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Top-Level Domains for Addressing by Physical Context

This article proposes the reservation of a special use TLD to allow a more convenient addressing of devices by general physical location or context. ...As wireless networking and devices become more common there may be a need for a convenient way to address hosts by physical location or context, especially when the users themselves are using mobile or wearable devices. more

Did ICANN Over Regulate VeriSign?

CircleID recently interviewed Jonathan Weinberg, Professor of Law at Wayne State University to discuss legal and regulatory issues that have been raised against Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). VeriSign, the registry operator of the two most popular top-level domains .com and .net, filed a lawsuit against ICANN on February 26, 2004 complaining that the Internet regulatory body has extended "its authority beyond the scope of its contracts". Did ICANN cross its contractual boundaries? To what extent does ICANN's contract limit its technical coordination functions and how much of a threat does VeriSign's lawsuit impose? Jonathan Weinberg explains... more

NTIA Committed to ICANN Reform

National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has made a long term commitment to taking the actions necessary to reform ICANN. Specifically, the Department of Commerce's Strategic Plan for FY 2004-2009 discusses the need for NTIA to take action to reform ICANN. The Strategic Plan details three Strategic Goals for the Department to achieve over the next five years. The second goal is to "Foster science and technological leadership by protecting intellectual property, enhancing technical standards, and advancing measurement science."  more

ICANN and Iraq: Suffering Along

I thought of ICANN yesterday when reading about the devolution of the Iraqi Governing Council, which managed to unite for just a moment to approve a constitution with about the half-life of lutetium. ICANN and the IGC: two institutions put in charge of ill-behaved constituencies and stuck in chronic failure mode. Could anything be learned by examining them at arm's length? Indeed, different as they are, their histories contain several common elements... more

Adult-Related TLDs Considered Dangerous

In an RFC prepared by Donald E. Eastlake 3rd and Declan McCullagh, an analysis is offered for proposals to mandate the use of a special top level name or an IP address bit to flag "adult" or "unsafe" material or the like. This document explains why these ideas are ill considered from legal, philosophical, and technical points of view: "Besides technical impossibility, such a mandate would be an illegal forcing of speech in some jurisdictions, as well as cause severe linguistic problems for domain or other character string names." more

TLD for Online Communities and Social Networking?

A company called PW Registry Corporation makes the following announcement regarding the .PW ccTLD originally designated for the country of Palau: "The PW Registry Corporation announced today plans for the activation of the PW top- level domain (TLD), the Internet's first and only domain extension devoted to "Communities of Shared Interests". Unlike other domain extensions, such as .com, .biz, and .info, PW is aimed at providing individuals and consumer/affinity organizations a highly-personalized, permanent and portable e-mail address and a managed platform for community and social networking." more

New Mobile Domain Another Bad Idea

You may have seen a new proposal for a "mobile" top-level domain name for use by something called "mobile users" whatever they are. (The domain will not actually be named .mobile, rumours are they are hoping for a coveted one-letter TLD like .m "to make it easier to type on a mobile phone.) Centuries ago, as trademark law began its evolution, we learned one pretty strong rule about building rules for a name system for commerce, and even for non-commerce.
Nobody should be given ownership of generic terms. Nobody should have ownership rights in a generic word like "apple" -- not Apple Computer, not Apple Records, not the Washington State Apple Growers, not a man named John Apple. more

Industry Giants Embarking on Internet Frontiers

In a recent press release, Alan Harper says: "The aim of the initiative is to accelerate the rollout of Internet products and services specifically designed for mobile devices as well as to ensure far greater operating simplicity for mobile subscribers across the globe. This venture should build on the considerable trust that exists in the mobile community between subscribers and operators." What is this initiative you ask? A new wireless protocol? A new wireless association? Not exactly! more

Another Good Decision on Internet "Gripe Sites"

I want to call your attention to another court decision that upholds the right of a consumer to create a non-commercial web site criticizing a company, using the company's name as the domain name. Lucas Nursery and Landscaping v. Grosse, 2004 WL 403213 (6th Circuit March 5, 2004). This case involves Lucas Nursery, a landscaping company in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, which apparently botched work done for Michelle Gross - or at least that was her opinion. But, when she established a web site to tell her story, Lucas sued her under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act ("ACPA")... more

ICANN and the Data Quality Act: Part VI

This is the sixth part of a multi-part series reported by ICANNfocus. This part focuses on ICANN's Strategic Plan. Read previous parts: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V. "The requirement that ICANN develop a Strategic Plan offers an important opportunity for achieving meaningful reform of the organization. The Strategic Plan is one of the key new ICANN duties contained in the most recent amendment to their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Commerce. The MOU specifies in considerable detail the elements that ICANN is to include in the Plan including issues ranging from executive compensation to mechanisms for ICANN accountability..." more

Where Did the .Root Top-Level Domain Come From?

It was pointed out to me the other day that the ICANN/NTIA/Verisign root zone file contains a previously undiscussed top level domain. The contents of this TLD suggest that it was created by Verisign, the company that actually constructs the root zone file used by the dominant set of root servers. (The same zone file is also used by at least one of the competing root systems.) That TLD is .root. It's existence is as real as any other TLD such as .com or .org... more

Questioning Innovation: An Interview with Bob Parsons

In a press release issued Wednesday, March 03, 2004, Go Daddy Software, Inc., defended ICANN's right to regulate VeriSign's registry services and called for a formal review of the company's position as an "exclusive registry." This announcement from Go Daddy, which comes one week after VeriSign filed a lawsuit against ICANN, pledges $100,000 to ICANN for its defense of the VeriSign lawsuit. Go Daddy, which ranks among the top 3 largest domain name registrars in the world and one of VeriSign's largest customers, has also sent a letter to both the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) strongly urging both groups to undertake a formal review of VeriSign's registry position.

In this special interview, CircleID has caught up with Bob Parsons, President and Founder of Go Daddy, where he provides in-depth discussions of Internet Innovation, ICANN, VeriSign's Global Registry Services, Top-Level Domains and the current legal battles. more

Letter from Rome

I am at the ICANN meeting in Rome. The big story here is that ICANN is under attack for not sticking to its narrow mission -- technical coordination of the DNS and IP numbering system. People here are referring obliquely to the VeriSign lawsuit as "recent events" (as in "in light of recent events"). This euphemism reminds me of words used to reference the US Civil War ("the late unpleasantness"). more

ICANN and the Data Quality Act: Part V

This is the fifth part of a multi-part series reported by ICANNfocus. This part focuses on Securing the Quality of WHOIS Data. "Information for which ICANN has responsibility includes the WHOIS databases. ICANN has been given specific responsibilities for these databases under: 1) their contract with the U.S. government's Department of Commerce to perform the technical management of the Internet; and 2) their Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Commerce." more

Verisign vs. ICANN: More at Stake than Sitefinder

It's easy to dismiss Verisign's antitrust suit as a ploy to push through Sitefinder. But whether one loves Sitefinder or hates Sitefinder, the complaint raises a much more significant issue that won't go away even if ICANN lets Verisign roll out Sitefinder. At the heart of Verisign's complaint is the lack of any definable process for decisionmaking, and its a complaint shared by others. A settlement between Verisign and ICANN that does not create a clear process for decisionmaking at ICANN that includes trustworthy independent review will merely delay the inevitable. Eventually, some other party will become just as frustrated and again challenge ICANN -- either in U.S. court or by enlisting the help of the U.S. Commerce Department, non-U.S. governements, or multinational treaty organizations. ICANN must recognize that the days of ad hoc decision making based on realpolitick must end and give way to stable processes that ICANN staff cannot control. more

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