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Re: grandfathering of .us domains?

At 09:52 PM 5/17/99 +0100, Jeff Williams wrote:

 >Takings clause can be overridden under certain circumstances, such as
>some of those that WIPO and ICANN would suggest, such as offensive
>Domain names, or Domains that have a content that may be offensive
>to the internet community in their opinion.

Being offensive isn't sufficient either from a "takings" perspective
or a First Amendment perspective. (Political speech can offend but
is heavily protected; thus, a domain such as "clintonsucks.com",
surely could not be taken.) If there's ANY redeeming social value,
or if the site involves politics, it's doubtful that anyone has
the authority to take it away.

 >True, but you will need to have a substantial sum, at least for some
>mom and pop business with a Domain Name dispute of some sort,
>to be able to adjudicate it or even possibly worse to arbitrate it under
>WIPO's ADR arbitration procedure.

Hmmm. Is it legal for Congress to authorize a foreign body to take citizens'
goods without compensation unless a crime has been committed? It does not
have that authority itself under the Constitution, so it seems unlikely
that it could delegate it.

 >> Why not? The domain name is property whether or not it is a trademark 
-- or so
> > says the judge. Bankrupt companies have already auctioned off names 
> that were
> > dictionary words -- rather than trademarks -- as part of the 
> liquidation process.
>   I agree completely with you and the various judges that have ruled in 
> this manner.  But
>ICANN and WIPO do not agree with your contention here.  Hence, we
>have a serious disjunctive.

The current system leads to this sort of disagreement -- a sign that it is
dysfunctional. A better system would not sow this sort of conflict or require

 >> A good naming scheme for the Internet would help
> > us to avoid such obviously awkward and unfair situations rather than making
> > them an everyday occurrence.
>   I completely agree.  And several have been suggested.  Even and extension
>of the existing DNS system that would accomplish this with additional
>TLD's and additional Root servers in a shared root server structure would
>elevate much of this problem in several obvious ways.  I have suggested
>such an idea, but ICANN want's to stick with the existing legacy system.

The problem with new TLDs, as a solution, is that without abolishing .COM
we will still have a problem in that realm. And people will fight over who
gets to administer the new ones. And on and on.

I fear that adding more TLDs would DILUTE the problem but retain a
dysfunctional paradigm.

 >> The DOC cannot trample the Constitution. If domain names are property,
> > then they can't be appropriated without just compensation.
>   True, it is however difficult in some cases to make an accurate evaluation
>as to what that value is or might be over time.

The market value of some domain names may be quite high. I understand that
LINUX.COM has been bid up to dizzying heights, for example.

 >> The Domain Name System isn't "the real world." It's an artifice -- only one
> > of many possible ways of naming computers and resources on the Internet.
>   Yes, but is is PART of the real world now.

It's a prototype -- not a bad one for its time, but now outmoded -- that's 
its purpose. Systems evolve; societies evolve; software and network protocols
evolve. It's time for the next generation.

 >> What would the characteristics of such a scheme be? Among other things, 
it would:
> >
> >   1. Allow for multiple entities with the same name without according 
> special
> >      privilege or advantage to any of them;
> >   2. Prevent a single entity (in particular, a business) from seizing 
> exclusive
> >      use of a generic term, such as the name of a commodity;
> >   3. Prevent newcomers to a market or business category from being 
> disadvantaged
> >      relative to existing players;
> >   4. Allow for truly decentralized registration and operation (so as to 
> avoid the
> >      current disastrous situation in which one company holds the keys 
> to the
> >      kingdom and refuses to relinquish them);
> >   5. Resist tampering (It's currently FAR too easy to muck up someone's
> >     domain registration by impersonating him or her in a message to 
> InterNIC);
> >   6. Enable instantaneous changes to primary server IP numbers, rather 
> than requiring
> >      an overnight wait (so as to allow for an immediate shift to a 
> backup in case of
> >      disaster);
> >   7. Provide a more generalized database of information rather than 
> just a database
> >      of IP numbers, host names, and mail servers;
> >   8. Protect registrants' privacy and avoid exposing them to spam;
> >   9. Make it simpler to set up and update secondary servers; and
> > 10. Provide hooks for backward compatibility so that the transition to 
> a new
> >      and better system can be graceful.
>   Good points all here.  And I would add, that many have been suggested
>before as well as what I suggested as a extension of the existing legacy
>root structure of the DNS would provide for.

Some of the concepts CAN be extended; we've definitely learned some good
lessons about what works and what doesn't. But adding more TLDs doesn't
change the STRUCTURE; it just adds more items to it. I'd propose looking at
some fundamentally different ways of finding what one is after on the Net.

--Brett Glass