those restrictions required to protect the integrity and availability of the database or to prevent its exploitation for purposes such as inappropriate mass commercial solicitations.

    The second clarification would be to require the administration of both the existing and any expanded usTLD structure to comply, not only with ICANN-adopted policies governing open ccTLDs (see section I.D of the draft SOW), but also, to the extent applicable, with the corresponding ICANN policies for gTLDs.  Currently the ICANN policies on issues such as Whois are more clearly spelled out for gTLDs than they are for ccTLDs.  While we hope that this situation will change, this clarification would be helpful to the extent that ICANN’s ccTLD policies remain underdeveloped at the time that the draft SOW matures into a full-fledged request for proposals regarding usTLD administration.

    The first additional registration policy that the SOW should address concerns steps to maintain the highest practicable quality of Whois data.  The usefulness of Whois access is greatly compromised to the extent that registrants can register on the basis of false or incomplete contact data, or fail to keep their contact data current and accurate.  All registrants in either the current or the expanded usTLD should be required to provide complete and accurate contact data at the time of registration, and to keep it current thereafter.  Failure to fulfill this obligation should result in termination or cancellation of the registration, either by the registrar, by the appropriate sub-delegated registry, or by the usTLD administrator/registry.   At whichever level this compliance authority is allocated, the registrar or registry should issue a clearly stated policy for the receipt and processing of third party complaints about bogus contact data.  The registrar or registry should also commit to taking reasonable steps to screen out applications that contain obviously false contact data (e.g., a US telephone number with a 555 exchange).   A registrar who refuses to make reasonable efforts to prevent and to detect registrations based on false contact data, particularly within the expanded usTLD foreseen in the draft SOW, is virtually inviting pirates and scam artists to occupy this new terrain.

    Second, either registrars, sub-delegated registries, or the usTLD administrator/registry (depending on the particular allocation of registration policy responsibilities that is adopted) should retain the unilateral authority to cancel or suspend a registration for submission of false contact data, failure to maintain current and accurate contact data, or use of the registration for an illegal purpose.   Here, too, a third party complaint procedure should be adopted and publicized.  In these circumstances, as contrasted with disputes over domain names that are confusingly similar to trademarks or service marks, it should not be necessary to initiate litigation or a formal dispute resolution process in order to clean up the TLD.   The registry or registrar should assert and should exercise the authority to do that itself.

    With these clarifications and additions, we believe that NTIA would be guiding future development of the .us domain space in a direction that will make the usTLD a model for all other ccTLDs with respect to domain name registration policy.   Once again, we commend you for taking this approach.

    Thank you for your consideration of our views, and please let me know if I can provide any further information.

                                                                                                Respectfully submitted,
 

                                                                                                Steven J. Metalitz
                                                                                                Counsel to Copyright Coalition on
                                                                                                            Domain Names
 

On behalf of CCDN PARTICIPANTS:
American Film Marketing Association
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
Association of American Publishers
Broadcast Music, Inc.
Business Software Alliance
Interactive Digital Software Association
Motion Picture Association of America
National Music Publishers’ Association
Recording Industry Association of America
Software and Information Industry Association


Before
The Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications
And Information Administration
Washington, D.C.
October 6, 2000



Management and Administration of the                                 )                      Docket Number: 980212036-0235-06
.us Domain Space
 
 

The American Library Association (ALA), the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), and the National Association of Independent Schools are pleased to comment on the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Draft Statement of Work for management and administration of the .us country-code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD). ALA is the oldest and largest national library association in the world, representing nearly 60,000 librarians and institutions. AASA is the professional association for school superintendents and district leaders, representing over 14,000 school districts nationwide.  NAIS represents 1100 member schools, 472,000 students and nearly 60,000 teachers and administrators.

We have two fundamental interests in the disposition of the .us ccTLD. In the first place, libraries and schools are major users of the .us address space. Thousands of public libraries and school districts use regional subdomains for their address space. This practice results in domains that are logical, easy to find, and clearly in a public, rather than commercial, domain space. (For example, the San Francisco Public Library is found at SFPL.LIB.CA.US. and Alexandria, Virginia Public Schools can be found at ACPS.K12.VA.US). We are concerned about the future availability and character of this domain space presently occupied by so many public service organizations.

Secondly, schools and libraries are an important part of the Internet. They provide access for the public, populate the Internet with expensive and valuable information resources, and archive resources.  Libraries and schools also train students and the public in use of the Internet and provide the necessary expertise to organize and navigate the World Wide Web. As part of the Internet Infrastructure, media-technology professionals have a fundamental concern with management and governance issues. In particular, we are concerned that the Internet be managed to serve the broad public interest and to provide the maximum possible accessibility and diversity of content.

Our concerns are, thus, broader than the specific questions in the Draft SOW. In particular, we feel that before a SOW is issued, NTIA needs to define a set of high-level strategic objectives for administration of the .us ccTLD. These objectives should assure that any step toward privatization of the registration and management functions protects the substantial public investment in this infrastructure and advances the public interest.  They should be developed in consultation with libraries, schools and other current stakeholders.

Our specific comments are as follows:

1.     We generally agree with the need to regularize and update the technical management of the .us domain. It currently exists in technical and administrative limbo, with no clear and long-term management responsibility. As the RFC points out, this results in the lack of services and some delay in use of the .us domain compared with the gTLDs such as .com and .org. Over the longer term, this lack of both clear responsibility and incentives to modernize could harm the community of users and make .us a less attractive and useable domain.

2.     The regional structure needs to be retained at this time as part of any new system. This is not simply to protect or “grandfather” existing use, but is reflective of the reality that much human activity and organization, private and government, reflects physical geography. However, the “virtual” geography of Internet certainly suggests that some expansion beyond regional geography could and should be encouraged as .us expands.

3.     The structure and technology of the Internet and of organizations using it are changing as we speak. For example:

        A.     ICANN is considering adding new gTLDs. Their decision, both in the short term and in the strategic sense, will provide a new context for consideration of the role of .us. If ICANN, as we expect, institutes an expansion of commercial domain space, there will be greater reason to consider .us as a dominantly public interest domain. (The RFC suggests that congestion of .com could be a reason to expand .us—a proposition with which we would disagree.)

        B.     Technology is still changing, and the fundamental architecture of the Internet could well allow a very large number of TLDs and flexible, distributed addressing systems. Again, this will affect the requirements and potential impact of NTIA’s decisions.

        C.     Third, there are continuing unresolved concerns about whether the ICANN model of Internet governance will adequately protect the public interest.

        D.     Finally, there is growing awareness and concern in the public interest community about the impacts of “technical” and “administrative” decisions on Internet architecture and operation.

4.     We believe that the fundamental purpose for the .us domain should be to advance the public interest. In this, we concur with the submission of the Media Access Project that the “management of the .us ccTLD serve the public interest.” The Internet was created with public funds. Its original purpose was to serve scholarship, research, and education.

We applaud the extraordinary growth in the private sector, and commercial interests will continue to be a driving force in the evolution of the Internet. However, it is also important to assure that broader public purposes not be swamped by the drive to commercialization. We believe that commercial interests will be well represented in the ICANN debates over expanding the gTLD space and that overcrowding of the .com TLD will be relieved soon. Thus, it would be a serious mistake to use .us to address that issue. As the Internet is privatized, the .us TLD is one of the few potential levers remaining by which government can protect and advance public purposes.

5.     Because of this ferment and the need to protect public space on the Internet, we believe that it is necessary for NTIA to move cautiously and carefully in disposition of .us. We believe that much more dialog needs to be undertaken about the fundamental public purposes that the domain should serve. There is no need to move precipitously; no fundamental reason to immediately privatize the operations.
 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important issue.  The associations would welcome the chance to participate further in the .us ccTLD discussion.

These comments respectfully submitted by:

American Library Association
Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director, ALA Washington Office
1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 403
Washington, DC  20004
(202) 628-8421

American Association of School Administrators
Bruce Hunter, Director of Public Policy
1801 North Moore Street
Arlington, VA  22209
 (703)528-0700

National Association of Independent Schools
Peter D. Relic, President
1620 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036-5605
(202) 973-9700


Before the
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Washington, DC 20554

In the Matter of                                     )
                                                             )
Management of the .us Domain Space    )
                                                             )
Request for Public Comment                  )
                                                             )

COMMENTS OF NEUSTAR, INC.

    NeuStar, Inc. (“NeuStar”)  submits the following comments in response to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (“NTIA”) request for comment on the proposed statement of work (“SOW”) for future management of the .us domain space.   NeuStar supports the NTIA’s efforts to enhance and strengthen the .us domain space to better serve the public interest, and provides the following specific responses to questions regarding the proposed SOW.

INTRODUCTION

    Since the Department of Commerce (“DoC”), through the NTIA, issued its statement of policy on the management of Internet names and addresses,   The Internet Community has expended significant effort in the development of policies and mechanisms for the governance of the Internet domain name system (“DNS”), as well as the enhancement of existing top level domains (“TLD”) and the introduction of new TLDs.  These efforts have resulted in the development of a workable shared registry model that encourages competition and Internet stability, as well as protects the individual rights of Internet users.  Recognizing these efforts and the need to maintain consistent Internet governance models, NeuStar believes that the future management and enhancement of the usTLD should mirror these basic business and policy models for the development of a robust .us domain space.

    In order for the usTLD to become a highly-used and valuable ccTLD, the DoC must establish a structure for the TLD that supports its growth, development and stability.  Therefore, the DoC should remove the restrictions that have limited the growth of the usTLD and establish the space as a hybrid open/locality-based TLD.
    The following specific responses will better describe NeuStar’s views on enhancement and expansion of the usTLD.

 RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS FOR THE DRAFT STATEMENT OF WORK

Section I.A

Question 1

    Regardless of the naming structure or registration policies of the usTLD, several core registry functions need to be provided by the successful offeror responding to an RFP to administer the usTLD ("Awardee"). Does the list in Section I.A of the Draft SOW accurately reflect the full range of core registry functions? Should other/additional core functions be included?

    NeuStar agrees that the importance of expanding the scope and quality of core registry functions for the usTLD cannot be stressed enough.  In addition to the core functions outlined in the SOW, NeuStar believes that a number of enhancements, including the provisioning of registry/registrar interactions, registrar/registry transfers, registrant information changes and name availability queries are necessary.  The Awardee should be prepared to develop a shared registry system (“SRS”) along the lines proposed for the new TLDs that will be established by ICANN.  Thus, expanded usTLD services would follow the registry/registrar model that has become common place in the industry.  Not only will this approach allow the development of a feature rich domain space, it also will establish a level of consumer familiarity that will help ensure a successful roll-out of an enhanced usTLD.

    industry experience has shown that distributed TLD registry data and functionality is very difficult to manage and creates security problems that affect operations and overall TLD stability.  A “fat registry” centralizes the data storage elements of a TLD registry, increasing security, functionality and stability.  NeuStar submits that existing .us delegation operators should be required to transition to a “fat registry.”

