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[alac] ICANN and Verisign settle lawsuits, Verisign gets .COM forever

  • To: "David Farber" <dave@xxxxxxxxxx>, "Declan McCullagh" <declan@xxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [alac] ICANN and Verisign settle lawsuits, Verisign gets .COM forever
  • From: "John L" <johnl@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: 24 Oct 2005 23:31:30 -0400

A most interestesting announcement appeared on the ICANN web site today.

It says that ICANN and Verisign have agreed to settle all pending lawsuits, and there's a new .COM agreement, all tentative but if history is any guide, there's no way short of DOC action that's going to stop it.

The good news is that Verisign has agreed not to make unilateral changes like Sitefinder. They have to give prior notice to ICANN for any material change in the operation of the registry, and if ICANN has any concerns there's a lengthy process full of expert panels and Consensus and the like to decide whether they can do it. They agree to treat all registrars the same, not to own more than 15% of any registrar, and a long laundry list of things to prevent favoritism.

In the settlement agreement, Verisign also agrees to

  reiterate its support for ICANN as the appropriate technical
  coordination body for the DNS, in particular with respect to
  Internet domain names, IP address numbers, root server system
  management functions, and protocol parameter and port numbers.
  VeriSign also agrees that it will continue to be an advocate
  for the private sector solution to the coordination of
  Internet names and addresses, including (without limitation) that
  VeriSign will advocate ICANN's appropriate role in that process.

or to put it in practical terms, they'll lobby for ICANN at WSIS, which is good news for ICANN if not necessarily for the world at large.

The bad news is that the new .COM agreement gives the .COM registry to Verisign until 2012, with automatic renewals forever unless they go bankrupt or materially breach the agreement. The registry fee, now $6, can increase 7% per year. The ICANN fee, currently 25 cents, jumps to 37 cents on 1 Jan, to 45 cents on 1 Jul, and 50 cents on 1 July 2007, the revenue to be used for a list of virtuous causes including anything ICANN wants to use it for. I guess this means I don't have to worry about flying coach to ICANN meetings.

The press release and links to all the documnets are at

John Levine, johnl@xxxxxxxx, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Information Superhighwayman wanna-be, http://iecc.com/johnl, Mayor
"I dropped the toothpaste", said Tom, crestfallenly.

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