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Donuts and MPAA Work To Thwart Piracy, But EFF Says TLD Operators Should Not Be Content Police

Donuts and the US’s Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have made a joint announcement that they believe will help ensure that websites using domains registered under the Donuts operated new gTLDs are not engaged in large-scale piracy. But the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is scathing of the agreement saying that “the companies and organisations that run the [DNS] shouldn’t be in the business of policing the contents of websites, or enforcing laws that can impinge on free speech.Donuts currently operates 191 new gTLDs with 185 having entered General Availability, by far the most of any new gTLD registry, and has 1.6 million domains under management (DUM). But the MPAA is probably most interested in one of the smaller gTLDs – .movie – with less than 900 DUM.Under the terms of the agreement, the MPAA will be treated as a “Trusted Notifier” for the purpose of reporting large-scale pirate websites that are registered in a domain extension operated by Donuts. The agreement imposes strict standards for such referrals, including that they be accompanied by clear evidence of pervasive copyright infringement and a representation that the MPAA has first attempted to contact the registrar and hosting provider for resolution.So it is not guaranteed that every domain reported to Donuts will be taken down. But the inference is that many, if not the vast majority, will.The agreement specifies that Donuts will work with registrar partners to contact the website operator and seek additional evidence. If Donuts or its registrar partner determines that the website is engaged in illegal activity and thereby violates Donuts’ Acceptable Use and Anti-Abuse Policy, then they, in their discretion, may act within their already established authority to put the infringing domain on hold or suspend it.The new programme is being touted as a voluntary best practice designed to help promote a healthier internet by mitigating blatantly illegal online activity.”This is a groundbreaking partnership and one we’re proud to undertake,” said Donuts Co-Founder and Executive Vice President Jon Nevett. “Donuts, as the operator of .MOVIE, .THEATER, .COMPANY and almost 200 other domain extensions, is committed to a healthy domain name environment and this is another step toward a safe and secure namespace.””I want to thank Donuts for their leadership. This agreement demonstrates that the tech community and content creators can work together on voluntary initiatives to help ensure vibrant, legal digital marketplaces that benefit all members of the online ecosystem,” said Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the MPAA. “Filmmakers and distributers are already using the internet to offer more options than ever before for accessing online legal content, including over 115 such sites in the U.S. alone. But sites engaged in large-scale piracy threaten this continued growth and creativity, as well as the livelihoods of the 1.9 million Americans whose jobs depend on our industry.””Nobody questions that the internet has made possible dramatic technology innovations both for legal and illegal purposes,” said Paul Vixie, CEO of Farsight Security and longtime member of the internet and open source technical communities. “We need responsible parties to take voluntary, cooperative action against illegal activities online. I see programs like Trusted Notifier as an ideal step toward making the internet safer.””While this agreement is geared specifically to film and television piracy, it can also be adapted to address other illegal activity online,” Nevett said. “Hopefully, it will become a model for similar agreements that can be reached with operators in the domain name ecosystem and other internet intermediaries.”But not everyone agrees the initiative is a good idea. It has long been viewed that top level domain operators, whether they be country codes or generic, should not be content police. And the Electronic Frontier Foundation for one is been scathing of the agreement.The EFF is concerned that “the danger in agreements like this is that they could become a blanket policy that internet users cannot avoid. If what’s past is prologue, expect to see MPAA and other groups of powerful media companies touting the Donuts agreement as a new norm, and using it to push ICANN and governments towards making all domain name registries disable access to an entire website on a mere accusation of infringement.”The EFF also is concerned that “other business interests, as well as governments, who want to suppress particular types of speech on the internet will jump on this bandwagon.”

NTIA Wants Participation In IANA Transition to Multistakeholder Model

IANA logoA proposal has been released that will see the transition of the US government’s stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority’s (IANA) through ICANN to a multistakeholder model and the US government is encouraging comments and feedback.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration‘s Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling has asked those interested to give their feedback in a blog posting on the NTIA’s website.