Section I.B

Question 2

Are any particular technical specifications, software, or methods and procedures necessary to complete the tasks outlined? Are there other tasks that should be required as part of this section?

The development of a sufficiently secure, functional and robust SRS is not a trivial task.  In developing the kind of SRS discussed in Question 1 above, NeuStar believes that a number of key elements must be implemented to handle delegation based TLD registration.  In particular, NeuStar agrees that the SRS database and Whois functionality should be centralized in the registry operator.
Some of the key components of the SRS are:

    * Geographically diverse, redundant data centers with a high level of physical security and appropriate environmental conditions
    * Network access for registrars
    * System interface for registrars – using an open source protocol
    * Security for the registrars and the information that’s transmitted to the provider
    * SRS Database containing registrar information, transaction information, and domain name and name server assignments, as well as other related information.  This is a fat registry model.
    * Whois Database
    * Billing Database
    * Master Zone File
    * Zone file deployment systems

The key functions of the SRS are:

    * Provide periodic reports regarding agreed upon service levels
    * Implement the business rules and processes determined by the Awardee and the NTIA
    * Add, modify, and delete names on behalf of registrars
    * Respond to registrar queries regarding whether a name is available
    * Respond to registrar queries regarding who has registered a specific name
   * Provide registrar functionality directly to end users in circumstances where delegated name spaces do not have associated third-party registrars
    * Create and deploy zone file updates to a worldwide network of TLD name servers
    * Escrow database and application software with 3rd party vendor
    * Provide customer care for the registry-related needs of interconnected registrars
    * Bill and collect fees from registrars on behalf of the registry
    * Help desk support for registrars – including initial testing and operational maintenance
    * Help desk support for registry – including deployment and maintenance of customer (registrar) interfaces and accounts
    * Network and systems management, monitoring, trouble reporting, and trouble shooting

The key components of the name server network are:

    * Multiple, geographically diverse, highly secure name server locations
    * TLD zone files updated on a regular basis
    * Highly diverse and redundant Internet access to name servers for Internet users

Section I.C

    NeuStar supports NTIA’s intent to maintain support for the existing delegation structure with the usTLD.  As is discussed herein, however, certain overall changes to the .us structure will provide enhanced functionality and stability for the domain space.

Question 3

While usTLD registration policies may change or be adjusted over time, the Draft SOW contemplates that the current usTLD locality-based structure will continue to be supported. What mechanisms should Awardee employ to provide outreach to and coordination among the current usTLD community? Is information dissemination through a website (as required in Section I.A. of the Draft SOW) sufficient?

    Coordination and consultation with the current usTLD community will be a necessary component of efforts to enhance and grow the usTLD.  Given that the SOW contemplates significant administrative and operational changes to the usTLD, NeuStar submits that the Awardee must make a concerted effort to communicate with the TLD community.  Although web publication makes information available, it does not “push” that information out to its intended recipients.  The Awardee must supplement web publication with a targeted outreach plan utilizing available registered contact data and other resources.  At the very least, the Awardee must attempt to contact directly each delegate at its registered contact e-mail address.

Question 4

Are there any drawbacks or disadvantages to continuing the support for the current .us structure? If support for the existing usTLD structure, or portions of it, should be discontinued, please describe how any transition should take place.

    Termination of existing DNS services would raise significant and justified concerns among members of the existing .us community.  The core existing .us structure is based upon well-established legal and organizational structures and should be maintained.  It will be necessary, however, to revisit the existing delegation structure in the usTLD and determine whether administrative changes must be made.  NeuStar agrees that the entire .us domain space would benefit from a more centralized structure.

    Because the current .us structure simply provides for specified second and third-level domain registrations, there are no significant problems associated with maintenance of that structure alongside any new structure (e.g. direct registration in .us) for the domain space.  Indeed, different uses of the TLD could ultimately prove complementary and expand name availability.

Question 5

Regarding the requirement to investigate and report on possible structural, procedural, and policy improvements to the current usTLD structure, are there specific procedures or policy improvements that should be implemented by Awardee prior to completion of this study? Are there issues that need to be specifically addressed in the required study, such as "locality-squatting," the role of state and local governments, or appropriate cost recovery mechanisms?

    The usTLD has remained significantly underutilized since its inception.  NeuStar believes, therefore, that the public interest best will be served by allowing the Awardee to take immediate steps to operate the TLD in a more open, less restricted, and sustainable manner.  With respect to the existing delegation structure, the Awardee should implement a freeze on new delegations and transfers of delegations.  At this time, there do not appear to be any necessary additional policies, improvements or procedures for the locality-based .us domain space.

    As suggested, this preservation of the “status quo” will ensure a stable environment in which to conduct the study, with the input and participation of the .us user community, and determine the most effective future utilization of that portion of the .us domain space.  NeuStar agrees that numerous issues will require serious consideration, including the questions of “locality-squatting,” and the roles of state and local governmental delegates.  In addition, it will be critical to a successful restructuring of the usTLD that the study address the necessary separation and centralization of administrative and technical operations in the delegated name space.  Moreover, the Awardee will need to conduct a thorough investigation of existing registration policies maintained by delegates to ensure consistency with the overall enhanced and expanded usTLD structure.

Question 6

In the SOW, the Department of Commerce contemplates directing the usTLD Administrator to suspend additional locality delegations and to provide registration services directly for all undelegated subdomains. The Draft SOW contemplates that this arrangement would continue until the required study is completed. This "status quo" period is intended to provide a stable environment in which to conduct the study. Is such delegation suspension during this time necessary? Is the requirement to provide direct registration services in the undelegated subdomains enough to ensure the continued availability of the usTLD during this period? Should delegation transfers also be suspended?

    As noted in its response to Question 5 above, NeuStar agrees that a complete suspension of delegation activity, including delegation transfers, with respect to the existing delegated locality-based subdomains is necessary to establish a baseline to permit an effective and detailed reporting on the future administration of the domain space and to ensure TLD stability during the initial reporting process.  The requirement to provide direct registration services in the undelegated subdomains and expanded usTLD should be sufficient to ensure the continued availability of the usTLD during the reporting period.

Question 7
Currently, the usTLD Administrator does not charge fees for its services. We contemplate that the Awardee would administer the existing locality-based usTLD structure under this same policy, pending completion of the study and the approval of any recommended cost recovery mechanism. Should the Awardee be allowed to establish a cost recovery mechanism for the existing usTLD space upon award? If so, on what basis should such fees be determined and how should such fees be phased in?

    Given that NeuStar agrees that all activity within the existing locality-based usTLD structure should be suspended pending completion of the study, it further agrees that administrator service fees also should not be charged during this interim period.  Again, it is necessary that the “status quo” for these subdomains be maintained to ensure that the Awardee is able to develop an effective report regarding their future administration.  To the extent, however, that the Awardee provides registrations in the expanded usTLD, NeuStar submits that the Awardee must be permitted to begin immediately to recover its costs.

Section I.D

Question 8

Commenters have suggested that an expanded usTLD structure that allows direct registrations under the usTLD as well as under specified second level domains would be most attractive for prospective registrants. In this Draft SOW we provide a great deal of latitude to consider and propose expansion of the usTLD structure. Should the final SOW impose more specific requirements in this area? Should certain second-level domains in the usTLD be required or specified? If so, which ones and how should they be selected? Should a second level domain for the registration of domain names for personal, non-commercial use be created? Are there disadvantages to allowing second level domain registrations directly under .us? Would a system that both establishes specific second level domains and allows direct registration under .us be feasible or would a mixed approach cause confusion for users?

    NeuStar agrees with NTIA’s belief, as evidenced in the SOW, that there should be few, if any, restrictions on registration in and operation of the expanded usTLD.  The key philosophy behind the enhancement and expansion of the usTLD must be that domain name holders should be able to utilize domain naming schemes that they find comfortable, convenient and that meet their individual need.  This philosophy is consistent with a system that establishes specific second level domains and also allows direct registration under .us.  In the seven years of DNS development since the publication of RFC 1480, it has become clear that domain name holders often find it useful to associate geographic or political distinctions in their domain names while others prefer generic second level registrations.

    Contrary to the notion that users may be confused, this approach will allow for very structured domain spaces where such structure is helpful.  For example, a .com.us second level domain delegation could be established to allow registrations for US businesses only.  Such a distinctive classification would simplify user searches for US businesses.  Other similar new second level domains could be created as user demand dictates.

    The SOW should keep specific restrictions on these issues to a minimum.  Although existing second level delegations should, of course, be maintained, the Awardee must have the flexibility to develop a robust and innovative expanded usTLD.

Question 9

The Draft SOW contemplates that the Awardee will follow ICANN adopted policies relating to open ccTLDs, unless otherwise directed by the Department of Commerce. NTIA believes that this will allow straightforward administration of the expanded usTLD, with little additional policy development required. To the extent that additional substantive policy is required, NTIA contemplates that it would work cooperatively with the Awardee to develop such policy. What are the advantages and disadvantages to such an approach? Should other approaches be considered? Please describe alternate approaches, and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.

    NeuStar agrees that existing ICANN policies provide a sound initial basis for usTLD policy.  In particular, the ICANN policies governing open ccTLDs should apply unless otherwise directed by the DoC.  Other ICANN policies, such as the UDRP, also may provide good base policies for the usTLD and should be considered by the Awardee.  NeuStar also agrees, however, that it is critical to the stable development of the enhanced usTLD that the Awardee and the NTIA work cooperatively to establish and develop necessary additional policy.

    This measured approach to policy adoption and new policy development will allow straightforward administration of the usTLD.  Moreover, it will increase TLD stability, as well as user familiarity and comfort and, therefore, will help speed acceptance of the expanded TLD.

Question 10
Under current usTLD policy, registrations in the usTLD must be hosted on computers in the United States (RFC 1480 Section 1.3). Should this requirement apply to the expanded usTLD structure? Should registrations in the usTLD be further restricted to individuals or entities "located in" or "with a connection to" the United States? If so, what are appropriate criteria for determining eligibility: valid street address in the United States; citizenship or residency in the United States; incorporation and/or establishment in the United States? How would such criteria be established and enforced? How would such requirements affect administration of the usTLD?

