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Username: bmcarson
Date/Time: Fri, November 3, 2000 at 11:14 PM GMT (Fri, November 3, 2000 at 5:14 PM CST)
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Subject: Support for .law proposal


        My name is Bryan Carson, and I am writing in support of the .law top level domain proposal.  I am the Coordinator of Reference and instructional Services at Western Kentucky University and the Warren County (Kentucky) Law Library.  I am also an attorney who is licensed to practice law in Kentucky and Ohio.

Creation of a .law top-level domain would make legal research far more accessible to attorneys, librarians, and the general public.  I believe that the establishment of a .law top level domain name would empower people, giving them a place to go to look for legal content.  Legal research is one of the most popular types of research on the Internet.  Currently, there are a number of portals that users can go to, and several legal search engines.  However, a .law domain would provide a scheme whereby everyone could find what they needed quickly and efficiently.

One of the biggest barriers to the effective use of the Internet is the uncataloged nature of "Cyberspace."  The institution of a .law scheme would in effect be a way of cataloging legal sites for easy retrieval.

Creation of a .law TLD will directly benefit all users of the Internet by providing a forum for credible content with accurate searching and access to rich community oriented sites.  Currently legal content on the Internet is fractionated across unrestricted top level domains such as .com, .org, .edu, and .net. These domains are unregulated and sites vary widely in their quality of content. Retrieval of legal information from the myriad of locations by conventional search engines is incomplete and relatively non-specific.

Although some commentators have interpreted this proposal as a level of regulation, i.e. the comment by retronics1 on Sat, October 28, 2000 at 6:39 AM GMT, that is a very narrow approach to the concept of .law.  Instead of being regulation, this scheme is organization for the betterment of those who are using the Internet.  According to the comment by EddieO, filed Wed, November 1, 2000 at 4:57 AM GMT, "From both a personal and professional perspective, the creation of dotLaw appears well-structured in boths (sic) its intent and execution.  As an individual, the public benefits seem worthwhile and beyond sufficient.  As a member of the national media, I found the presentation of the site engaging, useful and an attractive forum for discussion and contact.  Hopefully, this site will serve as an effective form of commuication (sic) between those within and outside the legal community."

One of the biggest problems with legal research on the Internet is assessing the reliability of the information.  Because anyone can post materials, there is often no way to tell whether a site is accurate.  By verifying that materials are posted by those who are actually in the legal world, the public would be greatly served.  There is a significant difference between an article written by a law professor and one written by a high school student.  Yet under the current system, either one can post their articles to the Web.

This is a good thing in many ways, and it enhances the freedom of speech that we hold so dear.  As I read the proposal, nothing would stop that high school student from posting their article on a .com, .net, .org, or .edu site.  However, researchers would always know that by looking at a .law site the pages would be created by lawyers, law professors, or law librarians.

I also agree with the comment by R Deming, posted Fri, November 3, 2000 at 8:58 PM GMT.  "DotLaw is a useful beginning and a useful potential resource, but the current range of information covered could be expanded to better suit the needs of a broader range of the legal community.  I also agree that to the extent .law gets an advantageous market position, which in turn generates good profits, the owners of .law should expand its universe to cover pro bono postings, make it's services available to entities serving the underepresented and otherwise look for ways to support the provision of quality legal services to those needing assistance."   

By providing Internet users a new .law TLD, it will be possible for sophisticated legal research to be conducted by the average person.  I agree with the comment by Bert Foer, posted Fri, November 3, 2000 at 9:25 PM GMT, that "having a .law domain would benefit the public in several ways, most importantly by reducing the search costs of locating an appropriate legal representative or advisor. This efficiency gain will not only benefit individual clients but businesses, government, and others needing to find specific information relating to the law."

I therefore urge ICANN to adopt the .law top level domain name as a means of empowering the users of the Internet and serving the public interest.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at the address below.  I appreciate the opportunity to comment on this proposal.

Bryan M. Carson, J.D., M.I.L.S.
Coordinator of Reference and Instructional Services
Western Kentucky University Libraries / Warren County Law Library
1 Big Red Way
Bowling Green, Kentucky  42101
Phone:  270-745-5007
Fax:    270-745-2275

The preceding comments are my own and do not necessary reflect the
opinions of my employer. All original content Copyright 2000 Bryan M.
Carson. All rights reserved.

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