The move is not without controversy with many US Republicans spreading fear of doomsday scenarios whereby countries such as China and Russia would be allowed to take control of the internet.

The proposal also has critics not spreading the doomsday scenarios but taking a more constructive approach such as former staffer and journalist Kieren McCarthy who writes a lengthy article in The Register, and is essential reading for those interested in the transition, that says in part:

“the near-final version is a hodgepodge of ideas and compromises that fails to address a key aspect of Uncle Sam’s role.

“In addition, the plan substitutes a complex set of unworkable process steps in place of the US Department of Commerce’s simple oversight of the internet. And it is reliant on a separate, unfinished process for improving accountability at the organization that will assume de facto control, ICANN.

“Most of the problems in the plan stem from political rather than technical issues, which means its main aspects are likely to remain even after a public comment period.

“In particular, the decision to award ICANN control of the IANA contract through a wholly controlled affiliate remains controversial, and there is some reason to believe that the process was distorted in order to arrive at a pre-decided outcome.”

Currently the role of the IANA is managed by ICANN through a contract with the US government. Discussions have been underway for over a year within the ICANN community and with other interested parties as to how best complete this transition.

According to Reuters, “the transition proposal recommends creating a separate subsidiary, with its own performance evaluation process, to actually operate the technical functions of managing the Internet’s name and address system under a contract with ICANN.”

“Similar to ICANN’s current process, a community could raise the alarm if IANA functions are not performed appropriately, according to Alissa Cooper, a U.S.-based network engineer who chairs the group coordinating the IANA transition.

“Because the proposal roots the accountability responsibility in the various stakeholder communities, that is one of the defences against capture by any single constituency,” Cooper told Reuters. “The proposal does a good job of maintaining the aspects of the current system that have been working well and carrying them forward to the future.”

“Under the proposal, ICANN would remain headquartered in California.

“The proposal suggests that the role played by the U.S. government be replaced by ICANN itself, an oversight committee and a review process involving many interested parties, none of which are governments or inter-governmental organisations.”


The transition is expected to be completed in mid-2016 after current CEO and President Fadi Chehadé, who has been driving the change following the US government announcement that it would happen, steps down.

The post by Strickling is as follows:

Nearly 17 months ago, NTIA kicked off activities to complete the privatization of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS) as promised in 1998 by transitioning our stewardship role over  certain technical functions related to the DNS.


We have reached an important milestone in that process as the two working groups tasked with developing proposals related to the transition have released them for final comment.

These technical functions, known as the IANA functions, play an important but limited role in how the DNS and Internet operate. The DNS allows users to identify websites, mail servers, and other Internet destinations using easy-to-understand names (e.g., www.ntia.doc.gov) rather than the numeric network addresses (e.g., necessary to retrieve information on the Internet.

The IANA transition will advance our commitment to ensuring that the Internet remains an engine for global economic growth, innovation and free speech.

Since March 2014, the Internet community – made up of technical experts, businesses and civil society – has spent hundreds of hours devising a transition proposal that aims to meet the principles we outlined, including preserving the openness, security and resiliency of the Internet.

The global Internet community also developed a proposal to enhance the accountability of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which currently performs the IANA functions under a contract with NTIA, in advance of NTIA transitioning its stewardship role.

In recent days both the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) and the Cross Community Working Group (CCWG) on Enhancing ICANN Accountability have posted their proposals for review and final public comment.  Comments are due September 8, 2015, for the ICG’s proposal and September 12, 2015, for the CCWG’s proposal.

I urge all parties with an interest in the IANA transition to review these proposals and provide feedback to the working groups. This is the best way to make your voice heard and make a difference.  It is particularly important that stakeholders everywhere evaluate whether these plans meet the criteria that we have said must be part of the transition.

I greatly appreciate the time and effort the community has put into developing these proposals. With the participation of as many stakeholders as possible, I am confident that this transition will result in a stronger ICANN and an Internet that will continue to grow and thrive throughout the world.