    NeuStar believes that only critical core registry infrastructure need be maintained in the United States.  Indeed, sound engineering practice may dictate, if user load so required, that some name savers may need to be operated outside the United States to maintain acceptable user service levels.  Maintenance of the core infrastructure in the US will ensure that the functionality of the usTLD cannot be disrupted.

    Beyond the operational infrastructure of the expanded usTLD, NeuStar does not believe that requirements that individual domain names must be hosted within the United States are necessary.  Given the global nature of the Internet and Internet users, such restrictions not only are unnecessary, they are inconsistent with the concept of an open ccTLD.  Such a restriction could harm legitimate users and discourage use of the TLD.  For example, a US subsidiary of a foreign company might seek a .us open registration but want the actual name hosted on the networks of its foreign parent.  Thus, in keeping with the philosophy of comfort and convenience for users, there should be few, if any, such restrictions on the expanded usTLD.

Question 11

The Draft SOW contemplates that registrations in the expanded usTLD would be performed by competitive registrars through a shared registration system. (Awardee will not be permitted to serve as a usTLD registrar, except with respect to registrations in the existing, locality-based usTLD space until the required study has been completed.) Under this system, who should be eligible to serve as usTLD registrars? ICANN has established accreditation procedures for registrars in the .com, .net and .org top level domains. Should all individuals and entities accredited by ICANN be eligible to register in the usTLD? If not, why not? What alternative process, procedures, criteria, or additional requirements should be used?

    In order to encourage the rapid implementation of the enhanced usTLD, as well as promote strong competition among registrars, and to encourage user acceptance of the domain space, NeuStar submits that all existing ICANN accredited registrars should be eligible to register in the usTLD without material restriction.  Eligibility of ICANN registrars should be subject only to technical testing and approval by registry technical staff.  This restriction is necessary to ensure the stability and security of the TLD.

Question 12
What type of contractual arrangement and provisions should be required of usTLD registrars? Should usTLD registrars enter into an agreement similar to ICANN's Registrar Accreditation Agreement (see http://www.icann.org/nsi/icann-raa-04nov99.htm). How would the ICANN agreement need to be modified to fit the usTLD context? Is this a feasible approach? Are there any provisions of the ICANN agreement that should not be included in a usTLD accreditation agreement? If so, which provisions should not be included and why? Are there any provisions that should be added, and if so, why?

    NeuStar agrees that existing TLD policies should be followed where possible to permit consistency and stability within the TLD.  The ICANN Registrar Accreditation Agreement provides a sound initial basis for usTLD registrar contractual arrangements.  Again, using this document as a basis will allow for straightforward relations with ICANN registrars.  Upon completion of the study required in the SOW, it may become necessary to modify or add to the agreement to address the governance structure of the delegated subdomains and the possibility of subdomain delegates operating as registrars in their own right.  In addition, the Awardee and the NTIA likely will have to develop registrar compliance and removal procedures to ensure that registrars comply with all rules and policies governing the usTLD.

Question 13
Should the interface between Awardee's usTLD registry and the usTLD registrars be specified in the final SOW? If so, should the interface follow the specifications set forth in RFC 2832 (see http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2832.txt), or should other/additional technical and/or functional specifications be used? What, if any, quality of service requirements should Awardee be expected to meet? If other/additional specifications should be used, what should these specifications be?

    The NTIA should not specify in the SOW the interface between Awardee’s usTLD registry and the registrars.  Rather, the SOW should list high-level functional specifications to apply to the development of the necessary interface protocol.  Consistent with its overall approach to public resource management, NeuStar supports the development of an entirely open source next generation registry protocol.  The open source protocol should be developed and controlled by an open Internet standards body like the IETF.  Given the public interest nature of .us, the adoption of such an openly developed and publicly owned protocol is both reasonable and appropriate.

    With respect to quality of service requirements, NeuStar believes that the SOW should require that applicants include within their proposals defined service level commitments.  The content of those commitments, however, should be left to the applicant to develop based upon their proposal and capabilities.

Question 14

It is likely that Awardee will want to license usTLD registrars to use its registry access software. Is Network Solutions' Registrar License Agreement (see http://www.icann.org/nsi/nsi-rla-28sept99.htm) a good model for such a license? If not, why not? What provisions of the NSI agreement should be deleted? What provisions should be added?

    As noted above, NeuStar supports the use of existing TLD policies for the enhanced and expanded usTLD.  The NSI Registrar License Agreement may serve as a useful model for usTLD registry/registrar relations.  However, such a license should only apply to registry developed software, not to the protocol itself, which should be open source as discussed in Question 13 above.  The agreement should be developed and modified as necessary by the Awardee and the NTIA.

Section II

Question 15

On February 23, 2000, ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee ("GAC") adopted "Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains" (see http://www.icann.org/gac/gac-cctldprinciples-23feb00.htm). The document sets forth basic principles for the administration and management of ccTLDs, as well as a framework for the relationships among the relevant local governments in the context of a ccTLD, the ccTLD administrator, and ICANN. The Department of Commerce has endorsed and intends to implement the GAC Principles. Are there any provisions of the GAC Principles that should not be included in an agreement between Department of Commerce and the Awardee, or between the Awardee and ICANN? If so, which provisions should not be included and why? Are there any provisions that should be added, and if so, why?

    NeuStar does not recommend any alterations or modifications of the provisions of the ICANN GAC Principles for open ccTLDs as they may relate to the usTLD.  The Awardee and the NTIA should work cooperatively to develop and implement any additional policies as the need for such becomes evident.

CONCLUSION

The draft SOW represents a solid starting point for a request for proposals for an enhanced and expanded usTLD.  NeuStar urges the NTIA to consider seriously the specific principles and suggestions discussed briefly above in developing the final SOW.

  Respectfully submitted,
 __________________________
 James A. Casey
 Greenberg Traurig, LLP
 800 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 500
 Washington, DC 20006
 Telephone:  (202) 331-3109
 Counsel for NeuStar,  Inc.

October 6, 2000


Comments for NTIA

In Response to:
    Docket Number 980212036-0235-06
    RIN 0660-AA11
    Management and Administration of the .us Domain Space

I am working with the National Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP), a consortium of 12 federal government agencies, and this comment is submitted on the behalf of NOPP.

A simple, expedited mechanism should be established to request the creation of new second level domains under .us.  That is, domains of the form:
     <new_domain>.us

We are not proposing to disrupt the geographical basis of the .us domain.  New additions could be limited to domains that are geographical in nature, but represent a different geographical part or aspect of the US, not covered by the current second level domains.

In the future there will be many geographically-oriented programs in areas such as geology, ecology, regional planning and governance, resource management.  These will be  larger geographically than a single state, so a state designation is not appropriate.  Also these programs typically involve a collaboration among government, academia, private enterprise, and non-governmental (non-profit) organizations.  They are not traditional interstate governmental agencies.  Therefore, domains such as .gov, .edu, .fed.us, or .isa.us are not acceptable.

Examples might be: "South," "WestCoast," "GreatLakes," "MississippiRiver," "RockyMountains," or "GrandCanyon."

The criteria for accepting such a domain should be 1) that it fit the general geographical structure of the .us domain, and 2) that it not duplicate any existing second level domain in function.

We would like to see a simple, fair, expeditious procedure to submit a request for a second level domain, have it considered by a standing review committee, and -- if it meets the criteria -- approved, implemented, and delegated to a responsible, qualified party mutually agreed-upon with the original requestors.  We suggest that 30 days should be sufficient time for this to happen.

There should, of course, be some sort of appeal provision.  But, in general, the whole thing should be kept simple.

Bob Heinmiller
Omnet, Inc.



 

RE: Docket Number 980212036-0235-06
RIN 0660-AA11
Management and Administration of the .us Domain Space

The City of Staunton (VA) is supportive of the Draft SOW.  We are in favor of continuing the usTLD structure and are encouraged by the Draft SOW.

With regards to the Methods and Procedures (Section II), I would like to emphasize that the public authorities should have in delegation of a domain. In the document, Principles for Delegation and Administration of ccTLDs – 23 February 2000), ICANN outlines that the administration should be “designated by the relevant government or public authority.”  We have had ongoing issues with the registrar of our domain (staunton.va.us) who acquired the domain prior to ICANN management.  They do not feel ICANN rules apply to them since they had acquired the domain earlier.  They do not have the support of the local government, yet continue to manage the delegation.  We would like to see consistency and uniformity in all delegations regardless of when they were acquired, giving the right of the local governing body to make the decision regarding delegation and applicability of the uniform dispute resolution procedures for cases such as this.  The delegation of the local domain should be the responsibility of the local governing body.

Regards,

Kurt S. Plowman
Chief Technology Officer
City of Staunton


Before the
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION

                     In re                                                         )
                                                                                     )
                    Management and Administration                )                         Dkt No. 980212036-0235-06
                    Of the .us Domain Space                           )
 
 

COMMENTS OF THE BENTON FOUNDATION
AND THE MEDIA ACCESS PROJECT

    The Benton Foundation (Benton) and the Media Access Project (MAP) (collectively “Commenters”) hereby submit these comments in the above captioned proceeding.

INTRODUCTION

     Benton and MAP respectfully suggest that the Commerce Department has failed to include in its proposed scope of work the most important question: how will management of the .us namespace benefit the American people?  Although several of the questions included in the Request for Comments (RFC) and the proposed scope of work (SOW) include elements that obviously benefit some sectors of the public, nothing in the SOW requires that the winning proposal manage .us as a public trust, as required by the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) Commerce embraced in the RFC, and in keeping with the long history of the United States in managing public resources.

     In particular, management of the .us space should address the growing “Digital Divide” that threatens to disenfanchise those who lack Internet access or skills.  Second, management of the .us space should be used to fulfill the First Amendment’s promise of a market place of ideas “as diverse as human thought.” Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844, 870 (1997).

ARGUMENT

I. BASIC PRINCIPLES FOR MANAGEMENT OF .US MUST  BENEFIT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AS A WHOLE AND RECOGNIZE VALUE OF BOTH COMMERCIAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT

    Commenters attach to this filing a separate document entitled “Principles For Management of the .US Namespace,” jointly submitted by Commenters and a coalition of non-profit organizations dedicated to closing the Digital Divide and promoting democracy in the Internet age.  As explained in the Principles, the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) identify country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) as a public resource, “administered in the public interest.”  Furthermore:

                                                The delegee of a ccTLD is a trustee for the
                                                delegated domain, and has a duty to serve
                                                the residents of the relevant country or territory.

