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<nettime> Registration and Administration of Internet Domain Names

>[The filing date of this Notice is July 1, 1997 and the publication date in
>the Federal Register is July 2, 1997.]
>Billing Code 3510-60
>[Docket No. 970613137-7137-01]
>Request for Comments on the Registration and Administration of Internet
>Domain Names
>AGENCY: Department of Commerce.
>ACTION: Notice; request for public comment.
>SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce requests comments on the current
>and future system(s) for the registration of Internet domain names. The
>Department invites the public to submit written comments in paper or
>electronic form.(1)
>DATES: Comments must be received by August 18, 1997.
>ADDRESSES: Mail written comments to Patrice Washington, Office of
>Public Affairs, National Telecommunications and Information
>Administration (NTIA), Room 4898, 14th St. and Constitution Ave., NW,
>Washington, DC 20230. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for electronic
>access and filing addresses and further information on submitting
>FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paula Bruening, NTIA, (202) 482-1816.
>Electronic Access and Filing Addresses
>The address for comments submitted in electronic form is
>  Comments submitted in electronic form should be in
>WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, or ASCII format. Detailed information
>about electronic filing is available on the NTIA website,
>Further Information on Submitting Comments
>Submit written comments in paper or electronic form at the above
>addresses.  Paper submissions should include three paper copies and a
>version on diskette in the formats specified above. To assist
>reviewers, comments should be numbered and organized in response to
>questions in accordance with the five sections of this notice
>(Appropriate Principles, General/Organizational Framework Issues,
>Creation of New gTLDs, Policies for Registries, and Trademark Issues).
>Commenters should address each section on a separate page and should
>indicate at the beginning of their submission to which questions they
>are responding.
>The rapid growth in the use of the Internet has led to increasing
>public concern about the current Internet domain name registration
>systems. According to Internet Monthly Report, registration of domain
>names within a few top-level domains (.com, .net, .org) has increased
>from approximately 400 per month in 1993 to as many as 70,000 per month
>in 1996, the overwhelming majority in the
>.com category. The enormous growth and commercialization of the
>has raised numerous questions about current domain name registration
>systems. In addition, the present system will likely undergo
>modification when the National Science Foundation's cooperative
>agreement (NSF agreement) with Network Solutions Inc. to register and
>administer second-level domains for three top-level domains expires in
>1998. Resolution of these issues will also affect the future operation
>of the National Information Infrastructure (NII) and the Global
>Information Infrastructure (GII).
>The United States Government played a central role in the initial
>development, deployment, and operation of domain name registration
>systems, and through the NSF agreement as well as Defense Advanced
>Research Projects Agency (DARPA) agreement(s) continues to play a role.
>In recent years, however, Internet expansion has been driven primarily
>by the private sector. The Internet has operated by consensus rather
>than by government regulation. Many believe that the Internet's
>decentralized structure accounts at least in part for its rapid
>The Government has supported the privatization and commercialization of
>the Internet through actions such as the transition from the NSFNET
>backbone to commercial backbones. The Government supports continued
>private sector leadership for the Internet and believes that the
>transition to private sector control should continue. The stability of
>the Internet depends on a fully interconnected and interoperable domain
>name system that must be preserved during any transition.
>Various private sector groups have proposed systems for allocating and
>managing generic top level domains (gTLDs). The Government is studying
>the proposals and the underlying issues to determine what role, if any,
>it should play. The Government has not endorsed any plan at this time
>but believes that it is very important to reach consensus on these
>policy issues as soon as possible.
>The United States Government seeks the views of the public regarding
>these proposals and broader policy issues as well. Specifically, the
>Government seeks information on the following issues:
>A. Appropriate Principles
>The Government seeks comment on the principles by which it should
>evaluate proposals for the registration and administration of Internet
>domain names. Are the following principles appropriate?  Are they
>complete? If not, how should they be revised? How might such principles
>best be fostered?
>a. Competition in and expansion of the domain name registration system
>should be encouraged.  Conflicting domains, systems, and registries
>should not be permitted to jeopardize the interoperation of the
>Internet, however. The addressing scheme should not prevent any user
>from connecting to any other site.
>b. The private sector, with input from governments, should develop
>stable, consensus-based self-governing mechanisms for domain name
>registration and management that adequately defines responsibilities
>and maintains accountability.
>c. These self-governance mechanisms should recognize the inherently
>global nature of the Internet and be able to evolve as necessary over
>d. The overall framework for accommodating competition should be open,
>robust, efficient, and fair.
