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Net speaks out on "green paper"

A brief sampling of the hundreds of comments filed to the Commerce Department in response to its domain proposal.

Hundreds of individuals, businesses, and federal agencies submitted Dueling domains comments on the Commerce Department's domain "green paper."

Now it is up to DOC officials to wade through them and respond.

The following excerpted comments provide a small sampling of those comments, which have been edited for length, spelling, and grammar. All comments can be viewed in full on the Net.

Laina Raveendran Greene, Netizen, Singapore
Overall, the green paper moves in the right direction of transferring de jure "ownership" from the U.S. government to a not-for-profit international private entity. The green paper should, however, also openly acknowledge that de facto ownership lies with the rest of the world, and the green paper is about setting up a structure that better reflects the reality of the global and commercial Internet of today. It is time for the [Internet Assigned Numbers Authority] to evolve with evolving times.

Roger Cochetti, program director, Policy & Business Planning, IBM Internet Division
IBM believes that the plan that is proposed in this docket is fundamentally sound. It provides for the transfer of all of the main administrative functions of the Internet to a new, internationally oriented, nonprofit organization no later than a specific date, and it would enable this new management organization to operate entirely within the private sector...It is important, as the green paper notes, that this transition of authority to the private sector be done with the widest possible international support and involvement, and in a way that: ensures the medium's stability; takes the fullest possible advantage of market forces; and protects legitimate intellectual property rights.

Internet Council of Registrars (CORE)
Although the stated purpose of the green paper, or Magaziner plan, is to get the U.S. government out of the Internet, in actuality it calls for the U.S. government to become more deeply involved than ever before and delays the natural evolution that is well under way.

Aveek Datta, president, Monolith Innovations Group
The issue of representation is key in the domain name issue. Those who are currently very well-represented are those with a lot of money, clout, or trademarks. The green paper is a step in the right direction of recognizing the rights of the others who use domain names, but there still remains a ways to go.

Jean-Guy Testut, Netizen
It is insane to see that the American government is trying to control the Net. The Internet is and must remain something international, where nobody has to go through the U.S. government to obtain something

Japanese Patent Office
In view of the "borderless" characteristic of the Internet, it is essential that participation in the new corporation be on an international basis. Moreover, this international participation must pay utmost attention to regional balance.

Angelo Gonzalez, Netizen
For the many that do not know how Internet development has taken place and why it has become the stupendous tool it is today, your proposal may have looked timely and well-intentioned. However, for those that have followed closely the evolution of the Net, your proposal is untimely and will have a negative impact on those same areas that [it claims] need to be "responsibly controlled to preserve the stability of the Internet." Finally, I feel that your proposal is simply an unwarranted government intervention promoted by the lobbying efforts of commercial groups.

Daniel Flemming, Netizen
While your draft does recognize the importance of changes to the domain name system, it unfortunately disregards trademark policies for dispute resolution. There are no ethical considerations in place if a registry or registrar unethically charges customers or hoards domain names. Since there is no appeal process, and customers must chew what they are force-fed, there is still a Network Solutions monopoly.

Laura Black, Columbus, Ohio, Netizen
I am outraged that this draft ever made it to the draft stage without having anything about the CORE proposal in it. Just because it'll make those .coms a little less valuable doesn't mean the corporate weight of the U.S. should step in and saturate Washington with campaigners. I am against this mass corporate involvement in the Internet. Continuing the NSI monopoly just adds fuel to the fire. With CORE, at least there is some sense of international consensus, something the draft ignores.

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)
There is an unambiguous need for technical coordination of the Internet. The root name server system and the unique assignment of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and numbers must be maintained for the global Internet to function. Historically, IANA developed as the central authority for these functions as an outgrowth of United States government-sponsored research that fostered the development of the Internet. It is time for that organization to evolve.

We propose the following for the new IANA: The new organization should be the central authority for root server functions and Internet Protocol address and number assignment; the new organization should be a separate, not-for-profit entity; the new organization should be industry-supported with consensus governance (maintaining a functioning tradition of Internet self-governance); the board of directors should represent the global Internet and its constituent users; the new organization should develop and maintain the criteria for registries and registrars with the consensus of the Internet community...We maintain that the preferred evolution at this time is toward a nonprofit registry with multiple, competitive registrars. We believe that new top-level domains can and should be introduced to the system in a controlled manner by community consensus.

William S. Lovell, Netizen
I suggest that means for resolving conflicts between registered trademarks and registered domain names already exist within a sister agency of the Commerce Department--namely, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Inasmuch as "trademarks" and "service marks" are subject to protection under the Lanham Act whether or not they are registered, a mechanism is necessary by which it can be determined whether the registered mark or the domain name (assuming it is being used in a trademark sense, and hence qualifies as a presumably unregistered mark) actually has priority of use, which is the only way in which trademark rights are gained.

Jay Fenello, president, Iperdome
Over the last several years, the stakeholders on the Internet have greatly expanded. This process is very likely to continue. Any forward-looking solutions must accept this fact and give these newly forming stakeholders a say in their own governance on the Internet. To do otherwise prevents any consensus from emerging and results in these endless debates.

Council of the European Union
The green paper proposals appear not to recognize the need to implement an international approach, contrary to the mentioned EU-U.S. Statement on Electronic Commerce...Contrary to such an international approach, the current U.S. proposals would, in the name of the globalization and privatization of the Internet, risk consolidating permanent U.S. jurisdiction over the Internet as a whole, including dispute resolution and trademarks used on the Internet...In the U.S. proposals, trademarks appear as an important motivation for reform. The European Community and its member states note with interest the ideas canvassed in the green paper to improve trademark holders' ability to defend their rights. However, the U.S. proposals do not bring about any significant improvements to the current situation, in particular with regard to the guarantees given to holders of trademark rights when registering domain names.

Lucille A. Hoag, Netizen
I would like to suggest a domain using ".adu" for adult themes, which many think of as pornography and homosexual and lesbian content, as it would make it easier for parents to block these sites, and it would make it easier for those of us who are not interested in these type of things to avoid even a few seconds of seeing them.

Sharon Clemons, president, the Domain Agency
Before adding new top-level domains, why not utilize the ones we have? The ".net" top-level domain is grossly underutilized, primarily because it's targeted only to companies involved with network infrastructure. Why couldn't the ".net" description expand to include commercial entities? Many ISPs now register their names with ".com" instead of ".net," and some commercial entities register ".net"--therefore, the distinction between the two is blurring.