07-24-97 Electronic Filings on Internet Domain Names

Number: 136
From:      David DeGeorge dld@degeorge.org>
To:        NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(dns)
Date:      7/24/97 7:58am
Subject:   Domain registration 

My belief is that the current situation should be preserved. The USG
should be the sponsor  of the domain and address registration authority. 
Just as the FCC is responsible for radio frequencies and call signs a
similar governmental organization should contract for administration of
the internet.
David DeGeorge

Number: 137
From:      Peter Rony rony@usit.net>
To:        NTIADC40.NTIAHQ40(dns)
Date:      7/24/97 4:48pm
Subject:   Registration and Administration of Internet Domain Names

I have been following the various problems -- specially the ones that
have reached legal status -- associated with the NSI domain dispute
policy.  I believe that the basic problem is the existence of
international top-level domains.  I also believe that the gTLD-MoU
exacerbates the basic problem of international TLDs.

My recommendations would be to:

(a) Eliminate the COM, ORG, NET, EDU, GOV, MIL, etc. top-level domains
in favor of second-level domains
underneath two-letter country-specific TLDs.  Thus, the United States
would rearrange and expand its domain name structure to include the
following organizational domains:

TOYS-R.US (just kidding)

Non-U.S. corporations that have registered under the international TLDs
could all re-register with the registries of the countries in which
their headquarters are respectively located, or in the countries in
which they are incorporated.   

When the dust settles, the "international" aspect of domain naming would
cease.  All domain names would become country specific.  IAHC-proposed
iTLDs such as WEB, REC, ARTS, INFO, FIRM, STORE and NOM would become
useless and immediately obsolete, as they should be. 

Further, all future domain disputes would become country-specific
disputes handled by the law and the courts of individual countries.  

The idea of "international top-level domains" was a mistake made while
the Internet was in its middle age.  Perhaps it was a mid-life crisis
type of action by those friendly Internet folks. 

(b) Thwart the proposal of Network Solutions, Inc. that domains should
be "branded".  In my opinion, this is a proposal of surpassing stupidity
and self-interest. I quote Carl Oppendahl's very fine commentary on the
Network Solutions, Inc. proposal:

MAURA VOLKMER'S INQUIRY (July 23, 1997): "So NSI keeps going on about
how they have intellectual property rights in the .COM database, and how
they want non-shared TLD's so that registries can develop "brand name"
recognition for their TLD's.  What's to stop NSI from registering .COM
as its trademark (or service mark)?  Or NSI might even argue that is has
common-law trademark rights in .COM since it has been using it in
commerce.  Once NSF leaves the picture, it looks a lot less as though
NSI is merely performing a service under contract to the federal
government, and it becomes more difficult to distinguish NSI from any
other commercial enterprise . . ."   

CARL OPPENDAHL'S RESPONSE (July 23, 1997):  "What's to stop NSI are
several things."

"NSI didn't originate .COM.  NSI assumed a five-year fixed term (a
contract with NSF) of administering .COM, that started in 1993 and will
end in 1998. Before NSI was administering .COM, SRI was administering
.COM.  NSI cannot claim to be surprised that in 1998 NSF might have
given the next contract to someone other than NSI.  Now, as it happens,
NSF has stated rather vaguely that after its contract expires,
appropriate entities in the Internet Community will determine what
happens next with .COM"

"No matter how it is sliced, NSI cannot claim to be surprised that when
it signed its five-year contract, it was a contract to administer, only
for five years, a system that had previously been adminstered by someone
else and that subsequently might be administered by someone else."

"I have plenty of clients who obtained their domain names from SRI,
NSI's predecessor in administration of .COM."

".COM is not something in which NSI (or anyone else) has common-law
trademark rights, any more than AT&T had common-law rights in "800" when
the FCC mandated that toll-free numbers would be competitively supplied
more than one long-distance carrier."

"The owners of the million or so .COM domains, many of them have
common-law trademark rights (and, in many cases, registered trademark
rights) in their domain names, including the ".COM" at the end"

"NSI has not been "using .COM in commerce" to indicate the origin of
goods or services.  NSI has used "NSI" in commerce to indicate the
origin of goods or services, NSI has used other trademarks such as its
logo in commerce to indicate the origin of goods and services."

"When NSI landed its five-year contract, it was rather like a
concessionaire landing a contract to operate a snack bar in a national
park for five years.  The concessionaire knows (or should know) that
when the five years is up, it has to hand the snack bar over to the next

"NSI's grab here is impressive for its cheekiness.  It is as if NSI had
gotten a five-year contract to operate a snack bar at the overlook of
the Grand Canyon, and then when the five years is almost up it announces
that it is simply going to stay there and not answer to the Park 
Service any more.  (And continue to cut off domain names unfairly,