        The RFC explicitly embraces the GAC principles.  Despite this, the SOW does not explain how it intends to administer the .us domain in the public interest or how NTIA will hold the delegee accountable as a “trustee” with “a duty to serve” the American people.

    Commenters urge that NTIA include the Principles in the future scope of work.  These will provide necessary guidance to the future delegee in acting as a trustee of the .us domain space.

II. PROPOSALS FOR ENACTING THE PRINCIPLES

    Although the RFC does not, at this point, solicit specific proposals, Commenters believe it appropriate to bring to NTIA’s attention ways in which Commerce can incorporate the Principles and appropriate benchmarks into the SOW.  Commenters urge that the SOW should specify that:

            a) a non-profit serve as delegee;

            b) the delegee use a portion of the revenue raised from management and the resources available from management to provide Internet access, training and content development for those on the wrong side of the Digital Divide;

            c) the delegee implement new ways to enhance non-commercial use of the space while fostering appropriate commercial development; and,

            d) the delegee not only preserve the current legacy network, but work to enhance the abilities of states, localities, libraries, and schools to use .us as a more effective tool and means of creating online communities.

        A. The Delegee Should Be a Non-Profit Corporation

    NTIA should require that the delegee be a non-profit corporation.  NTIA has itself recognized the wisdom of entrusting DNS management issues to a non-profit corporation.  From the first statement of policy on transitioning the DNS from United States management to private management, NTIA recognized that it would be preferable to entrust this responsibility with a non-profit corporation dedicated to the public good, rather than a for-profit corporation which must, as a matter of law, act in the interest of its stockholders.  See Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses, 63 Fed. Reg. 8826 (1998) (“Green Paper”).  This does not mean, of course, that non-profits are automatically qualified to handle such responsibilities or that for-profit companies cannot act in the public interest.  In the area of DNS management, however, the Commerce Department now has  a history to draw upon.  Commerce has frequently observed that, although the process of developing ICANN has not gone as smoothly as one might hope, it is a successful process that embodies the consensus of the Internet community.  See, e.g., Testimony of Andrew J. Pincus, General Counsel, Department of Commerce, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Commerce Committee, July 22, 1999.   It would be appropriate for Commerce to replicate that process to some degree here.  In particular, Commerce’s conclusion to entrust DNS management to a non-profit, while creating a system that permits for-profit registries and registrars to develop the commercial potential of the namespace.

        B. The Delegee Should Devote A Portion Of The Revenue and Resources Derived From Managing .US To Closing The Digital Divide

    The United States faces an ever-increasing problem in the form of the growing Digital Divide.  While Internet penetration continues to rise, and more and more Americans are coming online, a large portion of our society continues to lag behind.  This gap continues to grow daily, as does the “experience gap” between the mainstream of American society that enjoys access and those who have only recently secured access to the Internet.  In the words of Secretary Daley: “We should be alarmed by this news.”

    Both Congress and the Commerce Department have identified providing access for all Americans to advanced communications services a national priority and an integrated part of our national communications policy.  It is fitting that America’s premier Internet public resource and the symbol of the nation in cyberspace, the .us domain, should become an integral part of this national policy.

    In this regard, Commenters note that the digital divide has the highest degree of persistence among racial and ethnic minorities, inner city communities, and rural communities. See, e.g., “Digital Divide Leaves Country and City Behind,”  USA Today, June 6, 2000 at 3D. See also http://www.digitaldivide.gov; http://digitialdividenetwork. org.  Traditionally, the private sector has failed to provide adequate solutions for these communities.  If the nation is to fulfill Congress’ goal of access to advanced services by all Americans, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-104 §706, the federal government must act.  As the branch of the executive charged to address this issue, NTIA should seize this opportunity.

     It should be noted that the SOW should allow the delegee, rather than the Commerce Department, to determine how best to raise revenue for Digital Divide purposes and how to best use the resources available to further this goal.  As a contractor, the delagee has a greater degree of discretion to act than the Commerce Department would directly.  For example, nothing prevents the delegee from auctioning names to raise revenue.  As several Federal Courts of Appeals and the General Accounting Office have painstakingly explained, the fees charged by the namespace administrator are not limited to cost. See, e.g., Thomas v. Network Solutions, Inc., 2 F. Supp. 22, 36-37 (D.D.C.) affirmed 176 F.3d 500, 510-12 (D.C. Cir. 1999); Department of Commerce: Relationship With The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, General Accounting Office at 22-25 (2000).  Nor must such fees be returned to the treasury. Id.   This, of course, stands in sharp contrast with federal agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, which required legislative authorization to auction spectrum.  See generally Nextwave Personal Communications, Inc. v. FCC, 200 F.3d 43, 53 (2nd Cir. 1999).
 Conversely, the delegee may decide to subsidize registrations or activities that further the public interest.  Nothing in the SOW should prevent a delagee from taking such actions.

        C. The Delegee Should Enhance Non-Commercial Use of the Space

    Scholars and the Courts have recognized that the First Amendment to the Constitution requires the government to do more than refrain from direct censorship.  See, e.g., Cass R. Sunstein, The First Amendment in Cyberspace, 104 Yale L.J. 1757 (1995).  The government has an affirmative duty to foster a diverse marketplace of ideas.  As the Supreme Court has made plain:

                            It is the purpose of the First Amendment to preserve an uninhibited
                            marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail . . . . It is
                            the right of the public to receive suitable access to social, political,
                            esthetic, moral and other ideas and experiences.

Red Lion Broadcasting Co., Inc. v. FCC, 395 U.S. 367, 390 (1969).

     Administration of the .us domain should further the public access to “social, political, esthetic, moral and other ideas and experiences.”  Congress and the courts have recognized this “government purpose of the highest order.”  Turner Broadcasting System v. FCC, 512 U.S. 622, 662 (1994).

    Indeed, the United States has a long history of using public resources and public funds to promote non-commercial speech. To take but a few examples, the Morrill Act of 1862 provided for the sale of public land to create the land grant university system.  See 7 U.S.C.A. §§ 301 et seq.  Two government agencies, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, are dedicated to making grants that promote non-commercial speech. See National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965, P.L. 89-209.  In addition, Congress created and funds the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to promote non-commercial speech over the airwaves.  47 U.S.C. §§ 397, et seq.  Congress and the FCC have allocated segments of the broadcast spectrum exclusively for non-commercial speech, see 47 CFR §§73.501, et seq., have required cable operators to allocate channels for public, educational, and government programming (the “PEG” channels) and have recognized the importance of non-profit educational broadcasting as part of cable must-carry rules, see Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, Pub. L. 102-385, and required Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) operators to set aside a portion of their spectrum for non-commercial use. 47 U.S.C. §335. In short, the national policy of the United States has consistently, since the days of the first land-grant universities, favored the use of public resources to promote non-commercial speech that contributes to the national culture and educates and informs the citizenry.

    At the same time, the United States has traditionally preferred not to generate this content itself, or exercise control over content directly.  See, e.g., 47 U.S.C. § 326 (prohibiting censorship).  Rather, the United States has traditionally turned to the non-profit community, to individuals, and to some degree to the private sector, to create non-commercial content  to provide the public, in the words of Red Lion, “social, political, esthetic, moral and other ideas and experiences.”

    For this reason, the SOW should include a requirement that the delegee foster use of the .us namespace for noncommercial speech, and particularly facilitate its use by non-profits.  True, the non-profits have access to the Internet in the same manner as anyone else.  Unfortunately, the generic TLD originally reserved for non-profits, .org, has become increasingly commercialized, diminishing the value of .org as a signal for non-commercial speech.   Requiring the delegee to promote use of the space by non-profits will facilitate creation of a true public commons, where United States citizens can expect to find substantive non-commercial content easily and quickly.

        D. The Delegee Should Not Only Preserve The Existing Legacy System, But Explore Ways to Enhance It

    While the .us space has not yet fulfilled its full potential, it has served some sectors of society very well.  In particular, libraries, schools, and state and local governments have made effective use of the current structure.

    The SOW should require the delegee to do more than maintain the existing structure.  The SOW should require the delegee to work closely with these constituencies (and other .us registrants) to discuss how use of the legacy structure and enhancements of the space can serve these communities.  These communities have played a pivotal role in working to make the Internet accessible to all Americans, and have unique relationships with their local communities.  Indeed, Congress has determined that libraries and schools should serve as the beach-head for universal deployment and the war on the Digital Divide, by providing that they receive subsidies for Internet access.  See Telecommunications Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-104.

III. ANSWERS TO SPECIFIC QUESTIONS RAISED IN THE RFC

Question 1

    Regardless of the naming structure or registration policies of the usTLD, several core registry functions need to be provided by the successful offeror responding to an RFP to administer the usTLD ("Awardee"). Does the list in Section I.A of the Draft SOW accurately reflect the full range of core registry functions? Should other/additional core functions be included?

Commenters have addressed this question in Part II above.

Question 2

Are any particular technical specifications, software, or methods and procedures necessary to complete the tasks outlined? Are there other tasks that should be required as part of this section?

Commenters have no opinion on this question at this time.

Question 3

While usTLD registration policies may change or be adjusted over time, the Draft SOW contemplates that the current usTLD locality-based structure will continue to be supported. What mechanisms should Awardee employ to provide outreach to and coordination among the current usTLD community? Is information dissemination through a website (as required in Section I.A. of the Draft SOW) sufficient?

    To the extent Commenters have not addressed this question in Part II, Commenters believe that the SOW should allow the Awardee to act with some discretion.  The SOW should require the Awardee to address this issue in the proposal, and should consider the quality of the proposed outreach and coordination (including proposed performance benchmarks) as part of the overall evaluation of the response to the SOW.

Question 4

Are there any drawbacks or disadvantages to continuing the support for the current .us structure? If support for the existing usTLD structure, or portions of it, should be discontinued, please describe how any transition should take place.

    Commenters do not believe support should be discontinued.  To the contrary, Commenters believe the structure should be enhanced.

Question 5

Regarding the requirement to investigate and report on possible structural, procedural, and policy improvements to the current usTLD structure, are there specific procedures or policy improvements that should be implemented by Awardee prior to completion of this study? Are there issues that need to be specifically addressed in the required study, such as "locality-squatting," the role of state and local governments, or appropriate cost recovery mechanisms?

    Commenters believe that the Awardee should coordinate this project with the effected constituencies, although proposals on how to coordinate and conduct the study should be part of any proposal submitted in response to the SOW.

