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Username: DKI
Date/Time: Sun, November 5, 2000 at 10:20 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.01 using Windows 98
Score: 5
Subject: DotKids, Inc. Statement - How Our Unrestricted .kids gTLD Works


This section, which summarizes our proposal to ICANN, provides an overview of the technical features of our .kids registry.  It demonstrates that our solution works as an unrestricted domain.

Who may register:  All persons who wish to apply for a .kids domain name may do so.  No judgment regarding content or purpose will be asked about or imposed as a condition of registration.  Any name may be used, from “” to “”  (Note that the latter may be an educational site, in fact!)  Any current registrant of .com or other gTLDs might obtain a .kids domain address and tie it to its main (.com, .net, .org, etc.) web content.

What content may be published by a registrant under .kids:  Any content may be published in a .kids domain under our proposed system.  There is no censorship at the Registry or registrar level whatsoever.  We do not aim to prevent publication -- we empower the user to elect not to read it.  Whereas adults can simply not read what offends them, children need extra protection from exposure.  Therefore, users (parents) select what they don’t want to their kids to see by making their own choices in password-protected Domain Rating Specifications. 

The Domain rating specifications:  Every parent may specify the rating system (see below) that will be applied to filter out offensive content.  Parents may specify more than one system, and thus apply multiple filters.  The parent’s choice is password-protected and child-specific.  These ratings are maintained by the Registry in the Domain rating specifications file.  When the child signs on, he or she will surf only on .kids, and have access to all the material within this TLD that clears their parent’s selection of standards (including material in .com that a registrant may have tied to its .kids domain name). 

Rating standards:  The core concept of the proposed system is that, because no single standard is right for every family or every place in the world, the TLD structure must accommodate diverse rating standards.  Thus, the proposed system accommodates multiple rating systems.  These may arise from many different sources around the world.  ICRA’s is a good existing example of a general system that is open, objective, complete, precise in its definition of standards, and capable of being consistently applied.  Other rating standards will certainly evolve globally.  Once a rating system is demonstrated to be open, objective, complete, precise, and capable of being consistently applied, it is eligible to be added to the TLD’s library of rating systems available for users to choose.  There is theoretically no limit on the number of rating systems that can be included.  Thus, the ACLU, the American Library Association, the Saudi Arabian schools, and various religious organizations, for example, as well as children-on-line interest groups, will be able to add their rating systems to the options for parents to choose.

Rating organizations:  Multiple rating agencies (“RA”) will be accredited by the Registry (with the cooperation of ICANN if it so chooses) to monitor the process of categorizing the content of .kids websites for child-appropriate material.  The standards for accrediting an RA would be content-neutral; they would focus on the reliability and consistency of the organization’s work, and the procedures developed and followed by the RA to act upon complaints about erroneously assigned categories.  Some RAs may rate content themselves; others may permit self-rating by the website registrant if the RA’s procedures for enforcement and quality-control are tight, established, and proven; others may propose inventive systems that evolve as this gTLD goes into operation.  The key will be the RA’s proven ability to enforce the rule that all content that is rated must be rated consistent with the standard chosen for that rating process.  The RAs would contract with the organization that established the rating system (unless they have established their own rating system) to adhere to the procedures necessary to assure the continued good name of the rating system, including procedures for enforcement against complaints and violations by website registrants. 

Default rating:  The .kids space is an “understood” space.  That is, every registrant would understand that until it has its website content rated, it will reach only the households that elect to accept all material posted to .kids domains (including the “” example already given).  The default rating automatically assigned to all .kids websites is “unrated.”  Because it is expected that parents will be selecting multiple rating systems as filters for their children, there is a strong market incentive for all .kids registrants to get their content rated.

Default Domain rating specification:  Until the parent makes his or her choice, the default position for filters would be set to a simple standard that would protect the purpose of the .kids gTLD.  This would be a generic standard, easily overridden by the user.

Getting rated:  Every registrant chooses which rating systems it wants to have applied to its web content.  A registrant appealing to a specific cultural or national audience may want to be rated only under a system that was created for or by that culture.  A registrant that wants to reach pre-teens all over the US may want to have numerous rating systems applied to its content so that it will clear many parent-set filters.  It is anticipated that market forces will, over time, permit the best and most reliable rating systems to develop reputations for reliability, just as the UL seal is respected by the markets for electrical appliances and the “Good Housekeeping” seal is respected by the markets for consumer goods.

An unrestricted domain is the best way to approach a gTLD for protection of children.

The unrestricted domain approach allows free access to .kids domains.  It places the choice about content on the parent individually.  And DotKids, Inc. has already worked out the technical solution to the content-rating issue:  rely upon globally diverse rating systems which allow new systems in the future, and incentivize the registrants to get their content rated under the auspices of an accredited rating organization so that it will reach as many children as are being protected by their parents. 

The rule here is:  to reach children that parents are protecting, the publisher has to provide content the parents will not find offensive.  No more, no less. 

No censorship.  No single rule for the whole world.  But a dynamic, tightly organized, and technically complete gTLD system  that returns value and substantially augments the usefulness of the Internet globally and the benefits it offers for diverse audiences.”



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