Another Republican Hopeful Beaten to Domain, But Forks Out Over $100,000 For It

Following the commotion over Carly Fiorina missing out on getting carlyfiorina.org, it has emerged another Republican presidential candidate also missed out on a key domain.Only days before he launched his bid to be the Republican candidate, Rand Paul used his re-election committee to pay $100,980 to Escrow.com for a “domain name” on 27 March. The domain had been used though by friends of the campaign, unlike the Fiorina domain, as it was used as a pro-Paul website. Previously Paul was using the domain randpaul2016.com, which now redirects to his new domain.In politics the sum paid is regarded as a lot of money. “Holy crap,” a top Republican digital strategist told the National Journal when informed of the price. “That’s a ton.”Patrick Ruffini, a veteran GOP digital strategist, said that he had never heard of a campaign paying so much for a URL, though he was not shocked. “It’s very much a seller’s market,” Ruffini said, adding that owning a candidate’s “FirstnameLastname.com” was the gold standard in the digital world. “I would argue that almost nothing else matters.”The domain has had a number of owners, both supporters and opponents.”In 2008, it was owned by opponents of his; more recently, by supporters,” reported the Washington Post. “But not so supportive that Paul got it on the cheap, apparently.”Other candidates have done better on the domain-name front according to another report, this one in the Los Angeles Times. “Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who announced his candidacy last month, owns his own name. So does Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner.””But Jeb Bush and Chris Christie both have potential problems with domain squatters.””The Christie domain is owned by a man who shares the New Jersey governor’s name while jebbushforpresident.com, which mocks the former Florida governor, is owned by a gay couple from Oregon.”

Carly Fiorina Commits Blunder Not Nominating Key .ORG Domain

For someone in the tech industry you could have expected better. But as former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced that she’s running for the Republican nomination to become US President, it became apparent she’d forgotten to register the domain carlyfiorina.org.The domain was registered in December when it became apparent she was considering running, and someone has got in early. The registrant is now using the domain to showcase their claim she was responsible for around 30,000 retrenchments in her time at Hewlett-Packard.She is the second Republican to nominate for the Republican candidacy to have domain troubles as the New York Times reports. “Senator Ted Cruz, who failed to secure TedCruz.com. (Mr. Cruz’s troubles go back even further — after his filibuster intended to undercut the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, a website, TedCruzforAmerica.com, was registered and redirected unsuspecting users to the website of the federal health insurance exchange.)”Carly Fiorina Failed To Register This Domain - NYTThe Times also notes “some politicians (or potential politicians) have taken notice, most notably Chelsea Clinton, who as BuzzFeed reported, registered nearly every possible domain derivation of her name.”

.REALTOR gTLD Seen As Struggling

REALTOR gTLD logoDomain name registrations for the .realtor gTLD are way short of targets as the operator has given away 95,000 registrations to bona fide North American real estate agents, way short of its target of 500,000 domains it had initially planned to give away to members, according to a report on the Associations Now website.

Initially the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said it would provide the first 500,000 members who register for a .realtor domain with a free one-year registration, and their Canadian equivalent the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) 10,000 free domains to members, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Registrations of the gTLD have been increasing by around 60 per day which the report notes would mean the NAR would take 18 years to reach its target.

According to the latest nTLDstats.com figures, there are 97,400 domains registered with registrations increasing by 391 in the past week.

One reason is the restrictions the NAR puts on registrants. One real estate agent has written [subscription] of her .com domain that she “[owns] the domain names and I own the hosting account. My business sites are backed up daily and can be moved with the greatest of ease if I need to. I make the rules on my own site and decide how to use it.”

The agent, Teresa Boardman from Minnesota, wrote she has no intention of registering a .realtor domain and that someone else can have her personalised domain that she’d be entitled to.

