Policy & Regulation

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An Economic Analysis of Domain Name Policy - Part II

"Comparisons with Telecommunications Policy" is the focus of part two of a three-part series based on a study prepared by Karl M. Manheim, Professor of Law at Loyola Law School and Lawrence B. Solum, Professor of Law at University of San Diego. Special thanks and credit to Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 25, p. 317, 2004. ...In the United States, an independent federal agency, under the direction of Congress, is charged with developing and implementing policies governing the major telecommunications industries. These include broadcast radio and television, wireline and wireless telephony, and video distribution via cable, wireless, and satellite. One might wonder why the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") does not likewise have jurisdiction, at least in the US, over perhaps the most significant telecommunications industry -- the Internet. more

New York Passing New Domain Name Law

In a move that flies in the face of established international guidelines, the New York Senate is pushing through a bill that would forbid registering the name of a living person with the purpose of selling the domain to that person. The New York Senate's bill is called "domain names cyber piracy protections act" and is championed by State Senator Betty Little (S2306). Generally speaking, registering a person's name solely to sell the domain to that person is a losing cause in UDRP arbitrations. But the New York bill is scary for a few reasons... more

Domain Name Theft, Fraud And Regulations

When it comes to domain name disputes, no domain name has captured more media attention than sex.com. Of course, disputes about sex often obtain a great deal of attention, and the sex.com domain name dispute can grab its share of headlines because the case involves sex, theft, declared bankruptcy, a once-thriving Internet porn business, and fraud, instead of the typical cybersquatting allegations. Indeed, this case is remarkable for its potential impact on the development of caselaw concerning whether there is a valid basis to assume that trademark interests should overwhelm all non-commercial interests in the use of domain names. The answer is no, but the caselaw to support that answer is in tension with cases that strongly imply a contrary conclusion. more

Twenty Myths and Truths About IPv6 and the US IPv6 Transition

After hearing over 350 presentations on IPv6 from IPv6-related events in the US (seven of them), China, Spain, Japan, and Australia, and having had over 3,000 discussions about IPv6 with over a thousand well-informed people in the IPv6 community, I have come to the conclusion that all parties, particularly the press, have done a terrible job of informing people about the bigger picture of IPv6, over the last decade, and that we need to achieve a new consensus that doesn't include so much common wisdom that is simply mythical. There are many others in a position to do this exercise better than I can, and I invite them to make a better list than mine, which follows. more

Smartphones: Too Smart for Mobile Operators?

In June, the net neutrality debate took an unexpected turn when the Netherlands leap-frogged the USA to became the first country to legislate for mobile net neutrality. Business models for fixed and mobile networks must shift toward volume charges. The net neutrality debate has been seen not having much relevance outside the USA because the plight of carriers there was aggravated by unlimited usage. more

Internet Governance Outlook 2014: Good News, Bad News, No News?

What does the crystal ball say for the Internet in 2014? Here are three scenarios for what could happen with the global Internet Governance Eco-System in the coming 12 months... In the worst case scenario the Internet gets more and more fragmented and re-nationalized. A growing number of governments start to define a "national Internet segment" and develop policies to surveil, censor and control access to and use of the Internet. National firewalls will separate the "domestic Internet" from the global Internet and an exit and entrance regime into networks is introduced where users need passwords, handed out by governmental authorities on an annual basis, to go from one domain to another... more

MegaBust's MegaQuestions Cloud the Net's Future

Mid-January 2012 marked a major inflection point for digital copyright policy in the United States... Yet no one involved with Congressional interaction on either side of the issue believes it has been sidetracked for long, and "Hollywood" and "Silicon Valley" are both plotting their next moves in this high-stakes game to further define the responsibilities and potential liabilities... The resolution of this dispute will determine the ability of Internet services to move to "the cloud"... more

Invalid WHOIS Data: Who Is Responsible?

