> PARIS -- Industry representatives, Internet users and academics around
> the world have essentially agreed on the structure for a new global
> organization for the assigning and management of top-level domain names,
> which will be put into operation at the end of next month.
> The agreement comes after months of discussions, meetings and white
> papers that have had as their common goal the formation of a new entity
> to replace the Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA). IANA is the
> U.S. government-funded organization that currently handles the back-end
> administration of so-called top-level domain names, such as .com, .net
> and .org.
> The way top-level domain names are allocated, registered and managed has
> caused heated debate over the past two years, after the existing
> U.S.-controlled system came under fire for its non-international
> As it stands now, the U.S. government-funded Internet Network
> Information Center (InterNIC) registers top-level domain names, while
> IANA maintains the technical architecture behind the names and has the
> power to issue new ones. Individual countries register their own domain
> names, such as .fr for France. But InterNIC has a monopoly on the
> registration of the coveted .com and .net names.
> When the U.S. government released a paper earlier this year suggesting
> the formation of a new, U.S.-based organization to handle the tasks of
> IANA, including the delegation of several new top-level domains, the
> international community angrily called for a more global approach. In
> return, the U.S. government issued another paper in June, suggesting
> that the private sector should handle the task of creating a private,
> international organization to take IANA's place.
> The U.S. government white paper stipulated that this new organization,
> sometimes referred to as the New IANA, would have to be put in place by
> Sept. 30, when IANA's and InterNIC's contracts expire. Yesterday, IANA
> issued a white paper on its Web site outlining the structure of the new
> organization. While the paper isn't a final plan, it comes close to what
> will be the structure of the new organization, said Jon Postel, director
> of IANA, in a mass E-mailing to interested parties. However, the plan
> is still open to comment and could change slightly before the new
> organization is put into place at the end of September, he said.
> Some of the main points in IANA's white paper include the following:
> The New IANA will be a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles.
> Its main objectives will be to undertake
> whatever is necessary to maintain the
> operational stability of the Internet and to
> manage the allocation of new top-level
> domain names.
> The organization will managed by a
> nine-member board of directors that will
> notify the public of any meetings via the
> Internet at least 14 days in advance.
> No government member can become a
> board member, but governments will have
> their say through a special advisory
> No more than half of the members of the
> board of directors can be from one
> geographic region (defined as Europe,
> Asia/Australia/Pacific, South America,
> Africa, North America and Elsewhere).
IANA's own plan for the new IANA is promising (but of course I'm
agreeable, because I'm a member of the community for whom they speak),
and it seems to get updated daily
If you have any time you should look at the FAQ
the proposed articles of incorporation of the new IANA
the latest iteration (#3) of the proposed bylaws
and the comments from the community
So it seems like in a short amount of time they have dealt with the
issues in a July 98 CNN article
> While the international community seems to broadly agree on
> the formation of the New Organization to replace IANA, many
> questions as to its final structure still remain. Will the
> organization permit members from the government to join? What
> will be the role of international organizations such at the World
> Intellectual Property Organization and the International
> Telecommunications Union? Will registrars be for-profit or
> nonprofit? How will the New Organization ensure that industry
> members have no ulterior allegiances to their shareholders?
> How will trademark disputes be settled? And what impact will
> existing work in the area of domain names have on the new
Speaking of CNN, yesterday they had an interesting little piece
comparing this process to the Partridge Family
which I include below. Boy, I hope the right outcome emerges from this.
Maybe we at FoRK should send a little endorsement of the proposed bylaws
to email@example.com ? (Yeah, an endorsement from 4K Consulting goes a long
> The Partridge Family does domains
> August 26, 1998, Web posted at: 1:20 PM EDT
> by Sandra Gittlen, Online reporter, Network World Fusion
> (IDG) -- For the past two months, Ira Magaziner, the Clinton
> administration's top Internet advisor, has been touring the globe,
> trying to gain consensus for his IP address and domain-name overhaul
> plan. With him at each stop has been Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI), the
> Internet Society (ISOC) and members of global Internet organizations.
> While the stops have been hacked together on a moment's notice,
> representatives from these organizations seem to have no problem jetting
> off to the global destinations, which have included Geneva, Singapore,
> and Buenos Aires.
> What set out to be a simple set of four meetings has turned into a
> never-ending global tour. But not just any tour. It bears a strange
> resemblance to a Partridge Family reunion for the '90s, complete with
> all the original characters:
> Shirley Partridge
> In 1998, she's played by Boston University Professor Tamar Frankel. And
> boy does she have her hands full. As mediator for each stop's series of
> meetings, Frankel has the thankless job of trying to keep all her band
> members from bickering and yet crank out new tunes or policies. Word
> from the band's stop in Geneva had Frankel losing her impartiality and a
> grip on her band. Band members criticized her for getting to close to
> the band's promoter, Magaziner, and not keeping an open mind.
> Keith Partridge
> Playing the hot-to-trot boy toy of the Partridge clan is NSI, the
> current administrator of domain names such as .com, .net and .edu. The
> company is a rising star; its stock price has soared from good word that
> it will grow even in the wake of competition from new domain name
> registrars. Like Keith, NSI keeps singing its heart out about all the
> good that is going to come from this competition and how it
> wholeheartedly supports the government's plan. But deep down inside, the
> company just can't wait to break from the government's grip.
> Laurie and Danny Partridge
> The Internet Society and its various offshoots, such as the almost
> defunct Council of Registrars, play an amalgam of Laurie and Danny.
> Trying to gain the spotlight from domain darling NSI is a pretty tough
> job. In order to cash in on the band's success, Laurie and Danny can't
> look upset, but they have to make sure that their interests are
> recognized and their concerns addressed. They also have to keep their
> promise to ISPs and organizations that ponied up significant dollars for
> a chance to hand out domain names. Besides, Keith has the corner of the
> market on screaming fans.
> Reuben Kincaid
> Internet Assigned Numbers Authority head Jon Postel, plays a more hip,
> more mod version of Mr. Kincaid. Like the erstwhile manager of the
> famous family, Postel seems to be waiting in the wings, watching as the
> others battle back and forth. However, appearances can be deceiving.
> Instead, Mr. Postel is behind the scenes, trying to keep a hold on his
> stake in the Internet. In Geneva, Postel passed out copies of his plan
> for the new nonprofit, a move that was met with dismay by some of the
> band members. Frankel, like Mrs. Partridge would, tried to run
> interference, but some band members were already perturbed.
> Then there's Ira Magaziner, who created the band. While Magaziner
> doesn't have a single role, he plays the gamut of industry executives
> and concert promoters that the band comes across. On the one hand, he
> wants all the band members to have a hand in the future of Internet
> addressing, but on the other, he's pretty clear on what he wants to come
> out of this effort. He's also sure that he wants Internet addressing to
> be off the government's plate, but he still wants to make sure that some
> government oversight occurs.
> The tour is due to wind up back in the U.S. or Canada next month.
> Whether the band members decide to stay on board the government plan or
> hand up their instruments remains to be seen. Some members, such as ISOC
> and CORE, may have suffered severe exhaustion on the trip and heard one
> too many rounds of "C'mon, get happy!"
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Internet for the public good.