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Opposition to ICANN-VeriSign Proposal Grows

Eight of the world's largest domain registrars have sent an open letter to ICANN Chairman Vint Cerf, stating their formal opposition to the revised proposition with VeriSign for continued control of the Internet registry.

The eight signatories, which lay claim to 25 million domain names, or 57 percent of those currently registered, are GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Tucows, Register.com, BulkRegister, Schlund + Partner AG, Melbourne IT and Intercosmos Media Group.

Read full story: InternetNews

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Re: Opposition to ICANN-VeriSign Proposal Grows By Berard  –  Feb 17, 2006 4:38 pm PDT

There is a serious side-effect to the proposed .com registry agreement that has gotten little attention.  On a February 13 conference call with registrars, ICANN staff made one thing clear: the proposed .com deal has nothing to do with what is best for the internet community and everything to do with settling litigation between the body and VeriSign.  Not only is this a bad business move, it will have exactly the opposite effect.  Not only with the deal give VeriSign perpetual control of the .com registry, it will make ICANN a perpetual legal defendant.

The deal has already led to additional litigation.  In the anti-trust suit moving forward in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, the court has agreed to discovery (where plaintiffs’ lawyers will get to question ICANN and VeriSign executives and staff as well as review e.mail and documents relating to the deal).  Also, it is to set a date — well beyond the artificial deadline of February 20 set for the close of the public comment period — to hear arguments on a preliminary injunction that will prevent the deal from being implemented.  This week additional papers were filed to move the case along.

And don’t forget that the special treatment given VeriSign in the .com (and .net) registry agreements has drawn the attention of all other registries. 

It is unfortunate that, by its actions and public statements, ICANN staff is certifying the business benefit of legal action.  As the board convenes to consider the .com deal, it needs to appreciate that approving it will not solve the problem it seeks to address: the end of litigation.  Quite the contrary.

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