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Oppose NSI's redefinition of TLD constituencies

I agree with Patrick's concerns, with additional observations.

The only "constituency" that would gain from throwing out RFC1591 and
redefining TLDs as being "closed" vs. "open" is Network Solutions Inc.
(NSI). This same wrong-headed change in the current ccTLD structure was
proposed in the WIPO RFC last month, and it must be strongly opposed,

Most of what would currently be defined as "open" ccTLDs (.ch, .uk, .nz,
.dk, .nu) will probably be forced, for reasons of cost and other
trademark protection considerations, to become closed. Yet NSI will
still be able to come into these "closed" ccTLD's national markets and
sell .com registrations (whether directly, as NSI, or through its new
registrars), and dominate the local market with the strong .com brand. 

Yet the closed ccTLDs will *not* be able to compete with .com outside
the "closed" areas on an international basis. That leaves the
international market free for .com to develop (until new gTLDs are
added, which could be a while), as well as opening every local ccTLD
market to NSI to compete with all their International resources and
millions of marketing dollars on a one-on-one basis. 

It's kind of like telling a local soft drink company in, say, Thailand,
not to sell its beverage in Cambodia or Indonesia, while Coke is allowed
to market in Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and anywhere else. In small
ccTLD areas, in fact, the local ccTLD may never even have a chance to
get developed... but that's another discussion.

Even more problematic is the contradictory effect of the "open" vs.
"closed" redefinition of the current ccTLD structure (RFC1591) on the
concept of "sovereignty."

In effect, a closed vs. open policy says, "You can have 'sovereignty'
over your ccTLD if you agree to obey ICANN's rules. These rules say you
do not have the sovereign right to use your ccTLD outside your own
national or territorial boundaries." That's not the way I define
"sovereignty," regardless of whether you interpret it to mean national
government sovereignty (as some governments believe) or to mean local
internet community sovereignty (as IATLD believes). 

Again, this is a complete reversal of the basis on which the Internet
has grown, as a borderless, global and private networking system. In
addition, it is a complete reversal of the International Trade movement,
exemplified by the EU, toward open borders and free trade. It would
mean, for example, that a company in Europe which wished to register its
company or brand names using the locally-recognized ccTLDs in
Switzerland, the UK, Denmark and Sweden would not be able to anymore
unless it had a corporate presence on the ground in each of those
countries (assuming those ccTLDs decided to become closed due to the
regulatory and cost pressures created by the "open" designation, which I
believe will be the case). This is only one of many results "hidden" in
this NSI-proposed redefinition of the current ccTLD system.

I've got many other concerns about this approach (not least of which is
my believe that ICANN has no authority, with its "interim" board and no
DNSO or names council, to redefine the structure of the ccTLD space as
it exists right now) and will post a more lengthy comment soon.

Bottom line, though, I'd say this is not an issue for consideration by
ICANN or any other entity at this time in the process of developing DNSO
and we should continue to move to build a strong and effective ccTLD
constituency of the DNSO,


Bill Semich (NIC JWS7)
.NU Domain
"The un.com-mon Domain"
(competing with NSI's .com)

In reply to 15 Apr message from "Patrick O'Brien"


>I certainly have an issue with the definition, or lack of, these
>and other terms commonly used by ICANN.

>New Zealand's economic envirnoment is based around little
>intervention or regulation.  We call it a "light handed" approach
>-- low entry barriers are meant to be pro-competitive (I thought
>that was one of the tenets of the original Green/White Paper

>Why should we raise artificial barriers in order to make .nz
>"Closed"?  What are the benefits to name holders?  Why should they
>be forced to support the additional cost/service delivery
>penalties that may possibly accrue? 

>There is a danger that customer's of ccTLD's will end up with only
>one of two choices for their country domains:

>1.	Closed -- regulated by the Government
>2.	Open -- regulated by ICANN

>What happenned to choice?

>My regards,


>-----Original Message-----
>From:	Fay Howard [SMTP:fay@ripe.net]
>Sent:	Thursday, April 15, 1999 8:52 PM
>To:	wwtld@ripe.net
>Subject:	Suggested redefinition of TLD constituencies 


>For those who may not have seen it on the Web site, ICANN have
>posed a question about the proposed constituency split between
>gTLDs and ccTLDs which I paste below.

>ICANN are keen to receive comment on this suggestion that registry
>constituencies be redefined as "open" and "closed". 

>Apologies to CENTR members who have already been made aware of

>Fay Howard
>CENTR Manager

>**************** from http://www.icann.org/dnso/dnsoupdate.html

>In order to more fully explore an issue raised by one comment
>submitted in reaction to the draft ICANN Bylaw changes the ICANN
>Board seeks further comment on the following question:

>Should the initial DNSO Constituencies currently identified as
>"ccTLD registries" and "gTLD registries" be re-categorized as
>"open registries" and "closed registries," identified according to
>whether the registry is open to any registrant, worldwide
>("open"), or is instead limited to certain registrants based on
>geography, intended use, or other criteria ("closed")? 

>Please submit comments to comment-so@icann.org.
>              *************************************