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[wg-b] Common Ground

Reaching common ground on new gTLDs and the treatment of famous names.
In taking on leadership positions with WG-B, Philip Sheppard, Names Council
member for the Business Constituency and Kathryn Kleiman, Names Council
member for the Non-Commercial Constituency, find that many people feel that
there are differences of views which cannot be reconciled and cannot be
bridged. We do not share that view. The following is a set of ideas that we
wish to share with you as a basis for finding some common ground and moving
forward together. We look forward to discussing these ideas, and the
principles, with you on this list.

One group of stakeholders, the"IP advocates" are all shell shocked from the
wars in dot com. They were given a situation (the monopoly of dot com) and
forced to ensure that off-line name protection would be no worse on-line.
The failure of this is that off-line is more diverse and better understood
by consumers than on-line but that the dot com monopoly prevents diversity
and so leads to consumer confusion. Given this experience a not unreasonable
view of the future is as a set of similar battles - a series of land rushes.

A second group of stakeholders, the "freedom to name" advocates are also
shell-shocked with many small businesses, individuals and non-commercial
organisations losing domain names. This group recognises that although
e-commerce is big and getting huge there is more to the Internet than
commercial interests and that there is no reason for trade marks to have a
priority status in areas where they do not belong.
Registries and registrars do not want to get caught in the crossfire.

Common ground
1. The IP advocates do not have IP as their objective but as their strategy
to achieve an objective. The objective is the protection of their own
consumers from confusion with other good faith commerce or from bad faith
commerce (pirates, fraudsters).
2. The freedom advocates do not have no trade mark priority as their
objective but as a strategy to achieve an objective. The objective is to
allow a net user to use a name that is appropriate to the rationale of their

The two objectives are the same once you look at them from the perspective
of the net user and NOT the domain name holder: "When someone wants to find
me, they should be able to do so" .

And it is possible once you remove the monopoly of dot com and the future
on-line world becomes more like the off-line world, both groups should live
more easily together.

WG B and famous names
This harmony exists off-line because it is usually clear when you want to
buy a Coke (go to a supermarket) or coke for a power station (phone a coal

This is where the link to new gTLDs and WG C comes in.  The common objective
in domain naming is: to create clarity for the net user by a controlled and
responsible growth of top-level domain names.

Would the following principles allow us to open a range of new domain names
for all forms of speech, and make it easier for Internet  users to find what
they are looking for -- from famous e-commerce sites to political speech?

1. Trust  a gTLD should give the net user confidence that it stands for
what it purports to stand for.
2. Semantics  a gTLD should be meaningful in a language with a significant
number of net users.
3. Findability  a gTLD should assist a net user to find a particular domain
4. Differentiation  a gTLD should differentiate from all other gTLDs so as
not to confuse net users.
5. Honesty  a gTLD should not unnecessarily increase opportunities for
malicious or criminal elements who wish to defraud net users.
6. Simplicity - a gTLD should not impose an overly bureaucratic procedure on
a registry.
7. Competition  new gTLDs should foster competition in the domain name
8. Diversity - new gTLDs should foster the expression of views, both
commercial and non-commercial.
9. Multiplicity - new gTLDs should become available as needed to meet the
needs of an expanding Internet community.

Next steps
Phase1. We invite comments within WG B on these principles and we hope to
all work towards a common agreement on them (revised or otherwise).
Phase 2. AFTER that common agreement there can be discussion on the
implementation of the principles in conjunction with WG C.