[Comments-net-renewal-20apr17] CIS comments on .NET renewal

Vidushi Marda vidushi at cis-india.org
Tue May 30 18:25:04 UTC 2017

Comments from the Centre for Internet and Society on Renewal of .NET
Registry Agreement
Prepared by: Vidushi Marda
With inputs from: Sunil Abraham and Pranesh Prakash.

The Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) is grateful for the
opportunity to comment on the proposed renewal of the .NET Registry

CIS would like to express its strong opposition to the proposed renewal.
This is for three primary reasons:

1. Inconsistency with ICANN’s core values

It is important to consider the proposed renewal in light of two Core
Values which are meant to guide the decisions and actions of ICANN.

Section 1.2.(b)(iii) of the Bylaws contemplates ICANN’s responsibility
to, “ Where feasible and appropriate, depending on market mechanisms to
promote and sustain a competitive environment in the DNS market;” and
Section 1.2(b)(iv) envisages, “Introducing and promoting competition in
the registration of domain names where practicable and beneficial to the
public interest as identified through the bottom-up, multistakeholder
policy development process;”.

The presumptive renewal of the .NET Registry agreement precludes an open
tender, thereby significantly undermining competition in the DNS market.
It ignores the public interest consideration, as the absence of
competitive pressure on the contract also means the absence of pressure
to lower user costs.
2. Historical accident

Verisign’s operations over .NET is a historical accident; one that does
not justify its collection of .NET revenues in perpetuity. Policies for
Contractual Compliance of Existing Registries[1] was approved in 2007 to
include presumptive renewal. However, during the deliberations in that
Policy Development Process, there was significant objection to
presumption of renewal of registry contracts; with constituencies and
individuals pointing out that such renewal was blatantly anti
competitive, and allowed for presumption to prevail even in the case of
material breaches.

The proposed agreement contemplates using a portion of Registry Level
Transaction Fees to create a “special restricted fund for developing
country Internet communities to enable further participation in the
ICANN mission for these stakeholders.” This form of tokenism to the
global south will do little to achieve meaningful participation and
diversity of civil society. .NET should instead, be opened to a
competitive bid and open tender, in order to encourage innovators from
around the world to benefit from it.

3. Irregularity of contract

The argument that the proposed changes are to bring the contract in line
with other gTLD registry agreements doesn't hold because this contract
is in itself completely irregular: it was not entered into after a
competitive process that other gTLD registry agreements are subject to;
and it is not subject to the price sensitivity that other contracts are

[1] -

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