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[comments-gtlds] Comments on Working Group C's Interim Report

As a leading ISP and accredited registrar, AOL is cognizant of the commercial 
benefits of expanding the domain name space by adding new gTLDs.  However, 
AOL also recognizes that within the current procedure for assigning domain 
names there are various difficulties.  Some, but not all, of the problems in 
the current system arise out of intellectual property concerns.  For example, 
there is the unfortunate misconception that people can become rich quickly by 
registering well known trademarks as domain names.  Many companies have spent 
considerable resources in dealing with the proliferation of intellectual 
property infringements associated with the domain name system.  It is a very 
real problem that hinders the growth and development of the Internet and can 
cause consumer confusion.  Worse, it aids fraud and deception on the Internet 
and it can foster an attitude of extortion and lawlessness in a medium that 
is attempting to grow and develop without excessive governmental regulation.  
And as with any economic model, it causes a diversion of resources that could 
be better used in the development of the medium.  Domain name infringement 
should not be a part of the cost of doing business on the Internet.   

Other working groups are looking at ways to possibly reduce the existing 
infringement problems.  It is also hopeful that the new dispute resolution 
process will aid in reducing these problems.  However, as the debate so far 
indicates, a comprehensive solution to these issues is still proving elusive. 
 AOL opposes compounding the existing problems by adding new gTLDs until 
workable solutions have been found and tested.  For this reason AOL supports 
the position set forth in Position Paper C.

In addition, prior to the introduction of any new gTLDs, a mechanism needs to 
be established to allow fair access to the new names and to avoid a 
free-for-all as numerous people simultaneously seek to be the first to 
register generic names (e.g., "computer") as well as well known names in an 
effort to profit therefrom.

Submitted by 
James R. Davis, II
Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn
counsel for America Online, Inc.