Suppose you wanted to know who operates a website at a given domain name. Perhaps you suspect that the domain name is pointing to a website that offers illegal content, or you may just want to send a comment to its authors. Conveniently, the Internet provides a so-called "WHOIS" system that ordinarily provides contact information for each registered domain. But in the case of many hundreds of thousands of domains, the WHOIS data just isn't accurate.  more

Addressing the Future Internet

What economic and social factors are shaping our future needs and expectations for communications systems? This question was the theme of a joint National Science Foundation (NSF) and Organisation for Economic Co Operation and Development (OECD) workshop, held on the 31st January of this year. The approach taken for this workshop was to assemble a group of technologists, economists, industry, regulatory and political actors and ask each of them to consider a small set of specific questions related to a future Internet. Thankfully, this exercise was not just another search for the next "Killer App", nor a design exercise for IP version 7. It was a valuable opportunity to pause and reflect on some of the sins of omission in today's Internet and ask why, and reflect on some of the unintended consequences of the Internet and ask if they were truly unavoidable consequences... more

Comcast is Right, the FCC is Wrong

A fellow named Paul Korzeniowski has written a very good, concise piece on the Comcast action at the FCC for Forbes, Feds And Internet Service Providers Don't Mix. He manages to describe the controversy in clear and unemotional language, which contrasts sharply with the neutralists who constantly use emotionally-charged terms such as "blocking," "Deep Packet Inspection," "forgery," and "monopoly" to describe their discomfort. more

Live Nude Domain Names

ICANN announced recently that it has begun negotiations with an applicant for another 'sponsored' (non-open) top level domain, .XXX. There has been a fair amount of coverage, for and against. My initial reaction is (with the proviso that the public information to assess these things is always insufficient): .XXX seems plausible for what it is but it isn't what many probably think it is. ...that's the key to understanding this. This TLD is intended to be a trade association and is not a form of regulation. more

The Villain in the ICANN-VeriSign Struggle is the U.S. Government

ICANN Board Chair Vint Cerf now works for a company whose motto is, "Do No Evil." So how could Vint and his fellow board members be engaged in a massive capitulation to the enterprise greed of dot-com operator VeriSign? The story of how the Internet community got to its current impasse over the future of the ICANN-VeriSign relationship is overly complicated but the bottom line is that we are suffering from woes created by the U.S. Government with the best of intentions over the past fifteen years. And only the government has the capacity to stop equivocating and do the right thing for all of us. The road to hell is paved with good intentions... more

Where Is Cyberspace?

In my first CircleID post, I compared the cyberspace to a farmland, which has to be cultivated and developed. I ended by asking: Where is cyberspace? I have asked this same question from many people, many of whom are internet experts. They all said the cyberspace is in the computers, networks, or servers, or the Internet itself. I agree with these cyberspace ideas. In addition, my opinion is a bit different. more

.COM and .NET: Thick Or Thin?

The fallout from the failure of RegisterFly has been largely addressed as an issue of regulation and enforcement. ...ICANN has not historically enforced the escrow obligation, and in any case, if a company has failed, who exactly is going to take responsibility for updating the escrowed data? It seems to me that the problems that have arisen as a result of RegisterFly's collapse have more to do with the design of the "shared registry system" for the .COM and .NET TLDs than they do with ICANN's failure to enforce the RAA. more

Could IP Addressing Benefit from the Introduction of Competitive Suppliers?

An article written by Paul Wilson, Director General of Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), and Geoff Huston, Senior Internet Research Scientist at APNIC. "In recent months proposals have been made for the introduction of competition into the system of allocation of IP addresses. In particular, calls have been made for new IP address registries to be established which would compete with the existing Regional Internet address Registries (RIRs). Specific proposals have been made by Houlin Zhao of the ITU-T and by Milton Mueller of the Internet Governance Project, both of which propose that the ITU itself could establish such a registry group, operating as a collection of national registries." ...It would appear that part of the rationale for these proposals lies in the expectation that the introduction of competition would naturally lead to outcomes of "better" or "more efficient" services the address distribution function. This article is a commentary on this expectation, looking at the relationship between a competitive supply framework and the role of address distribution, and offering some perspective on the potential outcomes that may be associated with such a scenario for IP addresses, or indeed for network addresses in general. more

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