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Username: anupamchander
Date/Time: Tue, October 24, 2000 at 8:56 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.0 using Windows 98
Score: 5
Subject: dotlaw, Inc.'s Application Is Not in the Public Interest


Comments on dotlaw, Inc.’s Application for a .law TLD.

I am grateful for the opportunity provided by ICANN to submit comments on dotlaw, Inc.’s proposal to manage a new “.law” TLD.

While the dotlaw, Inc. application refers to its proponents’ intention to consult with various bar associations around the world, it is doubtful that these bar associations would choose an entity such as dotlaw, Inc. to represent their interests on the World Wide Web.  The applicants seek to gain extremely valuable authority over highly desirable name space.  The rules they propose, though couched in the language of public interest, seem designed to maximize their financial gain from the monopoly on the distribution of domain names.  They propose to monopolize the search engine function and the secondary market for domain name function with respect to this new TLD, as well as set differential prices as they deem fit for different domain names.  Remarkably, it appears that there is no lawyer among dotlaw, Inc.’s founding officers. 

dotlaw, Inc.’s pricing policies are set forth as follows in its proposed Registration Agreement:

“Registry’s domain name pricing structure may require the payment of different fees for different domain names, as determined by Registry in its sole discretion, and that Registry may require that certain registrants agree to obtain certain services from Registry in connection with the license of a Domain Name.”

dotlaw, Inc.’s desire to maximize its profits from the sale of domain names can be seen in the following two statements in their Proposal: 

    ·We will not allow resale of domains except through dotLaw to avoid cyber squatting;
    ·We will hold back certain domain names to allow for creation of the domain’s legal index

It is unlikely that U.S. and non-U.S. bar associations would agree that dotlaw, Inc. should be vested with the authority to allocate domain names in the .law name space.  The proposed Registration Agreement requires, for example, that disputes with dotlaw, Inc. be brought exclusively in a particular court in Georgia, United States.  It is unlikely that such submission to U.S. jurisdiction would be acceptable to non-U.S. lawyers.

The proposal’s emphasis on enriching its proponents is evident in the following provision in the Registration Agreement that a prospective .law domain name holder has to sign:

17. Links From Your Site

In consideration of the license of the Domain Name to you as provided in this Agreement, you agree to maintain on the home page of any web site that uses the Domain Name (i) a dotLaw logo, which will not exceed 234x60 pixels in size, which will be hyperlinked to a web site designated by Registry, a link to the dotLaw MetaDirectory which will be in the form and size specified by Registry.

dotlaw, Inc.’s application clearly fails to show an understanding of the difficult policy-formulation issues implicated by a special-purpose TLD related to the law.  The application’s central focus on policies that enhance the profitability of a .law monopoly reveal the applicants’ lack of sufficient concern for the protection of the rights of others in the management of the TLD.  The application fails to meet either the seventh or eighth principles in the ICANN Criteria for Assessing TLD Proposals.  It should be rejected.

Respectfully submitted,

Anupam Chander

School of Law
University of California, Davis
(The statements herein do not represent the official position of the University of California or its Regents.)

October 24, 2000



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