[Comments-org-renewal-18mar19] .org renewal

Shane Tews sjtews at gmail.com
Sun Apr 28 19:33:26 UTC 2019

 After many years of negotiations between ICANN multistakeholder
participants, including governments and the technical community, the new
gTLD baseline contracts are being adopted by some of the original legacy
TLDs as seen with.tel, .mobi, .jobs, .travel, .cat, and .pro.   These
baseline contracts allow competition and innovation in the domain name
space while featuring more security and control mechanisms. Wide adoption
brings more domain names into the legal framework that adheres to the
guidance brought forward from the ICANN community’s work regarding TLD
development and market growth.

It is important to have solid, well-provisioned, registries as part of the
multistakeholder systems that maintain the internet infrastructure’s
functionality.  Now that the contract for .org is up for renewal the Public
Interest Registry that manages .org has agreed to move to the new
contractual obligations is a great step forward for one of the last legacy

This is a  major step forward in the TLD space for trademark and
intellectual property rights holders to help protect their creative works
online through new protections designed to proactively and reactively
protect specific names from infringement as they enter the domain name

The new gTLD contracts ensure that registry operator of these new TLDs are
using the tools created by the multistakeholder community to protect the
trademark and intellectual property holders’ rights through the Rights
Protection Mechanism when leasing a domain name or inquiring about a
potential infringer. Having more TLDs under the new contract means more
companies are beholden to the protection tools created through the new TLD
process, such as the Uniform Rapid Suspension system and Post-Delegation
Dispute Resolution procedures that were not part of the original ICANN
contracting process.

Increased competition and choice has been a major benefit for consumers in
the TLD market.  Moving the .org legacy TLD to a new TLD contractual
agreement is also an opportunity to move to more market-based pricing in
the domain name space and away from arbitrary price caps. As Makan
Delrahim, head of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, recently
stated, antitrust is there to “support reducing regulation, by encouraging
competitive markets that, as a result, require less government
intervention.” While ICANN is not a regulator, it has had its contracts
reviewed by the DOJ’s antitrust division, which concluded that only .com
had market power in the domain space.

Allowing .org and future domain names to move to market-based pricing makes
sense with today’s healthy TLD market, which is populated with many choices
for consumers to choose from. The .org domain name is well known as one of
the first TLDs in the market available for public registration, but it
still only holds 5.5 percent market share, with just over 10 million names
in the .org space compared to almost 140 million domain names and 75
percent market share for .com.

As technology platforms are challenged to be more responsible for content
by numerous governments, many lessons can be learned from the ICANN
multistakeholder process and the maturation process of registering domain
names. Today’s system has more effective best practices, guidelines, and
tools to protect and take down names as part of a responsible community.
Not all players in the space participate, but the responsible parties that
do are well regarded for their efforts. ICANN and the ICANN community have
become a central player for creating a more responsible process for the
entire domain name ecosystem with registry agreements, accredited registrar
agreements, registrant agreements, and an effort working toward a more
responsible third-party reseller relationship.

Shane Tews

President of Logan Circle Strategies & Visiting Fellow at the American
Enterprise Institute
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