Return to Proposed Revisions to NSI Agreements Forum - Message Thread - FAQ

Username: BWSD
Date/Time: Mon, March 12, 2001 at 5:41 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.0 using Windows 98
Score: 5
Subject: Points to Consider


                The argument put forth by ICANN and Verisign, that the proposal would bring the .com .net and .org name registry agreements in line with the other gTLD (proposes) Registry Agreements, has some merit.  The separation of Registrar and Registry as separate legal entities does not exist in those agreements, only the structural separation exists. 

ICANN set the stage for this, when it set the rules for new gTLD Registries, in that they only have to have structural separation.  The question here then, more accurately, emerges:

Should all Registrars/Registries have to have legal separation between Registrar and Registry?

The second point in question surrounds the issue of Verisign using this vehicle (proposed ammendment) to divest itself of the less profitable .net and .org Registry operation.  The question arises:  Why not give away the .com and .net, and keep the .org?  The answer is obvious.  Another question arises:  Does Verisign have a moral responsibility to maintain the triple Registry operation, in light of the historical circumstances, even though the new gTLD Registries will operate as single gTLD operators?  Verisign seems to want to divest itself of the .net and .org Registry business.  They seem allude to the new gTLD model as a justification.  However, that does not take into account that, while a single company was awarded the Registry for a single new gTLD now, there is no guarantee that in the future as even more gTLD names are introduced, that a company may not operate more than one gTLD Registry.  We may see in the future that a company might operate the Registry for several gTLD names.

The biggest bone of contention with this proposed agreement, seems to surround the guaranteed continuance of the .org and .net gTLD names.  A previous poster raised the issue of what if no suitable company comes forward to take over the .org Registry?  I would assume that in that case, a clause dealing with that would force Verisign to maintain it.  The second biggest bone of contention seems to surround the issue of Registrant restrictions for registering a .org name.  Certainly "not strictly for non-profit" has echoed in this forum in an overwhelming public outcry.  This point needs clarification in any proposed new agreement.  A "General Use" definition for both .net and .org should exist in any such agreement which allows Verisign to divest itself of the .net and .org gTLD Registries.  Thus a company, organization, or individual could choose such a gTLD regardless of their legal status.

The fact that the proposed agreement insures Verisign's participation in the funding of ICANN to the appropriate level, stands out as a positive factor.  The fact that other gTLD Registry operators will not be required to have legal separation of Registry and Registrar also stands out as an important point.  The guarantee of "General Use" as opposed to "non-profit" in the case of the .org gTLD, should be included in any ammendment to the agreement for both the .net and .org gTLD names.

The ammendment seems to deal with two issues that Verisign wants dealt with; it wants to become a single gTLD Registry operation and it wants out of the "Separation of Registry and Registrar" clause because the new gTLD Registries do not have that requirement.

On the first issue, the .org gTLD could move, only if ICANN insured the .org and .net gTLD definitions as "General Use" with no restrictions on who can register them.

On the second issue, I see no reasonable argument that Verisign should still have to separate, legally, the Registry and Registrar business, provided they agree to maintain all three current gTLD names, should suitable operators not come forward.  This entails a large expense that could be avoided, which does raise a point.  The expense of having to do the separation, in the current agreement, certainly would have played a factor in the monetary provisions during negotiations on dollar values of various payments, when the original agreement was crafted.  Since Verisign will benefit monetarily to a great extent, should they not have to legally separate the Registry and Registrar businesses, then the issue arises that perhaps the original compensation amount paid to NSI needs revisiting, based on the fact that those numbers would have included calculations based on Verisign's (then NSI's) requirement to provide separation.

Eric Beck



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