The restrictions, according to the .realtor website, on the gTLD mean registrants must use part or all of their first and/or last name as registered with the NAR or its Canadian equivalent. Something that many will not find appealing. And that may be a lesson – no matter how cheap a domain, if there are too many restrictions on registration it won’t be appealing.

US Trade Office Wants ICANN and Governments To Help Stamp Out Online Counterfeit Goods

A report from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is critical of registrars that have allowed domain names to be registered and used in the distribution of unauthorised copyright-protected content. And it is urging governments and ICANN to get involved to address the problem.According to the report, one respondent identified several registrars that have apparently refused requests to lock or suspend domain names used to sell suspected counterfeit pharmaceuticals to consumers worldwide. While this is conduct is a threat to brand owners, it also presents a public health challenge, and requires a coordinated response by governments and a variety of private sector stakeholders.According to a 2012 report from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy cited by the USTR, an estimated 96 percent of online pharmacies targeting US consumers are operating in violation of applicable US law and standards.The report also cites a World Trade Organisation report estimating 50 percent of websites worldwide that hide their physical address are selling illicit pharmaceuticals, including those labelled with counterfeit trademarks. The website www.LegitScript.com has reviewed over 40,000 online drug sellers, but found fewer than 400 to be legitimate. Studies have found that counterfeit anti-cancer, anti-HIV/AIDS , and other medications are not only ineffective, but in some cases may contain toxic or deadly adulterants, such as rat poison.With relatively few lawful sources amidst a sea of harmful ones, the public faces a substantial risk when navigating these online pharmaceutical markets. In addition to the public health and safety risks, there is also economic harm. Illegal online pharmaceutical sellers can generate significant revenues each month, diverting income from legitimate innovative and generic pharmaceutical manufacturers , and depriving governments of tax revenues from legitimate sales.The USTR says registrars can play a critical public safety role in the internet ecosystem. Ignoring that role, or acting affirmatively to facilitate public harm, is of great concern. One of the registrars nominated in response to USTR’s Federal Register Request, Tucows.com, appears in the List of companies of concern and is an example of this concern. The USTR is urging trading partner governments and ICANN to investigate and address this very serious problem.But Tucows denies it is implicated in the problem. The registrar told Reuters ‘it took down dozen of sites every day but unlike some competitors, it considered all complaints carefully to ensure they were justified.'”We want to make sure that our registrants are protected and respected as well as making sure there are not bad actors on our system, and that requires striking a balance on a daily basis,” said Graeme Bunton, Tucows manager of public policy.

NTIA Says Cromnibus Bars IANA Transition During Current Contract Term by Philip Corwin, Internet Commerce Association

Internet Commerce Association logoThe Congressional Internet Caucus held its 15th annual State of the Net conference today at The Newseum in Washington, DC. This is traditionally a start the new year networking and information update day for the capital’s technology policy set.

Immediately following the lunch break, at a session titled “Internet Functions in Transition: Is the US and the World Ready?”, NTIA head Lawrence Strickling provided the first official Obama Administration reaction to language included in the December 2014 Omnibus Appropriations legislation (dubbed the “Cromnibus”) that forbade the NTIA from spending a single penny on transferring the IANA functions contract during fiscal year 2015 (FY 2015). The last day of FY 2015 is September 30, 2015, which exactly coincides with the final day of the current term of the IANA contract, so compliance with this Congressional exercise of its ‘power of the purse’ would implicitly require some extension of the IANA contract and the current U.S. relationship with ICANN.

In his remarks (full text below), Secretary Strickling extinguished any conjecture that NTIA might seek some loophole to allow the transition to occur during its current term, stating:

The act does restrict NTIA from using appropriated dollars to relinquish our stewardship during fiscal year 2015 with respect to Internet domain name system functions.  We take that seriously.  Accordingly, we will not use appropriated funds to terminate the IANA functions contract with ICANN prior to the contract’s current expiration date of September 30, 2015.  Nor will we use appropriated dollars to amend the cooperative agreement with Verisign to eliminate NTIA’s role in approving changes to the authoritative root zone file prior to September 30.  On these points, there is no ambiguity.

