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The Sad Story of Private Public Interest Commitments (PICs)

The voluntary Public Interest Commitments (PIC) have a long and sad history at ICANN. They were a process never created or evaluated by the Multistakeholder process, thrown together for one purpose and allowed to morph into a mechanism for an almost unlimited number of un-reviewed other purposes. Disputes are delegated to a resolution process which itself was never evaluated for... more

The Legal Enforceability of PIR's Public Interest Commitment

Since Ethos announced its investment in PIR last fall, Ethos has welcomed the opportunity to engage with .ORG registrants and users to hear their ideas and answer their questions. We listened to concerns expressed in the community, and we worked to address them. We announced a number of voluntary commitments that Ethos is prepared to make, and then we listened to feedback from the community on the scope of those commitments, as well as on the enforceability of those commitments. more

Accountability Initiatives to Secure a Strong Future for .ORG

Last fall, when we put forth our bid to acquire the Public Interest Registry (PIR), our announcement - made jointly with PIR and its parent, the Internet Society - was met with questions. We took them seriously and made a conscious effort to engage with representative members of the .ORG community to deepen our understanding. We found that a consistent message was that the commitments made by Ethos since this fall addressed most of the community's issues, but there was a question as to whether they were enforceable and if so, how? more

Explaining the Legal Enforceability of the PIC Proposed by Ethos for .ORG

Ethos Capital has recently announced that it has voluntarily proposed to add an amendment to Public Interest Registry's (PIR) .ORG Registry Agreement with ICANN in the form of a Public Interest Commitment, also known as a "PIC." In the press release Ethos indicated that the PIC would become "legally binding" and "enforceable" both by ICANN and by members of the community. I anticipate that some would ask a number of logical questions: How would that work in practice? more

ISOC and the PIR Sale: Lessons Being Learned

The PIR/.ORG transaction is a watershed moment for ISOC. What had once seemed (at least to ISOC and its Board) to be ISOC's chance to transform its finances now seems to many to be a threat to ISOC's essence, and even its very existence. From the ISOC-NY perspective, this entire affair points out the paucity of community-involved multistakeholder participation in ISOC's critical decision-making processes (and other processes, too). more

Stop Propagating False Information About the .ORG Transaction

We were disappointed to see The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette publish a recent editorial on February 13 about the sale of Public Interest Registry (PIR, the company that operates .ORG) that propagates false information about the transaction, including runaway prices, censorship and lack of experience. Runaway prices? Ethos Capital and PIR have committed to capping price increases to no more than ten percent per year on average. more

Here's How We Can Truly #SaveDotOrg

Many of my friends in the civil-liberties and Internet-law communities have been criticizing the Internet Society's agreement to sell the Public Interest Registry, which administers the .ORG top-level domain. I'm a free-speech guy, so I support their right to raise all these criticisms. But they often ask me directly – knowing that my track record as an Internet civil-libertarian is longer than most – why as a member of the Internet Society (a.k.a. ISOC) board I decided to join the board's unanimous approval of the deal. more

Answering Additional Questions about Ethos' Acquisition of Public Interest Registry (PIR)

A few good questions have circulated in response to my recent blog post seeking clarity around the following: 1) what we mean with respect to adhering to Public Interest Registry's (PIR) historic practices on pricing, and 2) our interpretation of how the new co-operative proposal would reward speculators. With regard to Ethos' pricing commitments: we are not saying that we will raise prices 10% every year -- our commitment is that any price increase would not exceed 10% per year on average, if at all. more

Addressing Recent Media Mischaracterizations of the .ORG Acquisition

Given the level of public interest in Ethos' acquisition of Public Interest Registry ("PIR") from the Internet Society, it is no surprise that this agreement continues to attract press attention. Ethos welcomes open discussion on this important investment, and we are of course following the media coverage closely. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to respond point-by-point to every article, so I would like to take this opportunity to address several mischaracterizations of the deal recently reported by Wired, Deutsche Welle, and others. more

Thoughts on Our NPR Interview About Ethos Capital's Acquisition of .ORG

I was glad to join Meghna Chakrabarti on NPR this week for an engaging discussion about Ethos Capital's acquisition of Public Interest Registry (PIR) from the Internet Society, which you can listen to here. I always appreciate an opportunity to answer questions about .ORG, and was pleased to be joined by Andrew Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Internet Society, and Esther Dyson, founding chairwoman of ICANN from 1998 to 2000. more

Who Pays When .Org Prices Rise?

When .org prices rise, who suffers – nonprofits or speculators? Will Ethos Capital raise prices more aggressively than ISOC would? Vint Cerf attributed concerns about higher prices to speculators: "Of course, companies that hold domain names in the tens of thousands for speculative purposes might find such increases more troubling, but I don't have much sympathy for that business model in the context of the organizations the .org brand is intended to serve." more

A Stronger PIR and .ORG: Standing Behind Our Commitments

We respect the right of all parties who wish to express a point of view on the Internet Society's sale of Public Interest Registry ("PIR") to Ethos Capital. However, it's important those views are based on facts -- which has not always been the case. Some have expressed concern that for-profit ownership of .ORG will automatically mean .ORG prices will rise dramatically, or that .ORG's principles will change. more

The Number Resource Organization (NRO) Issues Inspection Request to ICANN Concerning the .ORG Sale

The Number Resource Organization (NRO), acting as the Address Supporting Organization (ASO), today announced it has submitted correspondence to ICANN regarding the Internet Society's proposed transfer of ownership of PIR, the .org registry, to Ethos Capital. more

How to Preserve the .org Registry's Integrity in the ISOC Sale of PIR

This article addresses the issues around the planned sale of the PIR .org registry by ISOC. It examines the history and issues plus looks at several possible paths forward, including PIR becoming a Benefit Corporation (B-Corp) and identifying possible alternative buyers who could retain PIR's non-profit status. Before Tim Bernier-Lee brought the HTML markup language to the Internet, starting in 1989, there were few registered domain names. Access for public registration started in 1986, and by December, there were about five dozen registered .com domain names.  more

Fadi's .ORG Fracasso

The stakeholder community needs to get with the program and assert itself now – if it still can. The recent attempts by the Internet Society (ISOC) to wrap itself in the halo of Jon Postel's "original intent" for .org is specious and laughable. As I've previously published, Postel also didn't like how big the top-level domains were getting and suggested, in 1993, that top-level domains should be capped at 10,000 names and that further zone growth should happen at the second- and third-levels (similar to how the UK has .uk and then .com.uk, for example). more