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[registrars] Domain Name expansion - call for comments


Fellow registrars:

I want you to submit comments in Working Group C - expansion of domain names. I would like registrars to take 15 minutes and respond to the call for comments on proposals to expand domain names. Today, tomorrow, Friday.

If you do not, the comments list will be skewed towards those who do not share the concerns or interests of registrars. Domain name expansion should be high on your list of priorities.

As you are aware, the deadline for comments on the position papers for expansion of the gTLDs is end of day January 10, which is next Monday.

The Chairman of WG-C writes as follows:

"Working Group C has reached rough consensus on two matters. The first is that there should be new global top-level domains (gTLDs); the second is that it would be appropriate for ICANN, in expanding the name space, to begin with a testbed in which it adds six to ten new gTLDs, followed by an evaluation period.

"Following the recommendation of Working Group D, we asked members of the working group to prepare a set of position papers advocating differing views on the issues before the group. Those position papers do not represent the views of the working group; rather, they represent the views only of their individual drafters and endorsers. We urge all interested groups, and all members of the Internet public, to comment on the position papers."

The place to make comments is :comments-gtlds@dnso.org

1. Read this note for an explanation (admittedly incomplete and partial) of what is being proposed.

2. Endorse position papers A or B if you favour the expansion of domain names with the minimum interference in the business model of registrars. (I have subscribed to postion paper B and I recommend that you do this if you do not have time to devlop your own views).

At the site http://www.dnso.org/dnso/notes/19991023.NCwgc-report.html you will find a number of position papers.

The first one A, signed by the Chairman Jonathan Cohen and 11 others, is a reasonable compromise position which can be supported by those who favour domain name expansion.

The second one, B,  largely drafted by Milton Mueller, is more vigorously expansionist, and I have signed it along with 11 others. Paper B is concerned that, unless there is a firm commitment to expansion, having only 6-10 new TLD's will create a new set of privileged players.

The essence of paper B is its clarity on the freedom of registrars to develop their own business models:

"The content of the top-level name space should be driven by applications submitted by prospective registries. Registries should contract with registrars on a free market basis, with no pre-ordained pattern. Competition in the marketplace and user preferences will determine which approaches succeed. Regulatory and legal remedies to consumer protection problems that develop should be left to professional regulators in national governments. ICANN should concentrate exclusively on technical and administrative coordination of registry operators to ensure stability, interoperability, and accountability. It should establish basic qualifications for top-level domain name registries, and these should be confined exclusively to technical stability and financial responsibility. "

There are a number of others. The draft by the copyright community was C. The copyright-ists do not want expansion until all of their concerns are met. They numbered nine supporters, of some substance.

The next one, D, proposed five to nine new TLDs, and then no expansion until a process for chartered registries is created. This group numbers six. The peculiarity of this model is that the registry would operate as a public resource model. It says:

        "The registry data is is not owned by the registry, it is subject to privacy limitations, and escrowed in favor of ICANN in case the TLD must be moved, for failure, mismanagement on the part of the registry operator, or similar reasons. The data in the registry should be escrowed under different control from the registry operator, and in multiple widely dispersed jurisdictions and locations. "

Position paper E is the work of Eric Brunner, who proposes a chartered TLD for aboriginal organizations, and whose supporters are actively filling the comments list:

Position paper F is signed by only Craig Simon, who wishes to treat TLD's as a public resource, with no intellectual; propert being taken in the records of the registry. He supports expnasion of 6 -10 TLDs.

Position paper G is signed by Roeland Meyer. He is an expansionist, but he could well have joined up with the Mueller paper, B.

Issues for registrars

1. expansion

2. freedom of the business model

3. who gets to propose the names, ICANN or the proponents? What role for ICANN?

1. Expansion

There has been a two-thirds consensus in favour of expansion fom 6-10 TLDs, and I do not think the copyright community can summon the power to defeat this.

2. Freedom of the Business Model

There is not yet consensus on the freedom that registries and registrars will be allowed to pursue a business model. I think this is an area where the registrars should be speaking and are not.

3. Role for ICANN in the selection

The registrars also could use the occasion to propose ways in which ICANN's powers will be constrained to what is absolutely necessary.

Action required

The registrars should speak, preferably with one voice, but speak nonetheless to these issues, before January 10.

Send comments to comments-gtlds@dnso.org



Timothy Denton, BA, BCL.
Telecom and Internet Issues
37 Heney Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 5V6



FN:Timothy M. Denton
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