Elaborating, the Secretary also made clear that the legislative language does not, in NTIA’s view, require it to “sit on the sidelines”, and that “the [ICANN] community should proceed as if it has only one chance to get this right”.

Simultaneously, he emphasized that the ICANN community would be provided with the time it required to fashion a comprehensive and workable proposal:

I want to reiterate again that there is no hard and fast deadline for this transition.  September 2015 has been a target date because that is when the base period of our contract with ICANN expires.  But this should not be seen as a deadline. If the community needs more time, we have the ability to extend the IANA functions contract for up to four years.  It is up to the community to determine a timeline that works best for stakeholders as they develop a proposal that meets NTIA’s conditions, but also works.

As a practical matter, NTIA’s public acknowledgement of the unambiguous nature of the appropriations language may not add a moment to the time required for the IANA transition. It was becoming increasingly clear that the parallel transition and accountability work streams are unlikely to produce a final, coordinated consensus proposal, accompanied by implemented accountability measures including required Bylaws changes, to permit a transition by September 30th.

Indeed, Secretary Strickling may have just added to the time requirements by posing a series of questions to the Community Working Group (CWG) on naming-related functions that indicate that NTIA has serious concerns about the path they are taking. After posing those questions he made clear that NTIA expected answers, declaring, “All of these questions require resolution prior to approval of any transition plan”. The CWG has already missed a January 15th target date for delivering a final set of recommendations to the IANA Coordination Group (ICG) and was unlikely to have a final product ready for them until the spring. Providing the “resolution” that NTIA just requested, and making necessary changes to its proposal, could add months to its work.

Bottom line: It now seems inevitable that NTIA will extend the IANA contract term, with the only question being whether it will be a full two year extension or some lesser amount of time. As a full extension would extend the contract into the term of the next President as well as invite international concern over the transition’s prospects, NTIA may well opt for an extension in the range of six months to a year.


Here’s the text of Secretary Strickling’s remarks, with passages referenced above highlighted —



January 27, 2015

Remarks by Lawrence E. Strickling Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information State of the Net Conference Washington, DC January 27, 2015

—As prepared for delivery—

I appreciate this opportunity to speak to you at this year’s State of the Net Conference.  This conference has grown in importance in its years of existence as more and more people understand the importance of ensuring that the Internet remains a platform for innovation, free speech and economic growth.

As we previewed last January, the year turned out to be an important year for Internet governance, bookended by the NetMundial conference in Brazil in the spring and the International Telecommunication Union Plenipotentiary Conference in Korea in the fall.  Throughout the year, the United States remained a vocal advocate of the bottom-up, consensus-based approach to Internet governance known as the multistakeholder model.  The successful outcomes at NetMundial and the Plenipotentiary demonstrate that more and more nations are joining the United States in showing their support for this model of Internet governance.  They do so not because the multistakeholder model is an end in and of itself, but because it holds the greatest proven potential for promoting both innovation and inclusion.

This year promises to be another critical year for Internet governance, centering in part on efforts to complete the privatization of the Internet domain name system (DNS), currently managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).  This process began in 1998, when ICANN took over important technical functions related to the domain name system, known as the IANA functions, under a contract with NTIA.  Last March, NTIA asked ICANN to convene a multistakeholder process to develop a proposal to transition the U.S. stewardship role over the IANA functions to the international community.

We turned to the Internet’s stakeholders to drive this transition because we believe businesses, technical experts, and civil society groups are best equipped to continue to set the future direction of the Internet.  We believe this transition is critical to preserving and enhancing this model going forward.  We are pleased that the community responded enthusiastically to our call to develop a transition plan.  Stakeholders have organized two major work streams to develop the overall plan.  One is focused on the specifics of the IANA functions themselves and the second is addressing questions of the overall accountability of ICANN to the global community of Internet stakeholders.  Both groups are well under way—you will hear first-hand from some of the participants in the panel following my remarks—and are working according to a schedule that would deliver a transition plan to us in the summer.