Question 6

    In the SOW, the Department of Commerce contemplates directing the usTLD Administrator to suspend additional locality delegations and to provide registration services directly for all undelegated subdomains. The Draft SOW contemplates that this arrangement would continue until the required study is completed. This "status quo" period is intended to provide a stable environment in which to conduct the study. Is such delegation suspension during this time necessary? Is the requirement to provide direct registration services in the undelegated subdomains enough to ensure the continued availability of the usTLD during this period? Should delegation transfers also be suspended?

    Imposing this condition may unintentionally burden the communities that most use the existing .us system.  The SOW should leave discretion to the effected communities and the Awardee.

Question 7

Currently, the usTLD Administrator does not charge fees for its services. We contemplate that the Awardee would administer the existing locality-based usTLD structure under this same policy, pending completion of the study and the approval of any recommended cost recovery mechanism. Should the Awardee be allowed to establish a cost recovery mechanism for the existing usTLD space upon award? If so, on what basis should such fees be determined and how should such fees be phased in?

    Commenters addressed this issue above.

Question 8

Commenters have suggested that an expanded usTLD structure that allows direct registrations under the usTLD as well as under specified second level domains would be most attractive for prospective registrants.  In this Draft SOW we provide a great deal of latitude to consider and propose expansion of the usTLD structure. Should the final SOW impose more specific requirements in this area? Should certain second-level domains in the usTLD be required or specified? If so, which ones and how should they be selected? Should a second level domain for the registration of domain names for personal, non-commercial use be created? Are there disadvantages to allowing second level domain registrations directly under .us? Would a system that both establishes specific second level domains and allows direct registration under .us be feasible or would a mixed approach cause confusion for users?

    Consistent with the principles discussed above, the SOW should not impose artificial constraints upon the Awardee.  Rather the SOW should impose a public interest requirement and sufficient safeguards to ensure that the Awardee fulfills its responsibilities as a trustee of the .us TLD for the citizens of the United States.

Question 9

The Draft SOW contemplates that the Awardee will follow ICANN adopted policies relating to open ccTLDs, unless otherwise directed by the Department of Commerce. NTIA believes that this will allow straightforward administration of the expanded usTLD, with little additional policy development required. To the extent that additional substantive policy is required, NTIA contemplates that it would work cooperatively with the Awardee to develop such policy. What are the advantages and disadvantages to such an approach? Should other approaches be considered? Please describe alternate approaches, and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.

    As discussed at length above, the Awardee should develop practices that further the principles described above.  Notably, the Awardee should be free to develop practices that work to close the digital divide and that foster the development of a “public commons” in the .us space.

    Commenters anticipate that ICANN would play virtually no role in development of policy within .us.  ICANN is an international body tasked with technical coordination of the domain space generally.  While .us would, of course, comply with all ICANN policies generally applicable to ccTLDs, Commenters do not foresee circumstances where it would be appropriate for ICANN to take a more active role in managing a specific ccTLD (outside of the context of a disputed delegation).

    By contrast, Commenters expect Commerce would exercise sufficient oversight to ensure that the Awardee fulfills its obligations under the SOW and as a trustee of the ccTLD.

Question 10

Under current usTLD policy, registrations in the usTLD must be hosted on computers in the United States (RFC 1480 Section1.3). Should this requirement apply to the expanded usTLD structure? Should registrations in the usTLD be further restricted to individuals or entities "located in" or "with a connection to" the United States? If so, what are appropriate criteria for determining eligibility: valid street address in the United States; citizenship or residency in the United States; incorporation and/or establishment in the United States? How would such criteria be established and enforced? How would such requirements affect administration of the usTLD?

    Commenters have no opinion at this time.

Question 11

The Draft SOW contemplates that registrations in the expanded usTLD would be performed by competitive registrars through a shared registration system. (Awardee will not be permitted to serve as a usTLD registrar, except with respect to registrations in the existing, locality-based usTLD space until the required study has been completed.) Under this system, who should be eligible to serve as usTLD registrars? ICANN has established accreditation procedures for registrars in the .com, .net and .org top level domains. Should all individuals and entities accredited by ICANN be eligible to register in the usTLD? If not, why not? What alternative process, procedures, criteria, or additional requirements should be used?

     Commenters believe it is premature to speculate as to what form of registration will ultimately best serve the public interest.  Certainly promoting competition in registration (with the attendant price and service advantages to registrants) should be a goal of the Awardee.  However, there are situations where such a system may not be appropriate.  The SOW should not constrain the Awardee from experimenting with different systems.  At the same time, the SOW should contain sufficient oversight and intervention mechanisms to prevent abuse of the system by the Awardee.

Question 12

What type of contractual arrangement and provisions should be required of usTLD registrars? Should usTLD registrars enter into an agreement similar to ICANN's Registrar Accreditation Agreement (see http://www.icann.org/nsi/icann-raa-04nov99.htm). How would the ICANN agreement need to be modified to fit the usTLD context? Is this a feasible approach? Are there any provisions of the ICANN agreement that should not be included in a usTLD accreditation agreement? If so, which provisions should not be included and why? Are there any provisions that should be added, and if so, why?

    The .us ccTLD should not be artificially constrained or put at a competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis other ccTLDs.  Furthermore, it is important that .us not forfeit essential elements of its sovereignty over its ccTLD administration. At the same time, .us should not interfere in anyway with ICANN’s general coordination of ccTLDs.

    To balance these important considerations, the SOW should give the Awardee discretion to act in consultation with Commerce, rather than requiring a particular agreement as it exists at the time of this RFC.

Question 13

Should the interface between Awardee's usTLD registry and the usTLD registrars be specified in the final SOW? If so, should the interface follow the specifications set forth in RFC 2832 (see http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2832.txt), or should other/additional technical and/or functional specifications be used? What, if any, quality of service requirements should Awardee be expected to meet? If other/additional specifications should be used, what should these specifications be?

    Commenters would prefer to see the SOW require sufficient oversight and benchmarks rather than mandating a particular technology.

Question 14

It is likely that Awardee will want to license usTLD registrars to use its registry access software. Is Network Solutions' Registrar License Agreement (see http://www.icann.org/ nsi/nsi-rla-28sept99.htm) a good model for such a license? If not, why not? What provisions of the NSI agreement should be deleted? What provisions should be added?

    Commenters believe that the SOW should not mandate a particular form of license.  Rather, the SOW should focus on overall methods of accountability to ensure that the Awardee does not abuse its control of the .us space.

Question 15

On February 23, 2000, ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee ("GAC") adopted "Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains" (see http://www.icann.org/gac/gac-cctldprinciples-23feb00.htm). The document sets forth basic principles for the administration and management of ccTLDs, as well as a framework for the relationships among the relevant local governments in the context of a ccTLD, the ccTLD administrator, and ICANN. The Department of Commerce has endorsed and intends to implement the GAC Principles. Are there any provisions of the GAC Principles that should not be included in an agreement between Department of Commerce and the Awardee, or between the Awardee and ICANN? If so, which provisions should not be included and why? Are there any provisions that should be added, and if so, why?

     Commenters have addressed this issue above.  Commenters agree that the ccTLD should be treated as a public resource and that the Awardee is a trustee, administering the ccTLD for the benefit of its citizens.

     Only two clauses raise concerns.  Specifically, Clauses 10.2.5 and 10.2.6.  As regards to Clause 10.2.5, Commenters express concern that the question of anonymous registration remains an important public policy issues.  Commenters hesitate to endorse a commitment to an ICANN policy on “public access to, accurate and up-to-date contact information for domain name registrants.”  Given the important public policy issues involved, and that ICANN may formulate a policy that runs counter to a future nationally-developed policy on privacy, Commenters maintain that the United States government and the Awardee, not ICANN, should have the final say in this matter.

     As regards Clause 10.2.6, Commenters re-iterate that .us should not encumber itself with comments that do not have the general support of other TLDs.  To the extent that Clause 10.2.6 could be read to provide ICANN with a “blank check,”  Commenters urge that the Awardee and the United States retain some discretion.

CONCLUSION

     The .us domain space has the potential to address some of the most serious social issues facing the United States in the digital age.  Commerce should not squander this opportunity.  Rather, Commerce must include within any delegation or agreement the specific principles attached in the Principles for Management of the .US Namespace.  At the same time, Commerce should take care not to make any SOW so tied to a particular technology or approach that it would interfere with achieving the important goals of combating the Digital Divide and fostering non-commercial speech on the Internet.

     Respectfully Submitted,

     Harold Feld
     Andrew Jay Schwartzman
     Cheryl A. Leanza
     MEDIA ACCESS PROJECT
     Suite 220
     950 18TH St.
      Washington, DC 20006
      (202) 232-4300
      Attorneys for
      Benton Foundation
October 6, 2000
 

 ATTACHMENT

PRINCIPLES FOR MANAGEMENT OF THE .US NAMESPACE

    The undersigned believe that the .US, the country code top level domain (ccTLD) of the United States, must be managed under the guiding principle that management of public resources must serve the public interest.  In addition to promoting valuable commercial development, the .US ccTLD should promote non-commercial public benefits.  In particular, the .US domain should be utilized to address the growing Digital Divide, to create opportunities for use by non-profits, and to foster valuable non-commercial speech.  The proposed statement of work issued by the Commerce Department fails to reflect what should be the bedrock principle of management of the .US namespace.

    I.     THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE HAS ALREADY EMBRACED THE GAC PRINCIPLES, WHICH REQUIRE THAT MANAGEMENT OF THE .US SPACE SERVE THE PUBLIC INTEREST.
    The Department of Commerce has endorsed the principles of the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the management and delegation of country code top-level domains (ccTLDs).  Under these principles:

                           the role of the relevant government or public authority is to
                            ensure that the ccTLD is being administered in the public
                            interest, whilst taking into consideration issues of public
                            policy and relevant law and regulation.

Furthermore:

                           The delegee of a ccTLD is a trustee for the delegated domain, and
                           has a duty to serve the residents of the relevant country or territory.

    Under this principle the ccTLD represents a public resource; the relevant country and delegee, as “trustees” for the citizens of the relevant country, have a fiduciary obligation to manage this public resource for the benefit of all of that country’s citizens.

II.     TRADITIONAL PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC RESOURCE MANAGEMENT REQUIRE THAT MANAGEMENT OF .US BENEFIT ALL CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES.
    The GAC principles quoted above apply with particular force to the .US domain.  The United States has always recognized an obligation to manage its public resources for the good of all.  This “public interest” model has inspired the use of public land to establish and support universities, the creation of postal roads and a national postal system, set asides of land for natural parks and nature conservatories, and subsidies for the sciences and arts.

