Should Two Letter TLDs Be Immune ?
Jim Fleming JimFleming at doorstep.unety.net
Tue Apr 28 19:18:22 CEST 1998
Dear Mr. Nussbacher, As a distinguished member of the Blue Ribbon IAHC panel that developed the ITU/ISOC/IAHC/CORE/POC/PAB proposal your comments carry a lot of weight. It is nice to see that you are still active in these forums. It is also nice that the European community supports these discussions via RIPE. As you know, there are many debates going on with respect to the management of Top Level Domains. The United States Government has decided to help bring an end to the confusion caused by the IAHC and the attempts to move the control of domains to Switzerland and the ITU. The U.S. Government, via the Department of Commerce has published its Green Paper outlining their proposals. Many people have commented in open forums like these. As the final plans for the U.S. Government's actions come together, there are many details that need to be worked out. As I have pointed out below, there could be problems in not addressing the 2 letter (so-called country code) TLDs more directly in the USG process. One of the main reasons is that 2 letter TLDs are quickly becoming generic. I offer <http://this.is> and <http://www.internet.tm> as only a couple of examples. One of the other major problems is the perception on the part of the consumers that government agencies "back" the operations of the 2 letter TLDs. We all know this is not the case, and in my opinion it would be wrong to have consumers mislead into thinking that a registration in a TLD will be MORE stable than so-called gTLDs. In looking for an example, the United States Government does not have to venture far from home. They can turn to the United States Virgin Islands (.VI) where Bill Clinton and his family regularly vacation. In looking at the .VI TLD several questions can be asked. Which government controls that TLD ? Is it the local USVI government or the United States Federal Government ? Also, the question should be raised about local stakeholder participation. If you happen to visit the Virgin Islands or some of the web sites, you might find that local people have a perception that the .VI TLD will be blown away with a hurricane and therefore the .COM/.NET/.ORG domains are preferred. Beyond this, there is another local issue and that is, does the .VI TLD cover the "Virgin Islands" or just the U.S. Virgin Islands ? Again, if you return to the local culture and you consult with truely local inhabitants, you will find that the term Virgin Islands for them implies BOTH the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. They view the government boundaries that have been imposed as legal but not cultural. This is EXACTLY the view that many Internet leaders try to claim should be the basis for domain boundaries. It seems inconsistent for people to be claiming that domains cover a group of stakeholders and do not stop at government and legal boundaries, and then turn around and claim that some TLDs (like the 2 letter ones) do have hard legal/government boundaries. It also seems inconsistent to have many 2 letter TLDs which are now truely generic, while people try to claim they are still tied to a government. In closing, I suggest that the United States Government use the United States Virgin Islands (.VI) TLD as an example to guide the rest of the world. As the U.S. rolls out its Department of Commerce rules, I would hope they make sure that ALL of the United States conforms to those rules. It would not be correct for the U.S. to be imposing rules on the rest of the world when they do not follow them themselves. Jim Fleming Unir Corporation P.S. With regard to your comments about Unir. You might be interested to know that Unir intends to help "build up" and beef up current TLD registries. and future TLD registries. With over 240 TLDs currently recognized by the U.S. Government there is need for everyone in the Registry Industry to try to help bring it to a higher level of operational excellence. Unir will continue to try to do that despite your viewpoint. On Tuesday, April 28, 1998 2:46 AM, Hank Nussbacher[SMTP:hank at ibm.net.il] wrote: @At 03:20 PM 4/27/98 -0500, Jim Fleming wrote: @ @In your opinion? Want to make a mess of nTLDs as has happened to gTLDs? @RFC1591 defines specific rules as to what is allowed or not allowed. @ @To quote: @ @3) The designated manager must be equitable to all groups in the @ domain that request domain names. @ @ This means that the same rules are applied to all requests, all @ requests must be processed in a non-discriminatory fashion, and @ academic and commercial (and other) users are treated on an equal @ basis. No bias shall be shown regarding requests that may come @ from customers of some other business related to the manager -- @ e.g., no