>e. The overall policy framework as well as name allocation and
>management mechanisms should promote prompt, fair, and efficient
>resolution of conflicts, including conflicts over proprietary rights.
>f. A framework should be adopted as quickly as prudent consideration of
>these issues permits.
>B. General/Organizational Framework Issues
>1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of current domain name
>registration systems?
>2. How might current domain name systems be improved?
>3. By what entity, entities, or types of entities should current domain
>name systems be administered? What should the makeup of such an entity
>4. Are there decision-making processes that can serve as models for
>deciding on domain name registration systems (e.g., network numbering
>plan, standard-setting processes, spectrum allocation)? Are there
>private/public sector administered models or regimes that can be used
>for domain name registration (e.g., network numbering plan, standard
>setting processes, or spectrum allocation processes)? What is the
>proper role of national or international governmental/non-governmental
>organizations, if any, in national and international domain name
>registration systems?
>5. Should generic top level domains (gTLDs), (e.g., .com), be retired
>from circulation? Should geographic or country codes (e.g., .US) be
>required? If so, what should happen to the .com registry? Are gTLD
>management issues separable from questions about International
>Standards Organization (ISO) country code domains?
>6. Are there any technological solutions to current domain name
>registration issues? Are there any issues concerning the relationship
>of registrars and gTLDs with root servers?
>7. How can we ensure the scalability of the domain name system name and
>address spaces as well as ensure that root servers continue to
>interoperate and coordinate?
>8. How should the transition to any new systems be accomplished?
>9. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this area?
>C. Creation of New gTLDs
>10. Are there technical, practical, and/or policy considerations that
>constrain the total number of different gTLDs that can be created?
>11. Should additional gTLDs be created?
>12. Are there technical, business, and/or policy issues about
>guaranteeing the scalability of the name space associated with
>increasing the number of gTLDs?
>13. Are gTLD management issues separable from questions about ISO
>country code domains?
>14. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this area?
>D. Policies for Registries
>15. Should a gTLD registrar have exclusive control over a particular
>gTLD?  Are there any technical limitations on using shared registries
>for some or all gTLDs? Can exclusive and non-exclusive gTLDs coexist?
>16. Should there be threshold requirements for domain name registrars,
>and what responsibilities should such registrars have? Who will
>determine these and how?
>17. Are there technical limitations on the possible number of domain
>name registrars?
>18. Are there technical, business and/or policy issues about the name
>space raised by increasing the number of domain name registrars?
>19. Should there be a limit on the number of different gTLDs a given
>registrar can administer? Does this depend on whether the registrar has
>exclusive or non-exclusive rights to the gTLD?
>20. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this area?
>E. Trademark Issues
>21. What trademark rights (e.g., registered trademarks, common law
>trademarks, geographic indications, etc.), if any, should be protected
>on the Internet vis-a-vis domain names?
>22. Should some process of preliminary review of an application for
>registration of a domain name be required, before allocation, to
>determine if it conflicts with a trademark, a trade name, a geographic
>indication, etc.? If so, what standards should be used? Who should
>conduct the preliminary review? If a conflict is found, what should be
>done, e.g., domain name applicant and/or trademark owner notified of
>the conflict? Automatic referral to dispute settlement?
>23. Aside from a preliminary review process, how should trademark
>rights be protected on the Internet vis-a-vis domain names? What
>entity(ies), if any, should resolve disputes? Are national courts the
>only appropriate forum for such disputes? Specifically, is there a role
>for national/international governmental/nongovernmental organizations?
>24. How can conflicts over trademarks best be prevented? What
>information resources (e.g.  databases of registered domain names,
>registered trademarks, trade names) could help reduce potential
>conflicts? If there should be a database(s), who should create the
>database(s)? How should such a database(s) be used?
>25. Should domain name applicants be required to demonstrate that they
>have a basis for requesting a particular domain name? If so, what
>information should be supplied? Who should evaluate the information? On
>the basis of what criteria?
>26. How would the number of different gTLDs and the number of
>registrars affect the number and cost of resolving trademark disputes?
>27. Where there are valid, but conflicting trademark rights for a
>single domain name, are there any technological solutions?
>28. Are there any other issues that should be addressed in this area?
>William M. Daley
>1. This request for public comment is not intended to supplant or
>otherwise affect the work of other public advisory groups, established
>under law.

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