Today, I would like to answer some of the questions that have arisen in recent weeks about NTIA’s role in the transition and then, to pose some questions of our own for stakeholders to consider as they continue their work to develop the plan.  We do so in good faith and in appreciation of the hard work of the volunteer community engaged in these discussions

At the outset, let me address the impact of last December’s appropriations act on the transition planning process.  From the day of our announcement last March, some, including members of Congress, have raised questions and concerns about the transition.  We welcome their interest and acknowledge the validity of many of these concerns.  We think it is important that questions about the transition be addressed and answered.  We also believe that a robust, open and transparent multistakeholder process is the best vehicle for ensuring that result.  Nothing in the appropriations act affects the activities of industry, civil society and the technical community to develop the transition plan we called for last March.  We expect their work to continue and look forward to its conclusion.

The act does restrict NTIA from using appropriated dollars to relinquish our stewardship during fiscal year 2015 with respect to Internet domain name system functions.  We take that seriously.  Accordingly, we will not use appropriated funds to terminate the IANA functions contract with ICANN prior to the contract’s current expiration date of September 30, 2015.  Nor will we use appropriated dollars to amend the cooperative agreement with Verisign to eliminate NTIA’s role in approving changes to the authoritative root zone file prior to September 30.  On these points, there is no ambiguity.

The legislative language, however, makes it equally clear that Congress did not expect us to sit on the sidelines this year.  The act imposes regular reporting requirements on NTIA to keep Congress apprised of the transition process.  To meet those requirements, NTIA will actively monitor the discussions and activities within the multistakeholder community as it develops the transition plan.  We will participate in meetings and discussions with ICANN, Verisign, other governments and the stakeholder community with respect to the transition.  We will continue to represent the United States at the meetings of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee.

We will provide informal feedback where appropriate.  We are as aware as anyone that we should not do anything that interferes with an open and participatory multistakeholder process.  We support a process where all ideas are welcome and where participants are able to test fully all transition options.  Nonetheless, the community should proceed as if it has only one chance to get this right.  Everyone has the responsibility to participate as they deem appropriate.  If, by asking questions, we can ensure that the community develops a well-thought-out plan that answers all reasonable concerns, we will do so.

I have been asked on numerous occasions: “What is the United States looking for in a plan?”  I have consistently answered that we are looking for a plan that preserves ICANN as a multistakeholder organization outside of government control which the community develops through an open and transparent multistakeholder process and that has the broad support of stakeholders.  No stakeholder or set of stakeholders has a veto over this process whether it be governments, industry or civil society.  However, they all need to have a voice, including ICANN leaders, who are stakeholders and community representatives, in helping to inform a proposal that has broad support.

Let me repeat, the proposal must support and enhance the multistakeholder model of Internet governance, in that it should be developed by the multistakeholder community and have broad community support.  More specifically, we will not accept a transition proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or intergovernmental organization solution.

In addition, the proposal must maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the domain name system.  The proposal must meet the needs and expectations of the global customers and partners of the IANA services.  And finally, it must maintain the openness of the Internet.

Now that we are more than ten months past our announcement, it is important to take stock of where this transition process stands.  As I mentioned earlier, there are two parallel work streams proceeding at the moment.  These work streams are directly linked, and we have repeatedly said that both tracks must be addressed before any transition takes place.

In the first track, the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG), representing more than a dozen Internet stakeholder communities, issued a call for proposals last fall for each of the three primary IANA functions – protocol parameters, numbering, and domain names – to be developed by the communities and parties most directly affected by each of the primary functions.

Two of the three groups have already finished their draft proposals. The Internet Engineering Task Force, which is shepherding the protocol parameter proposal, finalized and submitted its plan to the ICG on January 6.  The five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), which worked collaboratively in developing the numbering proposal, announced their final plan on January 15. An ICANN Cross Community Working Group (CWG) on the naming related functions released a draft proposal on December 1 and is continuing to work through the comments received in response.