    The public interest has been the cornerstone of United States communications policy in the “old economy” and into the “Internet age.”  Under the basic principle that telephony services are a “lifeline” service to which all Americans are entitled, Congress has now ordained that it is the policy of the United States to foster the deployment of advanced telecommunications services to ALL Americans,  and has provided for a means to ensure that every school and library in America can access the Internet.

    This makes sound economic sense as well as sound moral sense.  The greater the number of people on the network, the more valuable the network to everyone on it, including those previously connected.  The person in the city who can call or send email to his or her parents back on the farm benefits as much as the parents back on the farm from hearing from their children.  The business that can reach a new minority customer in the inner city benefits as much as the consumer who can now place an order.

III.     MANAGEMENT OF .US SHOULD SERVE THE VITAL FIRST AMENDMENT PURPOSE OF FOSTERING AN INFORMED, DIGITALLY CONNECTED CITIZENRY.
    The First Amendment impels government to maintain a well-informed electorate by fostering a marketplace of ideas rich in civic discourse, and to ensure that all citizens have access to this rich marketplace.  More importantly, the First Amendment recognizes the importance of promoting true diversity in speech by providing to all – regardless of their race, age, or economic status – not merely access, but the means to participate meaningfully.

    Congress has recognized the centrality of these First Amendment principles in formulating our national policy on deployment of the Internet and advanced telecommunications services:

 The rapidly developing array of Internet and other interactive
computer services available to individual Americans represents
an extraordinary advance in the availability of educational and
informational resources to our citizens.


                             The Internet and other interactive computer services offer a forum
                             for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities
                             for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual opportunity.

    Congress has also articulated a clear national policy “favoring diversity of media voices, vigorous economic competition, technological advancement, and promotion of the public interest, convenience, and necessity.”

IV. MANAGEMENT OF .US SHOULD ADDRESS THE GROWING “DIGITAL DIVIDE” SEPARATING THE UNITED STATES INTO INFORMATION “HAVES” AND “HAVE NOTS.”
    An increasing number of Americans find themselves excluded from the Internet.  Those on the wrong side of the “Digital Divide,” who – for reasons of race or economic status – find themselves excluded from this increasingly central network, will lack both the access to economic opportunity and to the cultural opportunities the medium represents.  Nor is this harm that flows in only one direction.  The rest of American society will suffer from the loss of these diverse voices and novel ideas.  The discoveries that those on the wrong side of the Digital Divide could have made, and the ideas they could have shared, will be lost unless the federal government, the public sector, and the private sector intervene.

    For these people in particular, .US is a valuable resource that must not be squandered.  The United States funded the development of the domain name system with federal dollars.  While the United States has decided to internationalize the management of the generic domain name system, the United States country code, at the least, should be managed in the public interest of all United States citizens.  Managing .US in the public interest must focus on addressing the growing Digital Divide head on, and committing to leaving no one in our society behind in the Internet revolution.

    We will all suffer as a whole economically, as well as culturally, if we do not address this growing Digital Divide.  A vast number of jobs in information technology currently go unfilled for want of applicants, and the demand for qualified applicants continues to grow.  In addition, providers of new online goods and services will be unable to market these goods and services to rural and inner city customers.

    Using .US to address Digital Divide concerns, and to provide all Americans with access to non-commercial speech and greater opportunities for civic discourse, would therefore truly serve the public interest by benefiting us all, the digital “haves” as well as the digital “have nots.”

V.     MANAGEMENT OF .US IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST CAN ADDRESS THE DIGITAL DIVIDE AND EMBRACE FIRST AMENDMENT PRINCIPLES, WITHOUT HEAVY-HANDED REGULATION AND WHILE ENCOURAGING COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT.
    Management of the .US domain could address the problems of the Digital Divide and generally serve the public interest and the principles of the First Amendment.  For example, revenues raised from managing .US could directly fund projects designed to provide Internet access and technical training to those otherwise unable to obtain it.  This follows the tradition of subsidizing universal service and non-commercial speech – first through postal services and land grant universities, then basic phone services and radio and television spectrum set-asides, and now a publicly supported educational television and radio network and Internet access for schools and libraries.  Furthermore, the space itself should be managed in such a way as to promote greater connectivity for all, and to foster the type of civic discourse the authors of the First Amendment intended to encourage.

    Management in the public interest, of course, does not imply top-down, centralized government regulation. Nor does it preclude commercial development.  To the contrary, the United States has long recognized the important role played by commercial development and free market competition in serving the public interest.  Congress has used public lands to stimulate industry through acts to encourage mining, leases to companies exploiting our oil and natural gas resources, and giving private industries involved in providing valuable services such as transportation, energy and telecommunications the power to take easements through condemnation of private land.

    In the area of communications, the United States has recognized the importance of free competition and entrepreneurship.  Although the spectrum is a public resource, those using it are free to engage in profitable enterprises, and have become among the most profitable companies in the world.

    But, just as public management must include the private sphere, it must also include the public sphere.  The United States has balanced its management of natural resources carefully, and actively used public resources to promote the good of all citizens.  This has taken many forms over the years, from cash payments to the general U.S. Treasury, such as spectrum auctions, to payments in kind, such as payments under oil and gas leases and public interest obligations on commercial broadcasters, to dedication of resources to benefit educational enterprises, such as land-grant colleges and public broadcasting,

    In particular, the United States has recognized the value of non-commercial speech and the important role that non-profits have played in American society.  The United States has enshrined the principles of non-commercial speech in the First Amendment to the Constitution.  The Supreme Court has consistently recognized the value of non-commercial speech as the highest form of speech protected by the First Amendment which all Americans have a right to receive,  and that fostering an informed citizenry with access to the widest sources of information is “a government purpose of the highest order.”    As a central means of achieving this goal, the United States has subsidized non-profits engaged in educating our society, enriching our shared culture, and providing access to those who would not otherwise have access.  Indeed, the NTIA itself plays an important role in providing these subsidies through administration of the Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) and the Public Telecommunications Facilities Programs (PTFP).

VI.     SPECIFIC PRINCIPLES TO GOVERN MANAGEMENT OF THE .US CCTLD
    Specifically, the statement of work should reflect the following principles:

    1) The .US namespace is a national public resources, and must be managed in the public interest of all United States citizens.

    2) It has been the policy of the United States to manage public resources to  promote access by all Americans to communications services, whether by postal road, a national telephone network, or deploying advanced telecommunications services to all Americans in a timely fashion.  In addition, the United States has a long history of dedicating public resources -- including land, communications networks and radio spectrum -- to promote the First Amendment goal of maintaining a diverse marketplace of ideas and to foster civic discourse and the arts.

    3) The private sector has played an important role in promoting these polices through commercial development of public resources.  In particular, there is a long history of commercial development subject to conditions designed to foster the public interest, such as conditions of non-discrimination or service to the local community.

    4) Noncommercial organizations equally have played an important role in developing our national resources for the public good.  In communications in particular, the set aside of spectrum for non-profit educational uses, and the funding of such enterprises by the public and private sector, have vastly increased the public’s exposure to diverse ideas and benefited the cultural life of all Americans.

    5) The United States country code top-level domain, the .US namespace, should be managed mindful of this history and in accordance with the principle that, as a public resource, development of the .US namespace must further the public interest through both commercial development and non-commercial development.
 
 

 SIGNATORIES TO THE
PRINCIPLES FOR MANAGEMENT OF THE .US NAMESPACE



1. Alliance for Community Technology (ACT)
DanieL Atkins
Executive Director
University of Michigan, School of Information
3078 West Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
ACT identifies, investigates, and promotes information and collaboration technologies to build the skills of youth and those who work with youth.  Its goal is to ensure that young people will have the opportunity as active citizens in a more diverse world.  In this role ACT intends to be a link among communities and the public, nonprofit, and commercial sectors.

2. Athena Alliance
Kenan Patrick Jarboe
President
711 10th Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
202-547-7064 - 202-547-7034
kpjarboe@athenaalliance.org
http://www.athenaalliance.org
Athena Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to public education and research on the emerging global information economy and the networked society.

3. The Benton Foundation
Katharina Kopp
Senior Associate
950 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
202- 638 5770
kk@benton.org
http://www.benton.org
Since 1981, the Benton Foundation has worked to realize the social benefits made possible by the public interest use of communications.  Through its projects, the foundation seeks to shape the emerging communications environment in the public interest.  Bridging the worlds of philanthropy, public policy and community action, Benton demonstrates and promotes the use of digital media to engage, equip and connect people to solve social problems.

4. Center for Media Education
Jeff Chester
Executive Director
2120 L Street, NW
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20037
202- 331 7833
cme@cme.org
http://www.cme.org
The Center for Media Education is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a quality electronic media culture for children and youth, their families and the community.

5. The Communications Consortium Media Center
Phil Sparks
Vice President
1200 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20005-1754
202-326 8700
psparks@ccmc.org
http://www.ccmc.org
The Communications Consortium Media Center helps nonprofit organizations use media and new telecommunications technologies as tools for public education and policy change.  Since 1988, they have worked with scores of nonprofits around the U.S. and around the globe on an array of issues, from children and families to global population to learning disabilities to diversity in media.

6. Communications Development Incorporated
David Lewis
Senior Developer
2 Embarcadero Center, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94114-1108
415-621-8724
david@cdinet.com
http://www.cdinet.com
Communications Development has been designing Web sites for more than four years, a long time in a relatively new field.  The belief is that good content is inherently valuable, and that a flashy site with little to say will not keep visitors coming back.

7. Community Technology Centers' Network (CTCNet)
Karen Chandler, Acting Executive Director
Antonia Stone, Founder
372 Broadway Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
617-354-0825
kchandler@ctcnet.org
http://www.ctcnet.org
Community Technology Centers' Network (CTCNet) envisions a society in which all people are equitably empowered by technology skills and usage.  They bring agencies and programs together that provide opportunities whereby people of all ages who typically lack access to computers and related technologies can learn to use these technologies in an environment that encourages exploration and discovery and, through this experience, develop personal skills and self-confidence.

8. Community Technology Policy Council (CTPC)
Philip Tuong Duy Nguyen
c/o 875 O'Farrell Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
The Council was established in 1999 as a national, nonprofit collaboration among individuals and community-based organizations concerned with universal access to advanced technology and the use of these technologies to enhance the delivery of services and promote the quality of life of all communities.

9. Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR)
Hans Klein
Chair
P.O. Box 717
Palo Alto, CA 94302
650-322-3778
hklein@cpsr.org
http://www.cpsr.org
A public-interest alliance of computer scientists and others concerned about the impact of computer technology on society.

