26 April 1999
Initial Board of Directors
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
c/o ICANN Secretariat
339 La Cuesta Drive
Portola Valley CA 94028
Dear Board Members:
This letter contains the report of Network Solutions, Inc. regarding the formation of a DNSO gTLD registries constituency which we believe can most meaningfully be constituted by Generic Open TLD registries. It is submitted in response to the call for the formation of the gTLD DNSO constituency.1
As we noted in our comments to ICANN's recent ByLaws changes, among these seven constituencies are "ccTLD registries," and "gTLD registries." However, as the terms ccTLD and gTLD are presently used, they include Internet DNS Top Level Domain zones that have very different purposes and functions. As of this date, the former presently includes 242 zones nominally derived from ISO 3166-1 (1997) 2-letter symbols for countries. The latter includes eight zones with three and four letter symbols.
As used in practice today, some domain zones in both categories are open in the sense that registration carries no implication that the registrant and sub-delegatees are subject, in relation to their uses of the registered name, to the law and courts of a single country. Others are closed in the opposite sense. For example, the FR TLD zone and all of its levels are only open to entities that have a close nexus to France and French law, while the IO TLD zone is open to any entity constructing any desired expression. Similarly, the MIL TLD zone is only open to entities that have a legal nexus to the U.S. Department of Defense, while the COM domain is open to globally dispersed registrants. The open-closed terms and distinctions are also used by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in its Internet DNS proceeding.2
Even more important than the formal construct, the interests, motivations, and perspectives of the registries delegated the open and closed TLD zones strongly parallel each other. As a constituency, open TLD zone registries - whether for COM. or MD. - have very common interests and entrepreneurial behavior. They compete more directly against one another. Conversely, closed TLD zone registries - whether JP. or MIL. - have common interests that are very different from open registries, and do not compete with each other.
Network Solutions suggests again that the only meaningful way to categorize TLD zone registrar constituencies is in fact by their being open or closed, and that these designations be reflected in the listing of initial constituencies: Open TLD registries, and Closed TLD registries.
Nonetheless, assuming ICANN will not now change the constituency definitions, we hereby report on formation of the gTLD constituency.
Donald N. Telage
cc: Michael Roberts
1. Domain Name Supporting Organization Formation Concepts, March 4, 1999 , http://www.icann.org/dnso-formation.html
2. See wipo rfc-3, Interim Report of the WIPO Internet Domain Name Process, 23 Dec 1998, at paras. 6-8 http://wipo2.wipo.int/process/eng/processhome.html.
The goTLD Registry Constituency Domain Names Supporting Organization
This document is intended to set out a framework for the structure and procedural rules of the Generic Open TLD Registry Constituency for the Domain Name Supporting Organization and is proposed as the foundation for discussion among interest stakeholders in this class which is defined below.
The drafter of this document - the only present member of the class, the NSIRegistry.NET organization within Network Solutions, Inc. - has done this to assist in the development of the voluntary standards coordination activity for which the ICANN is constituted.
Although the goTLDs represent only 3 of the current 249 TLD zones, the user-friendly policies for business, organizations, and individuals and marketing initiated by Network Solutions has resulted in these 3 zones encompassing 52 percent of all Internet host names (Lottor, Jan 1999). This popularity has also led to the formation of NSIRegistry.net to separately provide the related registry products and services. All of these factors suggest the goTLD registry entities as a unique and important constituency.
II. DEFINITION OF THE goTLD REGISTRY CONSTITUENCY
The Generic Open Top Level Domain (goTLD) Registry constituency consists of those entities directly responsible for goTLD zones in the Domain Name System, including the necessary associated maintenance and DNS publication services.
The goTLD zones are a relatively recent and unique class of DNS zones essentially created in the mid-90s by allowing the formerly US-oriented COM, ORG, and NET zones to become self-defining for identification, branding, and expression purposes by entrepreneurs and individuals. As a result, millions of Second Level Zone records were registered in the goTLD Zones over the past four years, and it has become a key component in the success and growth of the Internet and its applications.
This development was fully consonant with the initial purpose of autonomous rendering of Internet host names delineated by Peggy Karp in RFC266, and subsequently evolved in RFCs 247, 1034 (STD 13), 1035 (STD 13), 974 (STD 14), 1340 (STD 2), and 1591. Since RFC 1591 in early 1994, DNS TLD zone use has largely proceeded to be defined through entrepreneurial and marketplace initiative.
The term "generic open TLD" is a short means to describe a class of TLDs that is defined as:
an Internet Top Level Domain zone constituted by records where the subsidiary domains are globally available and fully self-defining for identification, branding, and expression purposes on an exclusive basis by any partyThe term "registry" is defined as:
the entity directly responsible for specified Internet DNS zones including the associated necessary maintenance and Port 53 zone file DNS publication services for multiple registrars.
The TLDs EDU, GOV, MIL, INT, and ARPA are not goTLDs under this definition, as their use is constrained in various ways where they are either not globally available, or their use implies a narrowly defined class of parties, or they are not subject to a registry-registrar partition. Similarly, although more than 80 2-letter TLDs currently are substantially open and many are substantially self- defining, none are fully self-defining and subject to a registry-registrar partition.
A more natural distinction between types of TLDs would be drawn between those that impose requirements to comply with and be subject to local national laws on all registrants and sub-delegates (closed ccTLDs) and others that, in effect, compete for customers on a global basis. All open and competing TLDs (both ccTLDs and goTLDs) face similar policy issues and should be subject to the same policies.
Because of these commonalties, the goTLD constituency could include competing TLDs in the event that ICANN decided to carve out for a separate constituency only those ccTLD registries that tie registration and sub-delegation of registration authority to binding compliance with local law and agreement to be subject to the jurisdiction of local courts. In the absence of such a redefinition of the constituencies, however, the country-based gTLDs (MIL, GOV and EDU) should be allocated to the ccTLD constituency and the non-competing TLDs that do not have distinct policy interests (ARPA and INT) should not be considered entitled to participate in a constituency at this time.
III. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE, MEMBERSHIP, AND PROCESS
Since NSI Registry is currently the only constituency of the goTLD's for the purposes of the DNSO goTLD's, the process is one of self-formation. It is therefore unnecessary at this time to elaborate a structure and process. However, NSI is firmly committed to the notion of increasing the goTLD's and encourages ICANN to make such expansion a top priority. The constituency will nonetheless maintain an open site and moderated list for the purpose of publishing and discussing DNSO policies and positions.