RE: DNS: Multiple Registrars in,,

RE: DNS: Multiple Registrars in,,

From: Mark Hughes <mhughes§>
Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 18:41:52 +1000

>> If the existing policies are worth preserving, then lets do so.  But they
>> can't be preserved solely with a technical solution.  A working SRS
>> used by multiple Registrars will not preserve the existing policies.

>That's a very strong statement.
SRS can enforce SLD membership policies and name allocation policies

a) if the criteria are completely objective
b) if there is a database that can be automatically checked by the SRS
to perform the validity checks

The other benefit of such a structure is that it minimises costs associated
with the Registrar process 'cause the validity checking can be automated.

>> Lets say there are twenty Registrars operating in or 
>> or whatever.  My business, ShonkyTraders Pty Ltd
>> wants a name in one of those SLDs.  We approach a Registrar,
>> get knocked back even though there is no clear and unambiguous policy,
>> we have signed no agreement that names are issued subject to specific
>> rules, there are no clear reasons why we have been rejected,
>> we threaten to sue the Registrar who's a small individual operator,
>> and they cave in because they have a doubtful legal position 'cause of no
>> clear policies and processes being in place.

>How is this different from what's in place right now? There's really
>no need to fix all the worlds problems in one shot. All you want to do
>is make sure it's not worse that it currently is.

I disagree, Michael.  I believe having multiple Registrars operating
in an SLD makes some conditions which have not been a major
issue to date, into an occurrence that would have happened 
eventually, but will now happen much sooner.

This is the scenario:

A User applies for and receives a domain name.  They go ahead
and set up their operation using their new domain name.  Six
months later it becomes clear that the User does not meet the
rules for the SLD.  For example, they're a pure for-profit company
in or a non-educational company in, or whatever.

So now someone (who?  a Registrar?  which one? ) says to the
User "you can't use that domain name any more".   The User
has put lots of time and money into promoting their domain name
and now says:

"Hang on a bit.  I didn't sign any statement agreeing that I was
only getting that domain name for as long as I continued to 
meet the criteria.  It doesn't say anywhere in the application
process that the domain name is issued for anything other
than eternity.  The rules which you claim I don't meet are unclear
and inconsistent."

Now, I'm not a lawyer, but if the rules about how long the domain
name is issued for and on what conditions are not clearly spelled
out, its likely that a legal injunction to stop a Registrar removing
the domain name is likely to succeed.

And if Users actually have invested buckets of money in promoting
a domain name, they have a different sized incentive in tying the
whole process up in court than if they are refused a domain name
at the outset.

Hence my comments about it being easier to close the stable door
before the horse has bolted.

The relative size and resources of the User vs the Registrar 
might not favour the Registrar either, if its a large for-profit company
vs an individual acting as a Registrar.

If the policies for approval are objective and clearly specified; if it
it clear that the domain name is not issued in perpetuity but only for
as long as the User meets the rules;  if the User as part of the
application process clearly warrants that any information they
provide is correct;  if the User signs that they accept that the domain
name licence is issued subject to the rules and will be revoked
or not renewed is the rules are not met, then the User doesn't
have much of a case.

The User would be then reduced to arguing over whether the Delegate/Registrar
actually has the authority to make/enforce the rules.  I believe that
the existing delegate structure has the authority to make and enforce
the rules.  It is hard to see a case succeeding against that principle.
The federal government's decision to date not to act on its reserve
authority to appoint a manager of electronic addressing would have to
be taken as endorsement of the existing authority.

A legal dispute which did not question the authority under which the
rules were set, but which focussed instead on discrimination (ie, 
inconsistent application of the rules), or interpretation of rules
which were unclear and subjective, is likely to have a much higher
chance of succeeding.

In summary, my belief is that if folks are proposing that one of the
tools used to enforce the rules in a SLD is the ability to tell a user
"stop using that domain name now" then some pretty clear
policies and processes are needed to make it work.

If nothing else, clear policies and processes are needed to protect
the Registrars operating in those SLDs.

Regards, Mark
Received on Sun May 10 1998 - 23:39:18 UTC

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