10. Consumer Federation of America
Mark Cooper
Research Director
1424 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
202-387-6121
markcooper@aol.com
http://www.consumerfed.org
Since 1968, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) has provided consumers a well-reasoned and articulate voice in decisions that affect their lives. Day in and out, CFA's professional staff gathers facts, analyzes issues, and disseminates information to the public, legislators, and regulators.

11. Consumer Project on Technology
 James Love
Director
P.O. Box 19367
Washington, DC 20036
202-387-8030
love@cptech.org
http://www.cptech.org
Consumer Project on Technology is focusing on intellectual property rights and health care, electronic commerce (very broadly defined) and competition policy.

12. Consumers Union
Gene Kimmelman
Co-Director
1666 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20009-1039
202-462-6262
Kimmge@consumer.org
http://www.consumersunion.org
Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, is an independent, nonprofit testing and information organization serving only consumers. They are a comprehensive source for unbiased advice about products and services, personal finance, health and nutrition, and other consumer concerns.

13. Creative Capital Fund
Ruby Lerner
65 Bleeker Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10012
212-598-9900
ruby@creative-capital.org
http://www.creative-capital.org
Creative Capital is a national nonprofit organization that supports artists pursuing innovative approaches to form and content in the performing, visual, literary, and media arts, and in emerging arts fields.

14. Davis Community Network
Steve McMahon
President of the Board of Directors
1623 Fifth St.
Davis, CA 95616
530-750-1170
dcnadmin@dcn.davis.ca.us
http://www.dcn.davis.ca.us
The Davis Community Network (DCN), founded in 1994, was the first non-university Internet provider in the local calling area. Today, as a non-profit research, demonstration and community service organization, DCN is working to help make Davis, California and its neighbors smarter, more creative and healthier participants in the new Information Society.
15. East End Community Heritage School
Bonnie Kroeger
Secretary to the Board
2423 Eastern Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
513-281-3900 - 513-281-0818
eastendschool@aol.com

16. The George Mason University Instructional Foundation, Inc.
Michael R. Kelley
President
Mail Stop 1D2
George Mason University
Fairfax, Virginia, 22030-4444
703-993-3100
mkelley@gmu.edu
http://www.gmu.edu

17. Libraries for the Future
Diantha Schull
Executive Director
121 W. 27th. Street, Suite 1102, New York, NY  10001
212-352-2330
dschull@lff.org
http://www/lff.org
Libraries for the Future, founded in 1994 as a national advocacy organization for those who use public libraries, engages in three main lines of activity:  Education, advocacy, and the operation of a national network of access demonstration projects.

18. Media Access Project
Harold Feld
Associate Director
950 18th Street, NW, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20006
202-454-5684
hfeld@mediaaccess.org
http://www.mediaaccess.org
Media Access Project is a twenty-four year old non-profit, public interest law firm which promotes the public’s First Amendment right to hear and be head on the electronic media of today and tomorrow.

19. NEXUS FORUMS
Brandon Shamim
President
10740 Woodbine Street, Ste. 102
Los Angeles, CA 90034
213/217-2892
bshamim@aol.com
NEXUS FORUMS is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to building a participatory democracy through interactive forums and leadership development. They strive to create an environment for people of all generations and ethnicities to share their viewpoints on issues that affect us as citizens of our nation and of our global society.

20. OMB Watch
Ryan Turner
Director, Nonprofits' Policy and Technology
Washington, DC
202-234-8494
turnerr@ombwatch.org
http://www.ombwatch.org
OMB Watch was formed in 1983 to lift the veil of secrecy shrouding the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which oversees regulation, the budget, information collection and dissemination, proposed legislation, testimony by agencies, and much more.

21. Prometheous Project
Pete Tridish
Prometheus Radio Project is a collective of media activists that supports grassroots organizations seeking to build and operate radio stations.  Prometheus advocates, educates and organizes around technical and policy questions, usually focusing on radio but also issues of  media democracy.

22. Working Films
Robert West
Executive Director
2901 Yadkin Avenue
Charlotte NC 28205
704 334-5089
rwest@workingfilms.org
http://www.workingfilms.org
Working Films, Inc. is a new organization linking independent filmmaking to social action and community education.  Their campaigns use film, video and the Internet to shift public opinion and policy; and range from high profile national efforts to regional and local grassroots initiatives.


DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION
Request for Comments on the .US Domain Space
(Docket No. 980212036-0235-06)
Comments of the Verizon Communications

Introduction

    Verizon Communications is pleased to respond to the NTIA’s request for comments on the management and administration of the .us domain space.  Verizon has been active in the development of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) and has been an active member of ICANN’s Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO) Intellectual Property and Business Constituencies.

    ICANN has made significant progress in building the processes and framework to create a robust, competitive domain market.  We urge the Department of Commerce to work within the framework ICANN is establishing for new and existing TLDs.  This cooperative effort will further enhance the possibility for harmonization across the domain name system and lead to greater certainty for businesses, consumers, and non-commercial Internet users.

Question 1

    Regardless of the naming structure or registration policies of the usTLD, several core registry functions need to be provided by the successful offeror responding to an RFP to administer the usTLD (“Awardee”).  Does the list in Section I.A of the Draft SOW accurately reflect the full range of core registry functions?  Should other/additional core functions be included?

    The list set forth in Section I accurately reflects the full range of core registry functions.   In particular, Verizon is pleased to see the focus on maintaining an accurate and up-to-date registration (WHOIS) database.

Question 2

    Are any particular technical specifications, software or methods and procedures necessary to complete the tasks outlined?  Are there other tasks that should be required as part of this section?

    Verizon is particularly pleased to see the requirement to develop an enhanced searchable WHOIS database.  We firmly support the requirement for multiple string and field searching through a free, public, web-based interface.  The required elements proposed are complete and none should be eliminated, although there may be benefits to providing additional data.  Finally, the WHOIS database provides the primary mechanism for trademark owners to identify cybersquatters and notify these unauthorized registrants of domain names incorporating their trademarks that the act of registering, using or trafficking in such domain names constitutions a violation of the trademark owners’ rights under federal law.  As such, we firmly support the requirement that the database must be accessible through any "universal WHOIS service" especially those designed to enbable “cross top-level domain searches” so a trademark owner may search multiple top level domains using a single search

Question 4

    Are there any drawbacks or disadvantages to continuing the support for the current .us structure?  If support for the existing usTLD structure, or portions of it, should be discontinued, please describe how any transition should take place.

    The current structure provides substantial benefits, especially in the area of state and local government information.  Having an area on the Internet identified with state and local governments is beneficial and is a good reason to continue supporting the .US locality-based structure in its current form.

Question 7

    Currently, the usTLD Administrator does not charge fees for its services.  We contemplate that the Awardee would administer the existing locality-based usTLD structure under this same policy, pending completion of the study and the approval of any recommended cost recovery mechanism.  Should the Awardee be allowed to establish a cost recovery mechanism for the existing usTLD space upon award?  If so, on what basis should such fees be determined and how should such fees be phased in?

    If the .US ccTLD space is expanded to include direct registration under .US and/or new commercial second level domains, there will be significant revenue derived from registrations in this space.  It would be reasonable to require the Awardee to continue the free, public sector (only) registrations in the existing locality-based structure.

Question 8

    Commenters have suggested that an expanded usTLD structure that allows direct registrations under the usTLD as well as under specified second level domains would be most attractive for prospective registrations.  In this Draft SOW, we provide a great deal of latitude to consider and propose expansion of the usTLD structure.  Should the final SOW impose more specific requirements in this area?  Should certain second-level domains in the usTLD be required or specified?  If so, which ones and how should they be selected?  Should a second level domain for the registration of domain names for personal, non-commercial use be created?  Are there disadvantages to allowing second level domain registrations directly under .us?  Would a system that both establishes specific second level domains and allows direct registration under .us be feasible or would a mixed approach cause confusion for users?

    Verizon sees little need for the introduction of new commercial second level domains in the usTLD.    ICANN is currently evaluating proposals for expanding the gTLD space which should address any perceived shortage of domain space.  The only second level domains that may be appropriate would be a commercial (.com.us), an educational (.edu.us) and governmental (.gov.us).

    Although it may appear that special-purpose second level domains could be helpful in locating a particular entity (much like the yellow pages is divided up by category to help one find a particular entity), in practice, searchable directories provide a more flexible, solution while adding special-purpose second level domain names create numerous problems, such as consumer confusion regarding SLD structure.

    Regarding direct registration in the usTLD, this could be very useful, but only if the decision is made to forego the use of specific second level domains such as .com.us, .edu.us and .gov.us.  This may be reasonable since the existing .EDU and .GOV are presumed US-centric already.  The result of this customary usage avoids the need to create a .com.us.   Instead, commercial domains can be directly registered in the usTLD.  This would accommodate companies that are affiliated with,  want to project an affiliation with or want to reach consumers in the United States.

Question 10

    Under current usTLD policy, registrations in the usTLD must be hosted on computers in the United States (RFC 1480 Section 1.3).  Should this requirement apply to the expanded usTLD structure?  Should registrations in the usTLD be further restricted to individuals or entities “located in” or “with a connection to” the United States?  If so, what are the appropriate criteria for determining eligibility: valid street address in the United States; citizenship or residency in the United States; incorporation or establishment in the United States?  How would such criteria be established and enforced?  How would such requirements affect administration of the usTLD?

    A local residence requirement is counterproductive, costly to implement, difficult to enforce and serves no beneficial purpose.  In addition, it sets a bad example for other ccTLD operators who may be inclined to use similar requirements to impede US-based companies from competing in their online market places.   Such a requirement would undermine the global, borderless nature of the Internet which is a key strength.

Question 12

    What type of contractual arrangement and provisions should be required of usTLD registrars?  Should usTLD registrars enter into an agreement similar to ICANN’s Registrar Accreditation Agreement (see http://www.icann.org/nsi/icann-raa004nov99.htm).  How would the ICANN agreement need to be modified to fit the usTLD context?  Is this a feasible approach?  Are there any provisions of the ICANN agreement that should not be included in a usTLD accreditation agreement?  If so, which provisions should not be included and why?  Are there any provisions that should be added, and if so, why?

    Verizon believes that any registrars for the usTLD should be required to enter into an agreement similar to ICANN’s Registrar Accreditation Agreement. In order to allow for a fully searchable WHOIS database, any registrars for the usTLD should be required to collect all of the information required to populate WHOIS and submit the information collected from registrants, excluding payment information, to the registry.  We strongly support the requirement that any registrars for the usTLD should agree to maintain a policy and procedure for resolution of disputes concerning SLD names and, if adopted, the adherence of the usTLD registrars to the ICANN Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy.

