ICANN Logo Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO)

The Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO) is one of three organizations within ICANN, known as "Supporting Organizations" or "SOs," that develop and recommend policies concerning the Internet's technical management within their areas of expertise.  The DNSO advises the ICANN Board on policy issues relating to the domain name system (DNS) -- the system of names commonly used to identify Internet locations and resources.  The domain name system translates these heirarchically-structured, easy-to-remember names (like www.icann.org) into IP addresses that have been assigned to specific computers.

DNSO Structure

The structure of the DNSO is established by Article VI-B of ICANN's bylaws. By bringing together parties participating in the operation and use of the DNS, the DNSO seeks to formulate and recommend consensus-based policies concerning the configuration and operation of the DNS. Under the bylaws, the DNSO consists of:

A Names Council (NC) responsible for the management of the consensus-building process of the DNSO. The NC consists of representatives selected by each of seven constituencies. The constituencies are self-organized and determine their own criteria for participation.

The current constituencies are:

  • ccTLD registries. This constituency consists of managers of country-code (i.e. two-letter) top-level domains.
  • Commercial and business entities. This constituency represents the views and interests of those stakeholders who use the Internet to conduct their business or part of it.
  • gTLD registries. This constituency consists of present operators of gTLD registries.
  • ISP and connectivity providers. The ISPCP constituency represents entities that are in the business of operating DNS nameservers as a service for third parties and that either operate an Internet backbone network based on TCP/IP or provide transit either to Internet users or to third parties' Internet content.
  • Non-commercial domain name holders. The NCDNHC consists of organizations (a) holding at least one domain name (b) that are incorporated as a non-commercial entity or, if not incorporated, that operate on a not-for-profit basis primarily for non-commercial purposes and (c) that are engaged in activities that are primarily non-commercial, including, e.g., political, educational, religious, charitable, scientific and artistic.
  • Registrars. This constituency is currently made up of members who meet the requirements for being an ICANN-accredited registrar. The intention in the future is to broaden the focus to include ccTLD registrars, and perhaps resellers and those performing services and operations like a "registrar."
  • Trademark, other intellectual property and anti-counterfeiting interests (IPC). The IPC represents the views and interests of users of intellectual property world-wide with particular emphasis on trademark, copyright, and related intellectual property rights and their effect and interaction with the DNS.

The NC has appointed Working Groups (WGs) and Task Forces (TFs) to carry out the substantive policy-development work of the DNSO. The currently active groups are:

  • Transfers Task Force
  • UDRP Review and Evaluation Task Force
  • Whois Committee

Most of the activities of WGs and TFs are carried out by e-mail discussion lists.

A General Assembly (GA) open to all who are willing to contribute effort to the work of the DNSO. The participants in the GA should be individuals who have a knowledge of and an interest in issues pertaining to the areas for which the DNSO has primary responsibility, and who are willing to contribute time, effort and expertise to the work of the DNSO, including work item proposal and development, discussion of work items, draft document preparation, and participation in research and drafting committees and working groups.

The DNSO GA maintains a general mailing list and some topic-specific lists that are open to subscription. The DNSO maintains an index to archives of the lists.

The DNSO operates a separate website, where a calendar and notes of meetings are kept and various mailing lists are available.

Historical Documents on DNSO Formation

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Page Updated 03-Nov-2002
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