We have taken a look at the December 1 proposal and the ensuing comments and discussion it has engendered.  As the CWG on the naming-related functions continues its work to finalize its draft proposal, NTIA would like to offer the following questions for the stakeholders to consider:

  • The draft proposes the creation of three or four new entities to be involved in the naming related processes.  Could the creation of any new entity interfere with the security and stability of the DNS during and after the transition?  Given that the community will need to develop, implement and test new structures and processes prior to a final transition, can it get all this done in a timeframe consistent with the expectations of all stakeholders?
  • Does the proposal ensure a predictable and reliable process for customers of root zone management services?  Under the current system, registry operators can be confident of the timing of review and implementation of routine root zone updates.  If a new committee takes up what is currently a routine procedural check, how will the community protect against processing delays and the potential for politicization of the system?
  • In response to the December 1 draft, other suggestions have emerged.  Are all the options and proposals being adequately considered in a manner that is fair and transparent? 
  • How does the proposal avoid re-creating existing concerns in a new form or creating new concerns?  If the concern is the accountability of the existing system, does creating new committees and structures simply create a new set of accountability questions? The second process is addressing how to enhance ICANN’s accountability to the global Internet community in the absence of the contractual relationship with NTIA.  Stakeholders are working through the Enhancing ICANN Accountability Cross Community Working Group (CCWG – Accountability).  Early reports indicate the CCWG is making significant progress on an agreement on the definition of the problem, a list of “stress tests”, and the specific short term issues that need to be addressed prior to the transition.  As we have consistently stated, it is critical that this group conduct “stress testing” of proposed solutions to safeguard against future contingencies such as attempts to influence or take over ICANN – be it the Board, staff or any stakeholder group–that are not currently possible given its contract with NTIA.  We also encourage this group to address questions such as how to remove or replace board members should stakeholders lose confidence in them and how to incorporate and improve current accountability tools like the reviews called for by the Affirmation of Commitments.I want to reiterate again that there is no hard and fast deadline for this transition.  September 2015 has been a target date because that is when the base period of our contract with ICANN expires.  But this should not be seen as a deadline. If the community needs more time, we have the ability to extend the IANA functions contract for up to four years.  It is up to the community to determine a timeline that works best for stakeholders as they develop a proposal that meets NTIA’s conditions, but also works. On a final note, as you can see, NTIA has a busy Internet policy agenda, both on the international front and domestically.  This is challenging and exciting work.  To help us deal with this work load, we have just posted openings for several positions in our Office of International Affairs and Office of Policy Analysis and Development. I encourage you to spread the word.  We are looking for bright, energetic folks who are eager to tackle cutting-edge Internet policy issues.


  • National Telecommunications and Information Administration 1401 Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC 20230
  • So with that, we can get on to the panel.  Thank you for listening.
  • There is a lot for stakeholders to consider.  But I am confident that the community will get this right and will come out stronger at the end of the process. We all have a stake in this transition and in ensuring the Internet remains an open, dynamic platform for economic and social progress.
  • As both groups continue their work, it is important that the draft proposals are tested and validated. This will give confidence that any process, procedure or structure proposed actually works.  It also will help facilitate NTIA’s review of the final transition proposal.  Finally, the plan must be comprehensive and complete.  The proposal needs to address all the functions included in the IANA contract, including management of the .int top-level domain name.
  • All of these questions require resolution prior to approval of any transition plan.

This article by Philip Corwin from the Internet Commerce Association was sourced with permission from:


Are Existing gTLD Registrations Suffering From New gTLDs?

