Attached is the most recent revision of the Domain Name Dispute Policy prepared by AOL and register.com. The new draft reflects the significant input we've received during the past few weeks, including at the WIPO sponsored meeting in DC two weeks ago. Our objective in this process has been to develop a policy that will be voluntarily and uniformly adopted by registrars. We have relied considerably on WIPO's proposed policy, but this policy does differ in some respects (e.g., there is no exclusionary rule). The current draft no longer includes a number of provisions (such as disclaimer and indemnity provisions) that seem better placed in the registration agreement, which will likely be different for each registrar. The proposal also does not contain "procedural" requirements for dispute resolution, which will be contained in the "rules of procedure" to be attached to the policy. The proposed policy allows the registrars to "authorize" dispute resolution service providers of each registrar's choice. Our hope is that all such providers will employ uniform "rules of procedure." (Such rules still need to be prepared. WIPO has moved this process along considerably, but I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who cares to contribute to developing a set of uniform rules.) Our handling of several issues that were frequently cited in the comments we received is as follows. 1. Revocation at Registrar's Discretion Some of the comments we received expressed concern over the provision allowing registrars to revoke domain name registrations at their discretion. On reflection, it does not seem that this provision is appropriately placed in a dispute policy in any case. A registrar who wishes to keep such flexibility in its relationship with customers would include the provision in the registration agreement. 2. Administrative Proceedings A point of confusion in our last draft was the "binding" nature of the administrative proceedings -- i.e., whether the results of such proceedings would be binding on the disputing parties and what role the courts would or should play in such disputes. In the current draft, the decisions of an administrative panel are "binding" on the disputants in that the decisions will be followed by the registrars. However, either party may submit the dispute to a court of competent jurisdiction for an independent, de novo review of the dispute (or go to court before the initiation of an administrative proceeding). The draft policy includes a 7 day waiting period before a registrar implements an administrative panel's decision, in order to give a disappointed registrant the opportunity to go to court and challenge the decision. 3. Administrative Panel Standards Several comments suggested wording changes to the scope of the disputes that are subject to the mandatory administrative proceeding. This issue was a heavily disputed issue during the WIPO reporting process and is being addressed in the DNSO process. To minimize the need for re-creating those processes, we have elected to track the exact language of the WIPO proposal given the care with which WIPO drafted the scope of the mandatory proceedings. 4. Transferability During a Pending Dispute There were a number of comments expressing concern about whether a domain name should be transferable to a new registrant or between registrars during a pending dispute. The proposal is that a name may not be transferred to a new registrant during a pending administrative proceeding (in order to avoid transfers intended to evade an adverse decision) or during a pending court or arbitration proceeding, unless the new registrant agrees to be bound by the decision in such proceeding. The proposal does not limit the ability to transfer a name among registrars during a pending dispute, so long as the new registrar has a policy honoring the decision in the pending proceeding under the originating registrar's dispute policy. This approach conflicts with the "Exhibit B" transfer protocol distributed by NSI this week. While we think the free portability of domain names between registrars is the preferred approach -- both for competitive and logistical reasons -- in any case Exhibit B and the registrars' dispute policy will need to be consistent on this point. 5. Preliminary Determination An earlier draft policy included a "preliminary" determination as to whether a complaint meets the pleading requirements of the policy. This provision has been removed from the policy, since it is an issue we think is more appropriately dealt with in the "rules of procedure." We thank all those who have contributed to this effort. Jim Bramson Counsel America Online, Inc.