preferential service for customers of a particular data @ network provider. There can be no requirement that a particular @ mail system (or other application), protocol, or product be used. @ @4) Significantly interested parties in the domain should agree that @ the designated manager is the appropriate party. @ @ The IANA tries to have any contending parties reach agreement @ among themselves, and generally takes no action to change things @ unless all the contending parties agree; only in cases where the @ designated manager has substantially mis-behaved would the IANA @ step in. @ @ However, it is also appropriate for interested parties to have @ some voice in selecting the designated manager. @ @ There are two cases where the IANA and the central IR may @ establish a new top-level domain and delegate only a portion of @ it: (1) there are contending parties that cannot agree, or (2) the @ applying party may not be able to represent or serve the whole @ country. The later case sometimes arises when a party outside a @ country is trying to be helpful in getting networking started in a @ country -- this is sometimes called a "proxy" DNS service. @ @ The Internet DNS Names Review Board (IDNB), a committee @ established by the IANA, will act as a review panel for cases in @ which the parties can not reach agreement among themselves. The @ IDNB's decisions will be binding. @ @Believe me, if a gov't finds that some Unir organization has appropriated @it's nTLD and is running it into the ground - they will find the way to take @it over. @ @Everyone, Jim has always been and always will be an "agent provocateur". @Lets just ignore his ramblings and leave the matter alone. @ @-hank @ @ @> @>People seem to have no problem allowing the 2 letter TLDs @>to be grandfathered to have immunity from the Green Paper @>and the U.S. Government. The assumption appears to be @>that the 2 letter TLDs have been delegated to individuals, @>companies and in some cases governments with care. This @>is not necessarily the case. @> @>In my opinion, the 2 letter TLDs should be treated as generic @>tags and should not be given a pass when it comes to requirements @>for stable governance and operational excellence. If this is not @>done, consumers may be mislead that 2 letter TLDs have the @>same industry oversight via the IANA Inc. and self-regulation. @>Consumers may find that they are subjected to arbitrary policies, @>predatory price increases and shoddy operations unless they @>are warned that 2 letter TLDs are immune from IANA Inc. oversight. @>This will not be a good thing and may cause well-run 2 letter @>TLDs to suffer because of the unsatisfactory practices of a few, @>poorly managed 2 letter TLDs. @> @>Of course, part of the problem is defining what poorly managed @>means. In some parts of the world business practices may be @>tolerated that are not common in the U.S. For example, people @>may choose to discriminate based on a variety of reasons. One @>of the most obvious is that companies supporting the government @>obtain <SLD>.TLD registrations and those that do not are excluded. @> @>Much of this assumes that the government is the current delegate @>of the 2 letter TLDs. As the domain name debates rage on we @>find more and more that governments do not have a clue what is @>happening with the 2 letter TLD that was supposedly delegated to @>them. Instead, we find that the 2 letter TLDs have been casually @>delegated to people and companies that gave the right impression @>of representing the government or local people but who actually @>use the TLD for their own business purposes. @> @>None of these things can be easily fixed and there may be no @>need to fix them IF the consumer is alerted to this situation. @>Unfortunately, the Green Paper and the IANA Inc. might end @>up sending the wrong message if they require generic TLDs to @>be held to one standard while 2 letter TLDs are immune. In my @>opinion, all of the TLDs should be held to the same high standards @>of business ethics and operational integrity as agreed upon @>by the Registry Industry. The question remains as to how to do @>this...? @> @>To date much of the focus has been on ADDING TLDs to the @>legacy Root Name Servers that the U.S. Government supports. @>Before TLDs are added, there may have to be a review of the @>existing TLDs to see where they stand from a business ethics @>and operational standards point of view. In some cases, 2 letter @>TLDs may need to be removed from the legacy Root Name @>Servers. How this should be handled needs to be debated by @>the people actively involved in the Registry Industry. @> @> - Jim Fleming Unir Corporation IBC, Tortola, BVI http://vi.unir.net -------- Logged at Tue Apr 28 22:46:40 MET DST 1998 ---------
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