Could .net be one of a number of gTLDs suffering from the success of new gTLDs? As of 30 June 2014, Verisign noted in their Domain Name Industry Brief there were 15.2 million .net domains under management (DUM). But according to the latest figures provided by RegistrarStats, there are now 14,998,404 DUMs.Domain Incite were the first to report on .net DUMs seeming to be suffering. But looking at other gTLDs it seems it is not the only one to see a decline in registration numbers over the past 12 months or so. The .biz, .pro, .tel and .mobi gTLDs, as well as the ccTLD for the United States (.us), all appear to have all suffered declines in registration numbers over the last 12 months. The .biz, .tel and .mobi TLDs seem to have been particularly hard hit. The .org gTLD seems to have plateaued its DUMs and not seen any significant increase for close to two years.While some of the older gTLDs have been haemorrhaging DUMs for some time. For example, .info has also seen a significant decline in DUMs from a peak of over 8 million around December 2011 to around 4.8 million now. And .name DUMs peaked around 2009 and have been in freefall ever since.But it seems the decline in registrations for .net, .biz, .us and .mobi, and maybe others, has coincided with the release of new gTLDs.

Jurisdictional Limits of in rem Proceedings Against Domain Names by Michael Xun Liu, University of Michigan Law School

Abstract: In 1999, Congress passed the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) to combat “cybersquatters” who profited by registering domain names that were confusingly similar to established trademarks. Under the ACPA, trademark owners have a specific cause of action against domain name registrants accused of cybersquatting. Moreover, the law gives U.S. courts in rem jurisdiction over trademark infringing domain names registered to parties that are not subject to personal jurisdiction.

Over the past decade, proceeding in rem against domain names has proven to be an effective strategy for trademark owners. While many companies have used the ACPA against cybersquatters, others have relied on the in rem provision to secure domain names registered to foreign companies that happen to use a similar mark for their goods or services. From a policy perspective, this latter practice is troubling because it allows district courts to determine whether foreign companies can use their marks as domain names, even if these companies lack minimum contacts with the court’s forum. To prevent such overreach, courts should limit the ACPA’s in rem jurisdiction to domain names that were registered in a bad faith attempt to profit from another’s trademark.

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Pledges to Protect a Free and Open Internet

[news release] Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, addressing attendees at the opening ceremony of ICANN’s 51st public meeting in Los Angeles, declared unwavering support for the United States government’s decision to transfer stewardship of the IANA functions to the global multistakeholder community and not to any one single organization.”Let me be clear about this. The United States will not allow the global Internet to be co-opted by any person, entity or nation seeking to substitute their parochial world view for the collective wisdom of this community,” said Pritzker.More than 2,300 members of the global multistakeholder community have come together in Los Angeles, California, for ICANN’s 51st public meeting to discuss the future of the organization.”If we don’t strive to improve our governance and accountability at all times, and especially this time, we will not gain and maintain the confidence of the world,” said Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO of ICANN. “ICANN’s leadership, the ICANN board and the ICANN community are committed to the best possible governance and accountability mechanisms there are.”ICANN Board Chair Dr. Stephen Crocker spoke about ICANN’s priorities, saying, “Throughout the organization we are sincerely concerned about transparency, about accountability, and we work assiduously trying to improve.”The IANA Stewardship Coordination Group (ICG) will be meeting during the week to continue their discussion on how the NTIA will go about transitioning its stewardship of the IANA functions to the Internet community.”We have to get this transition right,” said Pritzker. “Make no mistake: I stand by ICANN. I am all in when it comes to the global debate over Internet governance. And we will preserve and protect a free and open Internet.”Those attending ICANN51 or participating remotely are highly encouraged to join and watch the ICG’s meeting. Details for doing so can be found at http://la51.icann.org/en/schedule/fri-icg.ICANN also announced the winner of the 2014 Leadership Award – Jonathan Robinson, Chair of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO). The Leadership Award recognizes ICANN community members who demonstrate leadership in protecting and promoting the multistakeholder model.The GNSO recommends changes to existing policy and develops new policy for generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs). To learn more about the GNSO, go to http://gnso.icann.org/en/.