RE: Ass'n for Interactive Media versus Int'l Ad Hoc Committee

Dan Kohn (
Thu, 12 Jun 1997 08:24:11 -0700

>[I don't have an opinion about this.]

Phil, I really think it's worth your time to look into the gTLD
controversy a little more closely and develop an opinion. This issue
involves many of the issues of standards processes and network
economics that we both find fascinating. I happened to be attending
an ITU conference in Geneva just after the gTLD meeting, and I had the
opportunity to have a beer with the "ringleaders" of the IAHC.
Fundamentally, I think they're playing this straight and taking the
right approach.

Everyone agrees more domains are needed. All the issues of governance
and rights come down, IMHO, to a simple question: do registries "own"
a domain name or is the domain space a common resource administrated
by multiple registries. Network Solutions and the eDNS both want to
"own" their gTLDs. The problem is that this creates hundreds of
individual monopolies, so that if they raise their prices or start
giving bad service, I'd have no recourse but changing from to teledesic.firm (which, with business cards and
general awareness issues, will be increasingly impossible). The
gTLD-mou is about creating a shared resource so that as registries go
under or have other issues, other registries can take their place
without requiring firms to change their on-line identity. The
opponents of the gTLD MOU say they are supporting free-market
principles over bureaucracies and regulation, but the ultimate
question is of power: do domain name holders "own" their domains in
any meaningful way (including all-important transfer rights), or do
the registries ultimately have control over the domains?

gTLD info is at
Network Solution's white paper is at: with
selected press quotes at
eDNS, which seems to basically agree with netsol, is at

BTW, if I were netsol, and had basically lucked into a monopoly of an
extremely valuable resource (Teledesic would easily pay several
thousand dollars a year in fees rather than switch from, I would have written a white paper just like they

Lastly, as an issue of political communications, does this kind of
rhetoric really give you confidence in the AIM (which I'd never heard
of before this):

>When they rip the essential root servers off the Internet backbone,
the entire system
>may begin to fragment.... Serious concern has arisen over the
possibility of malicious
>viruses and "Trojan Horses" being hidden in the software that runs
the Internet.

- dan

Daniel Kohn <>
Teledesic Corporation
+1-206-602-6222 (voice)   602-0001 (fax)

-----Original Message----- From: Phil Agre [] Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 1997 10:16 AM To: Subject: Ass'n for Interactive Media versus Int'l Ad Hoc Committee

[I don't have an opinion about this.]

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[I don't have the original header. I have edited out some of the MIME formatting. I assume they meant June not July.]


Assn. for Interactive Media demands an end to the hostile takeover of the Internet by the International Ad Hoc Committee

Defend your Internet rights by opposing the gTLD-MoU, the Internet Society, and IANA

Washington, D.C. (July 11, 1997) =96 The stability of the Internet is being threatened by an attempted takeover by a group from Geneva known as the International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC). Internet-based business and user have been taken unawares by a power grab orchestrated by a technical group with no legal authority. The Association for Interactive Media and the Open Internet Congress have called for everyone in the Internet community to oppose this move.

Takeover plans are detailed in a recent memorandum by IAHC regarding issues related to assigning =93domain names=94 to Internet users. IAHC was assigned to meet to discuss the possibility of making more domain names available. When they released their final report, called the =93Generic Top Level Domain Memorandum of Understanding (gTLD-MoU), it actually contained the structure for a world government for the Internet. The leaders of the IAHC, including the Internet Society and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, have installed themselves as leaders of this government.

Businesses are being pushed to sign the gTLD-MoU in a global effort by IAHC. This document is disguised as an innocent standards agreement regarding domain names. It is actually a treaty that it actually assigns permanent control over the Internet to six tightly controlled, non-representative organizations. There are no provisions for elections, representation, or input from consumers, business, and governments.

=93Make no mistake =96 If you sign the gTLD-MoU, you will give up all of your rights to have any say on the structure and management of the internet forever.=94 said Andy Sernovitz, president of the Association for Interactive Media. =93A group of self-appointed autocrats have declared themselves rulers of the Internet =96 without regard to international law, the stability of the Internet, and the rights of you and your organization.=94

The Open Internet Congress (OIC) was founded to fight for an open process that guarantees that all of the Internet=92s stakeholders have a fair and representative voice in its management and operations. OIC has called for an Internet Constitutional Convention to develop the representative process. An organizational meeting will be held July 9, 1997 in Washington, D.C., and is open to all.

Founded in 1993, the Association for Interactive Media is the most diverse coalition of organizational users of the Internet, with over 300 members. AIM=92s mission is to support the efforts of leaders from for-profit and non-profit organizations seeking to serve the public through interactive media. With the ability to form partnerships and friendships among a wide variety of organizations, AIM bridges the gaps between groups working in dozens of different fields to ensure the successful future of new media.



Who is staging this coup, and how do they plan on pulling it off? The gTLD-MoU gives permanent control of the Internet to: Internet Society, Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, Internet Architecture Board, International Telecommunications Union, World Intellectual Property Organization, and International Trademark Association. They have already declared control. They have created an organization to take control, appointed themselves leaders of it, and have begun issuing technical orders to Internet server operators. They have publicly declared that they do not need the support of governments, consumers, and businesses because "the committee says it has direct control of the computers that run the Net's addressing system." (CNET, 5/2/97)

What happens to the Internet if they succeed? The Internet is likely to break apart on October 15, 1997. That is the date that the coup leaders intend to re-route the Internet to be under their control =96 against the advice of those who keep things running smoothly today. When they rip the essential root servers off the Internet backbone, the entire system may begin to fragment. Your email will be returned and your Web site visitors will be turned away. These organizations have refused to recognize the validity of the registries that ensure that traffic is successfully delivered to ".com", ".org", and ".net" addresses. Serious concern has arisen over the possibility of malicious viruses and "Trojan Horses" being hidden in the software that runs the Internet.

What happens to me and my business if they succeed? You are likely to lose access to reliable Internet communications. Control of your trademarks on the Internet will be given up. You will be forced to submit to binding decisions made by a "challenge panel" in Geneva created and run by this group. If you lose, you will not be able to use your trademark in your domain name =96 someone else will. You will never have a voice in the governance of the Internet. You will not be able to effectively defend yourself, your organization, and your rights against future moves by these aggressors.

What should I do? Do not sign the gTLD-MOU! Sign up with the Open Internet Congress to secure your place in the decision-making process. Contact the OIC immediately to get involved. Help us gather support from governments, consumers, and businesses. Distribute this document to all of your email lists as soon as possible.

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