The message above seems to be the best of the bunch,
as of a week later.
In the U.S., there are two kinds of "non-profits", charitable
and political. Charitable organizations have to be careful not to become involved
in political activities, but many times the political organizations accomplish more,
at least in terms of effectiveness. Many brother/sister charitable/political organizations
exist with concurrent membership and fundraising activities, though they are careful
to maintain separate officers and funding accounts.
Additionally, as jcphillips
noted below under "Unfair to Small Non-Profits" there are many self-sustaining hobby
and interest groups that don't have any formal legal identity or status, but are
sustained by the interest and activity of their membership.
Currently, the cost
of registering a web domain is much less than the cost of hosting it on a publically
connected computer. Further, the effort and cost of incorporating and registering
to the legal standards of the U.S. I.R.S. greatly exceeds the expense of maintaining
a web site. The proposed $5M donation to support "free" domain registration is clueless,
not needed and not even very helpful.
Of course, other countries that don't recognize
a "right to free assembly" may have their own criteria for recognizing "legitimate"
I don't know how ICANN would enforce this other than by taking the
domain name away from an organization, following whatever warning and appeal provisions
are instituted to ensure fairness. Such a penalty is absolutely no deterrent to a
person or group who would abuse the *.org category, and is far too drastic a measure
to take against an organization that carelessly or inadvertantly runs afoul of the
Finally, I cannot acquiesce with proposals to "grandfather" existing
non-compliant (with what?) *.org domains because it fails to extend the development
of the internet to the internet community as a whole.