Question 13

    Should the interface between Awardee’s usTLD registry and the usTLD registrars be specified in the final SOW?  If so, should the interface follow the specifications set forth in RFC 2832, or should other/additional technical and/or functional specifications be used?  What, if any, quality of service requirements should Awardee be expected to meet?  If other/additional specifications should be used, what should these specifications be?

    The interface between the Awardee’s usTLD registry and the usTLD registrars should be specified using the RFC 2832.  [I don’t know if we need to answer this, but I think it is important that there be a well-defined interface between registrar/registry]

Conclusion

    Verizon fully supports the Department of Commerce effort to reinvigorate the .US domain space.  The changes proposed have the potential to make the domain more attractive for commercial activity without disrupting the existing, useful location-based structure for state and local entities.  It is important, however, that this reinvigoration must avoid exacerbating the already difficult issues relative to trademark infringement and dilution associated with gTLDs.

                                                                                   Respectfully submitted,

                                                                                   David E. Young
                                                                                   Verizon Communications


International Trademark Association

1133 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036-6710 USA

Telephone: 212-768-9887 Fax:212-768-7796



DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION

Request for Comments on the .US Domain Space

(Docket No. 980212036-0235-06)

Comments of the International Trademark Association

Introduction

The International Trademark Association ("INTA") is pleased to respond to the NTIA's request for comments on the expansion and administration of the .us domain space. INTA is a 122-year-old not-for-profit organization consisting of over 3,900 members in 120 countries.

The membership of INTA, which crosses all industry lines and includes both manufacturers and retailers, values the essential role trademarks play in promoting effective commerce, protecting the interests of consumers, and encouraging free and fair competition. INTA has been active in the development of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") and is a founding member of ICANN's Intellectual Property Constituency.

During deliberations, INTA urges the Department of Commerce to consider the fact that commercial activity on the Internet is increasing at a phenomenal rate. Trademarks have been an integral part of this marketplace growth. Due to the immense and perhaps limitless size of the Internet, consumers, researchers, and the general public need an assurance that they have reached their intended destination in cyberspace. That assurance, that sign, is a trademark. Trademarks, when used in the form of domain names, are the street signs on the "information superhighway."

An Internet without respect for trademark rights would be disastrous to trademark owners and the public alike. Consumer confidence in the Internet would fade, while companies that own trademarks, faced with the piracy of their property, would be reluctant to market their goods and services online. This would take a considerable financial toll on national economies, as well as possibly lead to the loss of countless jobs. In some instances, it would also pose a risk to the health and safety of the consuming public.

As the Department of Commerce continues to ponder the future of .us, we also urge it to work within the framework ICANN is establishing for new and existing TLDs. This cooperative effort will further enhance the possibility for harmonization across the domain name system and lead to greater certainty for businesses, consumers, and noncommercial Internet users.

As we have found that they relate to the protection of intellectual property, INTA has elected to respond to questions 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12. The responses are reflected herein.

Question 1

Regardless of the naming structure or registration policies of the usTLD, several core registry functions need to be provided by the successful offeror responding to an RFP to administer the usTLD ("Awardee"). Does the list in Section 1.A of the Draft SOW accurately reflect the full range of core registry functions? Should other/additional core functions be included?

The list set forth in Section 1.A covers the basic core registry functions that must be provided by any Awardee. In particular, INTA believes that an Awardee must provide a free, fully searchable WHOIS database that is both accurate and up-to-date. The WHOIS database provides the primary mechanism for trademark owners to identify cybersquatters and notify them that the bad-faith registration of domain names incorporating trademarks owned by third parties constitutes a violation of the trademark owners' rights under federal law. INTA also recommends requiring the Awardee to make the WHOIS database available to "cross top-level domain searches" that enable a trademark owner to search multiple top-level domains using a single search.

Question 2

Are any particular technical specifications, software or methods and procedures necessary to complete the tasks outlined? Are there other tasks that should be required as part of this section?

In INTA's experience, the most valuable WHOIS centralized database systems are those that are fully searchable, either by domain name, by registrant name, or by NIC handle. INTA strongly believes that all domain name registrations in the usTLD must be included in any WHOIS database. The WHOIS database should also include sub-domains registered under second level domains.

Question 5

Regarding the requirement to investigate and report on possible structural, procedural, and policy improvements to the current usTLD structure, are there specific procedures or policy improvements that should be implemented by Awardee prior to completion of this study? Are there issues that need to be specifically addressed in the required study such as "localitysquatting," the role of state and local governments, or appropriate cost recovery mechanisms?

Prior to the completion of this study, INTA believes that the Awardee should be required to implement preventive, as well as remedial measures (such as a dispute resolution policy) concerning the bad-faith registration of domain names in the usTLD, which incorporate trademarks owned by third parties.

Question 7

Currently, the usTLD Administrator does not charge fees for its services. We contemplate that the Awardee would administer the existing locality-based usTLD structure under this same policy, pending completion of the study and the approval of any recommended cost recovery mechanism. Should the Awardee be allowed to establish a cost recovery mechanism for the existing usTLD space upon award? If so, on what basis should such fees be determined and how should such fees be phased in?

INTA supports the imposition of fees for domain name registration that are sufficient to deter the frivolous registration by cybersquatters of domain names incorporating trademarks owned by third parties. INTA also recommends that the Awardee require payment upon application for a domain name as another method of deterring cybersquatting.

Question 8

Commenters have suggested that an expanded usTLD structure that allows direct registrations under the usTLD as well as under specified second level domains would be most attractive for prospective registrations. In this Draft SOW, we provide a great deal of latitude to consider and propose expansion of the usTLD structure. Should the final SOW impose more specific requirements in this area? Should certain second-level domains in the usTLD be required or specified? If so, which ones and how should they be selected? Should a second level domain for the registration of domain names for personal, non-commercial use be created? Are there disadvantages to allowing second level domain registrations directly under .us? Would a system that both establishes specific second level domains and allows direct registration under .us be feasible or would a mixed approach cause confusion for users?

INTA does not object to the creation of a limited number of second-level domains such as .co.us, .edu.us or .gov.us. Thus far, this has proven to be successful in country code domains such as .uk.

INTA believes that beyond those for commerce, government and education, multiple special-purpose second level domains should not be created under the usTLD. Although it may appear that such special-purpose second level domains can be helpful in locating a particular entity (much like the yellow pages is divided up by category to help one find a particular entity), in practice, second level domain names create numerous problems.

First, there is the problem of deciding in which category a particular entity falls. A single company properly might be classified under several different categories, requiring that company to register its name for each of the applicable categories. Even more problematic is that a single company might not fall into any one of the enumerated categories.

Second, trademark owners in particular have had numerous problems with unrelated third parties registering their trademarks as domain names under the currently existing generic top-level domains (TLDs). INTA believes that the addition of second level domains beyond .co, .gov and .edu in .us would only exacerbate these problems. The public would be hurt by the resulting confusion caused by cybersquatters who have registered a trademark as a domain name using a second-level domain.

Third, INTA believes that multiple second-level domain names are likely to cause problems for consumers seeking reach specific sites. The requirement that a consumer enter multiple values as part of a Web address is likely to cause problems because there is a greater propensity for consumer error, preventing a consumer from reaching his or her desired site. Simplicity is better both for the consumer and the site owner.

Question 9

The Draft SOW contemplates that the Awardee will follow ICANN adopted policies relating to open ccTLDs, unless otherwise directed by the Department of Commerce. NTIA believes that this will allow straightforward administration of the expanded usTLD, with little additional policy development required. To the extent that additional substantive policy is required, NTIA contemplates that it would work cooperatively with the Awardee to develop such a policy. What are the advantages and disadvantages to such an approach? Should other approaches be considered? Please describe alternate approaches, and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.

INTA agrees with the contemplation put forth concerning the adherence of Awardee to ICANN adopted policies. It is our hope that such a policy will encourage other ccTLD administrators to adopt a similar approach, eventually leading to greater uniformity in the arena of ccTLD management and operations. To the extent that additional policy development is necessary, INTA believes that NTIA should play an active consultative role. Through its association with other agencies in the Department of Commerce, including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, NTIA could provide substantive advice on matters relating to consumer protection and intellectual property rights.

Question 10

Under current usTLD policy, registrations in the usTLD must be hosted on computers in the United States (RFC 1480 Section 1.3). Should this requirement apply to the expanded usTLD structure? Should registrations in the usTLD be further restricted to individuals or entities "located in" or "with a connection to" the United States? If so, what are the appropriate criteria for determining eligibility: valid street address in the United States; citizenship or residency in the United States; incorporation or establishment in the United States? How would such criteria be established and enforced? How would such requirements affect administration of the usTLD?

The local residence requirement is often a problem, because there could be significant marketing activity in the country with no direct subsidiary. Given the global nature of the Internet, such residency requirements can stifle legitimate commercial interests in tailoring a website to meet local needs, in spite of the lack of residence. No similar residency requirement applies for non-U.S. entities owning local trademarks; there is typically, though, a requirement of local representation, i.e. for service of process, and such a requirement regarding domain names under .us would be advisable in order to ensure accountability for domain name registrants.

Question 12

What type of contractual arrangement and provisions should be required of usTLD registrars? Should usTLD registrars enter into an agreement similar to ICANN's Registrar Accreditation Agreement (see http://www.icann.org/nsi/icann-raa004nov99.htm ). How would the ICANN agreement need to be modified to fit the usTLD context? Is this a feasible approach? Are there any provisions of the ICANN agreement that should not be included in a usTLD accreditation agreement? If so, which provisions should not be included and why? Are there any provisions that should be added, and if so, why?

INTA believes that any registrars for the usTLD should be required to enter into an agreement similar to ICANN's Registrar Accreditation Agreement. INTA also recommends that any registrars for the usTLD should be required to submit all information collected from registrants to the registry in order to allow for a fully searchable WHOIS database. INTA strongly supports the requirement that the usTLD Awardee agree to maintain a policy and procedure for resolution of disputes concerning SLD names that is consistent with the ICANN Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy.

Conclusion

INTA believes that a reinvigorated .us domain space can be an important step in the development of the Internet and supports the idea to make the .us domain space "more attractive to commercial users." INTA believes that this reinvigoration must avoid exacerbating the already difficult issues relative to trademark infringement and dilution associated with gTLDs.

Respectfully submitted,



Michael Heltzer

International Trademark Association