Kevin Murray on Sun, 19 Mar 2000 01:39:28 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] The '' crisis in Australia

This is a letter sent to Melbourne's The Age newspaper. The big difficult is
finding out who is in charge of this domain registration. Is this situation
with '' registration unique to Australia?

19 March 2000
Dear Editor
Internet domain names are an increasingly important part of any
organisation's public profile. At the moment, commercial companies can
register a "" name for a small fee and have it up and running within a
day. For non-profit organisations, it is a different matter. Though the fee
is waived, their request for a "" name is sent to a volunteer and can
take anything between four weeks and two years to fulfil. As you can
imagine, this uncertainty and delay is a significant handicap.
As the person responsible for setting up the Museums Australia (Vic) web
site, I submitted a registration request in October last year. When that
failed-there was no response- only alternative was to re-submit for a
different domain name. We have had no response since December last year. I
am now facing the same problem with another public arts organisation.
In talking with other Internet Service Providers, this appears quite a
common predicament for "" requests. In fact, ISPs are no discouraging
non-profit organisations from even attempting it, and recommending instead a
"" domain name.
As '' the organisation presents itself as serving the interests of the
broader public and its constituency. As '', is it perceived as a
business pursuing its own interests and profit.
Non-profit organisations include arts bodies, public galleries, and
charities. They need to keep in touch with the broader community. By forcing
them to register as a profit organisation, the more socially useful
possibilities of the Internet are endangered.
As far as I know, this situation is unique to Australia, and I'm afraid, a
matter of great shame. The potential of the Internet as a community-building
medium is seriously challenged by this inefficiency. The government must
intervene now.

Kevin Murray
Precis Forecasts for Melbourne
Issued at 0505 on Sunday the 19th of March 2000 for today and tonight
Sunday     Fine.                                    Max 25

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