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ICANN Yokohama Meeting Topic - Introduction of New Top-Level Domains: Expression of Interest #7

Posted: 9 July 2000

First Level Registry

Expression of Interest--dotLaw

To the ICANN by the non-profit

Juvenile Lawyers Association.

1.Why a non-profit?

2.Why a legally related non-profit?

3.Why us?

4.Structure and initiation.

5.Alternative structure.

6.Technical expertise.


This proposal is in response to the ICANN invitation to submit preliminary first level domain name register expressions of interest. The future ability of ICANN to create first level domain names is a world natural resource that has vast monetary value. ICANN doesn't own that asset; the countries of the world do, but ICANN controls it. ICANN may either allow speculators to reap the windfall of that asset or may direct the realization of the asset toward benefiting needy populations. We propose a test; a structure that will be a learning process for future reference, and that has an enhanced potential to succeed.

1. Why a non-profit?

a. As a test.

i. A dotLaw first level domain should prove to be a very popular, and profitable, commercial registry, e.g., Business.Law.

ii. The present mood of ICANN seems to be to move slowly to explore various methods of providing registry services.

iii. This proposal would be a testing ground to see if adequate services could be provided by a non-profit organization, in the context of a highly popular first level domain. In other words, this would be the BEST place for a non-profit to be successful at providing registry services, and the LEAST likely place that a non-profit registry would fail while developing a process for future non-profit registries to be successful with.

b. To benefit the community.

i. The purpose of a non-profit running a registry is to use the funds generated by the world community's use of a global resource to return benefits to the community.

c. To prevent large legal institutions to control domain registrations.

i. Speaks for itself.

2. Why a legally related non-profit?

a. Legally related non-profits are generally run by or in conjunction with attorneys. Within this narrow proposal, that's a good thing.

b. Attorneys in most nations are trained in similar manners in similar universities. They understand the ethical, legal, and business circumstances that drive each other, and would be the best possible watchdogs of the dotLaw registry.

c. An especially important aspect to a dot Law registry is legal ethics. Legal ethics in the US and Great Britain are structures of precepts that have evolved over four hundred years as a protection, specifically for non-lawyers, from abuse in the legal system. Many countries and US states begin to train their attorneys in legal ethics in law school and require continued training for the full extent of attorney's careers.

3. Why Us?

a. We are a group of attorneys with very different backgrounds. Male and female, different religions, and different national origins.

b. Each of our organizing members has worked almost exclusively for low-fee payment by a US state judicial system to provide services to children and poverty clients, for between ten and twenty years per member.

c. The provision of legal services to children in our US state is at a crisis point. No one in the state legislative branch or in the various special interest groups is happy with the present system, and a change will happen soon. Many of us agree that the change will not be for the benefit of the children receiving services. The root of the problem is funding.

d. We suspect the same is often true across the US and around the world.

e. We propose that profits from this registry go to a non-profit organization, preferably ours, to be used world wide for the competent, ethical provision of legal services for children.

f. Traditionally children living in poverty in the US have been provided with legal services by agencies such as Legal Services. The Federal funding for such agencies has been cut by 80% since the Reagan Whitehouse.

g. Legal services agencies often maximized the efficiency of their limited funding by filing class-action suits on behalf of poverty clients. Federal funding now prohibits legal services from filing class-action lawsuits.

h. Our local government is not enthusiastic about funding poverty level legal services.

i. The ethical use of web domains by attorneys is a new, and very complex issue. Very few US states have come to a final, inclusive standard. We know of no international legal standards. One of our members has studied legal ethics for 17 years and has sat on a statewide legal ethics organization for that time, and has recourse to the best experts in this issue in our state and perhaps in the US.

4. Structure and initiation

a.We propose a hierarchal structure that would be available to all attorneys and legal providers equally. E.g., FosterDunnFrank.London.UK.Law and DunnFoster.Washington.US.Law and FrankDunn.Calgary.CA.Law.

b.The cost would be a flat $200 per year.

5. Alternative structure

a. As an added, commercial naming structure, names such as Law.Law or Patents.Law or Business.Law could be auctioned over a three-month period to the highest bidder. It is likely bids would go into the tens of thousands of American dollars. The annual registry fee could be set at $500.

b. Popular names such as Patent.Law will eventually be business assets for some law firm, valued at tens or hundreds of thousands of American dollars or British pounds or Swiss franks. It would make sense to divert the payment for those assets to legal services for children rather than have the cost of those assets go to intermediary brokers, who profit only because they are at the right place at the right time, or know the right people.

c. As an ethical advantage, names such as HaveYouBeenInjured.Law or Ambulance-Chasers.Law or Sue-Them-Now.Law might be more tightly regulated.

6.Technical expertise.

a. The technical expertise of our members is only average. One of us has built a web server. It works pretty well.

b. We would propose initially farming out the running of the registry to an existing registry povider and funding the startup costs by the auction described above, but would then move toward in-house expertise.

Juvenile Lawyers Association

By Philip Robert James

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